Digital gaming is deemed differently when it comes to language learning. Some people believe that it makes great contributions to the five important areas in L2 Learning (goals, interaction, feedback, context, and motivation), while others hold the view that it is addictive and non-educational. Taking two popular digital games in China named as “Traveling Frog” and “CSGO”, this blog post seeks to explore the relationship between digital gaming and L2 learning by using the highlights of the article written by Chik, A. (2014)

Highlights of Alice Chik (2014)’s article:

This article argues that gamers exercise autonomy by managing their gameplay both as leisure and learning practices in different dimensions (location, formality, locus of control, pedagogy and trajectory).

Here is the clarification of the following five dimensions:

Location: Creating learning environments

The places that a gaming activity takes place, including both physical and virtual environments which provide affordances for different types of interactions.

Formality: From Incidental to Intentional Learning

Informal learning also includes systematic and institutionalized learning on the basis of interests’ pursuit. Sometimes the gaming practices in informal contexts can be transformed into intentional learning activities.

Pedagogy: Turn Playing into Teaching and Learning

Pedagogy is related to the structure, progression of instruction, person who gives instruction, explicit explanation, and assessments in the process of gaming.

Locus of control: Making Learning Decisions

Locus of control mainly discusses whether a learning activity is self- or other-directed, or how the decisions about learning and teaching are distributed.

Trajectory: Managing Gaming and Learning over Time

Trajectory concerns the management of out-of-school gaming practices over time, which is not only restricted to the amount of time or energy or money one spends on digital gaming. Trajectory is also about managing one’s practice from one game to another.

According to the article, Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) games have gained great popularity recently with the perspective of game-enhanced L2 learning occurring “in the wild”, which means playing COTS games to achieve L2 learning in natural settings. According to the survey by Sylven and Sundqvist (2012), the frequent digital gamers obtained the highest score in a vocabulary quiz among 86 Swedish youths, showing greater links between L2 gaming and informal language learning in which gameplay enhancement plays an important role as a driving force to them. Likewise, Thorne (2008) took World of Warcraft (WoW) in-game chat between an American and a Russian student as an example to illustrate the collaboration and natural learning happen in the task-based role-playing game. The two players are firstly aroused for sincere interest in WoW game, and then take turns to facilitate the communication of two languages (English and Russian) as learners and teachers for their common goals of the game in the natural and autonomous communicative context. Apart from this, Rama et al.(2012)suggested teachers to take into consideration learners’ gaming experience and to provide training for mechanics of the game. Taking two popular digital games in China named as “Traveling Frog” and “CSGO”, this blog seeks to explore the relationship between digital gaming and L2 Learning.

We analyzed several affordances and constraints of digital gaming in L2 learning as below:

Affordances of digital gaming in L2 learning:

  1. It gives learners access to more information and knowledge, which provides the resources for people’s imagination and creativity;
  2. It enhances people’s ability to read and visualize images in three-dimensional space, which improves one’s ability to cope with changes.
  3. Digital gaming provides an escape for learners who experience high levels of pressure in the daytime and offers them a balance between campus and off-campus life.

Constraints of digital gaming in L2 learning:

  1. Unmonitored and excessive use of computers learners will easily make learners indulge themselves in the online world, reducing the face-to-face interactions in real life, which is a potential drawback for L2 learning;
  2. Inappropriate digital games making learners exposed to violent and sexual contents not consistent with years have impacts on their physical and mental development.

Digital Game 1: Traveling Frog

The source of image is from:

A mobile game “Traveling Frog”, developed in Japan, was recently shared widely in Chinese We Chat circles. In this game, players can purchase food and items for a frog at home and send it off for new journeys. While your frog is at home, you can take a peek inside its house. After a frog goes on an adventure, it will take some time to return. It will sometimes send you postcards while you wait, and when it returns it may come back with new items. One of the most distinctive features of “Traveling Frog” is that the game languages involved in it is Japanese (as shown in the picture), however, many non-native speakers from all over the world have a particular fondness for playing it. For example, my roommate keeps playing this game for nearly one month and she told me that although she couldn’t understand one single Japanese word, she still can press the buttons by the correspondent pictures or personal instincts. Sometimes she will even search for the Japanese words involved in this game, for instance,  she will seek the meanings of Japanese words on the internet when she is confused about the pictures. More importantly, for some Chinese students whose major is Japanese, “Traveling Frog” is definitely a wonderful opportunity for them to get familiar with the Japanese vocabularies. For instance, in picture shown above, a student translated the Japanese into Chinese, which helps lots of gamers to better understand the gaming process. Thus, we can see that although many L2 gamers prioritize gaming pleasure over L2 learning, they still can pick up L2 vocabularies while gaming; however, for some gamers who use L2 gaming for learning will turn incidental learning into intentional learning, which plays a facilitating role in their L2 learning.

