Designing videogames for foreign language learning


In recent years videogames have been recognized as a powerful tool in education, attracting the interest of researchers from a wide range of areas. Nevertheless, there is still a considerable lack of good videogames in the field of foreign language teaching. This paper sets out to explore the use of Virtual Worlds combined with videogame-like applications in order to enhance the language learning process. It shows the authors’ experiences with the design of several game-like applications n a 3-D virtual environment and their benefits for the teaching of German as foreign language. Therefore the paper ommences with a short analysis of the specific features of videogames as well as their deployment in educational games. It then continues by outlining the advantages of integrating them into blended learning. The aim of this analysis is to explore new ways of guaranteeing a highly interactive, motivating and effective environment, not only in a face-to-face learning context, but also in an online learning environment. The latter is considered to be complementary to, rather than different rom the dynamic of the face-to-face learning situation. Our work combines theoretical research in language learning with a number of empirical studies using a 3-D virtual game environment to measure the effectiveness of videogame-like applications on foreign language learning. Finally, the paper includes an empirical evaluation of five language learning essions during which students played the videogame-like application we had designed for the purposes of our research.

4textsuperscriptth International Conference ICT for Language Learning, Florence (Italy)
Antonio Gonzalez-Pardo
Antonio Gonzalez-Pardo
Associate Professor

Lecturer at the Computer Science Department. Main research interests are related to Computational Intelligence and Metaheuristics applied to Social Networks Analysis, and the optimization of graph-based problems.