Videogames are a good way to spend leisure time. Many use video games topass time while enjoying themselves. Mostly, video games are producedwith the purpose of entertainment for the audience. However, othervideo games can be useful when it comes to learning. Some games canbe used to teach subjects such as mathematics and even language. Theuse of video games in teaching children is mainly to break themonotony and also to incorporate fun in the learning process.
Thereare two fields of video games regarding language learning: ComputerAssisted Language Learning (CALL) and Digital Based Learning.Skelinen (2012), defines CALL as any way that a learner uses acomputer and improves his or her language. The CALL definitionincludes all kinds of ways a computer is used, includingdictionaries, chatting and computer games. Skelinen (2012) believesthat CALL complements conventional teaching in schools and it hasbecome an important part in schools. CALL also provides extra cuesthat are not learnt in a conventional class. Such include the sounds,images, video and animations, which aid in comprehensions. However,CALL has the problem of identifying the right difficulty fordifferent users. Some of the game producers allow the users to selectthe level of difficulty they prefer.
Oneof the main advantages of using CALL is allowing the computer userautonomy. They allow the user to use the learning software both atschool and at home. CALL games also break the monotony ofconventional learning in schools. They provide the learners withanimated graphics, problem solving methods, which make the drillsmore interesting and fun. They allow individualization, where thelearner can decide on the skills they wish to develop and allow theuser to customize their difficulty. The student can also choose thepace at which they want to learn. Different students learn atdifferent speeds and can therefore choose their pace when using CALL.The feedback time is also important to learners. CALL users get theimmediate feedback compared to conventional classroom learning. Thisallows the students to learn at their own pace which may cause lessfrustrations.
Thesoftware can be used to analyse the mistakes that the student makesby comparing with the computer’s database. The student may responddifferently through the analysis as compared to when taught by aconventional teacher. Finally, the CALL games software gives theleaner the opportunity of repetitive learning, which allows them theopportunity of mastery.
Gamesrequire fewer background stories compared to simulators. Simulatorsneed more detailed knowledge to support a situation. Games are morefrom the third point of view and are less attached from consequences.However, simulators require first points of view. The player is moreconnected to the results.
Gamesare also more centered in a fantasy world, and the story line haslittle attachment to real life instances. On the other hand,simulations have story lines that are attached to real life events.They require essential skills to transfer to them. Games mostlyrequire the player only to know the rules of the game. The more oneunderstands the rules the more problems can be solved in the game.However, simulator problems are mainly solved through the use ofinformation that the player has (Narayan et al, 2012).
Simulatorsshould be considered when the information experience is importantinformation basis is branching decisions when real life experiencesare important in the outcome when personalized outcomes areimportant when the learner needs more information to execute theirduties. Simulators play key roles in teaching the players thenecessary rules and are more efficient in teaching than games(Narayan et al, 2012).
De Biem M, H., & Lipman, J. A. (2012). The use of video games and simulators in education. Journal of veterinary medical education, 13-20.
Narayan, V. et al. (2012). Distinguishing games and simulation games from simulators. Computers in Entertainment, 9.
Skelinen,B. (2012). Applying Video Games in Language Learning and Teaching.Journalof Computer Technology,8-12.