Tag Archive: immersion

I came across this book entitled Effective electronic gaming in education by Richard E. Ferdig.

I have not had the chance to read it yet, I hope to do so when the time is right.

Why is this book of interest to me?

Firstly I love culture and I like teaching which to me means sharing knowledge. Sharing culture can only be done through language and I feel that that is the main reason why I love languages. Through hard work, language gives me the possibility of accessing another world and being a part of it. Secondly I like this book so far (I have read the introduction only) because it is centred around gaming. I love games, I was such a loyal gamer that I played World of Warcraft regularly, had a human mage, elf rogue, and dwarf hunter all to level 60 as well as other characters. I had serious objectives that I needed to attain and alternated between French and British realms. I learned to play WoW and picked up the vocabulary surrounding the MMORPG in French and English. I am fluent in WoW. I also managed to pick up a rare purple sabertooth mount after lots of work and no help from bots. These feats may not seem like much but I played WoW the day it came out in France and a year later I had several level 60s and then I stopped. This experience revealed quite a few things I did not know about myself:

  1. I don’t lack dedication but sometimes I cross over to the other side and become a techno hermit. I have learnt to manage this particular behaviour. My biggest accomplishment was stopping my addiction in 2005 and replacing game work with home work.
  2. When immersed in something I love, I learn everything about the immediate environment. I was a regular on WoW fora looking for tips on how to %*$ and carried out extensive research on the professions to choose and the skills sets I needed to nurture. For example, elves by nature can become invisible, it seemed logical at times to train as a rogue, stealth being an asset and then pick up leather working or poison-making as a profession. Leather working because rogues could only wear leather and anyway rogues are fast killers and so on.

So imagine if I had played a game like WoW that was just as fun and picked up a language that was useful in the real world, sky’s the limit. I must say that in WoW you do manage money, work in teams, sometimes you become Guild leaders and sometimes you become the fairy Godmother, I was more the latter than the former. I used to hang around low level instances (level 10 to 20) as a level 40 mage helping friends and strangers complete their quests which is what I loved doing the most. So one could say I am a not-for-profit oriented mage. Therefore, there is no shortage of real world skills within the world of WoW and leadership is an important part of WoW when going through instances and killing your xxxx millioneth Orc.

All this to say that true MMORPG style games as a language learning tool would be a Godsend to visual learners and language aficionados.


Time management

A very important part of language learning is time management. Without properly managing your limited resources (time and interest) you may or may not stagnate and you may or may not get frustrated therefore throwing in the towel.

When it comes to time management, on  a scale of zero to five and five being the highest grade, I would comfortably score a one. I can go for five hours straight, learning a language. In the short run I learned a lot, in the long run I simply ran out of steam.

I did this when I was learning Russian in Spain at the age of 17. I would spend a few hours each day learning Russian while everyone around me spoke Spanish. After 2 weeks I was fed up of Russian however my Spanish had greatly improved.

The second time I used this ‘strategy’ was when I was 20. I spent four months learning Japanese in France at l’ Ecole de Langues de TENRI as well as going to class at AUP, the American University of Paris. I learned a lot of Japanese but then I burned out. My French in the meantime had greatly improved and improved even further when I started drama classes in a French theatre school.

The last time I used this strategy was at the age of 27 to learn Mandarin in Abuja, Nigeria. It was three months of intense learning at home while working at the ECOWAS Commission and then I burned out. This last episode taught me that:

  • I can learn any language
  • a routine is an essential part of my learning process
  • having specific daily goals are important
  • a journal to document tasks and progress is indispensable
  • I should only learn useful vocabulary
  • creativity makes learning easier
  • each language activity should be timed. By that I mean, if you decide to spend 30 minutes per day on learning characters, then do just that. Then spend two 15 minutes session reviewing what you have learned. My experience is telling me that I should invest in reviewing what I have learned regularly before absorbing more data

Google Chrome has an application called Task Timer. It looks like a basic stop watch however I will use it as a way of ensuring each activity gets proper attention.

Q. How do you go about managing your time when you are learning?