This thesis discusses the ways in which one of the basic human instincts – the urge to play – can be
used in an EFL classroom to improve learners’ motivation, social skills and willingness to engage in
language learning. My thesis focuses on three major aspects. First, in my lessons, I have implemented
games as well as features that often form the core of games, such as rules of play, experience points,
achievements, and the levelling up and customization of an avatar. The learners see their progress
mirrored within the paradigm of role-playing games: their activities in the classroom inform the development
of their in-game avatars and unlock real-life abilities and rewards.
Second, I analyse which games and aspects of gamification are conducive to the creation of a ludic
space. While the use of tablets is not the core focus of this thesis, I have worked with pedagogical and
language-learning games designed for tablets as well as classroom games designed to use tablets as
one of their central features. However, I also consider how the use of ICT (information and communication
technologies) can threaten the ludic space.
Third, I explore the potential that ICT-based gamification offers in terms of assessment. Modern
digital games provide players with detailed data on their performance. Such data can facilitate students’
self-evaluation and be used to help learners identify and work on their strengths and weaknesses.
Statistical data can also help teachers to analyse their own practice. Moreover, I examine the
importance and feasibility of implementing automated assessment and making immediate feedback
accessible to learners.