An appropriate environment, authenticity, motivation, room to make mistakes, and learner autonomy are the five overarching conditions for successful learning. Materials for teaching a new language should take advantage of the power of relevant context and authenticity by presenting the new language in a way that inspires a real desire to participate and communicate. All educators will agree that students excel when they have autonomy over their education, are encouraged to make mistakes, and are held accountable for their progress.

Exactly how does this relate to the world of video games? Well, video games assist each of the pillars of successful learning by delivering, in addition to the apparent advantages of playing them:

  • compelling storytelling (context)
  • intended dialogues (authenticity)
  • involvement of the heart and mind (motivation)
  • allowance to fail (mistakes)
  • options for taking charge of one’s destiny (learner autonomy)

Setting – A Compelling Story


The glue that holds our world together is the ability to place new knowledge in a familiar framework. This is why, instead of memorizing a dictionary word-for-word from A to Z, we study a language by topic, covering things like family, hobbies, and holidays. Because our brains have nothing to anchor new knowledge to, we have a far harder time remembering it when we are exposed to it in isolation.

Most video games have fascinating plots that do an excellent job of establishing the scene. As social beings, we have an innate need to connect with others through shared experiences like those provided by stories.

When a story makes you feel something, it becomes more than just interesting; it becomes unforgettable. This is why narratives are so effective in PR, politics, business, and the media. Children’s episodic memory, recalling specific instances of their past and how they are connected to new knowledge, is far more critical than in adults.

In video or online games, which you can play like in, the player is immersed in a compelling story and is thus driven to continue playing of their own will.

1. The Real Deal—Purposeful interactions

Everyone agrees that proficiency in L2 is far more valuable than knowledge of its grammar and history. When ordering a coffee in a foreign nation, how frequently do you think you’d have to explain to the waiter the part of speech you’re about to use? Never forget that getting your point out is crucial.

Meaningful interaction is what counts. Say something like, “I’d like a cup of coffee, please,” once you’ve found a table in a cafe. No reasonable person would assume that the waiter would say, “Well done, that was the correct use of “would”!” This is because, in the actual world, people only speak, write, read, and listen when they have a need or a reason to do so (a concept we refer to as “intrinsic motivation”).

The fundamental drive to talk to others in games is the same as in real life.

For instance, in our language-learning adventure, the player will meet and talk to Lilac, a fairy librarian who works in a massive library. “I need to drink!” I want a hot beverage, if possible. “, Lilac inquires. The player will not have to do a classroom-style vocabulary task to grant her wish. Instead, a functional vending machine may be found by browsing the lovely library. The user will be able to purchase a “milkshake,” “juice,” or a “lemonade,” just as they would in real life, but the librarian will merely say, “Ah, finally!” Thank you very much; it tasted great! When the player returns with a cup of coffee for her, rewarding them with more naturally occurring words.

2. Emotional Investment as a Source of Motivation


Motives for learning significantly impact how much students take in and apply what they study both inside and outside of the classroom. Engaged students are more likely to succeed than their less enthusiastic counterparts because they pay closer attention, ask more questions, and are more curious about the material overall.

Motivating players to keep going is an emotional response that video games masterfully elicit through their use of stories, challenges, and rewards.

Because solving the language difficulties in our Minecraft game is necessary to advance, it provides intrinsic motivation for students to do so. The setting and the people they encounter inspire them to keep studying until they achieve their goals.

The player can decide which aspects to focus on more than others, but they can’t ignore them altogether. The linguistic components are embedded in the game’s system of player-player interactions. To advance, players must interact with one another… in English.

3. Freeing Oneself to Make Mistakes is Essential for Growth

It’s counterintuitive, but making mistakes in a secure learning setting can help students improve their language skills. There are a ton of risk-free possibilities to hone skills in the world of video games. The players of our Minecraft server are free to go in the wrong direction or misspell a word if they choose. With this system, students won’t be penalized for making mistakes; instead, they’ll receive additional language input to help guide them to the correct answer. The inherent safety greatly aids uninhibited language practice in video games of making mistakes.


4. Free Will is the Capacity to Make One’s Own Choices

Learner autonomy is the last cornerstone of success in every educational setting. The more active students are in their education, the better they will do. While studying a foreign language, students are also expected to improve their study skills, such as making regular vocabulary notes, drawing mind maps, and learning exam-taking, listening, and speed-reading tactics.

To progress in a video game, the player must repeatedly return to the game’s beginning and figure out how to get out of increasingly tricky circumstances while learning to think critically and independently along the way. Players increase not only their natural curiosity but also their resilience, capacity for creative problem solving, and self-assurance, all of which have applications in and out of the classroom.