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Apr 6, 2017

Introducing Lumosity's New Language Games

Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of our Language games across all platforms — web and mobile. This new category is the culmination of a concerted effort from the Lumosity Games and Applied Science teams to conceptualize, research, develop, and polish a suite of five word games that allow our community to practice and engage their English vocabulary.

“Our new Language category is a complement to our core cognitive training program,” said Bev Chung, Director of Games. “Much like we made cognitive training accessible to a large population by bringing those exercises out of the lab, we’re excited to make practicing language skills increasingly accessible to our users. By expanding into Language, we’re giving our users a new online platform to refresh their language skills, but in a familiar and fun format.”

Three of the new Language games — Taking Root, Editor’s Choice, and Continuum — are vocabulary proficiency games, which depend on understanding and correctly using different words. In Taking Root, players learn word “roots” and then apply these learnings to define new words. Editor’s Choice tasks players with quickly selecting synonyms for a given word from a list (you can learn more about the development of Editor’s Choice in our blog post, “The Role of Dictionaries in Editor’s Choice”). Continuum presents players with a list of related words, which they must then order based on their definitions’ nuances — the list “engaging, boring, interesting” is rearranged to “engaging, interesting, boring.”

A fourth game, Contextual, is a reading comprehension game that allows users to practice reading, processing, and understanding written language. Players are given a story to read and then asked to identify and replace incorrectly used words based on the narrative’s context. We have a Content Editor, Matt Keefer, who writes many of the stories found in Contextual, in addition to overseeing work by some freelance writers.

Rounding out the Language category is Word Bubbles, a verbal fluency game popular with many Lumosity players. Verbal fluency is the ability to rapidly retrieve words from your mental vocabulary, and the game lets players practice this skill by asking them to recall as many words as possible beginning with a phonemic stem (such as “cas-” or “hydr-”).

All five of these games were designed to appeal to a broad range of adults. We don’t intend for them to teach either beginning or advanced English, but rather to give our players the chance to engage and practice language skills — something most adults outside of academic or verbally-oriented careers don’t often have the chance to do. In developing the games, we worked with vocabulary experts and tested content against an in-house algorithm to ensure that each game’s content reflects an appropriate range of vocabulary, with an emphasis on relevant, useful language.

Matt explained, “Our goal is to strike a balance between exposing players to new words and to familiar-but-forgotten words, as well as augmenting their understanding of the definitions and applications of a wide range of vocabulary.”

Although we launched the Language category in beta last April, the category has been much improved over the past year of work: we’ve been able to enrich the individual games with new content, as well as incorporate some early user feedback. For example, Continuum has grown from 500 sequences to 2,200, while Contextual initially featured only 10 passages and now has 117 and counting.

Our work isn’t done yet: we’ll be releasing new content regularly, as well as developing additional games to grow the category. For now, our Language category is exclusively available to our subscribers. You can play the new games at lumosity.com or by updating your mobile app.

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