Conference article

Substituto - A Synchronous Educational Language Game for Simultaneous Teaching and Crowdsourcing

Marianne Grace Araneta
University of Trento

Gülsen Eryigit
AI & Data Engineering Dep. Istanbul Technical University

Alexander König

Ji-Ung Lee
UKP Lab Technical University of Darmstadt

Ana Luís
University of Coimbra CELGA/ILTEC

Verena Lyding
Institute for Applied Linguistics Eurac Research Bolzano/Bozen

Lionel Nicolas
Institute for Applied Linguistics Eurac Research Bolzano/Bozen

Christos Rodosthenous
Open University of Cyprus

Federico Sangati
University of Naples, Italy OIST University, Japan

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Published in: Proceedings of the 9th Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Computer Assisted Language Learning (NLP4CALL 2020)

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 175:1, p. 1-9

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Published: 2020-11-20

ISBN: 978-91-7929-732-9

ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


This paper investigates a general framework for synchronous educational language games that simultaneously allows researchers to crowdsource learner answers in a controlled environment. Our prototype Substituto allows teachers and students to interact in real-time while undergoing language learning exercises; ensuring that the learner’s progress is not hurt by the introduction of crowdsourcing elements. We evaluate Substituto with a small-scale user study that focuses on training the use of English verb-particle constructions (VPCs), such as break down or take over, and test their use with second language learners of English of different proficiency levels over five pilot sessions. With the study we aim to ensure that our prototypical implementation behaves as expected and to identify any major design flaws that should be addressed. The preliminary results we achieved in order to evaluate the educational value, the user experience and the crowdsourcing capacity of XYZ-Bot confirm that it has the potential to become a valuable asset for language learning, a pleasant learning instrument and a crowdsourcing tool for collecting linguistic knowledge.


educational language game, crowdsourcing, exercise generation


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