Friday, January 22, 2010

Video Games in the Foreign Language Classroom

As part of week 2 of the Electronic Village Online (EVO) session Online Games for EFL/ESL,  I just finished reading 10 Key Principles for Designing Video Games for Foreign Language Learning by Ravi Purushotma, Steven L. Thorne, and Julian Wheatley

These are the  ideas from the article that resonated most with me:

Principle #1- At least as much thought needs to go into the design of failure states as for success states.
The authors give two very good reasons for this.  The first is that  learner anxiety about making mistakes could impede successful language acquisition.  The second is that L2 learners need to make mistakes as they develop their interlanguage and the feedback they receive can be very helpful.

Principle #4 - Metalinguistic descriptions and terminology should be presented through optional supporting material, not as part of the core gameplay.
This principle like principle #1 deals with feedback a player needs to complete the task at hand.  The authors suggest using a three-tiered approach to presenting language concepts.  The top (or first) type of interaction with the game would be meaning-based.  If players are not successful after receiving that type of feedback, then the next level of feedback they receive would allow them to consider the language that they have been using in new ways (focus-on-form) but without complicated grammar explanations.  The third tier of the game for players still having difficulty would include extensive explanations  of grammar terms and language structure

I've left for last, perhaps, the most important principle.  
Principle #3 - All elements of the game, particularly communication and input mechanisms, should have a playful spirit to them.
The authors give examples of well-designed games in which players purposefully make mistakes because they find the humorous feedback fun.  They also give examples of players who are motivated to learn new languages so that they can participate in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG).  Now that is motivation!!!


Anonymous said...

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Maryanne said...


I'm glad that you enjoyed my post. I hope some future posts will also prove useful.