4 Effective Ways to Gamify English Language Learning

By Guest

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Did you know that humanity spent 3 billion hours playing video games on a weekly basis? Whoa! That’s certainly a surprising fact. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? There’s no question about it: some games make us numb, or even dumb. However, games also keep our minds busy and focused. This means we can use them to learn new things. We know how it works for kids. We just forget that people never lose the need to make the learning process fun.

There’s a possibility to improve your English language learning efforts if you gamify the process. However, you have to do that right. Remember: not all games are beneficial. I’ll list 4 activities that make English language learning fun, but effective as well.           

Learn through Lyric Games

Auditory learners can really benefit from this learning technique. Think: how many lyrics do you know? Maybe you don’t know them from beginning to end, but you’ve surely learned hundreds of them accidentally, just by listening to the music you like. Games like LyricsTraining will support the memorizing process.

Researchers from Stanford University showed that different learners benefited from different types of music. In addition, the study showed that the song should contain breaks and transitions, so the brain can process what it just listened to.

  • There’s nothing complex to this method; just listen to your favorite songs with English lyrics. You’re passively learning the language even if you’re not trying to memorize the words. This won’t feel like doing homework. Listen, dance, enjoy!
  • Take it one step further and learn the lyrics. LyricsTraining, the website we mentioned above, gives you tons of songs to choose from. Sing along while reading the lyrics. Write down the words you don’t understand, so you’ll expand your vocabulary. Then, try singing along without looking at the lyrics. This is active learning based on memorizing.
  • How about a karaoke party with your friends? Now that’s a game everyone will enjoy! Plus, you’ll all practice your English.

Explore the Right Apps

Are you playing games on your smartphone? Those can be really addictive. However, they can be beneficial as well. Did you know there were over 50,000 educational apps in the iOS store? According to Caroline Simons, a tutor from BestEssays, not all of them work.

“I’ve tried more language-learning apps than I could count. I’m not a snob, but here’s my impression: the free apps are of low quality. The progress-tracking features are poor, the tutorials are no good, and there’s not enough systematic repetition. However, there are few really cool apps that help you learn the language through fun games and activities.

  • Try Duolingo. It’s one of the best free language learning apps. It inspires you to practice daily, and it keeps your attention through various activities.
  • Memrise is even better. It inspires you to learn by making you competitive. You’ll definitely want to get a higher score when you see your friends making progress.

Play Social Games

Think about the games you used to play as a child. Some of them were solitary, but most of them included other kids, right? When you connect with other people, you collaborated with a team and you faced competitors. Those were the fun games. You’ll be surprised how fun it is to team up with or compete against other language learners. Tools like HiNative and HelloTalk support such activities.

  • If you’re attending a standard English language learning course, you don’t even need online tools. You can team up with your classmates and design your own games. For example, you can create short stories based on specific characters and guidelines.
  • You can organize a quiz and introduce a level system. Each player will think of a grammar or vocabulary question for the others to answer. The one who gets the most points wins.

Target Achievements

All games are fun because they challenge you. Each challenge you conquer gives you an achievement to be proud of. Think of all video games you used to play as a kid: going through a level meant something, right? Language learning games give you similar achievements. That’s one of the many reasons why Duolingo is so popular. It gives you badges and you unlock achievements as you make progress.

According to Dr. Bernard Bull, professor of education, badges and micro-credentials are making the verification and documentation of online learning more democratic. They motivate the learners to pass a series of milestones, which help them understand their progress.

  • Whatever educational game you’re playing, pay attention to the progress and give yourself some credit for it.
  • If you’re creating a game for you and your classmates, make sure to include point and prizes. They matter in the offline world, too!


Language learning should never be focused on grades. Yes, games involve points and levels, which are still evaluating the learner’s skills in one way or another. However, they create a relaxed environment where evaluations are not that scary. Try learning English through games and you’ll see the difference!

This is a Guest Post by Brenda Savoie

Brenda Savoie is a private English tutor, and desperate dreamer. Writing her first romantic novel. Seeking contentment through mindfulness. Check her last article “Why College Should Not Be Free”Find her on Twitter and Facebook

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