The chapter discusses and examines the educational potential of computer games in language learning. The commercial success of games has recently attracted the scholarly study from various fields. However little has been done in term of learning theories despite the increasing interest in educational games. Thus, in this chapter, theoretical issues and practical challenges in game-based language learning are raised to provide an overview on the potential of gaming technologies for such purposes. Some prominent learning theories in relation to computer aided language learning are detailed. This is followed by a discussion of what computer games are before some case studies of game-based language learning are presented. Some implications on the language uses of computer games are derived and discussed.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Computer Games: A game is a rule-based formal system with a variable and quantifiable outcome, where different outcomes are assigned different values, the player exerts effort in order to influence the outcome, the player feels attached to the outcome, and the consequences of the activity are optional and negotiable.
Language Learning: Process of learning language including learning foreign languages; language development.
Constructivism: A learning theory that stresses that knowledge is constructed by the learner.
Behaviourism: A learning theory, which is focused on observable behaviour.
CALL: Computer-aided language learning.
Case Studies: The examination of certain issues based on particular cases.
HCI (Human-Computer Interaction): A discipline concerned with the design, evaluation, and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use and with the study of major phenomena surrounding them.