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Minecraft Word Adventure:
A fun way to learn English

Project Overview

The combination of education and games has always been a hot research field. As an incubation project from Microsoft Research Asia, we are exploring using AI + gaming to make learning English fun and effective.


Minecraft Word Adventure is a research project focused on English vocabulary learning for primary school students. Through AI technology, it can achieve the learning and practice of four dimensions of listening, speaking, spelling and meaning in English words.


UX Designer

Game Designer

Visual Designer


Mar 2021 - Nov 2021

8 months



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Problem Define

The Demand for Supplementary English Education Amidst Pandemic Constraints

As of May 2021, 81.6% of parents have enrolled their children in at least one English cram class, highlighting a strong desire for outside-school English education.

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Moreover, the pandemic has significantly limited the availability of traditional classroom settings, compelling us to seek out innovative alternatives.

Engagement and Retention Challenges in K12 English Learning

Our primary focus is on K12 students who have shown a consistent lack of internal motivation. This manifests as a general disinterest and a lack of concentration in learning activities.

Additionally, the inherent nature of learning new concepts is fraught with challenges, including the well-documented Forgetting Curve.

Finding Solutions

Preliminary Research & Testing

In the absence of existing products that combine AI, English education, and gaming, we developed the 1st version of our solution—school ver.—and conducted tests with several K12 kids. This allowed us to identify issues that had been previously overlooked.

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Why Minecraft?

Minecraft's allure lies in the infinite creative possibilities it offers, making it a perfect match for artificial intelligence and online education ventures. Its global reach, evidenced by a staggering 1 billion players and 0.14 billion monthly active users as of May 2021, confirms its suitability. The game is a hit with our key audience—kids aged 6 to 13, who make up 70% of its Chinese player base. Leveraging Minecraft's diverse content and educational editions could revolutionize learning engagement, transforming the way young minds interact with and absorb new information.

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Why AI?

Previous successes with Microsoft MSRA's Engkoo & Aim Writing demonstrate the potential of AI in English language learning. These tools form the foundation of our project, ensuring personalized learning content that adapts to the individual user’s needs.

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Screenshot of the 1st version

Game-Based Learning Experience

Our observations show that kids are not engaged by traditional Q&A sessions, even when done on a computer.

In-game Environment Design

The map is just too big and lacking in fun spots to explore, leaving kids feeling bored and a bit lost.

Minecraft Potential Utilization

We haven’t yet tapped into the full potential of Minecraft’s sandbox world. There’s a huge opportunity here we’re missing to make learning more interactive and fun.

Small Games We've Tried:
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Version 1: Outer Space Version

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Version 2: Zoo Version

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