Gamification of L2 Instruction
Cognitive Impact

Dr. Vita Kogan (University of Kent, UK)

A talk for the ↗︎ Virtual Laboratory
on Cognitive Approaches to L2 Instruction
Bridging Theory, Research and Practice

July 9, 2020, 17:00–18:30
Central European time (Berlin, Paris, Rome)

Please use this ↗︎ Eventbrite link to register for this FREE EVENT (recommended)

Access to the ↗︎ virtual room without registration
Password (if required): HEIDELBERG


With the current prevalence of online education, situations in which hundreds of students join a session simultaneously with little opportunity to interact with the material and/or the lecturer are becoming more common. To help students stay motivated and engaged, teachers have begun experimenting with fundamental principles of gaming – a recent approach that has precipitated the general term gamification of learning. However, not all such attempts have proven successful. This talk introduces the principles of gamification that, based on the individual speaker's experience, have transformative potential in the classroom and can improve students’ motivation and academic performance. We will also discuss the cognitive underpinnings behind these principles and possible obstacles encountered on the way to implementing them in academic settings.


Vita Kogan is a lecturer of Linguistics at the ↗︎ University of Kent, UK. She previously served on the faculty at the Defense Language Institute, USA, and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, USA. ↗︎ Her research concerns the cognitive mechanisms of second language acquisition and what polyglots are made of. Vita is also an author of the language-learning board games ↗︎ LinguaPolis New York and ↗︎ LinguaPolis Moscow.

Recommended literature

Berkling, K., & Thomas, C. (2013, September). Gamification of a Software Engineering course and a detailed analysis of the factors that lead to it's failure. In 2013 International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL) (pp. 525-530). IEEE.

Charles, T., Bustard, D., & Black, M. (2011). Experiences of promoting student engagement through game-enhanced learning. In Serious games and edutainment applications (pp. 425-445). Springer, London.

Czikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper & Row.

Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., Nacke E., L. (2011a, May). Gamification: Toward a definition. CHI 2011 Workshop.

Koster, R. (2013). Theory of fun for game design. O'Reilly Media, Inc.

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world. Penguin Press.

Prensky, M. R. (2010). Teaching digital natives: Partnering for real learning. Corwin press.

York, J., deHaan, J., & Hourdequin, P. (2019). It’s your turn: EFL teaching and learning with tabletop games. In Innovation in Language Teaching and Learning (pp. 117-139). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Zichermann, G., & Linder, J. (2010). Game-based marketing: inspire customer loyalty through rewards, challenges, and contests. John Wiley & Sos.


The project aims to popularize and promote cognitive and neurocognitive sciences data
and reflections applied to L2 acquisition. We believe that this knowledge is necessary for L2
instructors to increase professional awareness by developing general principles that can guide
methodological decisions in everyday teaching practice in the post-method era.

The Virtual Laboratory (a MOOC-like resource) constitutes an open collection
of recorded videoconferences, where recognized experts in the field
share their ideas and findings on a topic and in a format of their choice.

The recorded videoconferences will be available at the webspace
of the Institute of Slavic Studies at the University of Heidelberg.
They will be accompanied by reflective activities for deeper
comprehension and by suggestions for further reading.

↗︎ Detailed project description

If you are interested in presenting a talk within the Virtual Laboratory,
please submit your proposal to: maria.bondarenko@slav.uni-heridelberg.de

Letzte Änderung: 20.08.2020