Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 16

Accepted Abstracts

Integrating Virtual Reality in Language Learning Settings

Kelly M. Torres, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (United States)

Aubrey Statti, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (United States)


The advancement of technology affords language educators the opportunity to integrate a multitude of engaging and motivating activities into their classes. Lin and Lan (2015) postulated that in foreign and second language classrooms, the inclusion of technology-enhanced activities results in students experiencing enriched learning experiences, higher cognitive outcomes, and positive attitudes toward the language learning process. One technology that has become more commonplace in these types of educational contexts is virtual reality (VR). This technology has been defined as “an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment” (Jerald, 2016, p. 9). VR technology provides users the opportunity to manipulate digital objects in an artificial environment similar to how they might perceive them in real-world settings (Cooper, Park, Nasr, Thong, & Johnson, 2019). In language learning contexts, the inclusion of VR technology provides learners access to a more immersive learning landscape. Specifically, students are able to engage with VR technology that allows them to enter a virtual world and interact with others across the globe. The exploration of virtual worlds provides students exposure to authentic contexts for language acquisition and offers them opportunities to develop effective strategies for acquiring the target language (Hsiao, Lan, Kao, & Li, 2017). Further, Chen (2016) discovered that the use of VR in language learning classrooms resulted in students improved acquisition of phonological, morphological, grammar, and syntax knowledge. To better understand how to incorporate VR in second and foreign language classrooms, this proposed presentation will provide an overview of VR technology and its use in language learning environments. Specifically, examples of VR language learning technologies will be shared and an overview of their benefits and uses in primary, secondary, and tertiary settings will be provided.

Keywords: virtual reality, language learning, education, educational technology.

[1] Chen, Y. (2019). The effects of virtual reality learning environment on student cognitive and linguistic development. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 25(4), 637-646.
[2] Cooper, G., Park, H., Nasr, Z., Thong, L., & Johnson, R. (2019). Using virtual reality in the classroom: Preservice teachers’ perceptions of its use as a teaching and learning tool. Educational Media International, 56(1), 1-13.
[3] Elmqaddem, N. (2019). Augmented reality and virtual reality in education: Myth or reality? International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 234-242.
[4] Hsiao, I., Lan, Y., Kao, C., & Li, P. (2017). Visualization analytics for second language vocabulary learning in virtual worlds. International Forum of Educational Technology & Society, 20(2), 161-175.
[5] Lin, T., & Lan, Y. (2015). Language learning in virtual reality environments: Past, present, and future. Educational Technology & Society, 18(4), 486-497.

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