April 9, 2021

What a VR Learning Experience in Immerse Offers Your Students

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When a learner steps into a virtual reality (VR) scene, something unusual happens. They feel present in a new world with incredible, interactive properties - role play cards that vanish, customizable avatars, realia items that they can move, and fun scenes to put new language skills into practice. 

But perhaps more unusually, they enter a space without real-world distractions. There are no notes being passed under the desk, no smart phones - just a fully immersive scene that they can walk through, explore, communicate and collaborate in. And, so far, we’ve found that students (and teachers) love it. 

There’s no doubt that while VR English classes still follow pedagogical best practices, your students will feel like they are participating in something special. 

So what is a class in Immerse’s VLEP actually like? And how can your students make the most of their experience?

Familiar classes in engaging scenarios

While VR technology is quite out there for some students and teachers, when it comes to experiencing a class, the activities and learning objectives seem very familiar. Just like a real-world English language class, your students will:

  • talk with others in order to improve their English;
  • listen and respond to others to actively learn and practice English;
  • move around the classroom to work with other students;
  • pick up objects and pass them to friends. 

Perhaps the biggest difference is just how fun, creative and engaging it can be when language is practiced in a virtual context. 

How your learners interact with other students 

Just like in a regular classroom, your students can talk with each other using the microphone built into their virtual reality headset. All the student needs to do is physically turn to face their peers and speak. 

Students can also move, stand, or sit next to their partners and groups. Built into the platform is proximity audio, so they’ll hear each other more loudly when they move close to one another and more quietly when they move further away.  

When it comes to teamwork, you can assign your students to different groups using matching color names. Once assigned to a team, only same-color teammates will be able to hear one another, even though all students will be able to see each other in the scene.

Solving problems and developing 21st century skills

Helping your learners build 21st century skills has never been more fun - or effective. You’ll present challenges to students, who will then have to engage in critical thinking, use their creativity, and collaborate and plan together in order to find solutions. 

Part of this will involve exploration of the virtual world, finding materials or objects to collect and solve problems. To do this, learners will need to use their controllers. This will allow them to easily pick things up with their hands and give them to others.

Note that when working in teams, students will not be distracted by other learners - they will only be able to speak to and hear their teammates. 

Taking part in realistic role plays

Role plays in a regular classroom are fun, but lack a physical context. When your learners role play in Immerse, they head to the Character Dashboard to choose an appropriate avatar. This means they actually look like the person they are playing - so  students don’t have to fully imagine their roles. As a result, the situation feels more realistic. 

When you assign roles in Immerse, you can do so to the whole class, to teams, or to individuals. Students simply need to look at their left wrists to see their role assignments and then use that information to perform the role play. 

Just like in a classroom-based role play, encourage your students to look at one another, rather than reading from their role cards.

Completing tasks with objects  

Your students can complete tasks you assign for them in the VR space - your instructions will appear on their right wrists. Students can collect objects to complete their tasks - they can pick up anything in the room that has a yellow hand icon displayed. They can read instructions, drop things, and even exchange objects with other students to complete a task. 

Virtual reality isn’t the most important thing

...practice is. No matter how well developed your learning objectives are, or how well you’ve planned your VR classes - your students’ success comes down to focus, practice and motivation. Learners who fully engage, participate and do their homework will get the best results - just like in their non-virtual classes. 

Sara Davila
Sara Davila is the Head of Efficacy and Learning for Immerse. Based in Chicago, Sara Davila is an expert on English-language learning, twenty-first century pedagogies, and teacher-training best practices. Author of numerous articles and speaker at countless conferences, Sara’s expertise spans the globe.

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