Edited by Emma, Jennifer, Jean, Mandy

As the beneficiaries of the information technology era, we simply cannot deny how much technology has improved our lives. Technology is everywhere and in everything. Even in education, we have benefited a lot from computers and other devices. Digital games, a product of new technology, also play an important role in our language study, especially when it comes to the production of the target language, as it offers an engaging learning environment for learners that is different from the classroom environment.

Reinders and Wattana (2014) studied the influence of digital gameplay on Thai students’ willingness to communicate in the target language, specifically comparing the effect of gameplay and classroom environments on learners’ willingness to communicate in the target language. In their study, factors affecting second language learners’ Willingness to Communicate (WTC) were identified. One factor is anxiety; another is the self-perceived communicative competence. It was found that if learners were less anxious and thought more highly of their communicative competence, they will be more willing to communicate in L2.

However, there are still many other factors that reduce learners’ WTC, such as the topics of discussion and students’ attitudes toward the interlocutors. Thus, experts like Audrey (2010), have studied strategies and specific classroom environments to help lessen students’ L2 anxiety and develop their perceived competence, but less effort has been made to investigate the effects of online games on learners’ WTC. To fill this gap, Reinders and Wattana have worked further to investigate the effects of digital gameplay on WTC.

A study was conducted with a focus on WTC and self-confidence during a 15-week course of English for IT. Participants were 30 Thai EFL learners from various ranges of proficiency levels at a university in Thailand that shared similar language backgrounds and game-related habits.

• Two sets of questionnaires were designed. The first one was conducted before the first computer game session. The other one was done after the last computer game session.
• Both of the questionnaires used self-report scales and included questions about WTC in English and communicative self-confidence.

Form & Content of the Course
• Offered to third-year undergraduates in an IT school and taught by researchers.
• The intervention session, the playing of the game “Ragnarok Online”, took place in a CALL lab and was carried out for 20% of the class time.
• Face-to-face sessions were held in a classroom. Participants used Skype and “Pamela for Skype” to communicate during game playing. The whole course covered six review sessions.
• Group text chat was utilized in the first three computer game sessions, and voice-based chatting was used in the final three sessions.
• In the first three sessions, participants were divided into groups to avoid failure of finishing tasks, while in the final three sessions, they were paired to finish tasks.

Figure 1. A screenshot of “Ragnarok Online”

Image credit: MMOHut CC-BY

A contrast could be seen between the results of the two sets of questionnaires which evaluate the effectiveness of gameplay in Thai EFL learners’ WTC. The results showed that participants were somewhat unwilling to use English for communication in a classroom environment, and those who were anxious had a low perceived communicative competence. After the six gaming sessions, they were found to be more confident and became more willing to interact in English in a computer game context. They were less anxious and not as nervous about making mistakes as in the classroom setting.

• The study focused on learners’ willingness to communicate rather than L2 acquisition. Thus, it is insufficient to support the benefits of gameplay on second language learning.
• The focus of this study, willingness to communicate, is too subjective as participants may tend to choose answers which could show their improvement during the study.
• Participants had different levels of proficiency so they may feel differently either about communicating in class, in a game, or both.
• The novelty factor of the study may have increased participants’ excitement and colored their response, which reduces the reliability of the study.



After reading this study, we do realize the importance of digital games in language learning or teaching, especially for learners’ willingness to communicate. Digital games offer a much more relaxing and engaging game environment for users, which could largely reduce users’ anxiety to communicate in L2. Also, it could encourage users to exchange their opinions and feelings freely without worrying about making mistakes. Through the gaming process, language learners could gradually build up their confidence in L2 communication and be more active in L2 use.

Since our own language learning or teaching do not involve digital games, we still have some doubts about its effectiveness. For example, students with different language levels may have mixed feelings towards communication in gameplay. Some advanced students might feel bored during the gameplay. As for teachers, it is hard to control and monitor the effectiveness of the game. Thus, involving digital games in language learning or teaching still requires more research and practice to figure out how to use digital games to better facilitate L2 acquisition.



