Motivating Senior Native Spanish Speakers learning English through an Educational Game
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Type of Work87 leaves
DepartmentUniversity of Baltimore. Division of Science, Information Arts, and Technologies
ProgramUniversity of Baltimore. Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
RightsAttribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States
This item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is made available by the University of Baltimore for non-commercial research and educational purposes.
Subjectssenior native Spanish speakers
native language (L1)
second, or foreign language (L2)
English as a Second Language (ESL and ESOL)
Limited English Proficient (LEP)
Many people believe that the younger you are, the easier it is to learn a second language. This project explores methods for motivating senior native Spanish speakers learning English. Current literature was surveyed with a concentration in language acquisition and literacy, cognition, cultural and motivational factors, and sensory-motor characteristics for older adults. The majority of existing literature focuses on younger populations, so further research into older generations learning English as a foreign language is needed. Moreoever, with regard to basic literacy research, the focus has been on people in their native languages, not English as a second language (Bigelow, & Schwarz, 2010). I sought to test the theory that senior native Spanish speakers would be more motivated to learn English through narrative-based learning as opposed to standard translation learning. I tested both education methods as used in Duolingo, a languagelearning app, on my sample of participants and gauged their satisfaction and motivation rates. I learned that subjects were more satisfied with the narrative-based lessons than the standard translation lessons. Higher satisfaction levels are likely to correlate with the participants likelihood to continue using Duolingo. Repeated and regular involvement in language learning activities has been shown by other researchers to increase retention and may ultimately lead to a higher likelihood of learning English as a second language. Roughly 6% of the U.S. population, or 18.5 million people, are Spanish speakers who assess their English proficiency as inadequate. As the baby boomer generation grows exponentially each year, there is a growing market for second language education geared toward older adults, and current free tools can be optimized for this specific audience.
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- Creative Commons