How Novakid’s games develop English skills, and why gamification is effective for language learning
On Novakid Online English School’s online platform, you can find 5 mini-games that children enrolled at the school, as well as those who have only signed up to a trial lesson, can play. All the games are easy to find through your personal account on our platform.
Both the games themselves and their education content vary in complexity depending on the student’s level and their curriculum:
- Memo Mix. This is a version of the popular game Memory. The child is shown a set of word cards and picture cards in associated pairs that they have to try to identify and remember. For Novakid’s youngest students, this is the main game on our platform.
- Quiz. In this game, children need to guess a word by entering the missing letters. The game helps to develop visual memory, and the child learns to write in English.
- Box Battle. This is a much harder game, for boosting grammar. By putting the correct answers in the “boxes”, the child remembers which order to use prepositions and articles in.
- Bubbles. This is an interactive quest game, in which the child needs to make words into a sentence, or letters into a word — at a basic level. By repeating words after character in the game, the child practises pronunciation, and also remembers how phrases are written.
- Snake. The child has to “grow” the snake until it turns into an English word. The game develops children’s attention and concentration, and, of course, helps them to learn new words.
Games are an important element of the Novakid Game World, a gamified educational universe for learning English, and the first virtual world in this universe is the Magic Academy. Each level of the programme is an animated adventure story featuring the charismatic residents of the Academy.
This is an English course for children in which lessons with a teacher are integrated into mini-games, comics and a storyline with colourful characters, and students are rewarded for their successes in learning the language.
Linking the game content to the pedagogic approaches in the lesson is particularly effective: the adventures of the child’s favourite characters become part of the lesson with the teacher, so the child becomes more engaged in the learning process.
Why is gamification effective for learning English?
Numerous studies have confirmed the benefits of games for developing cognitive skills. For example, scientists from the University of Glasgow in the UK have shown through experiments that games can help to foster a creative approach to problem-solving and dealing with situations in life.
Interactive game formats also work well because they make it easy for children to learn things: the children relax, and their brains become ideally receptive to information. And if there is a plot or storyline, children look forward to new releases of the games, or a new avatar or comic becoming available.
Introducing elements of competition for points and rewards into the learning process also works well. Children often come back to the game and check their status, and happily perform daily challenges that add points to their score. In this way, they continue learning even after the lesson.
The time spent by Novakid students playing mini-games on our platform each month is equivalent to 4.5 lessons with a teacher in our online school. Our own studies show that, far from being harmful to learning, gamification motivates children to study independently and helps them to take in new material faster and more effectively. Primarily, this happens through repetition: the children repeat sounds, words and constructions many times in the games. Another reason is that learning through play is widely agreed to be the most effective method!
How much time does your child spend play mini-games on the Novakid platform? Tell us in the comments!
If your child is not studying English with Novakid yet, sign them up for a free trial lesson. For their first time, the teacher will assess their level, introduce them to the platform, and give them a full English lesson. Follow this link to sign up for a free lesson!