Metaphors for digital games and language learning

Jonathon Reinhardt, Steven Thorne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter explores digital games and their relevance and usefulness to L2 learning and pedagogy for both researchers and educators. First, the chapter describes game genres and types and presents an overview of possible game experiences. It then discusses the familiar CALL metaphor of tool and tutor (Levy 1997), as well as the more recent metaphor of ecology, in application to digital gaming and illustrates each with reference to research and pedagogical implications. Then, it examines a potentially new CALL metaphor of ‘game as method’ by first examining several parallels between game design and L2 activity design parameters; these include goal-orientation, interaction or interactivity, feedback, context and motivation. Each of these parallels holds implications for developing and implementing ‘gameful’ L2 instruction. The chapter concludes with a critical evaluation of the game as method metaphor by examining and interfacing the concepts of digital games with L2 learning theories and pedagogical methodologies, and proposes that ‘gamefulness’ may be a better conceptualisation for the metaphor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Language Learning and Technology
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781317329428
ISBN (Print)9780415837873
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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