University of Oulu

Evaluating and designing language learning games for minority languages : focus on Karelian language

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Author: Tanskanen, Petri1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.8 MB)
Pages: 62
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : P. Tanskanen, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-06-26
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Arhippainen, Leena
Reviewer: Rajanen, Mikko
Arhippainen, Leena


There are plenty of language learning applications found for smartphone on Google Play store, but only a few of them are for minority language learning, particularly for Karelian language as none of the most popular applications have it listed as an option. Luckily there are few found on the web, but they have their limitations. Both analysing and evaluating them in this study provide a good starting point for designing and developing games further so that one day someone who wants to learn Karelian language can find number of language learning games to choose from. The options for designs would go from having serious borderline gamified applications for language learning to more educational games where effortless learning would be one of the key aspects and having fun is highlighted. The games do not need to be strictly on either mobile or PC, but with the current situation of covid-19 restrictions, the need for digital-based learning games is apparent.

Literature review gives good aspects as to why it is important to do language learning games and as to what aspects should be considered when doing one. The studies on gamification bring forward the usefulness of individual game mechanics that otherwise would not be so carefully thought about when designing games. Giving users achievements and stars as a form of rewards when they succeed makes them stay more motivated when interacting with the game. Design science research provides good set of guidelines for artefact construction phase, where different kind of concepts are first presented based on the cognitive walkthrough and evaluation phases.

In addition to the games that are constructed, a set of design recommendations for further game development are formed to answer the question of what aspects need to be taken into account when developing games for minority language learning. Most of the aspects in the design recommendations are user experience related themes, since the usability aspect of the prototyped games is not on the level that it should be yet.

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Copyright information: © Petri Tanskanen, 2020. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.