Unlocking the Power of Language Learning Games: Keeping Teens Engaged with Chinese Language Learning

As a parent, getting your teen to commit to learning Chinese can be a daunting task. Traditional language learning apps often fall short, with repetitive exercises and a lack of real-world application that can make the process feel monotonous. This is where language learning games, specifically designed to be immersive and engaging, can make a significant difference. At Odeum, we’ve created "Hua Mulan: A Chinese Learning Adventure" to address these challenges and provide a fun, interactive way for teens to stick with their language learning journey.

The Struggle with Traditional Language Learning Apps

Many parents face frustration when trying to encourage their teens to learn Chinese. Conventional apps, while informative, often fail to captivate young learners. The repetitive nature of flashcards, rote memorization, and lack of contextual practice can quickly lead to boredom and disengagement. Teens crave stimulation and relevance, and without these elements, their interest wanes, leading to inconsistent learning.

The Power of Language Learning Games

Language learning games are revolutionizing how teens approach learning Chinese. By integrating educational content into an interactive and entertaining format, these games can transform a tedious task into an exciting adventure. The key lies in their ability to create a sense of immersion and relevance, which are critical for maintaining motivation and engagement.

Why "Hua Mulan: A Chinese Learning Adventure" Works

"Hua Mulan: A Chinese Learning Adventure" is not just a game—it's an educational journey that captivates teens through a compelling narrative and immersive gameplay. Here's how it stands out from traditional language learning apps:

1. Engaging Storyline

Set in ancient China, "Hua Mulan" weaves a rich story that draws players in from the start. Teens take on the role of a time-traveling adventurer working alongside the legendary Hua Mulan to resolve historical anomalies. This captivating plot keeps them invested in the game and, consequently, in their language learning.

2. Situational Learning

Unlike traditional apps that often isolate vocabulary and grammar from real-world contexts, "Hua Mulan" employs situational learning. Players engage in meaningful conversations with NPCs, solve problems, and complete quests using Chinese. This practical application helps teens see the relevance of what they’re learning and how it applies in real-life situations.

3. Learning by Doing

"Hua Mulan" emphasizes experiential learning, where teens learn by doing. Through interactive dialogues, word scrambles, and repairing time anomalies, they practice Chinese in a dynamic environment. This hands-on approach not only enhances retention but also builds confidence as they use the language actively.

4. Instant Feedback

Immediate feedback is crucial for effective learning. In "Hua Mulan," players receive instant corrections and guidance, helping them learn from their mistakes and improve continuously. This feature ensures that learning is personalized and adaptive, catering to the individual needs of each learner.

5. Motivation through Game Elements

Game elements such as quests, rewards, and challenges keep teens motivated to progress. The sense of achievement from completing tasks and advancing through the game’s chapters fuels their desire to continue learning. This intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than the external pressure of traditional study methods.

Real-World Application and Communication Skills

One of the significant advantages of "Hua Mulan" is its focus on developing communication skills. Teens practice speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Chinese within the game’s context. This comprehensive approach ensures they are well-rounded in their language abilities, preparing them for real-world interactions.

A Community of Learners

"Hua Mulan" also fosters a community of learners. Teens can connect with peers who share similar interests, exchange tips, and support each other’s progress. This social aspect adds another layer of engagement, making the learning process more enjoyable and less isolating.

Final Thought: Making Chinese Language Learning Fun and Effective

"Hua Mulan: A Chinese Learning Adventure" exemplifies how language learning games can transform the educational experience for teens. By blending a captivating storyline, situational learning, and interactive gameplay, it addresses the shortcomings of traditional language learning apps. As a parent, you no longer have to battle your kids to learn Chinese—let the adventure and excitement of "Hua Mulan" keep them engaged and motivated. Discover the future of language learning with Odeum and give your teen the tools they need to succeed in mastering Chinese.

Ready to embark on this educational journey? Explore "Hua Mulan: A Chinese Learning Adventure" today and see how game-based learning can make a difference in your teen’s language education.


[Dev Blog] Upcoming Features: Time Shards and the Temporal Tablet

Greetings, adventurers!

We’re excited to share a sneak peek at two new features we’re working on for Hua Mulan: A Chinese Learning Adventure—Time Shards and the Temporal Tablet. These additions are designed to elevate your learning experience and provide personalized, engaging ways to master Chinese vocabulary. We're also thrilled to announce that Chapter 2 is in its final stages and will be available soon!

Time Shards: Your Personalized Learning Tool

Learning a new language is a journey, and everyone has words and phrases that need a bit more practice. To address this, we're introducing Time Shards—a fun and interactive way to reinforce your vocabulary skills.

How It Works

When you get a word wrong during conversations with NPCs, a new Time Shard is created. These shards are fractures in time you need to repair. To interact with these shards, you’ll use the EchoSpect Goggles, a special device that lets you see and engage with the Time Shards scattered throughout the game world.

