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Using narrative to learn a new language

Many language learners are familiar with apps like Duolingo. Wen Yao wanted to see if his game, which uses narrative and real audio clips, would teach users Mandarin more effectively than Duolingo. Yao and his advisors then surveyed participants to see which tool they liked better.

Published: April 2018
Advisors: Derek Curry, Celia Pearce, and Christoffer Holmgård

Educational games have become a mainstream trend in the education industry. This research represents a narrative language learning game “Mandarin Mystery,” which uses a narrative structure instead of simple word repetition to teach Mandarin Chinese. This game combines stories, real conversation audios, and vocabulary exercises to help players learn Mandarin. In order to know if the game’s method has an advantage compared to old-style learning – word repetition, this paper conducted a survey that compares Mandarin Mystery with a popular language learning application “Duolingo.” Players are asked to play both applications and complete a survey about their opinions of each. The result shows players’ preferences to both applications are almost the same, while Mandarin Mystery seems more attractive Duolingo keeps its supporters through word repetition method and clean design interface. Learn more about Wen Yao’s project here!


Wen Yao

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