A comparative review of mobile and non-mobile games for language learning

Fan SU, Di ZOU, Haoran XIE, Fu Lee WANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies have increasingly investigated the effectiveness of both mobile and non-mobile digital game-based language learning. To gain an in-depth understanding of the differences in the effectiveness of mobile and non-mobile games, we compared studies from January 2000 to August 2020 investigating mobile game-based language learning (MGBLL) and non-mobile game-based language learning (NMGBLL). Sixty-four articles were analyzed from four aspects: game types, game elements, target languages, and learning outcomes. The results showed that (a) gamification, simulation games, and immersive games were applied most; (b) all games possessed the game elements of goals or rules; (c) the most investigated target languages were English and Chinese; and (d) the most discussed learning outcomes were language acquisition and psychological/affective state. The similarities and differences between MGBLL and NMGBLL were also identified. The current review provides an overview and in-depth analysis of mobile and non-mobile games for language learning, guiding practitioners to select appropriate digital games to cater to specific language teaching goals. Future directions of research are also discussed. Copyright © 2021 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


Su, F., Zou, D., Xie, H., & Wang, F. L. (2021). A comparative review of mobile and non-mobile games for language learning. SAGE Open, 11(4). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/21582440211067247


  • Mobile games
  • Non-mobile games
  • Digital games
  • Language learning
  • PG student publication


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