Google Research

Improving Hindi Decoding Skills via a Mobile Game

  • Adeetee Bhide
  • Wencan Luo
  • Nivita Vijay
  • Charles Perfetti
  • Jingtao Wang
  • Adrian Maries
  • Sonali Nag
Reading and Writing, vol. 2019 (2019), pp. 1-30


Previous research with alphasyllabaries has shown that children struggle with akshara that have two or more consonants, known as complex akshara. We developed a mobile game that teaches 4th grade children Hindi decoding skills, with an emphasis on complex akshara. All of the children were second language learners of Hindi. There were two versions of the game that varied in terms of stimuli spacing (massed and distributed). We found that the game improved participants’ akshara recognition and their ability to read and spell words that contain complex akshara. There is also evidence of learning in the online data; participants were able to more quickly arrive at the correct answers as the game progressed. Both versions of the game yielded equivalent levels of improvement, but participants played the massed version faster. The spacing results are interpreted using the desirable difficulties framework. Overall, the results suggest that mobile technology can effectively improve akshara knowledge.

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