Digital Game 2: CSGO

The source of image is from:

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive which has the largest numbers of game players in the world, is a shooting game co-developed by Valve and Hidden Path. In this game, every gamer has to choose to join in either the anti-terrorists group or the terrorists group, and their goal is to diminish their enemies. According to the arragements of the website page, there are lots of complicated English vocabularies involved in this game, therefore, the gamers have to learn the correspondent words in the gaming process. As the author declares, when applied to digital gaming and L2 learning, the concept of autonomy and community is important in two aspects. First, gamers frequently make independent decisions on gaming choices; and second, using game-external websites and other communal resources is integral to the overall gaming experiences (Thorne et al., 2012). The reading of in-game texts could be a key learning facilitator in L2 learning, moreover, from the perspective of the Chinese gamers, it would be faster to learn better English than to wait for the Chinese release. Nevertheless, the potential gamers of this game are frequently males since they are more easily attracted by such violence shooting games than females. In addition, this game is full of violence, bloody scenes and terrifying atmosphere, which may be detrimental for the growth of teenagers.

As suggested above, healthy and appropriate use of digital games is accepted and encouraged. By giving learners ongoing instructions, imposing a limit on game time and classing the types of contents learners can view, teachers and learners are able to use the digital games to great advantage while avoiding possible harms.


  1. What else are the affordances and constraints of digital gaming in L2 learning?
  2. What are the pedagogical implications for gaming in L2 learning?


  1. Do you have any experiences related to gaming in L2 learning?

Edited by Alice(Mao Jiahe) and Doreen (Chen Jingxia)






50 thoughts on “Digital Gaming and Second Language Learning

  1. Hi Alice and Doreen. Thank you for presenting such an interesting post about digital gaming and second language learning. Speaking of digital gaming, people always think of the downside of it. Many parents tend to forbid their children from playing digital games, regarding it as bad behavior leading to poor eyesight and lower grades. According to your post, research has shown that digital gaming could also contribute positively to students’ language learning. Save for what you have mentioned above, I think digital gaming, with its recreational and relaxing feature, might largely boost learners interest and motivation. It could serve as an effective adjunct to conventional classroom-based learning, if it is utilized appropriately. However, in case that it is used more for entertainment or digital escape, this new digital way of learning are likely to distract adolescent learners from the original purpose of learning. Anyway, learning language through digital gaming is quite a good way for me for me. Recently, I have been playing the game named Traveling Frog, from which I am exposed to a wide range of Japanese vocabulary.

    • Hi, Evelyn, I am interested in your saying that you have experienced the same digital game as illustrated in this post. I got to know this game when I was waiting for the metro. I saw a girl next to me staring at her phone and there was a frog on the screen. But more surprised I became when I saw the Japanese appearing on it and she seemed to have no difficulties in reading it. to be honest, playing games in other languages apart from our mother tongue will somehow diversify the types of language we are capable of. however, players are divided in terms of whether they play to learn or learn to play. so out of curiosity, I would like to know if you would be motivated to learn the Japanese on purpose or you just learn it in a more natural way?

    • Actually, my Japanese words is learned naturally through playing this game because I see it more as a recreation.

    • Hi Evelyn. I love the way you view digital gaming to obtain the fun from it and absorb some words subconsciously.

    • Hi Evelyn, I agree with your point that if used not appropriately, learning through games would easily distract them from their original learning purpose. Actually I think that whether it is good or bad to learn a language through online games depends a lot on the degree of the self-discipline of the students.

  2. Hi, Alice and Doreen. Besides the affordances and constraints you mentioned in the article, I would like to add a few points based on my own understanding. To begin with, when we play this kind of digital games, we might get repeated and long-term exposure of some specific words, phrases and sentences. According to the principles of the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, this kind of exposure might help learners gain and memorize the knowledge. On the other hand, when we apply digital games into in-class education, we might face with the facilities problems, especially in the schools in underdeveloped area. For example, there is only one computer in a classroom, and it is difficult or even impossible for teachers to instruct this kind of activities with digital games.