The EchoSpect Goggles:

The EchoSpect Goggles are set to transform your learning experience. By wearing these goggles, you can spot the Time Shards scattered throughout the environment. Each shard contains a word or phrase that needs attention. Interacting with these shards will help you reinforce your understanding and ensure you master the vocabulary and get home.

The Temporal Tablet: Track Your Progress

Alongside the Time Shards, we’re introducing the Temporal Tablet. This handy tool will keep track of your Time Shards and overall progress with both vocabulary and quests.


  • Progress Tracking: Monitor your mastery of vocabulary words and see which ones you need to practice more.
  • Quest Log: Keep an eye on your quest progress and see how far you’ve come in your adventure with Mulan.
  • Interactive Learning: The Temporal Tablet will provide tips and feedback based on your interactions with the Time Shards, helping you focus on areas that need improvement.

Wrapping Up Chapter 2

We’re also excited to let you know that Chapter 2 is nearly complete and will be available soon. In this chapter, you’ll finally meet Mulan and help her prepare for her journey by gathering necessary supplies. The new chapter promises more engaging content, exciting plot twists, and plenty of opportunities to practice your Chinese.

Stay tuned for these updates and more. We can’t wait for you to experience the new features and continue your adventure in Hua Mulan: A Chinese Learning Adventure!

Happy learning and adventuring!

The Odeum Team

[DevBlog] The Evolution of the Time-Travel Mechanic in Hua Mulan: A Chinese Learning Adventure

The realm of educational gaming offers a plethora of opportunities to innovate and captivate learners. At Odeum, we continually seek creative ways to merge engaging gameplay with robust educational objectives. In "Hua Mulan: A Chinese Learning Adventure", one of our most enchanting game mechanics is time-travel. In this post, we're diving into the evolution of this feature, exploring how it both serves the narrative and enhances the learning experience.

The Spark of Inspiration

Time-travel is no new concept in storytelling. However, for an educational game focused on Chinese history and language, it offers a unique bridge between the modern player and ancient Chinese civilizations. The idea was born from a desire to make historical contexts and language immersion feel seamless and engaging.

The Narrative Drive

Our main character starts in a modern setting, offering players a familiar base. But with the introduction of the Clockwork Time Authority and the ensuing mission, we propel our hero (and our players) back to 436 AD. This historical dive isn't just a scenic backdrop; it's integral to the mystery surrounding Hua Mulan and the Shadows of the Past.

Enhancing the Learning Experience

Time-travel serves a dual purpose. Narratively, it facilitates the unfolding mystery. Educationally, it creates an immersive environment for language learning. By "living" in ancient China, players must communicate with NPCs in Chinese, integrating their language lessons directly into gameplay. This is experiential learning at its finest.

Challenges & Triumphs

Incorporating time-travel wasn't without its challenges. Ensuring historical accuracy, while melding with a fictional narrative, required meticulous research and attention to detail. Additionally, we had to strike a balance so the time-travel mechanism would feel organic and not a mere gimmick. Feedback from our early testers indicates we've achieved that goal.

Final Thoughts

Time-travel in "Hua Mulan: A Chinese Learning Adventure" isn't just about hopping between epochs. It's a tool that carries the narrative weight and amplifies the educational value of the game. By grounding language learning in a rich, story-driven context, we hope to provide players with an unforgettable educational adventure.

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See How Easily You Can Learn Chinese This New Way

Language learning is hard. To learn Chinese is hard. Learning a new language requires motivation, repetition, and memorization to be successful. Today’s language learning apps are often dry and boring. Chances are you’ve tried one and lost interest.

Odeum has created an immersive approach to learn Chinese that combines video games with language learning. But not the “Chocolate covered Broccoli” type games where you are rewarded with gameplay that is not related to language learning. But gameplay that immerses you into a role-playing story where you must use and practice language naturally to be successful.

Language Learning games built with Odeum provide the motivation, in-game assistance for memorization, and rich stories that provide the purpose for repetition.


“You are a recruit for the Clockwork Time Authority and must travel back in time to help Hua Mulan from the evil Shadows of the Past.” This is how Odeum’s Hua Mulan: A Chinese Learning Adventure starts. The story gives the motivation for learning Chinese.

Without motivation or a purpose, you are learning from a language app without context. As babies, we learned our first language because we had to communicate with our care givers. A game with a rich story gives the context and motivation for learning.

With Odeum, you are immersed into the world of Hua Mulan. The gameplay and story keep you motivated. You will see similarities in gameplay to other AAA games such as Assassin’s Creed or The Witcher. Role-playing mechanics such as quests, interactions, and open worlds keep learners engaged. Learners feel more like they’re playing an RPG such as World of Warcraft instead of practicing Chinese.


