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VR boosts English language learning

English language teacher Euan Bonner is using VR software to engage his students at the Language, Media and Learning Research Center at Kanda University of International Studies in Japan.

Speaking to EdSurge, an online consortium of teachers and techies, he said he believes it bridges an important gap online in ways that Zoom can’t – and may even be better at retaining student attention than in real-life classrooms.

Using a VR platform from Immerse, which is specifically designed for training, Euan explains how he’s found that using VR can help students of all ages by providing motivation and engagement. It makes the process fun, allowing the participants to interact with each other and the teacher through on-screen avatars. 

“It provides social interactivity and connectivity that you can’t otherwise get out of distance learning,” Euan says. “Research says that students often report being happier, more excited and less bored when using VR, because it feels like a game.”

He goes on to say that within the program, the teacher can pull the students together to focus on a task, as well as have audio-isolated conversations with just one student at a time. Students can practise English within different environments, including business meetings, social events, restaurants and airports. Immerse currently has more than 60 language learning experiences and lesson plans within its program, but teachers can also make their own using the software.

“Whatever they need to learn is readily accessible in the virtual world,” says Euan, “even if it isn’t in the real world.”

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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