“Secure Lane”: Exploring DOTA 2 Players’ Experience on Their Accidental Vocabulary Learning

Arvega Rachmad, Sugeng Susilo Adi, Devinta Puspita Ratri


Vocabulary is the key of language where people need to process words to understand their meaning of words. Learning vocabulary is not merely can be obtained from classroom interaction. It can be done outside classroom with the aid of various media, one of which is video games developed in English. Learning English from activities outside the classroom like playing video games can gain incidental vocabulary which has relation with repetition of the interaction from the learner with target language which is English. DoTA 2 is a popular video game among students since it not only provides a pleasurable experience for players but also allows them to engage with one another via the use of English. This survey study aimed at figure out the relation between player intensity of playing DoTA 2 and their vocabulary size. The data was gained from 100 students of a state university in Indonesia who played Dota 2 by distributing a questionnaire adopted from Cabraja (2016) to get the players’ view and Schmitt’s Vocabulary Levels Test (VLT) to know players’ vocabulary level. The findings showed that participants who plays DoTA 2 more regularly got a higher score on the Vocabulary Level Test score than participants who played Dota 2 less regularly. According to their experience, participants with higher score feel more confident when communicate with other player using English. It shows that playing the video game, DoTA 2 in this case, contributes a significant impact on players'/students' accidental vocabulary acquisition as well as giving a less daunting experience when learning English.


DOTA 2; Incidental Vocabulary; Learning Media; Video Game

Full Text:



Agarwala, A., & Pearce, M. (2014). Learning Dota 2 team compositions. Technical report, Stanford University.Asllani, H., & Paçarizi, R. (2021). Enhancing second language incidental vocabulary learning through technology. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 11(4), 107-117. https://doi.org/10.36941/jesr-2021-0081.Hapsari, A., Sari, R.P.I.P., & Rais, B., (2018). Gamers’ experience in using defense of the ancient 2 to learn language. Indonesian Journal of Informatics Education, 2 (2), 87 – 93. https://doi.org/10.20961/ijie.v2i2.24156Cabraja, A. (2016). The Effects of Video Games on the Receptive Vocabulary Proficiency of Swedish ESL Students. Bachelor Degree Project English Linguistics of Stockholms universitet. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/The-effects-of-video-games-on-the-receptive-of-ESL Cabraja/15ce7084db725e86a81503c2b1ab3dc3b2952522Chen, H. J. H., & Yang, T. Y. C. (2013). The impact of adventure video games on foreign language learning and the perceptions of learners. Interactive Learning Environments, 21(2), 129–141. doi:10.1 080/10494820.2012.705851

Creswell, J. W. (2015). A Concise introduction to mixed methods research. SAGE Publication, Inc.

Esposito, N. (2005). A short and simple definition of what a videogame is. In Changing Views – Worlds in Play. DiGRA 2005 Conference. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221217421_A_Short_and_Simple_Definition_of_What_a_Videogame_IsGairns, R., &, Redman, S. (1986). Working with words. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0272263100000528Garzotto, F. (2007). Investigating the educational effectiveness of multiplayer online games for children. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, pp. 29-36. https://doi.org/10.1145/1297277.1297284

Gower, R., Walters, S., & Phillips, D. (1995). Teaching practice handbook. Oxford.

Ikhbal. (2019). Senior high school students’ perception on playing DotA 2 towards their English learning. Unpublised undergraduate thesis. http://repository.umy.ac.id/bitstream/handle/123456789/30249/2.%20halaman%20judul.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=yKlimova, B., & Kacet, J. (2017). Efficacy of computer games on language learning. TOJET: The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 16 (4), 19-26. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1160637Kerka, S. (2000). Incidental learning: Trends and issues in alert No.18.“. ERIC Publications. http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED446234.pdfLoewen, S. (2015). Introduction to instructed second language acquisition. New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.Mitchell, A., & Savill-Smith, C. (2015). The use of computer and video games for learning : A review of the literature. Learning and Skills Development Agency. Nation, I.S.P. (2000). Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge University Press.Nation, I.S.P. (2005). Ten best idea for teaching vocabulary. Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.26686/wgtn.12552239Orkin, J., & Roy, D. (2007). The restaurant game: learning social behavior and language from thousands of players online. Journal of Game Development, 3(1), 39-60.Schmitt, N., & M. C. Michael. (1997). Vocabulary description and acquisition and pedagogy. Cambridge University Press.Schmitt, N. (2000). Vocabulary in language teaching. Cambridge University Press.Schmitt, N., Schmitt, D., & Clapham, C. (2001). Developing and exploring the behaviour of two new versions of the vocabulary levels test. Language Testing, 18(1), 55-88. https://doi.org/10.1177/026553220101800103

Schmitt, N. (2008). Review article: Instructed second language vocabulary learning. Language Teaching Research, 12(3), 329-363. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168808089921

Thornbury, S. (2002). How to teach vocabulary. Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd.Pavia, N., Webb, S., & Faez, F. (2019). Incidental vocabulary learning through listening to songs. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 41 (4), 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0272263119000020Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants part 1. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1108/10748120110424816Sundqvist, P. (2019). Commercial-off-the-shelf games in the digital wild and L2 learner vocabulary. Language Learning & Technology, 23(1), 87–113.Uchihara, T., Webb, S., & Yanagisawa, A. (2019). The effects of repetitionon incidental vocabulary learning: A meta-analysis of correlational studies. Language Learning, 69(3), 559-599. https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12343Tan, P. H., Ling, S. W., & Ting, C. Y. (2007). Adaptive digital game-based learning framework. In Proceedings of the 2nd international conference on Digital interactive media in entertainment and arts. (pp. 142-146). https://doi.org/10.1145/1306813.1306844

Thornbury, S. (2002). How to teach vocabulary. Longman.

Turgut, Y., & İrgin, P. (2009). Students’ experiences of computer games and ELL: From phenomenological perspective. In Proceedings of the 10th METU ELT Convention (Vol. 22, p. 23).Valve Corporation. (2013). Defense of the Ancients. https://www.dota2.comVasileiadou, I., & Makrina, Z. (2017). Using online computer games in the ELT classroom: A case study. English Language Teaching, 10 (12), 134-150. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1160907. https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v10n12p134Xing, P., & Fulcher, G. (2007). Reliability assessment for two versions of Vocabulary Levels Tests. System, 35(2), 182-191. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2006.12.009Zou, D., Huang, Y., & Xie, H. (2019). Digital game-based vocabulary learning: Where are we and where are we going? Computer Assisted Language Learning, 34(5-6), 751-777. https://doi.org/10.1080/09588221.2019.1640745Zou, F., & Yan, X. (2019). Incidental English vocabulary acquisition through reading: A review in the last two decades. English Language Teaching, 12 (12), 39-45. https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v12n12p39..