Repetition might sound almost painful. Practicing the same phrase repeatedly until you lock it into memory. This traditional method is key to almost any language program. But that doesn’t mean we have to go about it in the same way.

Odeum’s approach to repetition is to integrate the “Why” of needing to practice with the story and gameplay. In this way, you don’t even realize you’re practicing Chinese. Instead, you are having natural conversation with characters in the game to achieve some goal.

For example, in one quest for Hua Mulan: A Chinese Learning Adventure, you have a suspicion the village teacher is working for the Shadow’s of the Past. You must find this teacher by asking each villager “Are you a teacher?”. This gives the motivation for why you must repeat the sentence pattern. But, because you are playing a game, you don’t even realize it.


To learn Chinese (or any language) requires memorization in both vocabulary words and grammar patterns. Building up a vocabulary is essential. Practicing grammar patterns locks into memory the natural familiarity of the language.

Odeum uses numerous mechanics to help with memorization. New vocabulary and grammar patterns are initially taught with traditional flashcards as part of your mission briefing. You then practice these vocabulary words and grammar patterns throughout your missions/quests as you interact with other characters. If you struggle with parts of the language, then the story will adapt and give you additional quests to give you more practice.

Since the action you are taking in the game, such as buying food from a shop, aligns with the context of the story, your brain can make deeper connections. You’re not just repeating a word, you’re using it in the correct context. This is true language immersion.

Magic Happens

Motivation, repetition, and memorization are keys to language learning and Odeum uses them together to create a powerful immersive learning tool that is sure to help you meet your learning goals. You can see how motivation feeds into the why of repetition and this leads to memorization. In the example above, your goal is to find the teacher in the village. This is your motivation. You must ask each villager. This is your repetition. And finally, because you’ve been repeating the sentence pattern in the correct context, you are locking it into memory.  

What strategies worked for you in staying motivated to learn a language? Leave a comment below.


6 Tips for Creating Role Playing Games in the Classroom

You've read about the many benefits to students when role playing. Maybe you incorporate role play in your classroom already. However, in most role play scenarios, some students will have lead roles and others won't. Enter the digital age and role playing games where every student is the hero and has the same access to learning. But, what happens when a role playing game doesn't already exist that meets your learning objectives?

Creating your own role playing adventures might sound daunting, but that's where tools like the Odeum Creator can help. Seeing your students engaged and helping them build real connections to history can be very rewarding and is not so daunting if you follow a few tips. 

Here are 6 tips to help you meet your learning objectives and engage your students with an immersive role playing game: 

1.  Identify educational outcomes. 

What is the big takeaway you want your students to have when they’ve completed your game? Are you trying to engage students, instill empathy, different perspectives, think critically, or build real connections to a historical event? When you look at your lesson, what are you really wanting your students to understand? Have a clear goal for the learning outcomes helps you stay focused. Write down the learning objectives and make sure for every quest and dialogue you’re advancing these learning outcomes. 

2. Narrow slice or big epic story? 

When you think of Role Playing Games (RPGs) you probably think of big epic games that take months to complete. While games created in Odeum can be any length, we’ve found through classroom testing that creating a game that takes about 20 minutes to complete fits perfectly in a teacher’s lesson. This also allows you to focus on your educational outcomes. That’s not to say you couldn’t create an epic role playing game that takes multiple sessions across multiple weeks to complete. You could also make a series of smaller games all to the same theme/unit. For example, when reading Macbeth, you could have a different Macbeth experience for each act of the play. Each with its own learning objectives. In this way, students could play from different perspectives and different characters in each game. 

3. Bring on the story!

The story is key to providing the motivation for the "why" of the game. Why are we in this world? Why do we need to save it? One of the story themes for Odeum is that players time travel to stop evil doers from altering history. This story premise can be applied to beyond just social studies but to language learning, math, and science.

4. Creating compelling and educational quests. 

Now that you’ve identified your learning outcomes, the size of the game, and some ideas for the story, you’ll want to think about a series of quests that meet your learning objectives and are engaging to students. The key here for role playing is to make it authentic and natural. A quest does not need to have the same objectives as a learning objective but should bring your students closer to your educational outcomes. For example, in teaching the reasons for American Revolutionary war, instead of a quest "Find 1 cause for the war" (which is a learning objective), have a quest "Find out why the colonists are rioting." This allows the player to organically learn about why the rioters are upset and therefore satisfying the learning requirement.

5. Place nuggets.

History is full of interesting facts and can really come alive when placed into context. When students stumble onto these nuggets in their proper context they are able to make real connections that promote long-term memory. Make sure you take advantage of this. Nuggets can be an entire side quest, embedded into a dialogue of a character, or a clickable item in the world.  

6. Get into the characters. 

When you create the dialogue for characters, roleplay and imagine how they would talk and act. The more believable you make the characters the more your students will be immersed and feel they are really in the historical world you have created. Don’t be afraid to add backstory and small talk. The more real you make it they more they feel they are living and experience it.

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Game-based learning encourages engagement and motivation!

What if you tell your little gamer that they can learn a new language while playing a role-playing game! What do you think their reaction would be? Probably, “Let’s do it!”

When you first enroll in an online courses your enthusiasm is on the roof! You're excited to learn and try out the new program. However, once the program progresses you lose interest as the boring monotony of it takes over.

In fact, completion rates for online courses are an average of 5-15%. So the challenge for educators is to explore ways to make learning more engaging for students. Studies show that a child's learning outcome will be heavily improved through engagement and motivation.

Game-based learning is engaging

Engagement in game-based learning is the act of participating in a certain situation with the outcome of belongingness and commitment. 

Motivation in game-based learning is the act of feeling rewarded as you progress in the program with the outcome of being eager to move further.

Experiential learning is the outcome when you play an education role-playing game.

The concept is learning from practice. It is the evolution of the 70:20:10 model by Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinge which states that 70% of the development of an individual happens from experience, 20% of learning is from social and 10% from lectures and structured programs.

A basic example of this is when a child learns how to communicate for the very first time. A child becomes a literate member of society by listening and interacting with the people that surround them. Social interactions involving language that a child experience during play helps build their literacy knowledge.

Role playing is an extension of Experiential Learning

For today’s generation, we see more and more similarities to this approach. Children learn through the advancement in platforms they are accustomed to such as Youtube, game-streaming, and online games. Our role as educators and parents is to ensure that we give them the proper guidance so they watch or play is something that they will learn from.

The best part about learning through experience is that it tends to be more long-lasting than just memorizing modules. At Odeum we strongly believe in making kids love learning by creating real experiences for learning through role playing. We believe that learning is most effective when it is through experience and interaction.

Odeum is currently developing a Chinese Learning Role-playing game (RPG) that immerses students into ancient China where they must survive and save history by learning and speaking Chinese.

Stay tuned and follow our Facebook page to get more updates regarding its release date!


6 Ways Teachers Benefit from Odeum's Game Based Learning

There are many game based learning benefits for students discussed in today's literature including improving critical thinking, memory, and meeting learning objectives due to increased engagement. However, not as much is discussed about the benefits of game based learning (GBL) to teachers. Here are 6 benefits to teachers of using the Odeum platform for game based learning.

  1. Single Library of Game Based Learning Games

According to a recent survey, 80% of teachers have a difficult time finding games aligned to their content. The Odeum platform makes it easy with a single library to search for games by subject, topic, keyword, and grade. Teachers rate and review games to ensure quality. 

2. Student Feedback through constant Assessment 

The Odeum platform provides customizable feedback on student progress. It lets teachers know what concepts, vocabulary, or learning objectives students had difficulty with. It can be used as an assessment to provide teachers with instant and auto-graded feedback. Teachers can use a flipped-classroom approach and assign games as homework. 

3. Class Feedback 

The class dashboard is a single place for a teacher to view assessment feedback on all students. This gives the teacher feedback to determine if they need to re-teach any concepts or move at a faster pace. Class data can be synced up to Google Classroom. 

4. Customization of content and learning objectives 

One problem teachers have in finding games is they don’t always align with a teacher's curriculum or their student’s needs. All the content in Odeum’s games can be modified, simplified, or expanded on giving the teacher complete control. Quests or learning objectives can be modified or turned off and individual character dialogue can be altered. Have specific vocabulary words you’re working on, simply edit the dialogue to add them in. 

5. Create your own games

If a game or topic doesn’t exist in the library, teachers have the option to create their own. Not every teacher will do this, but if they do, they can share it back to the library for other teachers to use. Creating games in Odeum is easy. Teachers just worry about the educational content, not the 3D environment. The 3D environment is simply connected using drop-down menus. 

6. Seeing your students engaged

Allowing students to explore topics in 3D Virtual Worlds through game-play that is directly aligned to learning objectives allows students to have fun while learning. This positive engagement with a topic allows teachers to see that spark of learning in their students and set them up for a lifelong love of exploring and learning about their world.  


21st Century Critical Thinking Skills

Today’s student is facing an even more fast-paced and knowledge driven society than what teachers prepared students for just a few years ago. Information is everything, and it is changing at a rapid pace. Students who cannot keep up with new knowledge and who cannot synthesize and parse out what they need to know to successfully complete a real-world task will be left behind. Even more importantly, students who do not know how to analyze an authentic, real-life situation critically will be considered ill-prepared for life and the 21st century workforce. Critical Thinking is one of the most important 21st century skills teachers want to instill on their students.


Learning from Experience

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