Games and Language Learning: An International Perspective

Aaron Chia Yuan Hunag, Jonathan deHaan, To-Ken Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gee (2003) has posited that successful digital games embody design principles that are based on an understanding of how people learn. Games have been used for language learning for decades, and the growing popularity of digital games, coupled with improvements in hardware and software, have made them common tools in second language acquisition classrooms. Empirical research, however,
on games and language learning is still relatively scarce. In this paper, we explore the existing evidence on how digital games can be and have been used in language learning, with particular focus on studies that originate from outside the United States. The paper examines three categories of studies that focus on different aspects of gameplay: in game-player interactions, in player-player
interactions, and in game-player–online community interactions. Our paper critically presents how using games can be oversimplified in their application and offers ways that the implementation of games and game-like activities can be improved.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalNYS TESOL Jounral
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • analog games
  • language learning
  • digital games
  • game-based learning
  • EFL


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