    • Michelle, I like your point about getting long-term exposure of specific words, phrases and sentences. I believe that students remember the words that they come across in games subconsciously, because those phrases are important for them to get to a higher level. However, I just wonder apart from The Sims, which some classmates mention as a good choice, what else can we opt for which are both popular and educational in the language learning context.

    • Hi Michelle. I am just curious about whether you would try to use the digital gaming as a way for learners to better memorize words? Or will you have other ways for better facilitating the enlarging of vocabulary for students while not destroying their interests’ in learning.

  3. 1.constrains of gaming:
    A. The difficulty in finding out an appropriate game that match gamers’ language level.
    B. Most game are tasks/mission-based, the focus on accomplishing tasks asap and the sense of accomplishment may distract gamers from language learning itself
    3. My experience in learning language through game:

    I played a game named The Smith 4 which is recommended by the host of another post. In the game, I decorated my room with wallpaper and mat, allocated a new lamp in bedroom, planted peppers, collected revenue etc. and accepted a job as the game assigned me. However, there are two obvious limitation of learning language through this game. A. It’s a little bit time-consuming,because each task costs seconds or minutes, and you need to wait for the man in game to accomplish the tasks with either staring at the screen or looking around idly in reality. B. The input is limited and the focus on language learning may easily distracted by the tasks. In the 15min-trying-on The Smith 4, all I was exposed to the vocabulary of daily stuffs, and there was seldom any input in terms of grammar or sentence structures (because I’m obsessed in getting tasks done).
    Therefore, my opinion is that I won’t easily introduce a game to my language class unless the game itself is designed for language learning only, which means they can go beyond the above limitations.

    • Thank you Grace. Some constraints of gaming are actually avoided in view of the attributes of the game. But I think digital games as a new form of language learning contributes much to students’ motivation and long-term interest in language learning. The important things are that teachers need to carefully select a suitable game for the students and more importantly how much time of students should be spent in the games.

    • Hi Grace you are very considerate to your future students for you will only choose an appropriate game for students, but if a game is only designed for language teaching, then students may not be very interested in using this game especially after class. For low-level students, motivation and interest are a big concern of what they will learn as they not mentally mature enough to accept complete content-based learning without any acitivities they assume as interesting. Therefore digital gaming for their specifi language level is of great importance.

  4. Hello, Alice and Doreen. Thank you for displaying two examples of digital gaming as a channel to L2 learning. Another affordance for language learning in digital games may be that the multiplayer games usually offer a chat section for player to communicate. Normally, this section is small enough (including not too much people) for effective communication. For example, in the game Clash of Clans, you can join the clan from the country of your target language which enable you to communicate with the L1 speaker of your target language. The messages are synchronous, and your chatting partner can log off anytime so that speed is the priority which results in the use of abbreviations and informal language. Thus, the restrain is obvious, that is the meaning is the focus and form like grammar use is neglected which may result in future mistakes in grammar or spelling.

    • Yeah, I agree with your saying that some abbreviations and ungrammatical sentences used in the games may give a misunderstanding for learners. I think the conversation having with the players is indeed a double-edged sword. For one thing, you may embrace more ideas from socially cultural backgrounds, and for another, you the ideas including the language itself may be wrong. So I think for young learners who lack the ability to discern need the guidance very much.

  5. Constraints about digital games, as Grace mentioned, are pitiful and obvious. The examples of the two digital games, however, are not practical enough for me to apply as a main theme in class if I conduct my English class. But these games could be an beginning step to raise the interest of the whole class. One of the defects of these games is the limited vocabulary involved. For the Traveling Frog, words are simple and only cover a few things of travelling material and some instructional expressions. For CSGO, vocabulary includes most of the addresses of weapons and military orders, which are too far away from students living in a normal everyday routine.What is worse, CSGO is a simulation of gun war on the scene, which leaves little time for a player to observe language use. Besides, the missions are intense and images are more attractive than languages itself. This is apt to distract the students from language awareness, which is of less value in terms of language teaching.
    From my own perspective, games that are suitable for language teaching could be equipped with vocabulary that are associated with practical use and close to the students’ life. Another point is that the games are controlable. In other words, the games can be paused during an action and visual impact cannot overweigh language awareness too much. Teachers then are able to draw the students’ attention and analyze language points.