1. Do you think digital games could facilitate learners’ language acquisition? Are there any disadvantages?
2. Have you ever tried digital games in your language learning or teaching? How effective is it in terms of increasing learners’ willingness to communicate (WTC)?

52 thoughts on “The Effects of Digital Game Play on Willingness to Communicate

  1. Personaly, I regard digital games as useful and attractive learning activities. With the development of modern technology, children tend to have similar ways to spend their time after class,which is using electronic products, and for a considerable group of children, playing all kinds of games alone or with other players is preferred. It is inevitable and wise for teachers to use games to promote their teaching.
    But it is difficult to make sure that they are using English version when playing games. And it is terrible if they rely much on learning English by playing games and spend too much time.Formal teaching is essential.
    I have not used games to teach my students, but it will be welcomed if I introduce some games to them. I can have common topics with them, and maybe they won’t be stressful when talking about games.

    • Thanks for your comment, Evelyn😊 I really agree that it is hard for teachers to control if students rely much on playing games. Thus, I think using digital games as a supplementary tool could be more useful as it could stimulate students interest in English learning and help them to build up confidence in using English for communicate.
      And I think your idea of using digital games as discussion topics is quite effective to raise students’ willingness to communicate.

  2. Many thanks for your group’s clear explanation!

    I think digital games could facilitate learners’ language acquisition. Language acquisition means how well a learner comprehend, perceive a language and use this language for productive and communicative purpose. In my view, Willingness To Communicate (WTC) is a very important factor which leads to a successful language acquisition. According to the research, digital games can raise students’ WTC a lot. Let’s imagine: If a learner always feel anxious, not confident and are not engaged in the learning process, he / she will have a very limited exposure to the target language. In contrast, a learner who enjoys using the target language to communicate with different people, they will have wider exposure and it provides them a target language-rich environment which is crucial to language acquisition.

    Are there any disadvantages? I think the answer is yes as I believe every single learning tool or method has its own benefits and drawback and digital games are not the exceptional case. Playing digital games is not like learning in classroom. The players do not learn systematic and structured language in the process. They read some background information about the game, read given instructions and observe what other players usually say / write in the games. As a result, their language may not be very accurate in grammar and sentence patterns but will be very fluent as they need to communicate and cooperate with each other a lot to win the game!

    As mentioned before, I have ever tried digital games in my class before. I have asked my student to do a pre-task about digital game. I asked my students to play Cooking Mama at home and wrote a recipe with a few lines of evaluating their own cooking ability in the writing lesson. In the previous lessons, they did not like writing because they were not good at writing many words. However, in that particular writing lesson, they were happy to share their experience with me and other classmates and express it in terms of words. So, I think it is effective to enhance my students’ WTC that time.

    • Thanks for your comment, Ivory~
      Willingness to communicate (WTC) does matters in language acquisition, especially at the stage of production. It is true that students could raise their WTC during digital playing as they don’t need to worry about making grammatical mistakes and the game environment is much more relaxing than classroom environment.
      Although students might unconsciously use sentence patterns or grammar incorrectly when they communicate with friends in games, their willingness to communicate in target language are highly increased, which could encourage them to participate more actively in class. Then teachers could correct their mistakes during in-class teaching.
      You have mentioned your experience of using the game “Cooking Mama” in your teaching. Is there some communication or chats that students could have during the game or, is it just a single-player game? If it’s a single-player game, your experience is close to Evelyn’s idea that students could be more interested in communicating in English when the topic is related to digital games.

    • To a large extent, willingness to communicate is very important in L2 learning, and digital gaming increases the willingness of players/learners.

      I chatted with two friends of mine a few weeks ago. They are huge fans of digital games. They feel comfortable to talk to other players in English. They concern upgrading their characters in the games by understanding others’ meanings but not the form of the language in interactions. Even though, they discovered that their English improved at different paces after playing the games.

      Based on their sharing, I think the willingness to communicate is the first and indispensable step to learn the language. Digital games can be seen as a good tool to achieve it. Of course, formal education is another key to further enhance the language of a person.

