Digital Game-Mediated Language Learning for Adults
Posted by Laura McLoughlin on March 30, 2022 in categoryFacts & Research

There is no doubt that digital gaming has continuously increased in popularity over the past 20 years. And with this popularity, many see gaming as a good tool for learning, especially when it comes to language learning.  

In Adult Literacy Education: The International Journal of Literacy, Language, and Numeracy, Elisabeth Gee and Yuchan (Blanche) Gao from Arizona State University identify and describe some of the different approaches to using game-mediated language learning (GML2). They conclude their review of the resource by sharing some ways that GML2 can be used in adult literacy and basic education settings. 

Read an excerpt from “Digital Game-Mediated Language Learning for Adults”: 

Game-enhanced GML2 is the use of games designed for entertainment as part of formal instruction. Some such games can provide opportunities for contextualized language learning, as learners encounter and interpret written and spoken language during game play. York (2020) describes how the multiplayer (and free) game Among Us can be used to promote language learning among students within and across classrooms, as well as remotely. Other entertainment games encourage and motivate language learning in popular and potentially familiar casual game formats, such as Words with Friends. As Reinhardt and Sykes note, pedagogical mediation is important to take full advantage of the language learning opportunities associated with such games. Pedagogical mediation (Sykes & Reinhardt, 2013) consists of creating “wraparound” activities that help focus learners’ attention and efforts towards language learning. Such wraparound activities can include framing game play as a learning activity, identifying specific language learning goals, debriefing after game play, or creating extension activities, such as having learners talk about themes in a game or write game reviews (e.g., Miller & Hegelheimer, 2006; Reinhardt & Zander, 2011; York, 2020). Reinhardt and Zander (2011), for example, asked students to identify popular social networking games (such as YoWorld), teach each other how to play, and identify the language learning opportunities associated with these games. As deHaan (2020b) notes, however, creating meaningful activities can be time-consuming, and students may question activities that are not explicitly tied to language learning goals.

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