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ImparApp: Pervasive Gaming for Language Learning

Lab Contact: Sylvester Arnab
Team: Koula Charitonos, Luca Morini, Tyrone Bellamy-Wood, Sarah K-Andrews


Pervasive Gaming for Language Learning is a project in collaboration with the Coventry University’s Languages Centre, aiming to explore pervasive approaches to learning and exploit gamification techniques in contextualising language learning in a more active and engaging way. In this pilot, we aim to investigate the crossings of gamification and pervasive learning in supporting the teaching of Italian language as a case study, and the feasibility of using a holistic and modular design model (figure 1, developed by Dr. Sylvester Arnab[1]) in guiding a design process, emphasizing on a user-centred design approach. Users in our case are both the students and tutors.


Modular and bottom up diagram


Preliminary observations include positive collaborations between learners and tutors as co-designers of the learning strategy, which is guided by the model as a tool to focus and structure the design process that is merging real needs with the potential of enabling technologies.



The goal of the project is to develop, deploy and evaluate a pervasive gaming (location-based) approach in teaching and learning of an Italian Language, exploring these research questions:

  1. How can a pervasive approach to learning using a location-based game support active learning – within the context of language learning? This research questions will explore the features of location-based gaming and the potential for a pervasive and active approach to learning engage learners towards a more enhanced experience.
  2. How can does the use of a pervasive approach fit within the context of formal teaching and learning process (Coventry University perspective)? This research question will explore how should a gamified approach (as part of the overall games and gamification programme) fits within the formal context of teaching and learning delivery.


Technology Application

The user-centred design process involves tutors and students facilitated by the DMLL team (games, gamification, pedagogy, learning technology) using the holistic model (figure 1) to map out requirements and specifications for a pervasive game. In line with the EU’s ‘Opening up Education’ initiative [2], open-source authoring tools for pervasive gaming will be experimented and evaluated (the MIT’s TaleBlazer [3]).
A prototype is being developed and will be piloted with a cohort of language students in 2016. Key hypothesis that will be tested with the expected prototype is that active learning afforded by pervasive gamification enhances learning experience and outcomes, where control trials will be conducted as part of the project. Figure 2 below illustrates the early prototype.


imparapp-screenshotFigure 2: Imparapp prototype and user testing







  • Design requirement and specification  (Jan – Sept 2015)
  • Iterative authoring and testing of a pervasive game prototype (Italian language, unit 1 and 2)  (July – Feb 2016)
  • Pilot of prototype (March 2016)
  • Blind test of prototype (October – November 2016)


Project Timeline:

Start date

January 2015

End date





Phase 1: Design requirement and specification, which is on-going (Jan – June 2015)

Phase 2: Authoring of a pervasive game prototype (Italian language, unit 1) (July – Oct 2015)

Phase 3: Pilot of prototype (End of 2015 or early 2016)

Associated Faculties, Schools and/or Course(s):

  • Faculty of Arts and Humanities
  • Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing
  • Computing (Game tech)
  • Languages Centre



  1. Charitonos, K. , Morini, L. , Arnab, S. , Cervi-Wilson, T. and Brick, B. (2016) ‘Urban explorations for language learning: a gamified approach to teaching Italian in a university context’ In: S. Papadima-Sophocleous, L. Bradley and S. Thouësny (Eds). CALL communities and culture – Short papers from EUROCALL 2016, ’23rd EUROCALL Conference’. Held 24-27 August 2016 at Limassol, Cyprus. Dublin, Ireland: (Find it at: 

Conference presentations:

  1. 1. Morini, L., Charitonos, K., Arnab, S. et al. (2016). ImparApp: designing and piloting a game-based approach for language learning. Proceedings of ECGBL Conference 6-7 October 2016, Paisley, Scotland 

    2. Brick, B., Cervi-Wilson, T. and Charitonos, K. (2016) ImparApp: a game-based approach to teaching Italian for absolute beginners. In LLAS Conference 2016 Frameworks for collaboration and multilinquism, University of Warwick, 6-7 July 2016

    3.  Charitonos, K. (2016) Beyond the language classroom. Ignite Talk, DMLL Expo,  Coventry University, 27 April 2016 (Find it at: 

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