    • Thank you for your sharing, Fannie. And I agree with you that WTC is essential for L2 learning. Your sharing of your friends’ learning experience in the game is really illuminating. And you mentioned that they are not so concerned about the form of the language during the game. It reminds me of a limitation in learning L2 through games: it is hard to both strength on grammar and the communicative competence in digital gaming, because of the casual and flexible contexts. Therefore, digital games are one way of improving L2, and to own comprehensive L2, we still need to combine it with traditional English approaches.

  3. I doubted about the effects of applying digital games in language teaching. Firstly, digital games are strongly against by many parents. Secondly, through my personal teaching experience, the digital games would only arouse pupils’ interest in having fun instead of studying. What’s more, I am personally against combining entertainment with study. Although different learners have varied study modes, the digital games, which are very likely to distract learners’ attention, could play limited role in language teaching.

    • Thanks for your ideas. I agree that applying digital game to language education does have some negative aspects because some students may be addicted to the games and are of more distractibility especially for those at young ages. However, I think if students can develop their motivation of learning and be more likely to communicate with others in target language through the use of digital games, it can be an effective way under teacher’s guidance and supervisory control like providing some required tasks for learners to accomplish and set the time restriction.

    • Thank you for your sharing!
      As you mentioned, many parents in China do not allow their children to play games. This behavior comes from digital mindsets which based on their experiences. In my view, teachers’ explanation is essential. They should explain the essence of digital games in language teaching to parents. Maybe it can change the thoughts of parents. And if kids play some games to practice English in the supervision of teacher and parents.

  4. Thanks for your sharing.Digital games could be a way for learners to acquire knowledge but I think it will be a slow learning process. For some learners lacking self-discpline, it is easy for them to only focus on vivid screen not the langauage used in game. And then they may have a impression on the beauty of game screen while no thoughts about language. And once focused on playing, there is no time for learners to take note of new words or some usages. As we all know, human has short-time memory. If learners do not review what they have learned in the game, that acquisition will be invalid.

  5. Firstly thanks for your amazing sharing, and I want to answer the secondary question due to my related teaching experience.

    When I was an English teacher in XDF(New Oriental Education and Technology Group), I’ve used digital games to facilitate my students’ language learning to some degree.

    My students are primary school students aged from 6 to 13 years old. Basically they learn words, simple word collocations and sentence in every class. In our department, all the classroom for primary school students are installed with IWB(interactive whiteboard). Children can use their fingers to do exercise,practice, as well as playing games on it. For example, in my class, I divide my students into two groups, which represent teamA and teamB seperately. Then two teams compete in a game, and the winner will be the team that gets to the destination first. In the process of the game, they’ll come across different words or questions that are learned in that class, and if they choose the right answer on the whiteboard, they’ll move one step forward.

    Actually this game can be used as a kind of summary to review the content learned at that class. It turns out that all of my students like this kind of competing games very much, and even students who aren’t active in class will take an active part in this game. They make great progress in the gaming community. Thus from the perspective of students’ willingness, gaming community is a great help for them to promote higher self-motivation.

    • Thank you for your sharing! I am excited about your teaching experience of utilizing digital games effectively. And through your experience, the students are found to have made great progress through combining language teaching with the use of digital games, I think it can be a great discovery for focusing on discussing the relationship between new literacy competence and promoting language learning. The activity can be considered to be applied in our practical teaching in the future.

    • Thanks for your sharing!
      I think this is a really good example of practice of language using in gaming. Since the main concern of this blog is for Willingness to Communicate, I wondered if the students have communicated during the process of gaming? Do they communicate in first language or second language?
      I guess if they are taking in the second language, this might be an excellent way them to learn and use language at the same time!

  6. Firstly thanks for your amazing sharing,and here I want to answer question2 due to my related teaching experience.
    (Last answer was mine, but I don’t know why it didn’t show my complete answer, so I want to try it again^^)

    When I was an English teacher in XDF(New Oriental Education and Technology Group), I’ve used games to facilitate my students’ language learning to some degree.