    • Thank you Chiwei for giving the very comprehensive insight into digital gaming and language teaching. I agree with what you mentioned some words appeared in the games are more instruction-oriented and technical which are not that useful. So the selection of the game is just important. I appreciate your last suggestion for choosing some controllable games for language teaching purposes. One more point, I can somehow perceive your experienced gaming experience, hah, do you have any better games to suggest for language learning or teaching.

  6. Hi, Alice and Doreen, and thank you for the sharing.
    As to the merits of digital gaming, I would like to say that players’ analytical ability could be built or enhanced. In such a game like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, an online digital game similar to CS, the players have to get into groups, and analyze what kind of situation they are dealing with, from where they can have the quick shot, and so on. In this sense, players are processing the massage and information they have already had access to, analyzing them, and making the most of them for their own good.
    However,the constraint I can think of may be less profound. Playing digital games could be harmful to physical health. In order to make yourself involved, you have to wear your earphones and stare at the screen for quite a long time without any rest. Such exposure will ruin the hearing and the eyesight in the long run.
    For the second question, I think there are a number of digital games designed in English version or they would provide the English version, and it depends on the players’ learning autonomy to use the English one. Furthermore, I suppose that the noticing theory may concern. Players would not learn the words or expressions until they pay attention to them, which is mostly due to that they have to recognize those codes to continue the games.
    Last but not least, in the Japanese game Travelling Frog as you mentioned, players are not taking a peep at its house. Actually, the frogs are being spied. They are being watched, but they have the freedom to do whatever they want.

    • Hello Nicole. I agree with what you said some games can help facilitate players’ coordination and quick response capabilities particularly in those teamwork games. On the other hand, the noticing theory you mentioned is informative, showing the language learning relies more on students’ engagement in the language when being paid attention to by the players or in the game itself.

  7. Thanks a lot Alice and Doreen. In my opinion, the affordance of digital gaming is that it can provide a virtue platform which can help students to communicate with each other in certain situations. It might be useful because student can have a theme and similar topic so that they can interact with each other smoothly and effectively. However, we can also see that the topic related to the game is limited. For example, the word in Traveling frog is mainly focus on traveling . If students only play this game, the topic vocabularies is also restricted.
    As a teacher, I suppose we can fully make use of it outside of class, we can accommodate some user-friendly APPS to students so that they can build up their own self-studying abilities. We can offer some help to cultivate their interests and encourage them to apply it into real life. I agree with your point that it may ease the tension of expressing themselves in English. But I still hold a neutral position whether the game should be introduced into class.

    • Hey Lavinia , thanks for your reply. I think you made a great point here that the vocabularies students grabed in the digital games are actually limited in a certain field. I agree with you that teachers should give guiddences about playing digital games in L2 learning properly such as making use of it outside of the classroom. In this way students are able to build up their own self-learning abilities.

    • Hi, Lavinia, I agree with your idea over the restricted vocabularies players can learn from Traveling frog. It could not be denied that other digital games may also have this shortcoming. Thus, it is difficult to find a perfect digital game for language teaching. However, it is the teachers and educators’ responsibilities to find a better way in using digital games in language teaching.

  8. Hi Alice and Doreen, digital gaming plays an important part of our life especially in the age of digital era. Apart from the affordances you mentioned, digital gaming also fills the gap between conventional language teaching and language in use. Most English classes in China only focus on textbooks and specific language structures and grammar, which put English in an isolated postion because students learn English only for finishing exercises and tests. With the appearance of digital gaming, students have more room to put what they have learnt into autthentic practice. This kind of teaching/learning achieves communicative purpose of English, which is essential to students future development. For intance, the prevailing online game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds enables users to experience authentic language context becasue they need to communicate with others in English if they are people from foreign countries. And everything on this game is in English, users must acquire a certain amount of vocabulary and systematic grammar so as to fully understand the game. Threfore, digital gaming acts as a strong motivation to learn language.

    • Hey Julie, thanks for your reply. I agree with you that digital games give students an access to experience authentic language contexts. Some students may feel quite boring if they are required to do practices with specific language structures and grammar, however, digital games allow them to put what they have learned into authentic practices. I believe it can enhance their writing and speaking abilities.

