Extended reality technology like virtual reality (VR) is starting to impact education by providing immersive and rewarding means of learning.
Despite being in its infancy, extended reality in education is already proving itself a powerful tool to help learners stay engaged and retain more knowledge.
The World Bank once commissioned a study to find out how VR can help develop student skills. The study was able to yield the following results:
There’s no denying that VR is an effective means of instruction to develop skills. Teachers and students can use it in the area of language learning.
This article will talk about how virtual reality can be an effective tool for language learning and teaching. We’ll discuss the common problems of language learning, and the benefits VR can bring to the table.
Like any other skill, learning a new language comes with several challenges that students need to overcome.
In many classes, instructors often teach a language just like any other theoretical subject. These classes are focused on the construction of the language, like teaching grammatical rules and dissecting sentences.
While this may help students in creating sentences, this doesn’t always translate well during day-to-day conversations.
Treating language learning like any other subject can also make the whole experience monotonous or uninteresting to many. This may cause a lack of motivation or interest which affects language learning.
Talking to someone who speaks the language you are trying to learn can be very beneficial. Unfortunately, this is not always an option for many schools, so students end up talking to other students who are unfamiliar with the language.
Teachers may not always have the time to converse with each student individually. This lack of exposure to native speakers makes learning a new language difficult.
Experiential learning is when a student gets to experience a certain situation and learn from it. This is an effective way of learning any skill. The retention rate can reach up to 90% for experiential learning compared to traditional learning, which is 5%.
However, experiencing a real-life scenario is near impossible in a traditional classroom. This limits a student’s ability to apply the language they are learning in a real-life situation.
The glaring commonality between these three challenges is the lack of exposure and immersion to the learned language. This lack of language immersion is what virtual technology aims to address.
It is said that the best way to learn a language is to experience it in its natural environment. While many would say it’s only possible through physical travel, virtual reality opens new doors that allow learners to be exposed to other languages and cultures.
When you put on a VR headset, you instantly get immersed in a three-dimensional world where you can interact, touch, and feel. Unlike traditional learning environments, VR allows students to find themselves in virtual situations that mimic real life.
In VR, for example, students can find themselves virtually transported to a cafe in Japan. They can practice listening, speaking, and interacting in Japanese. Some VR applications allow students to interact with other students from around the world or practice conversations with AI-powered avatars.
VR language learning is already being proven to be an effective way to learn. According to ESL teacher Michelle Cowan, her students learn more and faster when teaching with VR.
Her findings are just one of the growing piles of research that shows VR technology is an effective way to learn.
Here are just a few more benefits of VR language learning:
VR technologies are quickly becoming an integral part of how we learn and communicate. VR can play a role in not just language learning but the entire education system.
It’s time to explore how extended reality technologies can transform the way we learn. VEDX is a virtual reality design and consulting firm focused on the advancement of education using new technologies.
If your organization is looking into ways to integrate virtual reality technology into your programs, contact us today for a free consultation and find the right solution to your needs.