Language learning in 3D virtual worlds – from an empirical study

Abstract

Three-dimensional virtual worlds have been present in education for more than a decade, however, they have been almost unnoticed in Polish education. They proved they could be highly functional, which was indicated in numerous research projects provided by universities worldwide. This refers to the so-called serious virtual worlds, i.e. environments that are not games, e.g. Second Life. Many educational institutions, including universities, have their virtual campuses in Second Life. They either give classes to their own students in the physical school, or offer education to external candidates. There is possibly no educational discipline that could not be realized in a virtual world. The article focuses on teaching and learning of foreign languages in Second Life. First, the potential of the environment in language learning will be discussed. Second, a short description of the author’s research project on the educational functionality of virtual worlds will be presented. The experiment involved 70 intramural students of humanities at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland. The project lasted one full semester.

Direct link to the paper[here]