  9. Alice and Doreen, your examples of “Travelling Frog” and CSGO are interesting. I can imagine myself learning some Japanese by guessing from the visual aids and context of the former game, while acquiring difficult vocabulary from the latter. I do think teachers should better equip themselves with the knowledge of popular games, because this can narrow the gap between students and teacher. Very often the weakest students tell me that they learn some English words by playing online games. Even though teachers tend to query if it is true, at least from the students’ viewpoint, they can benefit from the process. In fact, students even like making friends with those who play the same games; they sometimes break up simply because they do not play the same games anymore. In the past, I have seen students with low self-esteem talking excitedly with some technical basketball expressions in English while gaming with their friends. Thus teachers can make use of opportunities like this to chat with them, reinforcing the key vocabulary and expanding their interest. In this way the affordance of digital gaming for language learning can be substantiated more than expected.

    • Hey Camie, thanks for your addition that adopting digital gaming in the L2 learning can narrow the gap between students and teachers. It’s indeed a very good point. I believe in this way teachers and students are getting closer, which is able to arise students’ interests in the L2 learning. Moreover, for some classes required grabing vocabularies in a certain field like oral English classes, playing digital games can actually expand students’ knowledge in a certain field.

    • Hi, Camie, thanks for your sharing of your own teaching experience. My problem is that the vocabularies students learned from the games always limited in one field. Such as the basketball game, the vocabularies are mainly about basketball, but the time they spent on one game do not match the outcomes they can get in that game. This is one problem I came across in my teaching, do you have any good ideas about this problem?

  10. Hi Alice and Doreen.
    I think there is another one affordance of L2 learning with digital games. Games can provide source of writing to students. For example, students can pratise writing diaries according to what the virtual characters (which are controlled by them) did in the game.
    And one of the constrains of it is that students may not have much chance to preview what they have learnt in the games.

    • Hi Una, thanks for your addition about the benefits and constraints of digital games in L2 learning, and I think you made a very good point here. I agree with you that digital games enable students to develop their writing abilities to some extent especially for the game that providing users with the virtual characters. And the disadvantages are quite obvious like students actually hardly have the chance to preview nor review the contents they are going to learn in the digital games.

  11. Thanks Alice and Doreen for your detailed sharing! In addition to the advantages you have mentioned above, I think digital games can be regarded as an interest to facilitate students’ language learning. The fascinating plots and vivid pictures involved in the digital games will counteract students’ resistance to language learning easily, which makes them realize language learning is not so boring as they thought to be. Teachers should make use of this affordance to arouse students’ enthusiasm in language learning. Also, it is necessary to introduce digital games under the supervision of teachers so that the indulgence of games can be avoided. However, the limited words appeared only in the specific situations in the digital games cannot meet the demand of normal learning. Learners may not know the same word used in another context, which makes it a constrains of learning language by playing digital games.

    • Hi, Danella , thank you for your reply. I’m glad to see that you bring about that digital games can sometimes play the fascinating role in the L2 learning since they can attract students’ attention. Let students be exposed to digital games for a suitable time can inspire them to be intersted in the dull contents like remembering vocabularies. However, I believe teachers should pay attention to the age of the students. For example, if students are below 16 years old, then the method of digital games in L2 learning is not recommended since they lack of self-control and are easily addicted into digital games.

  12. To be honest, I’m not in favor of the use of digital gaming for the purpose of language learning, in comparison with other new literacy practices. Obviously, digital gaming has inevitable constraints, which are detrimental to students’ mental and physical health. I have taught English for three years and rarely did I find a student using games as a way to learn English. The majority of them are addicted to playing games, paying scant attention to language knowledge embedded in the game.
    Many students in my class have indulged in a popular game named “King of Glory”, in which double kill, triple kill, quadra kill and penta kill occur frequently. But surprisingly, when asked about what “triple” or ” penta” stand for, even no one knows at all. Among a variety of useful digital literacy practices, why do we have to resort to gaming? In my opinion, it is better to avoid this practice before these big concerns are eliminated.

    • Hi, Eric , thank you for your addtion and your teaching experiences are quite intriguing for me. I agree with you that many students play digital games for fun rather than grabing some L2 knowledge, therefore teachers who adopt digital games in their language teaching should be pay attention to the inevitable constraints of digital games.

    • Hi Eric. I think learning in the games is a good point to arouse the learners, especially the teenagers‘ interest. Since you are not a fan of games, it is quite hard for you to understand the attraction to those people who induged in it. However, with proper guidance from teachers, I think games are conducive to language learning to some extent.

