Summarising existing VR CALL research

CALL for Research

  • Listening activities
    • Listening activities, used for language acquisition, are often only supported by audio
    • They are considered a demanding area when it comes to learning a second language
    • Context shown to dramatically help understanding
  • Contextual learning/Situated Learning
    • Language learning occurs best when it happens in a high-context environment
    • It is difficult to provide a high context environment in a classroom or in self-study
      • Aspects can be recreated - realia - but as a source material for study or translation, rather than a realistic context
      • Study abroad programmes provide evidence for the importance and efficacy of contextual learning
        • Although study abroad programmes provide high intrinsic motivation for learner, which muddies the waters
  • Immersion
    • Immersion can help deliver greater context or engagement in context
    • It has been shown to provide high emotional context for exposure therapy
    • Presence and context: is there a link?
  • Motivation
    • VR is novel - that is a motivator
    • VR is part of a serious games paradigm of motivational context
    • VR can be interactive - interaction is a proven motivator
    • Might be a tangent, but HMD can block out distractions focusing attention/motivation
    • Embodied interaction is novel
  • Constructivist/Interactionalist
    • VR can allow exploration - constructivst learning process
    • VR cal allow interaction - interactionnalist learning process
  • Communicative competence
    • Difficult to teach without much one-on-one time
    • Difficult to scaffold outside classroom
    • Brings anxiety issues

Types of Research

Types of System

  • 360 Video
  • Embodied action
  • Spoken dialogue system
  • Connecting people

Types of Study

  • Teacher acceptance
  • Motivation
  • Enjoyment
  • Usability
  • Learning outcomes

Object of Learning

  • Communicative competence
  • Oral presentation
  • Listening
  • Memorisation

List of studies

>> Using Virtual Reality Tools for Teaching Foreign Languages

Bruno Peixoto1(B), Darque Pinto1, Aliane Krassmann2, Miguel Melo3, Luciana Cabral4, and Maximino Bessa

This study investigated foreign language teachers acceptance of a “realistic”, high-context IVE to practice listening to conversations. The learner was placed as if part of the conversation, although did not interact with the scenarios. Locations were an office or pub.

The study found that participating teachers were highly satisfied (6.86/7 ASQ) with their time in the simulation, and that:

  1. this experience complements in a positive way the classic listening exercise
  2. this experiment facilitates and helps with the language teaching methods
  3. they would like to use this technology as a way of teaching in their classes

>> Virtual Reality in Education: Learning a Foreign Language

Darque Pinto1(B), Bruno Peixoto1, Aliane Krassmann2, Miguel Melo3, Luciana Cabral4,5, and Maximino Bessa

A comparative study between audio-only and IVRE knowledge retention. Presence, satisfaction and knowledge retention were measured by multiple-choice questionnaire. It was headset-only, and did not include any interactivity nor embodied interaction.

It was unclear how the instruction was given, although participants were exposed to a listening scenario in their target language. IPQ was used for Presence, and ASQ for satisfaction.

VR provided a greater sense of presence and satisfaction*. Results for *knowledge retention were inconclusive to either technology.

There was a low number of participants.

>> A Virtual Reality Experience for Learning Languages

Sarah Garcia

A gamified immersive virtual environment that challenges users to locate objects based upon hearing their name in L2. Focus group results confirm that it is game-like and that they believed this kind of environment could help them learn.

>> Ogma – A Virtual Reality Language Acquisition System

Dylan Ebert

A study examining an explorable IVRE in which participants read and listened to L2 words corresponding to objects in the environment (presentation). They were given five minutes to explore the words and their corresponding object before being asked to find the object corresponding to the word they have just learned (production). This means there were game and interactive elements in the system.

The interaction method was a HMD with a novel navigation system based upon a MYO armband. The seems like a strange choice.

Only ten words were used. Results show that participants were better at learning through traditional flashcards than in virtual reality. However, post-tests conducted one-week later showed *better retention for VR users*. It should be noted that one-week later scores were similar for traditional and HMD users, traditional users scores just dropped more.

Interestingly, learners self-reported that the VR method was more effective and enjoyable.

There was a low number of participants and they only experienced one system each.

>> Using Interactive Virtual Reality Tools in an Advanced Chinese Language Class: a Case Study

Ying Xie

Qualitative study of the use of 360 video VR as a language classroom tool for listening and oral skills. Findings included:

  • 360 video sparked interest in learning related to the presented content
  • Increased surrounding cultural interest
  • VR helped reduce nervousness during presentations (reduced foreign language anxiety)

>> SeLL: Second Language Learning Paired with VR and AI

Juan Guo

Design for an IVRE with embodied controls, multi-person and AI interaction for listening and oral skills. System includes tools for multi-person interaction (such as a communal whiteboard), task-based scenarios with progression and agents who recognise spoke dialogue input and respond.

>> The Rensselaer Mandarin Project—a Cognitive and Immersive Language Learning Environment


Qualitative study for a CAVE spoken dialogue system for language learning with AI agents with embodied movement. It contains conversations and tasks, including 78 turns of multi-modal dialogue.

It recorded that:

  • Students like using gestures for disambiguation
  • That the system was able to repeat itself on command, and found this helpful