    My students are primary school students aged from 6 to 13 years old. Basically they learn words, simple word collocations and sentence in every class. In our department, all the classroom for primary school students are installed with IWB(interactive whiteboard). Children can use their fingers to do exercise,practice, as well as playing games on it. For example, in my class, I divide my students into two groups, which represent teamA and teamB seperately. Then two teams compete in a game, and the winner will be the team that gets to the destination first. In the process of the game, they’ll come across different words or questions that are learned in that class, and if they choose the right answer on the whiteboard, they’ll move one step forward. Most importantly, I require my students to say the answer out in English with the pronunciation by IWB together.

    Actually this game can be used as a kind of summary to review the content learned at that class. It turns out that all of my students like this kind of competing games very much, and even students who aren’t active in class will take an active part in this game. They make great progress in the gaming community. Thus from the perspective of students’ willingness, gaming community is a great help for them to promote higher self-motivation, as well as providing students with an opportunity to speak English. But as for communication, primary school students are actually in a low level of language proficiency, it is difficult for them to communicate in such a gaming context.

    • Thanks for your sharing, Fay! Actually, I have the same experience with you for using some games in language teaching, which I think is an effective way for students to learn languages. The game you have mentioned is really good for primary school students especially when it refers to reviewing. In my class, I also used this kind of game to stimulate students emulation and sense of group honor. And I found that many students will work harder and be more active in class.

    • Thank you for your experience sharing, Fay. I agree with you that most of people are motivated in gaming community and the WTC is rather high. You said that students find it difficult to communicate in English because of their low level of language proficiency above. However, I think though their language proficiency might not high enough to exchange ideas with grammatically correct English, they still can use some key words to convey ideas and it works sometime. I think once they are willing to talk in English and make themselves understood by the interlocutors, which in turn motivates them to speak more. In my point of view, they could also enhance their self-expression as well as fluency in English if teachers could encourage them do their utmost to communicate in English.

  7. Thanks for sharing! I think games do facilitate language acquisition. From my own working experience, children were more confident to speak English when playing digital games. Though they were shy at first, after exposing to English gaming environment, they knew more English knowledge and by day, they were more willing to communicate with teachers in English. As a result, their oral English improved a lot. In addition, playing connected games did enlarge their vocabulary. It was easier for students to remember and use the vocabulary since they were in high motivation and can keep it in mind. However, that does not mean it has no disadvantage. Take my cousin as an example, he likes playing digital games online. It is true that he learned many words and he would shout the words when playing the games. But he is still quite in class. One reason may be that the words are not closely related to the class. I once asked him, he said he could only speak it confidently and loudly in games. When in class, it is a different environment and he just could not do the same as in the games. It will be a problem to converse from games to real-life.
    Whether students are willing to communicate depends on how they feel about the surroundings. If they are used to the environment, it will be easy for them to start a conversation and take part in discussion. While if they cannot change mind, just like my cousin, other guidance is necessary too.
    In short, games can help language acquisition. While other methods can not be neglected.

    • Thank you, moon. I have held the same opinion of your critical thinking about learners willingness to communicate in the game environment. After reading the article, the research’s result came out as successful to enhance students’ WTC, however, are they really more willing to communicate in the class? I do not think so. It is the game context makes them feel relaxed, it is different from the classroom one. Thus, some more teaching methods and instruction of teachers should be considered by the teachers more deeply for really leading students to be relaxed as well in the class face to face.

  8. Thank you for your insightful and interesting post!
    I have always thought that digital games can be a big help for improving L2. However it is kind of tricky because I think playing digital games is only helpful for improving L2 when you have already achieved certain level of L2. Because with no basic knowledge of communication in L2, it is almost impossible to interact with others in game.
    I have also had experience playing online games and communicating with my teammates in L2 which is very fun and helpful for my L2 learning. I like that playing digital games as a way of language learning is entertaining and educational combined as people can have fun while improving their languages.
    I do recommend that if teachers intend to apply this method into their teaching, it is best that they choose games which players would have to communicate with others in order to keep the game going.

