I’m a huge fan of learning languages through play. Some people play “serious games” for all sorts of educational purposes. The idea is to play a video game and learn at the same time. As a former gamer, I love this idea. So, I’ve tested many language-learning games and, honestly, either the game is no fun at all or it’s fun but not an effective learning tool. Why is this the case?
How effective are serious games for learning?
- For most games, we use a large part of our brains for playing and a small part for learning. Consequently, we spend little time actually learning.
- Furthermore, many games have time limits. According to research, our memorization is quite poor when we are under time constraints.
- In fact, the fun of these activities is often inversely proportional to the effectiveness of the games for learning.
In MosaLingua, your learning is optimized, making the applications the most effective language learning methods possible. All the time you spend using MosaLingua is dedicated to learning and memorization. Due to MosaLingua’s spaced repetition system (SRS), you don’t waste time on concepts that you already know.
What About Motivation for Language Learning?
I know you’re going to tell me that this ineffectiveness is made up for by the fact that playing a game will be extra motivating. Certain products will offer you a multitude of games and other fun activities. As we’ve seen, these games are less effective for learning, but we feel more motivated to play them. Unfortunately, the fun parts quickly become boring and repetitive, and I don’t know anyone who has learned 3000 words and phrases by playing these games. According to our statistics, MosaLingua users learn a lot of words and phrases in very little time.
Language learning pros—people who regularly learn new languages—recommend MosaLingua’s spaced repetition system. (See this blog by Benny, who learns a new language every 3 months, or even antimoon, etc.)
At MosaLingua, we aren’t against fun activities—quite the contrary. When you learn a language, you need fun activities. We’re convinced that learning a language has to be enjoyable. In fact, our goal is to provide you with all the tools you need to progress quickly and be able to use content intended for native speakers that is known to be really interesting and fun. To progress, you must practice. Practice is the most interesting step in the language-learning process. This is why we regularly write articles recommending cool resources that, in addition to being fun, are especially useful for learning languages. Here are some examples of great language learning:
- Good Spanish films, television series, or books;
- Really fun games (in the target language);
- Music to help you improve your language skills;
- Useful, educational iPhone applications;
- Opportunities to meet native speakers with whom to practice speaking;
MosaLingua focuses on providing its users with the most effective tools for learning languages so that they can make visible and rapid progress. For example, MosaLingua has motivating components (in addition to the bonus material that users unlock). According to our statistics, these are very effective. Thousands of users have learned over 1500 flash cards in less than 3 months, and MosaLingua is the first lucrative language-learning application in several countries.
I certainly agree that serious, educational games are also useful for language learning, especially for children or adolescents, who may not be very interested in learning and may therefore lack motivation.
If you’re interested in this topic, here are a few other articles you might like:
In the video below, Abbe warns you about what kinds of apps and language learning methods to stay away from because they’re likely to be a waste of your time.
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Note: It’s perfectly reasonable for you to think I’m not being very objective. I’m the creator of the MosaLingua applications, which are based on the spaced repetition system. However, believe me, I keep myself up-to-date on the latest language-learning research and innovations. If you find a more effective method than flash cards that use the spaced repetition system, we will implement it right away! Helping you learn a language effectively will always be our top priority.
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