Designing an Educational Toy for Japanese Language Learning: Exploring Multidisciplinary and Cross-Cultural Research in Design and Linguistics

Carlos Montana-Hoyos, Yuko Kinoshita

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This article presents a multidisciplinary and cross-cultural project, merging design research and linguistics research to develop an educational toy for learning Japanese language targeted to Australian school learners. We explain in detail the linguistic content, the rationales and design process; and report on initial findings from user testing. In summary: the final outcome of the research project, a toy to teach Japanese, focuses on verbal conjugations. We designed and produced a set of Lego-like assembly blocks, with which learners play to assemble and dismantle meaningful linguistic structures: verbal phrases. The main premise is that physical assembly of building blocks can encourage an understanding of grammatical structures, while providing sensory stimulation. Being a toy, users' enjoyment was a significant design goal. A gender-neutral and friendly appearance was sought. To enhance Japanese cultural learning, the overall design of the toy (including parts and graphics) aimed to incorporate Japanese cultural elements and aesthetics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-33pp
    JournalThe International Journal of Design in Society
    Volume12
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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