Welcome & about this page

Hello, and thanks for visiting!

On this page I would like to introduce you to my research in the field of computer-assisted language learning (CALL). My main research focus is the intersection of tutorial CALL and task-based language learning. I take a particular interest in how mechanics of gaming such as feedback can support instructed language learning. I'm also passionate about the design and development of CALL applications.

For information on what I do as research and valorization manager in the area of educational technology, which is fruitfully cross-fertilizing my work in CALL, please consult my LinkedIn profile.

Research statement

The research projects that I commit myself to aim to uncover the mechanisms that support effective and engaging second and foreign language (L2) learning in instructed contexts, with particular attention to the impact of explicit instruction, practice, feedback, and other types of learning support. I'm particularly interested in how L2 learning and instruction can be supported through digital technologies (i.e. tutorial CALL), in synergy with the teacher as a critical mediator of student learning. This research is carried out in communicative (mostly task-based) L2 learning and teaching that is (partly) mediated by digital technologies, mostly in secondary education, and typically in environments that incorporate games or design elements of gaming.

Major topics of interest include:

Within this space, I consider myself a generalist rather than a specialist in each of the topics. I love interacting with people and across disciplines, and strongly believe that collaborative research makes for more impact on society.

Theoretically, my research is mainly informed by the fields of second language acquisition, instructional psychology, and motivational psychology. As far as methodology is concerned, I apply a blend of skills in pedagogy and instructional design, behavioural research methods (qualitative and quantitative), human-computer interaction design, programming (a.o. web application frameworks, gaming technologies), and learning analytics (statistical analysis and natural language processing of learner-computer interactions).

Contributions to CALL applications

Here is a selection of CALL R&D projects to which I contributed in various capacities (in reverse chronological order), and which resulted in prototypes or ready-to-use applications. It's a challenge to maintain the results of such projects in academic environments, but whenever I can, I continue to commit to the projects marked with a 🔧 (technical support) or a 🚀 (more serious ambitions 😉), so reach out to me if you want to know more about these or get involved in whatever way!

The projects are presented in chronological order.

Curriculum vitae

My initial training was in Germanic languages and literature (Master of Arts at KU Leuven, 2004; reading English and German; thesis on Robertson Davies's The Cunning Man), literary theory (Master of Arts at KU Leuven, Ghent University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, University of Antwerp, 2005; with a research stay at the University of Toronto and a thesis on postcolonial realism in Rohinton Mistry's fiction), and language teaching (teacher certificate degree at KU Leuven, 2006). In 2014 I obtained a Ph.D. in applied linguistics at KU Leuven with a dissertation on the effectiveness of feedback in game-based language learning. I also got a post-graduate degree in human-computer interaction design (KU Leuven, 2013). My technical skills (programming, statistical analysis and data science) are largely self-taught (with support from course books and MOOCs) and developed on the job as well as in hobby projects.

I started my career as a teacher of foreign languages in secondary education (2005) and as a scientific collaborator and teaching assistant between 2005 and 2009 at the University of Antwerp (language institute Linguapolis and Institute for Education and Information Sciences, now Department of Training and Education Sciences within the faculty of Social Sciences). Since 2009, I have been employed in the interdisciplinary research group ITEC at the vibrant Kulak campus of the KU Leuven, first as a Ph.D. student and scientific collaborator, and since 2014 as research manager. Our team is devoted to impactful digital innovation in education and beyond, and is affiliated with the strategic research institute imec, the world-leading R&D and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technology.

In 2014, I received the Outstanding Graduate Student award from the research organization CALICO (Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium) for my Ph.D. research and for my service to the field of CALL. The recognition was great, of course, but above all, it gives me the motivation to continue my work in this field, despite my other responsibilities. I currently also serve CALICO on its executive board.


Guidance of students

(*) as co-supervisor      (+) as supervisory committee member

Ph.D. students

Master students

Service to the profession of CALL

Editorial responsibilities and reviewing

Conference organization

Leadership in research organizations



Publications and talks

Below you can find a selection of my publications and talks in the field of CALL, in reverse chronological order, and with links to papers or slides whenever available. I like doing invited contributions -- these are marked with a . Click here to see a full list of my publications validated by my institution.

Peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters

Cornillie, F. (2022). Digital games and technology-mediated gameful environments for L2 learning and instruction. In N. Ziegler & M. González-Lloret. (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition and Technology (series editors: S. Gass and A. Mackey) (pp. 272-285). New York: Routledge. [publisher's record]

Cornillie, F., Buendgens-Kosten, J., Sauro, S., & Van der Veken, J. (2021). 'There's always an option': collaborative writing of multilingual interactive fanfiction in a foreign language class. CALICO Journal, 38(1), 17-42. [open access] [publisher's record]

Baten, K., & Cornillie, F. (2019). Elicited imitation as a window into developmental stages. Journal of the European Second Language Association, 3 (1), 23-34. [open access] [publisher's record]

Cornillie, F. (2017). Educationally Designed Game Environments and Feedback. In S. Thorne & S. May (Eds.), Language, Education and Technology (pp. 1-14). Cham: Springer International Publishing. [open access] [publisher's record]

Cornillie F., Van Den Noortgate W., Van den Branden K., Desmet P. (2017). Examining focused L2 practice: from in vitro to in vivo. Language Learning & Technology, 21(1), 121-145. [publisher's record, open access]

Cornillie F., Desmet P. (2016). Mini-games for language learning. In: Farr F., Murray L. (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Language Learning and Technology, (pp. 431-445). Abingdon: Routledge. [open access] [publisher's record]

Cornillie, F., Lagatie, R., Vandewaetere, M., Clarebout, G., & Desmet, P. (2013). Tools that detectives use: in search of learner-related determinants for usage of optional feedback in a written murder mystery. In P. Hubbard, M. Schulze, & B. Smith (Eds.), Learner-Computer Interaction in Language Education: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert Fischer. San Marcos, TX: Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO). [open access] [publisher's record]

Cornillie, F., Clarebout, G., & Desmet, P. (2012). Between learning and playing? Exploring learners' perceptions of corrective feedback in an immersive game for English pragmatics. ReCALL, 24(3), 257-278. [open access] [publisher's record]

Cornillie, F., Thorne, S. L., & Desmet, P. (2012). Digital games for language learning: from hype to insight? ReCALL, 24(3), 243-256. [open access] [publisher's record]

Conference proceedings

Cornillie, F. (2019). Design Issues in Language Learning Based on Crowdsourcing: The Critical Role of Gameful Corrective Feedback. In: K. Zdravkova, K. Fort, B. Bédi (Eds.), Supplementary Proceedings of the enetCollect WG3 & WG5 Meeting 2018: vol. 2390, (6-9). Presented at the enetCollect WG3 & WG5 Meeting 2018, Leiden, The Netherlands, 24-25 October 2019. [open access]

Cornillie, F., Baten, K., & De Hertog D. (2017). The potential of elicited imitation for oral output practice in German L2. In: Borthwick K., Bradley L., Thouësny S. (Eds.), CALL in a climate of change: adapting to turbulent global conditions - short papers from EUROCALL 2017 (pp. 86-91). Presented at the EUROCALL 2017, Southampton, UK, 23-26 August 2017. [publisher's record, open access]

Cornillie, F., Van den Branden, K., & Desmet, P. (2015). From language play to linguistic form and back again. Lessons from an experimental study for the design of task-based language practice supported by games. In: Colpaert J., Aerts A., Oberhofer M., Gutiérez-Colón Plana M. (Eds.), Proceedings of XVIIth International CALL Conference. Task design and CALL. (pp. 214-222). Presented at the Task design and CALL, Tarragona, Spain, 6-8 July 2015. [open access]

Cornillie, F., & Desmet, P. (2013). Seeking out fun failure: how positive failure feedback could enhance the instructional effectiveness of CALL mini-games. Global perspectives on Computer-Assisted Language Learning. Proceedings of WorldCALL 2013 (pp. 64-68). University of Ulster. [open access]

Cornillie, F., Jacques, I., De Wannemacker, S., Paulussen, H., & Desmet, P. (2011). Vocabulary Treatment in Adventure and Role-Playing Games: A Playground for Adaptation and Adaptivity. In S. De Wannemacker, G. Clarebout, & P. De Causmaecker (Eds.), Interdisciplinary Approaches to Adaptive Learning: A Look at the Neighbours. First International Conference on Interdisciplinary Research on Technology, Education and Communication, ITEC 2010, Kortrijk, Belgium, 25-27 May 2010. Revised Selected Papers (pp. 132-148). Springer. [open access]

Edited volumes

Colpaert J., Aerts A., Cornillie F. (Eds.) (2018). CALL Your Data. Proceedings of the XIXth International CALL Research Conference (4-6 July 2018, Brugge, Belgium). Antwerp: University of Antwerp. [open access]

Thorne, S., Cornillie, F., Desmet, P. (Eds.) (2012) Digital Games for Language Learning: Challenges and Opportunities. Special issue of the international journal ReCALL (Cambridge University Press). [publisher's record]

Colpaert J., Aerts A., Cornillie F. (Eds.) (2008). Practice-based & practice-oriented CALL research. Proceedings of the XIIIth international CALL conference. Antwerp: University of Antwerp.

