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Language Acquisition with Video Games

How are your New Year’s Resolutions going so far this year? One of mine was to relearn French, which I haven’t studied since graduating high school. Since I don’t have time right now to go somewhere and take French classes, I’m using game-based learning to brush up on my skills. Et vous pouvez aussi!

Even though learning a new language can be a daunting task, educational video games can make language acquisition more fun and effective. By providing interactive learning experiences, language acquisition games can help learners build skills such as vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and cultural awareness.

via Giphy

In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of language acquisition with video games. If you’re in the process of learning a new language, make sure to bookmark this post so you can return to it later. Also, follow Filament Games on Twitter and Facebook for daily insights on the power of game-based learning! 

Immersion: an important part of effective language acquisition

Whether it’s watching films and videos, listening to songs, or playing games, surrounding yourself with the language you’re learning is one of the best methods to pick it faster and more effectively! 

Writing for the Cambridge University blog, Maija Kozlova notes that research shows learners who are exposed to the language they’re learning in an immersive way exhibit higher levels of fluency, particularly when the motivation to learn and absorb the language is high. Immersive language experiences often have remarkable results on children, who are known to be more open to learning a language intuitively through communication.

One of the biggest advantages of using video games to teach a new language is the level of immersion that they can offer. Games can simulate realistic environments and interactions that can help students to learn a new language in a way that is natural and intuitive. By placing students in a virtual world where they are surrounded by the language they are learning, they can learn through context and practice rather than just memorization and repetition.

For an example of an immersive language learning game, look no further than our portfolio! Project Colby is a language learning tool we created in collaboration with Amazon. Its main purpose is to assist non-native English speakers in enhancing their speaking, reading, and listening abilities. The game includes simulated conversations and 3D facial animations that are expressive and fully rigged. This allows English language learners to become more familiar with nonverbal expressions and emotional cues, which can reinforce their communication skills.

The power of personalized learning in language acquisition games

One of the biggest advantages of using video games to teach a new language is the level of personalization that they can offer. By adapting to the needs and abilities of each individual student, video games can provide a highly personalized and effective learning experience. This can be especially important for students who may be struggling to learn a new language through traditional classroom methods.

An example of personalized language learning can be found in one of the most popular gamified language acquisition apps, Duolingo. According to this WIRED article, the platform gives its users an adaptive placement test, which is an AI-driven approach that is able to adapt to the learner based on real-time data. Duolingo also utilizes deep learning, a subset of machine learning, to mimic the behavior of the human brain and analyze user data to make intelligent predictions. You can learn more about the ways Duolingo uses AI in the video below. 

Personalized learning can be an advantage in the classroom, at home, and even at the office. This Learnlight article explores the importance of personalized learning in corporate language training. While academic learning is measured through test scores, in corporate language training, the success of the training program is measured based on the learner’s use of the target language in real-life situations. Therefore, personalized content and activities that cater to the unique learning styles of individual learners are critical. 

Consistency is key: motivation and effectiveness of games for language learning

The motivational aspect of video games is especially important when it comes to language acquisition. By providing a fun and engaging way to learn a new language, video games help to keep students learning over time. This can be especially important for students who may be struggling with traditional classroom methods, or who may be hesitant to learn a new language.

Natalie Schriefer’s article in Paste Magazine titled “How Can Games Help with Language Acquisition?” highlights recent research on language learning through games, such as a 2022 American systematic review by Dr. Juan Li, which found that video games were effective in language acquisition, especially when real-world options were unavailable or inaccessible. 

The article also discusses a 2022 Indonesian study by researcher Theodore Alexander Atmaja that suggested video games could be useful in showing players varied sentence structures and improving their reading comprehension, listening comprehension, and pronunciation. Another 2021 American study looked at online games and linguistic morphology, finding that video games had the potential to enhance ELL students’ morphological awareness and word reading accuracy. The article concludes by suggesting that recent research on language acquisition indicates that games can be powerful and motivating teaching tools for language learning!

To summarize, video games offer a wealth of opportunities for language acquisition, and they can be a highly effective way to learn a new language. By creating immersive, active, and personalized learning experiences, video games can help to ensure that all learners have the opportunity to excel in their language studies!

Interested in creating a game for English language learners? We have 18 years of experience in the game-based learning industry and are here to help you bring your project to life! Contact us today for more information and a free consultation. 

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