    • Wow👍, it is really exciting to hear that you have some experience in L2 learning through digital games. If you don’t mind, would you share some games for us, because I have no experience with that, and I really want to experience it?😘

    • Your idea is really new for me. So what level do you think should students get if they want to play together?

  9. I think digital games could definitely facilitate learner’s language acquisition once students are engaged in this learning activity.

    I remembered that I have read an article about the reasons why people are so addicted to games. It is because they are set to give the players a feeling of success in a very short period of time and with a little challenge. If students enjoyed the game and willing to get a success in the game. Language acquisition should be involved in certain extent.

    However, how to choose a digital game which suits the students’ proficiency level would be another concern. There are too many digital game nowadays, it is not an easy task for teachers to find a suitable one for their students. It is not possible for teachers to play the game before they introduce to the students. Therefore, there will be some disadvantages when we are unable to choose a digital game to meet our students’ needs. Students only enjoy their digital game experience rather than learning a language.

    • Gladys, I totally understand your point(s). In reality, in formal settings, I think it is rather challenging for teachers to incorporate digital games in their teaching. As you mentioned, from teachers’ perspectives, it is very time-consuming to choose appropriate games to complement teaching materials as there are too many games. From the angle of students, particularly younger ones, may focus on the fun of playing the game(s) rather than see the game(s) as a language learning tool.

    • I have the same concern with you. I do think choosing game is really difficult, especially that teachers recommend their students to play after class.

  10. Thanks so much for your wonderful sharing! I am totally in favour of the idea that digital gaming can increase gamers’ willingness to communicate. Even though I don’t play games, I usually see my roommates chatting with her teammates by typing words or speaking directly. She said at the outset she did not feel confident about her spoken English due to poor grammar. But in order to corporate with teammates and succeed in the game, she became more active and willing to speak English.
    At this stage, I think digital gaming can in truth help gamers acquire a foreign language in a way but cannot assist gamers acquiring English in a long term because of restricted contents. Maybe it can act as a positive factor which could prompt gamers to advance their language skills after playing games.

  11. Wow👍, it is really exciting to hear that you have some experience in L2 learning through digital games. If you don’t mind, would you share some games for us, because I have no experience with that, and I really want to experience it?😘

  12. I have never tried digital games in my language teaching. I think the affordances that digital games provide for students are rather limited for the reason that students may get more involved in playing and winning the game instead of making use of this new context to learn a foreign language. Although I am not so favor of incorporating digital dames into language teaching curriculum, I think to some extent, it does help to raise learners’ willingness to communicate. In that virtual platform, learners have less anxiety and they will not be judged by the grammatical errors they make during the communication. So I think learners may be more talkative in the context of digital games while they may always communicate in some incomplete sentences or with some lexical and grammatical errors. Their willingness to communicate is improved while their lingiuistic competence may not.

    • Thanks for your sharing, Charlene! I agreed that some students may focus more on the results of the competition in the game instead of learning languages. Well, for this part, I think when a teacher wants to use a digital game as a tool of language learning, there should be a specific goal of playing that. Maybe teachers can set some assignments about the process of playing the game or teachers themselves can be one of the role in the digital game in order to check their learning and also monitoring their behavior and playing time.

  13. Well, I agree that digital games can facilitate learners’ language acquisition to some extents, as our classmates have mentioned above. And I have something to say with regard to its disadvantages. I think for some gamers, they would like to communicate with other language speakers via typing because it gives them some time to think and there will be a record of their communication so that they can review it afterwards to check mistakes. But if gamers communicate with other players by talking, I think there will be one aspect that teachers and students should pay attention to, that is, the language forms appear in oral speaking situations may not be error-free. And there might be a lot of slangs, improper use of words and phrases. If teachers and students do not realize it, these usages may appear in students’ daily communication and in students’ writing, which may hinder their language acquisition. Therefore, though I agree that digital games can help students to learn the situated language, there are still aspects need clarification and should be evaluated carefully.

