Digital games in language learning and teaching

1. “Immersive environments offer learners opportunities for situated learning.”

2. Most games include:
– rules
-goals and objectives
-outcome and feedback
-conflict, competition, challenge and opposition
-representation of a story
These are also characteristics of many successful language teaching environments.

5. Learners who engaged in out-of-class learning (computer games specifically) were found to be much stronger learners in a study by Sundquist and Sylven. Therefore it stands to reason that self-directed education should be encouraged and something to aim for.

7. “Games are only one element in a much larger ecology of learning and teaching, and they need to be understood and developed as such.” Games are not ‘the one’ answer. They are an answer to getting people engaged with learning, but it will only be a certain type of people.

17. “Game-based technologies, simulations and virtual worlds have been used with increasing regularity by the military, businesses and medical sectors.”

20. Digital games are touted as the answer to “the need to re-engage under-motivated and underachieving learners who have been turned away from learning due to a formal system of education that has changed little in the last century.”

37. Studies have found that if the tasks of an educational game become too immersive, the student does not take in as much learning as is expected, as they become too focused on achieving in-game quests and getting to the end goal.

42. Skyes noted four types of player when they were presented with an educational game.
Non-players – didn’t even try it
Presenters – spent enough time in-game to understand enough to give a presentation
Student – completed all given tasks but looked no further
Explorer – approached like any other game and examined the environment further than just the tasks laid out.

103. “Gamers invest their time and energy in learning unfamiliar language items in games.” By choice, people learn bits of a new language in order to engage properly with a medium they enjoy (generally English). They put in the hard work because they can get something satisfying within themselves out of it.

105. “The true value of using games [is] the opportunities to learn while having fun.”

125. Engagement and emotional involvement questions:

-To what extent do you feel emotionally attached to this game?
-To what extent were you interested in seeing how the game’s events would progress?
-How much did you want to ‘win’ the game?
-Were you in suspense about whether you would win or lose the game?
-At any point did you find yourself so involved that you wanted to speak to the game directly?


REF:  Reinders, H. (2012). Digital games in language learning and teaching. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


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