Major Papers


Digital Games, Video Games, Serious Games, Language Education, CALL, DGBLL


Exposed to traditional language learning strategies, students will gradually lose interest in and motivation to not only learn English, but also any language or culture. Hence, researchers are seeking technology-based learning strategies, such as digital game-mediated language learning, to motivate students and improve learning performance. This paper synthesizes the findings of empirical studies focused on the effectiveness of digital games in language education published within the last five years. Nine qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method studies are collected and analyzed in this paper. The review found that recent empirical research was conducted primarily to examine the effectiveness by measuring language learning outcomes, motivation, and interactions. Weak proficiency was found in vocabulary retention, but strong proficiency was present in communicative skills such as speaking. Furthermore, in general, students reported that they are motivated to engage in language learning when digital games are involved; however, the motivation is also observed to be weak due to the design of the game and/or individual differences. The most effective method used to stimulate interaction language learning process seems to be digital games, as empirical studies demonstrate that it effectively promotes language education. However, significant work is still required to provide clear answers with respect to innovative and effective learning practice.

Primary Advisor

Dr. Zuochen Zhang

Program Reader

Dr. Christopher J. Greig

Degree Name

Master of Education



Document Type

Major Research Paper