    • Hi Celia
      I totally agree with you that learners may reluctant to talk with other gamer since their oral English competence maybe lower than writing to communicate. Once I was chatting with a foreigner, he said my English was good. But I assume he may doesn’t think like that when he actually talks to me face to face. It maybe embarrassed and awkward to make mistakes when talking since there is no chance to edit it.
      Therefore, I suggest that teachers can create a similar context in gaming for them to practice relevant communicative skills and strategies so they can be familiar with the context and more willing to talk in the target language.

    • Hi, Nicole. Thanks for the suggestion~Yeah, I think that the idea of creating a similar context in gaming for students to get familiar with the skills and strategies will work. Besides, I think that this approach may also be a good way to equip students with some game-related vocabularies, which I think can be a practical option to expand students’ vocabulary.

  14. I think digital games somewhat facilitate the acquisition of L2, but disadvantages outweigh advantages. The application of immersive digital games will easily lead to game addiction. Learners will be distracted from the learning goal because of many factors: novice of the game, language proficiency, willingness to communicative, and so on. I also doubt the effectiveness of acquiring L2 through playing games.

    I never try to learn or teach language through digital games. But if the gamers are limited to the students of the same class, I assume that will be possible for students to play while learning. Since with the supervision and guidance of teacher, students may be informed to notice some important linguistic items occurred in the games and absorb them during the process of playing.

  15. Thanks for your group’s sharing!

    I do think digital gameplay would enhance learners’ language acquisition, especially for those who are anxious about language learning. Digital gameplay would be the essential part for them to accept the language first and change their attitude towards language learning. So playing digital games would release their anxiety actually towards L2.
    The disadvantage is that learners would be greatly obsessed with the digital gameplay. Also, not every digital gameplay would be conducive to language learning. For example, if a digital game without interaction part, they would just mechanically remember word to enlarge vocabulary.

    The willingness to communicate is like the lever by which learners could arrive higher and higher by getting access to L2 first.

  16. Thank you for your sharing👏! Personally, I think digital games can improve learners’ willingness to communicate in the target language for the following reasons:
    a) they may feel much more relaxed in games than in the academic setting;
    b) they are required to achieve a particular learning objective and therefore they will not feel stressed;
    c) they do not have a face-to-face conversation with others, which is good news for people who are shy or easy to be nervous;
    d) they can talk about things they are interested, for example, the characters or plots in the game; however, the topic in class may not always arouse their interest.

    Nevertheless, I have some concerns about the effectiveness of this method as well:
    a) learners might engage in communication in the target language much more frequently when playing games because they do not feel pressured as they do in class, but does it mean that they will definitely be more willing to talk in the real world?
    b) the digital games provide learners with a safe place to share ideas, but the conversation topics might be restricted to certain things. So are learners still willing to talk when facing different topics in class or in their practical life?

    • a) The concerns offered by Amanda are impressive. In a traditional point of view, the effect of gaming in terms of second language acquisition may not be spilt over to real life. However, the modern gaming society presents a different picture. With the enhancement in gaming engine and telecommunication technology, players, when playing multi-player games, can engage in authentic conversation with other players in both written and spoken forms. In this sense, the boundary between real-life vs virtual world is ambiguous. Nevertheless, Amanda did make a good point.

  17. Thanks for your sharing! (*^▽^*)
    I think digital games can facilitate language learning to a certain degree, but the effect is limited. First of all, language learners, especially students, are very likely to indulge with games, which may reduce the efficiency of learning through games. Besides, unlike other contexts such as fanfiction websites, games may provide limited input and help to language learners. For example, many words learned through games are not related to daily life, which may not promote learning and use of language. However, games do provide a good platform for learning about language and it does make the process of learning more interesting.

    • Thanks for your sharing! I certainly agree that the self-management of younger learners should be taken into account. But I think the teacher can work as a time controller and monitor. Also, some words lose touch with the reality is a problem that I have not thought of. It is really a virtual world in the Internet. As game community can provide an interesting and relaxed environment for learner, the drawbacks should not be ignored too. When teacher design curriculum, digital activities like playing digital games cannot be mostly depended on.

  18. Digital games, if used properly, can facilitate language learning a lot for it pushes students to learn things about the game in English version and also comunicate with other players. Students will feel less anxious to use the language because the game creates a relax and comfortable environment that makes them less reluctant to comunicate. There are also some difficulties to use digital game as language assistance. For teachers they have to evaluate whether the game used is a proper one and the decision can be difficult to make. What’s more, it is hard to cater every student’s interest(e.g boys and girls may be interested in different kind of games so there might be a risk that some students may find the game boring)

  19. Thanks for your inspiring post! Personally, I think digital games should be an effective way for learning language, as games are normally more attractive and interesting in young people’s view. However, there are some inevitable disadvantages, like teenagers are easily to be addicted to digital games and most of teenagers just come to games for fun but not for learning. So how to balance the pros and cons should be a tricky issue, perhaps educators can develop certain games with a specific aim of learning certain aspects of English, and one day teachers can replace the previous boring homework with these games.

    I do think when learners are playing games on-line, they will be more willing to communicate. The first reason could be that when learners’ attention is focused on the game itself, the anxiety of communicating would be reduced. The ultimate aim of communicating in games is to let other people understand you and win the game together maybe, rather than testing one’s language proficiency. And also, some of players from the game are not native speakers of English too, so learners might feel less afraid of making mistakes, as their interlocutors’ language is not that proficient too.

  20. I strongly agree with the idea that digital game could facilitate leaners’ acquisition of the second language, but here the game must be designed as language-learning oriented. By playing this kind of game, I think learners can reduce this anxiety and learn the language in a more natural environment. Like the passage mentioned, learners are more willing to communicate in this kind of setting. So I believe that using proper games in language teaching can facilitate language learning, the effect may be better than teaching in a traditional way.
    However, I also have two questions towards this kind of learning. Firstly, I personally agree with the idea that repetition is an important part in language acquisition. By repeating a new word/sentence structure, students can gradually master the knowledge. Nevertheless, if there is a lot repetition in a game, will learners feel boring? The second question is that when adopting this kind of learning method, we should also factor in the feelings of students who do not like playing games, and how can we do that?

  21. Thank you for sharing. For the first question, I agree that digital games have positive effects in facilitating learner’s language acquisition because it offers learners a more relaxing and light-hearted context which could stimulate their autonomy in learning. Just as you mentioned, games help build learners’ willingness to communicate, which is also a key step in language learning process. But for those teenager students, it may be difficult for them to balance the relationship between games and study. How to let students learn consciously in the process of playing games is also a question we need to think about. I mean, I am afraid that when they are immersed in the game they forget that they are learning language.

  22. Well, as for the first question, I think digital games could facilitate learners’ language acquisition. One of the reasons is that foreign digital games create an immersive environment where learners can communicate with other gamers with lower pressure. Another reason is that gamers could pick up words and phrases while playing games. On the other hand, there are also disadvantages. First, gamers may focus on the pleasure rather than learning. Second, if gamers can’t find an appropriate game for them to learn, they may waste their time.

  23. It is intriguing for learners to use games to communicate with people. This is a fortune for those gaming addicts. I think it would happen to acquisition when the gamers communicate with people who speak the target learning language. This offers an authentic setting for gamers to polish and practice their target language skills and the acquisition processes might go forward naturally and unconsciously. This new space of communication, I believe, definitely could increase the willingness for those who have the same interests in some games to communicate.
    But the concerns are also worth considering. Games usually attached with a strong plot design can guide learners’ attention stray. This is the reason why teachers and learners should be cautious when they decide to use games to teach and learn.

  24. According to my own reflection and observation of my friends, I think most of the gamers lack of the awareness of learning language in the gaming context, not to mention the willingness to communicate. Most of us may reluctant to communicate in the game because we are afraid of making mistakes during speaking.
    Since in my opinion, I think gaming can be a really effective way of learning language. I would try to create a more flexible learning context for students for them to practice and engage more in the target language.

