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Chuo University Students Launch VR English Conversation Classes To Advance Metaverse Language Learning Research

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 and Professor Saito’s research class attending 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.

Immerse provided Chuo University with a license to their platform which allowed four upper-intermediate English level students in their third year of university to create and deliver VR English language learning to eight 2nd year students. The goal of this research project is to test the efficacy of self-directed, peer-to-peer VR English language learning.

Throughout this research project, the four 3rd year students created their own VR English language curriculum using the authoring features built into the instructor-facing Immerse desktop app.

As a result of this experiment, we found that:

  1. Both Chuo University teachers and students were able to improve their online teaching facilitation skills
  2. All participants enjoyed teaching and learning English in a more task-based, social and immersive environment
  3. 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

"If you are a language learner in VR, you can speak freely and allow the teacher to evaluate. The focus is all about how to express yourself in a way that can be easily understood, which I feel is more connected to real-life communication."~ Ryusei Watanabe
"I think one of the best parts of VR is the ability to learn English with a very good balance of output and input. I am also planning to use VR as a theme for my graduation thesis." ~ 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: