Effect of Online English Learning Game ‘Kahoot’ on L2 Undergraduate Learners in a Malaysian University

1. introduction

Innovation is an essential element in learners' life, and educational instruction necessitates an orientation to its applications (Susanti, 2017). Educational technology can range from low-tech pencils, paper, and chalkboards to high-tech laptops, digital network and conferencing gadgets, and often more. Tests are now often unachievable in physical and online courses, thanks to cutting-edge technology. What could be utilised is largely determined by what the instructors do. Therefore, most schools today have access to high-quality teaching and learning as well as high-capability and ultra-fast internet connection. Active classrooms make information, instruction, and learning materials more accessible, convenient, and simple for classmates, experts, and the larger community. Education technology permits lecturers to train students on how to use online platforms such as YouTube or how to make online discussions with Skype or Google Hangouts. Lecturers can utilise Edpuzzle, Memrise, Socrative, or Kahoot as classroom games. These applications have the potential to be beneficial in the teaching and learning of English.

According to Prieto et al. (2019), the advantages of new technologies will be proportional to the number of methods employed that are consistent with learning enhancement. By offering quick feedback, Kahoot supports students’ metacognitive skills. Kahoot additionally allows instructors to test learners' comprehension and encourage the creation of new information and understanding by providing more clarifications during or after the game. This research aims to investigate the usage of Kahoot in improving learners' English skills.

For language teaching and learning, game-based practices are exciting and enjoyable. Gamification is an educational technology innovation that motivates learners to develop learning. Currently, the academic system employs a conventional structure for instruction. However, many individuals now utilise things digitally, with downloads and rapid changes via an app, becoming devoted and participative clients. Today, gamification has emerged as a method for engaging and encouraging active learner involvement (Tóth et al., 2019). Bista et al. (2012) defined gamification as the employment of play features in non-gaming contexts. It is critical to distinguish between play, which is a free activity, and real games for amusement, which is frequently included in real-world tasks.

According to Stojkovi and Jeroti (2011), there are numerous benefits to using games in class; games are a welcome break from the standard events of the language class. They are

inspiring and demanding. Studying a language requires a great deal of effort. Games assist university learners in creating and managing their language learning by providing language practice for different abilities. They foster engagement and communication among university learners while providing a meaningful context for English use. English learners must adapt to boost their motivation to learn the language, and games are one way to do so. When constructing language games, the instructor must consider the learners' needs, difficulty level, and age. Games may be utilised for all age learners; thus, teachers do not need to make them too simple or too difficult for pupils to guarantee that they adhere to the relevant age requirements.(Szczepaniak-Kozak, Wąsikiewicz-Firlej, & Lankiewicz, 2022).

Our goal was primarily to explore the learners’ motivation and enhance the dynamic behaviour of the lessons by introducing Kahoot in the English classroom. This ensures an advantage in knowledge via competition, suggesting that learners can play a more active role in the English classroom. However, the researchers believe that we could only improve learning by memory because the questionnaires were brief and had to be addressed in a short period. We believe that learners can better understand vocabulary-related activities targeting unidentified terminology (Wijngaarden, 2020).

The Kahoot Game: Kahoot is an internet game that evaluates students' comprehension of a given topic. Pastime is independent for both instructors and learners, but it necessitates using a multimedia tool (Pede, 2017; Ward, 2010; Mayer, 2021). A smartphone, computer, or free thesaurus may be used to navigate the Kahoot website. Teachers can build quizzes with multiple-choice questions that are presented to students in a game-like format.

According to Al-hadithy and Ali (2018), Kahoot is an online learning game that might increase learners' interest and motivation in learning. He stated that after incorporating Kahoot, there was a significant rise in learner engagement, student participation, self-efficacy, autonomous learning, and an improvement in final assessment results.

Kahoot has inquiries with up to four alternative answers, and questions can include a variety of media content like photos and videos (Basuki & Hidayati, 2019). Learner engagement is hard to inspire in huge classes where it is highly prescribed. Kahoot, which has been used in various areas, from physics to English, has also significantly influenced language training and studying. Diverse research evaluations have asserted their advantages and favourable impact on learning, such as delivering quick feedback, increasing class involvement, and enhancing recall in important subjects (Mustangin, 2019; Amiri & Puteh, 2022).

Kahoot is a game-based classroom mechanism that uses complete categorisation in real-time. Being a completely assessment-based application, it facilitates assessments, constructive formative assessments, and learner reflection. To begin, educators need to create a free account at https://create.kahoot.it. After registering, instructors may choose from hundreds of thousands of published games, modify them when required, and develop them. The games and their instructions are user-friendly.

The Role of Motivation: Motivation is the power that energises and leads the learning process forward while approaching the objective (Mustangin, 2019). In school, motivation is also associated with the challenge of creating rules that enable learners to achieve their maximum ability in the school environment. The assistance of games frequently inspires students to develop expectations, which can arise from the learners’ involvement in an instructional session.

The idea of motivation is strongly related to other concepts, including attentiveness, requirements, objectives, and ambitions, which all focus on learning abilities and the learner’s desire to engage in certain tasks and attain different objectives. According to Krashen (1985), “Students with strong motivation often do better, and learners with self-confidence and a positive self-image tend to be more successful." Using games in English instruction has been indicated to boost learners' interest. This viewpoint is reinforced by Chen (2007), who believes that games are useful because they can readily capture students' interests, impact learners' enthusiasm, and boost their English skills.

According to Saville-Troike (2006) (cited in Lennartsson, 2008), interest is another factor explaining why some L2 freshmen do better than others. Students learn a new language more easily if they are motivated. According to Wallraven et al. (2008) and Prieto et al. (2019), learners' motivation is a critical aspect that is required for outstanding education. Learners are motivated when they pay close attention, start working on a project right away, ask questions and provide answers, and are happy and motivated.

Susanti (2017) defined formal Kahoot-based games for teaching English. According to the findings of this study, Kahoot can identify each learner's understanding and can highlight individual learners who would profit from one-on-one instruction. However, it is only regarded as an additional gaming activity commonly utilised as a respite from typical academic tasks (Prieto et al., 2019). The study discovered that all learners showed improved vocabulary evaluation ratings when Kahoot was played for a week. The use of Kahoot also enhanced student focus and on-task conduct. According to the learners, they appreciated Kahoot and found it convenient.

The approach utilised in Susanti's (2017) research is qualitative on the conversational subject of Kahoot. The point is that the prior study's topic was in a university context, whilst this current study was conducted in a MUET class. Pede (2017) concluded that employing a qualitative learning technique and using Kahoot as a topic of discussion is beneficial.

2. Methodology

2.1. Sample

The method of purposeful sampling is employed in qualitative research. It signifies that the researcher selects people or places for the study because they can deliberately give insight into the primary investigation. There are decisions to be made on what may be studied, what type of selection can be employed, and how many areas or people must be sampled (Cresswell, 2013b). Although the respondents’ background criteria first determined the sample size, the number of participants was ultimately determined by elective decisions or the learners' abilities.

2.2. Investigation Design

This study aimed to test and assess students' understanding in the classroom by utilising the online game Kahoot. This study developed the research design based on the optimal strategy. This selection was not based on what makes one approach superior to the other but on which method would best suit the study. This research aimed to get a detailed explanation and knowledge of how to incorporate the Kahoot game into the classroom. Thus, the purpose of qualitative research is to gain a "holistic image and depth of understanding, rather than a mathematical examination of data" (Ary, Jacobs & Razavieh 2002).

2.3. Information Collection Tools

This study collected data through participants’ interviews. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with the participants using prepared questionnaires about Kahoot.

2.4. Procedure

The recordings were transcribed verbatim after the interviews. Furthermore, the researcher evaluated and comprehended the written words, as well as re-read the materials and categorised them into codes and themes. The emergent themes were studied in terms of empirical difficulties to understand the results.

In this research, data collection was conducted through participants’ interviews and phenomenological investigations involving Universiti Utara Malaysia students, focusing on their interests and motivations. To answer the above research question, the researchers used a qualitative research approach based on a phenomenological investigation. A phenomenological investigation intends to characterise and understand experiences by identifying their significance as seen by those who have experienced them. This study included 30 participants from one MUET class and one English instructor. Initially, the instructor was trained twice in using the Kahoot online programme. The participants (20 females, 10 males) then applied Kahoot in their daily online quizzes 3 times for every programme for one week. The software game Kahoot was created at the audio-visual laboratory; therefore, internet access had no issues. The instructor teaches English MUET classes where Kahoot was to be used as a learning game. Using an open-ended questionnaire adapted from Oktaria, A. A., Rohmayadevi, L., & Murwantono, D. (2021), the researchers collected data on the learners' perspectives of Kahoot’s effectiveness in their current internet quiz. The questionnaire was split into two parts: one for the learners and the other for the teacher. The learners' questionnaire aimed to explore the learners' perspectives and examine their motivation. The teacher’s questionnaire aimed to examine the teacher’s perspective on Kahoot.

3. Data Analysis

The data acquired from the interview was meticulously sorted, coded, and searched for keywords, concepts, phrases, topics, activities, and positive or negative emotions to generate a comprehensive and detailed analysis description.

According to Bogdan and Biklen (2007), qualitative data analysis is "working with data, organising it, breaking it down into manageable components, synthesising it in search of patterns, determining what is essential and what needs to be taught, and selecting what you will tell others" (p. 145).

