Chuo University students are not just enrolling in VR classes - they are creating them. The prestigious public university based in Tokyo, Japan has partnered with Immerse to launch a self-propelled VR English learning model in which students are not only taught by instructors, but also by other students who design curriculum and teach each other English in Virtual Reality. This research partnership plays a key role in Immerse’s initiative to bring both fun and efficacious VR language learning into the Metaverse.
Immerse, the world’s first metaverse language learning EdTech company, and Professor Saito’s research class of Japan's prestigious Chuo University's Faculty of Global Informatics, iTL, jointly conducted research of a self-directed English learning model in which students teach each other English in Immerse’s 3D virtual worlds filled with customizable, task-based language learning activities.
Immerse provided Chuo University with a license to their platform which allowed four upper-intermediate English level students who are in their third year of university to create and deliver VR English language learning to eight second year students who were interested in improving their English communication skills, as a means to research the efficacy of self-directed, peer-to-peer VR English language learning.
In this project, the four third-year students who had taken VR lessons from certified American instructors in the past created their own VR English language curriculum using the authoring features built into the educator side of the Immerse platform.
As a result of this experiment, we found that:
- Both Chuo University teachers and students were able to improve their online teaching facilitation skills
- All participants enjoyed teaching and learning English in a more task-based, social and immersive environment
- The eight students learning English in VR from their senior peers gave a very high average satisfaction rating of 4.6 (out of 5).
Under the direction of Associate Professor Yukie Saito, Immerse and the iTL research class at Chuo University will continue to collaborate on research to discover and asses "the educational effects of VR on language education and international exchange, and the possibility of VR study abroad as an alternative to real study abroad," and, ultimately, contribute to the development of VR language education in the metaverse.
Comments From Chuo University Students
"In designing this VR English class, I was conscious of Bloom's Taxonomy and the characteristics of VR: "immersion", "presence", and "interaction". I tried to create a class that could be realized only in VR. For example, I tried to include as many opportunities as possible in each class for interaction between participants and for presentations to other participants. I felt this benefit when we experienced the VR English lessons as students last year, and the participants this time actually said the same thing in their impressions, so I am glad that we were able to achieve our goal. I was involved in this project as a project leader, and it was a very meaningful time throughout. As an individual, what I consistently kept in mind during the five months from preparation to class implementation was to "always think from the perspective of the participants.” Although it was a difficult and challenging project, I felt a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction because I was able to collaborate with my team members and ultimately design the best VR learning experience possible." ~ Masaya Hamada
"As I moved from originally being a VR English learner to a VR English facilitator, I realized that I would be required to use English with other people in mind. If you are a learner, you can speak freely and allow the teacher to evaluate. On the other hand, as a teacher, you always need to think about the level of your students and how to express yourself in a way that can be easily understood, which I feel is more connected to real-life communication. It is often said that teaching others helps to organize one's own knowledge, and I feel that this is also true for learning a foreign language, as it helps to improve the speed at which one can draw out expressions that are more easily understood. It was an experience that gave me a lot to discover as a teacher myself."~ Ryusei Watanabe
"After each VR English lesson, we had the students answer a questionnaire about their impressions of the VR English learning experience. While some students pointed out the difficulty of wearing the VR for a long period of time due to "VR sickness," the overall results showed a very high level of enjoyment and satisfaction with the VR lessons. By taking advantage of VR, which allows us to experience the same space even when we are far away from the environment, while keeping the appropriate amount of time to wear it, we will be able to create a learning experience that has never been seen before. It was a good opportunity for me to practice speaking practical English as a teacher and a valuable experience to be able to play the role of a teacher and conduct a class using VR, which will expand the scope of English education in the future." ~ Eri Yamashita
"I came up with a practical VR English lesson where the students feel as if they were actually there. For example, in the fast food store, I had the students play a simulation game in which they played the roles of a waitress/waiter and a customer in order to make them feel as if they were actually in the store. Next, in the debate room, the students were divided into two groups and asked to sit in their seats, one for and one against, in order to make them feel that they were actually in a debate. I also added input such as the use of expressions such as these when expressing opinions in debates. I think one of the best parts of VR is the ability to learn English with a very good balance of output and input, and we can continue to make the most of it for English learning. I am also planning to use VR as a theme for my graduation thesis. I would like to further investigate the possibility of applying VR to English learning and research various things." ~ Teni Hotta
Comment From Professor Saito
"In my research class, we are studying second language acquisition theory and researching the possibility of introducing EdTech into English education. Last year, as an example, the current 3rd year students experienced Immerse's VR English lessons. This year, we adopted a constructivist and social constructivist approach, and one of our goals was to increase our knowledge of English classes using VR and to explore the possibilities by having students play the role of teachers and experience providing VR English lessons. Another purpose of the project was to work cooperatively within the group by launching the VR English lesson as a project. Through the design and implementation of the lessons over a period of five months, including the preparation period, I think they could have an opportunity to think deeply about the possibility of using VR for English education. I received feedback from the third-year students that providing English conversation lessons in the VR space as teachers led to improvement of their English. In the future, I plan to conduct research on the possibility of introducing VR experiences into educational practice by observing the changes in the speaking ability of students before and after providing VR English lessons as teachers."
Read the original Japanese press release at:
*this project was conducted, verified, and photographed in an environment where appropriate infection prevention measures were taken.