  13. Hi, Alice and Doreen. Thanks for sharing this interesting post.

    Actually, the example of traveling frog reminds me the theory of noticing input, which assumes that nothing is learned unless it is noticed. In that case, if the learners don’t have the intention to learn a language, the game is only regarded as an entertainment. I have also download this game, and learning Japanese is not my purpose. I just try to guess the meaning of each button without referring to the dictionary. Until I unload this game from my phone, I haven’t learned one sigle Japanese word. As a result, the PC game is hard to reach the goal of language learning without proper instructions and learning motivations.

    • Hi Vicky, thanks for your addition about the theory of noticing input, and that’s a really good point. I agree with you that it’s quite challenging for the gamers to reach the goal of language learning through PC games. Just as you point out that some games which are not designed for language learning are fun-oriented, thus the purpose of them are entertain the users rather than educate them. However, for another games which are specially designed for language learning enable users to pick up some language knowledages if they are given proper instructions.

  14. Hi Alice and Doreen, thanks for your post. From my perspective, through it is difficult for the teacher to find an appropriate digital game which could be used in in-class teaching because of the time restriction and the size of the classroom, digital gaming still could be treated as a material and resource which could be conducted into the language teaching.

    Because of the fact that digital gaming can stimulate students’ interest and motivation in learning, it is worth a try to use it in language teaching class. We all know that motivation is one of the important approaches to acquisition and this resource might motivate students’ interests in learning the target language.

    • Hey Grace, thanks for your reply. I agree with you that motivation is one of the key factors influencing the language acquisition. I’m glad to see that you bring about the size of the classroom since it’s really hard to control the teaching quality if the classroom is too large. Another thing should be paid attention to is the age of students since the young students may lack of self-control and are easily addicated into digital games, which could be detrimental for their physical and mental health.

  15. Personally, I prefer using other new literacy ways such as blog writing and fan fiction wring to teach students. If the aim is to increase students’ interest in language learning, I will conduct animation, English music or movie in the teaching plan as they can help students get to know the foreign culture which to some extend prevents them from making chinglish mistakes. Games may be the last choice for me to include in my teaching as most of my students are teenagers and it is indeed very easy for them to loose control when playing. Also, it will be difficult for us to explain why we include game in teaching to parents. Spending much time communicating with parents may increase teachers’ workload.

    • HI, Annie, I agree that teachers might get into trouble when they are tying to persuade stakeholders, including parents and some old-school managers, to accept the application of digit games. It is mainly because of the entertainment feature of games which might give rise of learners’ over screen time. In addition, developing and updating one educational digital games according to learning process would truly give much work load for teachers.

    • Hey Annie, thanks for your reply and your teaching experiences are quite intriguing for me. I agree with you that it will increase teachers’ workload if applying game in teaching to parents. Despite the disadvantages I have mentioned above, I believe that using the teaching method of digital gaming may bridge the gap between teachers and students, which enhances students’ motivation and interests to language learning.

  16. Hi, Alice an Doreen, thanks for your sharing. I totally agree with the affordance of three – dimensional space input of digital game you mentioned. With the interaction with your reading, listening and writing, language proficiency might be more easily improved compared with single dimension information exposure.
    Your example of traveling frog is quite intriguing, which even reminds me of what one mother of my students has shared. She told me that her child will be allowed to play online games within scheduled time with English language version, and after a great deal of English listening and reading input, his vocabulary proficiency promote a lot . However, that positive outcomes seems like a rare case. When I was plying traveling frog, I will seldom try to understand the meaning of Japanese words’ showed, instead, I use to remember the particular position and icons of each function, for example, i will search for the icon of house to back to the home page rather than searching for corresponding Japanese word. Until I almost abandoned this game, can’t I clearly tell what the specific Japanese phrases mean. It reveals that after a long time playing, learners might use it more automatically and not notice any language knowledge input.

    • Hi Fiona, thanks for sharing such interesting experiences. I agree with you that users may grab several language knowledge after they are under long time exposure of digital games. Some games which are not designed for language learning are fun-oriented, thus the purpose of them are entertain the users rather than educate them. However, for another games which are specially designed for language learning enable users to pick up some language knowledages if they are given proper instructions.

