These articles mainly deal with text or chat-based VR worlds, and regard any voice input mechanisms as impractical or “high-end”. Most of the articles I found also come from a pedagogical background, and don’t get into emotional reward. Lots of Vygotski references to social aspects of learning. After reviewing this stuff, I think we need to look for SPELL vs. CALL techniques (see acronym key below), since these involve spoken language.
Morton, H. & Jack, M.A. (2005). Scenario-Based Spoken Interaction with Virtual Agents. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 18(3), 171-191.
- We should definitely look at the full-text version of this one, as it is very close to our idea. It may not have the theoretical background of emotion reward, but it does involve a VR world and spoken interaction. This SPELL approach is real-time and feedback focus is immediate and corrective.
Schwienhorst, K. (2002). The state of VR: A meta-analysis of virtual reality tools in second language acquisition. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 15(3), 221-239.
- Goes into how learner partnerships w/in a virtual environment, learner autonomy, and automatic logging enhances educational power of VR gaming experience. Exploration of high and low-end VR tools in L2 acquisition. Places a lot of emphasis on learner-learner interaction.
Roed, J. (2003). Language Learner Behaviour in a Virtual Environment. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 16(2-3), 155-172.
- When communicating online, people show fewer inhibitions, display less social anxiety, and reduce their public self-awareness. Based on these findings, it seems that a virtual learning environment may constitute a more relaxed and stress free atmosphere than a classroom.
Peterson, M. (2006). Learner Interaction Management in an Avatar and Chat-based Virtual World. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 19(1), 79-103.
- Report on a study that investigated non-native speaker interaction in a 3D virtual world that incorporates avatars and text chat known as Active Worlds. Post-study questionnaires found that avatars enhanced the subjects’ sense of telepresence and that the learners made use of their communicative features during the interaction. The analysis further suggested that the use of avatars facilitated learner interaction management during real time CMC.
- Full-Text Summary: This study looked at NNS interaction in a 3D virtual world w/avatar functions, called Active Worlds. The main thing we are interested in are the citations about how avatars facilitated learner interaction management, which supports L2 development by increasing target language output and enhancing motivation. Avatars offer a sense of “telepresence”, or a sense of “being” within a virtual world. Another avatar advantage is the ability to communicate through non-verbal cues, such as smiling or waving. Studies have shown that the chat-base design can become overwhelming for NNS’s to follow, which doesn’t allow them time to use their avatars or their communication features.
Peterson, M. (2001). MOOs and Second Language Acquisition: Towards a Rationale for MOO-based Learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 14(5), 443-459.
- Nice overview of reasoning behind MOO-based learning software, which could be used as theoretical background against classroom learning. Actually mentions salience of L2 input, as well as feedback; however, this is based on network-based education.
- Full-Text Summary: Concentrated on network based VR worlds, which is out of the scope of what we want to do. Mentioned that CMC-based discourse conducted entirely in TL may improve learners’ written output, and ultimately their L2 proficiency (Paramskas, 1993). Less inhibition (Richards, 2001). Fewer restraint on time/distance than traditional L2 learning environments (Harasim, 1986). Studies have noted the motivational effects of nenwork-based CMC learning (Chun, 1994, Negretti, 1999). Logging input is good for self-review.
Hansson, T. (2005). English as a Second Language on a Virtual Platform–Tradition and Innovation in a New Medium. Computer Assisted Language Learning,18(1-2), 63-79.
- Vygotskian design to investigate a virtual platform on text composition task. By investigating the design of a combined virtual and physical learning environment we describe how the video-game generation operates (in) a social system of peers as they develop their computer skills and text composing ability.
McAvinia, C. & Hughes, J. (2003). Sharing Systems, Sharing Language: Designing and Working in a Virtual Department. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 16(5), 445-467.
- This study created an inter-university virtual learning environment (called a virtual department), in order to accomodate talented language learners or students of obscure languages, which the university may not have offered. More of a community-based learning environment, but a good example of how “virtual” is overgeneralized in the literature.
Welcome to the world of VR-related acronyms:
CALL = computer assisted language learning
MOOs = object-oriented multi-user domains
SPELL = spoken electronic language learning
CMC = computer mediated communication
Cool sites to check out:
Onlive Traveller – online community where avatars can communicate in the user’s voice, with microphones instead of typing.