Serial # Items
1 Can you accurately answer questions in Kahoot when you join a Kahoot quiz? Why?
2 Can you use the previously explained material to respond to the Kahoot quiz?
3 How do you feel when you take a Kahoot quiz? Do you feel pleased, worried, or sluggish?
4 How do you feel about the Kahoot quiz?
5 What are the benefits of taking the Kahoot quiz?
Table 1.Questions for Kahoot Learning Students

Source: Oktaria, A. A., Rohmayadevi, L., & Murwantono, D. (2021)

Serial # Items
1 Do you have prior experience with Kahoot?
2 Can you create a quiz using Kahoot!
3 Do you believe that Kahoot is effective for teaching English? Please explain your reasoning.
4 What are your thoughts on the Kahoot quiz?
Table 2.Questions for the Teacher

Source: Oktaria, A. A., Rohmayadevi, L., & Murwantono, D. (2021)

4. Results

According to the findings of this study from the teacher’s perspective, Kahoot presents numerous benefits as educational technology, including free learning platform-based games. Playing Kahoot makes learning more enjoyable and prevents learners from becoming bored after learning something complex. Kahoot may assist teachers in tracking each learner’s work towards achieving their goals, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and indicating their learning performance. Most advanced courses include Kahoot in their curriculum to improve teaching effectiveness, improve students' memory of new information, prepare for exams, engage students from all over the world, poll data, gain insights, stimulate conversation, and encourage and refresh students' motivation in class.

According to the findings of this study, from the learners’ perspective, some learners prefer Kahoot. They consider Kahoot more engaging, motivational and entertaining for learning English. They also think that Kahoot has a high level of addictiveness. It boosts learners' confidence and motivation, as well as motivates them to understand the course and enables self-learning. Kahoot promotes an active learning environment in the classroom. It allows for time flexibility and concentration as well as increases scoring. Overall, the game is user-friendly and congenial.

5. Discussion

The current study has shown that Kahoot is an entertaining learning game. According to the participants, it is addictive and inspiring while helping them learn English better at the same time. Motivated learners usually have a positive attitude toward the topic, participate more in activities, and are motivated to achieve objectives. Furthermore, the teacher can create better learning activities to encourage learners to become more proficient. Teachers have challenges in effectively including learners in the teaching and learning process via Kahoot! The games increase the involvement level of the learners in learning English and prevent them from being bored.

This discovery is relevant to multimedia inclusion in English schools, including Kahoot, which may enhance learning. According to Kuranchie-Mensah and Amponsah-Tawiah (2016), universities and colleges have started implementing technology in teaching to offer course materials in innovative ways, motivating learners to implicitly connect with courses and providing them with more relevant revising techniques. In addition, the use of Kahoot may improve learner efficacy in ESL classes. The present study supports the findings of earlier studies which maintain that the application of Kahoot in the English classroom is quite beneficial because it aids the language learning process.

According to Bicen (2018), as mentioned in (Prieto et al., 2019), the Kahoot programme may be utilised well for gaming classes. By utilising gamification, this medium may affect learners and make them more competitive and motivated to study. Using Kahoot digital news in the learning approach may positively improve classroom learning by affecting interactions, engagement, inspiration, and educational experiences. Kahoot helps learners engage in language learning activities better than traditional teaching materials. Overall, Kahoot in English classroom teaching may be quite beneficial.

Nevertheless, there is a significant threat to Kahoot's success. It is believed that learners would become tired of the game (Wang, 2015). If the game is used regularly, the learners may become bored with it. In this case, the effect on the learner's academic achievement may be neutralised by the elements of boredom, learner participation, or learner interest. New materials could be introduced in Kahoot at regular intervals to combat this.

According to Kirriemuir (2002), games are increasingly being utilised to promote teaching and learning, such as using the online game Kahoot to help teach English as a second language. Fewer studies have been conducted in the previous five years, during which games have grown in complexity and frequently need considerably more participation from the user.

6. Conclusions

This study concludes that Kahoot may be an effective method for learning and teaching English because it differs from traditional learning materials and methods. During teaching, this game increases the learners’ motivation to learn English and improves their chances of success due to its interesting-inducing activities. Both learners and teachers have shown an interest in using Kahoot in the classroom environment, bringing a novelty to teaching a second language. The learner participants in this study reported that Kahoot increased their interest and motivation in learning activities, which affected their performance positively. The teacher participants also thought Kahoot was beneficial for teaching English in a classroom. Another significant benefit of this game is that language learners can use it on their own and become self-sufficient.


We would like to thank our interviewees for their assistance in completing this study. We believe that this study will be valuable for the readers and serve as a reference for future research.