  17. Thanks Alice and Doreen for your interesting post!

    On one hand, I think learning English through playing online games that use the target language could really make students feel a sense of excitement that they can not feel in the conventional classroom context, which may motivate them and keep their interests in learning the language.

    However, what I’ve been worrying about is that if the students can maintain self-disciplined in the process, not being distracted from the initial purpose of playing it. Another concern is that most online games usually have limited vocabularies according to its certain type of gaming field, which means that although at first the game might be conducive to students’ learning, it might not so when students have gotten used to it.

    Therefore, I think it is essential to nurture the sense of self-discipline among the students and try to figure out a way to minimise the negative influence of the games on them.

    • Thank you Ruby for introducing both the merits and demerits of gaming, which draws a clearer picture of digital gaming to us. Self-discipline is of great concern, particularly to the adolescents who are in their formative years. Wishing more guidance and supervision from parents and teachers.

  18. Hi, Alice and Doreen, your sharing of digital games and L2 learning is really interesting. I agree that when L2 words become the barriers for game playing, the players will learn the vocabularies intentionally to understand the plot of the game or the skill settings for the roles in the game. On the other hand, if the game is really popular and has a large number of players, students may be willing to understand the vocabularies online. Because on the second day when they are in school and talk about games with other players, they can have more things to talk about. Students can be motivated by the games in their language learning. But the problem is that the number of vocabularies used in the games is quite limited. Like in LOL( league of legends), the most useful words are: ‘first blood, double kill, triple kill, legendary’,compared with the time students indulge in the game, I don’t think it is efficient enough to learn English in this way.
    I think to use game efficiently, the choice of games is very important, compared with LOL, Minecraft maybe a better choice in L2 teaching. But more players play LOL on computer, or play Arena Of Valor which is similar with LOL on mobile phone. As teachers we cannot control what students play after class. So I still doubt the efficiency of game using in L2 learning.

    • Hi Lissie. How to cope with the time investment and the selection of the game for language learning seems to be a big issue! Duh! I will do the trial gaming of Minecraft when available. Thanks for recommendation.

  19. Hi Alice and Doreen, thank you for your interesting introduction to digital gaming in second language learning.

    Affordances and constraints of digital gaming in L2 learning:
    One affordance of digital gaming in L2 learning is that it will make learners motivated and stick to learning, especially for beginners. For example, my niece begins to learn English through online software, and there are easy and interesting games targeting at children to learn simple words and expressions, and they will get rewards if they could learn English cumulatively one hour a day and get high marks in the designed games. Learning through designed games encourages children to learn in a continuous way, and cultivate their learning awareness, thus they learn English out of interest rather than be forced to learn. But the constraint of the games is that it is too easy to guess the answers, so learners can get the answers even they do not truly understand the words or the sentences.

    The pedagogical implications for gaming in L2 learning:
    One problem of beginners learning English is that they tend to lose interests easily, thus digital gaming could help improve children’ learning interests, especially the formulated games and activities matching to courses in class, will make English learning easy and effective. But I think we should be thoughtful when help children learn English through digital games, as they may pay more attention to the games rather than the class content.

    • Hello Grace. Admittedly, many classmates point out the limited vocabulary range most of the games involved. I think, for a qualified teacher, it is increasingly important to discover more creative and educational games for students’ development!

  20. Hi, Alice and Doreen, thanks for introducing the digital games that could promote second language learning. In my opinion, the biggest affordance of digital gaming in L2 learning may be that the games could easily attract learners attention and arouse their learning interest. In this way, particularly for the younger learners, they could be more interested in L2 learning and less likely to get bored or frustrated when meets with some difficulties in learning process.
    But the challenge is how to keep balance between learning and entertainment in a game for language learning. Not all the games are designed for learning, so how to apply a game to L2 learning is not only the responsibility for game designers, but also for instructors.

    • Hi Kiki. Games are easy to attract players’ attention at the very first moment. And it is important for teachers to carefully design the game application in the course.

  21. Hi, Alice and Doreen, thanks for your post. I think that other affordances could be that playing digital game could arouse students’ willingness to communicate. And as they complete the task in the game, they can quickly get a feedback about whether this mission is successful or not. And in that way, if they success, they will have a sense of fulfillment, thus being more confident about their English competence. If they fail, they will try to find out the right way to complete it.
    With reference to the implication for teaching approach, I think that the most important thing that we should take into consideration is how to adapt the original version of the game into a instructional game.

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