Successful bid to develop games for foreign language learning

Posted on 29 July 2015

Dr Emma Marsden is to lead an Education games project as part of an £18 million Digital Creativity (DC) Hub at the University of York, which aims to harness cutting edge research in digital games and interactive media to benefit society.


The project will focus on developing and evaluating an educational game for learning foreign languages, with the aim of harvesting data about language learning from a large number of school learners.  It will involve working with teachers and pupils to understand the needs within educational games, and to evaluate their effectiveness in schools. 

Dr Marsden said, “The Languages Digital Games project will draw on research into language learning whilst also bringing the fun of 'gaming' into the classroom.  The project will be informed by pioneering research in applied psycholinguistics about what learners pay attention to, and understand, when they hear or read a foreign language. We will establish exciting collaborations with computer scientists, and several teachers are already on board to work with us, to help us ensure our research is relevant and useful in classrooms. We also plan to work with industry partners in gaming technology to deliver research and development that will radically enhance digital educational products of the future.

The York-led Hub is one of a network of six new multidisciplinary research centres that will drive forward the UK’s Digital Economy research, knowledge and skills.

The five-year investment will come via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and InnovateUK.

Dr Marsden will also be running a second project as part of the Hub to improve the content and increase reach to teachers and students of IRIS, a free searchable digital collection of instruments and materials used to research second and foreign languages.

Further information on the project is available on the University of York news web pages.