  25. Digital games, to a certain extent, can be beneficial to learners’ L2 acquisition only if they play the L2 version of the game(s) and are willing to explore more information in L2 in order to complete the game(s). Take my younger sister as an example. She used to play the English version of TsumTsum for multiple purposes like learning English and entertainment. She, as a beginner of English learner, learned English from the descriptions of different characters’ skills so as to find the best character to progress the game. For example, Beast can clear a diagonal line of Tsum Tsum, and Hawaiian Stitch can erase Tsum Tsum in an arch shape. In order to understand each skill completely, she even looked up a dictionary. In this case, her vocabulary enriched because of playing the game.

    Yet, since other players and she shared the common first language (Cantonese), they tended to talk to one another about the game in Cantonese to save time. It reflects that unless a learner is highly and intrinsically motivated about L2 learning, (s)he will not use the language to talk about the game related topics.

  26. Great post!

    Honestly speaking, i am a fan of digital games. I find that it is useful to learn some gaming related vocabulary when I am playing English version online games. Also, most of the games are task-based and need cooperation, so I have to communicate with other gamers during games, sometimes there are native speakers. It is much easier and less stress to chat for we don’t pay so much attention to the grammar correctness.

    And for L2 teaching with digital games context, it may be interesting for learners to do some role plays or reflect on games they have played to practice language skills.

  27. Thank you so much for your elaboration!

    I agree with the benefits of digital game people mentioned above.
    I think it’s essential for teachers to 1)select good digital games which create a lot of opportunities for learners to communicate. 2) grade these games to cater to learners current level.
    while I also worry about how we can assess our students’ learning result.

  28. Thank you for sharing! I think digitals games can somehow facilitate language acquisition though they do have some disadvantages. As the study shows, while playing digital games students are more willing to communicate in the target language in class with their peers, so it is a good way to encourage the students to practice the language. In addition to the real interaction between students, the virtual L2 interactions and environment inside some L2 games also help learners to learn the language. It is also a helpful way to motivate language learners. However, we have to admit that it is sometimes easy for young players to addicted to games and the use of language between gamers can be very informal and not standard.

  29. Thank you for your sharing!

    Personally, I think digital games can serve as a tool for language learning. Firstly, digitals games are multi-modal with some images, music as well as videos so that students’ interest can be aroused. Secondly, due to the class size and time limitation, it is common that only some students have the chance to deliver a short speech and those students are usually relatively brave or proficient in target language. However, the shy people or those who are not so familiar with language patterns of target language also need to practise their language skills. And all the students have opportunity to communicate with characters in the game, which may be helpful to improve their language skills.
    I have not included games into language teaching but I am looking forward to it. If you a nice game that may facilitate your language learning, please recommend it to me. Thank you.

  30. I really like your layout for the topic, and since it’s closely related to my essay topic, I want to share some of my ideas with you.
    Before, I never consider to use digital games in my learning and teaching process.Since I myself is not a gamer, I’m not so familiar with digital games and I don’t know how it can be related to language learning and teaching. But when I taught my students the word “unbelievable”, they all knew it and told me they learned it from a game like “Candy Crush”. I was surprised and began to think about this problem. Later, I found many students learn words and expressions from their gameplay. And I accept the fact that it’s a new way for students to learn. But I still have some worries. One thing is that learning by gaming is not the main purpose for students, if they think they need to learn while gaming, they may have less interest. Besides, they accidentally pick up some language when they are exposed to the game for a long time, so I think it’s really time-consuming. Also, I do agree with your idea that it’s really hard for teachers and parents to monitor and evaluate their learning process and production, esp. for parents in China, who still regard gameplay is a waste of time for students. And the teachers need to know about the games thoroughly to make sure it is suitable for the students.

  31. Personally, I think it is hard to maintain a balance between playing digital games for language learning purpose and entertaining. Digital games always be used in the out-of-class language learning and how to guide the students to use those kinds of game sometimes might rely on teachers’ and parents’ guidance, especially when the learners are in very young age. If the guidance could not be given properly, it might easily distract student’s attention.

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