Keynote talks

Cornillie, F. (2019). Gaming and language learning - from the digital wilds to the classroom (and beyond). VI Valencian Workshop on Computer Assisted Language Learning: Gamification & Communicative Competence. Universitat Politècnica de Valencia, 9 November 2019 [slides]

Cornillie, F. (2018). Design issues in language learning based on crowdsourcing: the critical role of gameful corrective feedback. Presented at the WG3/WG5 meeting of EnetCollect (CA16105): European Network for Combining Language Learning with Crowdsourcing Techniques, Universiteit Leiden, Leiden, 24 Oct 2019-25 Oct 2019. [slides] [proceedings]

Regular conference talks

Cornillie, F., Schmalz, V. J., & Van Eecke, P. (2022). Moving beyond mechanical practice in tutorial CALL with Fluid Construction Grammar. Presented at CALICO 2022 - Social Justice and Diversity in CALL, 31 May - 4 June 2022. [slides]

Gijpen, J. & Cornillie, F. (2021). "If it really doesn't work, I'll use Aidez-Moi": examining learners' use of graduated help in a task-based digital game for French. Presented at CALICO 2021 - Global Realities, online, 2-6 June 2021.

Cornillie, F. & Sauro, S. (2019). The FanTALES project: how fans can make interactive multilingual stories in the language classroom. Presented at CALICO 2019 - Make It So / Fais ce que doit, Montreal, 21-25 May 2019. [slides]

Cornillie, F., Buendgens-Kosten, J., Sauro, S., Van der Veken, J., & Turpin, M. (2019). Managing the complexity of fanfiction based multilingual interactive storytelling in the European classroom. Presented at EuroCALL 2019 - CALL and Complexity, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, 28 - 31 August 2019. [slides]

Cornillie, F., De Hertog, D., & Baten, K. (2018). Automating elicited imitation for spoken practice in German L2: task design, speech recognition, and language models. Presented at CALICO 2018 - Connecting CALL's Past to its Future, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 29 May - 2 June 2018. [slides]

Cornillie, F., & Fernández Castilla, B. (2017). Using survival analysis to explain dropout in autonomous CALL practice with web-based mini-games. Presented at the CALICO 2017: Multilingualism and Digital Literacies, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, 16-20 May 2017. [slides]

Cornillie, F., Van den Branden, K., & Desmet, P. (2015). From language play to linguistic form and back again. Lessons from an experimental study for the design of task-based language practice supported by games. Paper presented at XVIIth International CALL Conference. Task design and CALL, Tarragona, Spain, 6-8 July 2015. [slides] [proceedings]

Cornillie, F., & Desmet, P. (2013). Seeking out fun failure: how positive failure feedback could enhance the instructional effectiveness of CALL mini-games. Paper presented at WorldCALL 2013, 11 July 2013, Glasgow (Scotland). [slides]

Cornillie, F., Grenfell, A., Windeatt, S., & Desmet, P. (2012). Challenges in specifying and evaluating a conceptual design for a task-based mini-game environment for language learning. Paper presented at the 2012 EuroCALL conference, 23-26 September 2012, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg (Sweden). [slides]

Cornillie, F. (2012). Does instruction kill the game? Exploring learners' perceptions of corrective feedback in an immersive foreign language game. Paper presented at the 2012 CALICO with IALLT conference, 12-16 June 2012, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame (IN). [slides]

Cornillie, F., & Lagatie, R. (2012). Leveraging crowdsourced data for the automatic generation of feedback in written dialogue tasks. Paper presented at the 2012 CALICO with IALLT conference ICALL SIG workshop, 12 June 2012, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame (IN). [slides]

Teacher training talks and workshops

Cornillie, F., & Sauro, S. (2022). FanTALES - Getting Ready for Multilingual Interactive Fanfiction Writing in Language Teaching and Learning. Workshop at CALICO 2022 - Social Justice and Diversity in CALL, 31 May - 4 June 2022. [slides] [tweet impression]

Buendgens-Kosten, J., Cornillie, F., & Sauro, S. (2020). FanTALES - Getting ready for multilingual interactive fanfiction in the language classroom. Online workshop at EuroCALL 2020 Gathering, 20 August 2020. [slides] [recording]

Van der Veken, J. & Cornillie, F. (2021). Interactive fanfiction: innovating creative writing in the communicative classroom. Talk for The Belgian English Language Teachers Association (BELTA), 20 March 2021, online. [slides]

Strobbe, J., Van der Veken, J. & Cornillie, F. (2019). Fanfiction and interactive fiction in the classroom. Talk for The Belgian English Language Teachers Association (BELTA), BELTA Day 2019, 11 May 2019, Brussels. [slides]

Cornillie, F. (2013). Great power in small games? Benefits and challenges of using educational mini-games for language practice. Workshop for Eekhoutcentrum, 13 March 2013, KU Leuven Kulak, Kortrijk (Belgium). [slides]


You can find me on these platforms:

frederik dot cornillie at kuleuven dot be
frederik cornillie#5516 (I'm active in the Discord server of Ludic Language Pedagogy)