There have been recent calls regarding the urgent need to promote innovative teaching methods that make optimal use of cutting-edge communication technology such as VR in order to promote the digital skills of the near future (Braun, et al., 2020), including communication opportunities that will be commonplace in the near future (Dooly, 2023). Recently, Immersive Virtual Reality (VR) Environments for language learning have garnered interest from researchers and practitioners alike (Gruber & Kaplan-Rakowski, 2020 & 2021; York et al., 2021), based on their realistic imitations of environments where target languages might be used for 'authentic-like' interactions. This corroborates an EU parliament report (Braun, et al., 2020) that underscores VR's potential for enhancing and improving how students engage and communicate in the world around them, however, there is still little research into how to optimally use cutting-edge technology such as VR-technology to engage learners in authentic and meaningful language learning in immersive environments.
This talk aims to fill this gap in research by presenting data collected from two 3 months-long VR interventions conducted with one group of 10- to 11-year-old students in Spain (N = 25) and and one group of 11- to 12 year olds (N = 26), both groups studying English as a Foreign Language (EFL). During weekly sessions, learners were divided into stations (small groups working on different activities) so that the students were able to rotate through a series of VR-based immersive environments, coupled with different language learning objectives (contextualized lexicon, formulaic expressions). The data corpora consist of recordings of the VR interactions, non-VR classroom interactions and teacher-directed student output (pre- and post-VR activities focused on the target language) and pre-, mid- and post-test language test. These data are analyzed to identify learners' EFL comprehension and EFL production in both VR and non-VR activities. Comparison of VR and non-VR environments regarding target language use and comprehension provides a basis for analysis and for pedagogical implications for language teaching in VR-environments used with early-stage language learners.
Immersive Virtual Reality (VR) Environments for language learning have garnered interest from researchers and practitioners, based on realistic imitations of environments where target languages might be used for 'authentic-like' interactions (with other learners, bots and avatars). This talk will present data collected from two 3 months-long VR-interventions of young learners (10- to 11-year-old students (N = 25) and one group of 11- to 12 year olds, (N = 26), both studying English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Data are analyzed to identify learners' EFL comprehension and production in both VR and non-VR activities (interaction data) and language gains, based on pre-, mid- and post-tests. Preliminary findings provide support for the use of VR-based language teaching with early-stage language learners.
Melinda Dooly, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Mónica Lopéz Vera, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
About the Presenter(s)
Dr Melinda Dooly is a University Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain
See this presentation on the full schedule – Sunday Schedule