Why You Remember Foreign Language Better When You Learn it in VR

It’s easier to remember foreign language you learn in VR

The future of language learning is in Virtual Reality. Besides the fact that it’s captivating and motivating, you might wonder about the other benefits of learning language in VR. One very important benefit is that it’s easier to remember foreign language learned in VR.

Learning a language is difficult- on average you need to memorize ten thousand words in a language to be able to speak competently.1 Memorizing that many words is a huge challenge, but VR makes it much easier.

The phenomenon of Context-Dependent Memory

Most people have a commonsense belief that it’s easier to recall something in the same environment in which you learned it. You may have studied in the same room that you’ll have an exam or practiced a speech in the same place you’ll deliver it in order to help you recall information better. Or maybe you’ve experienced what it’s like to walk into a familiar place and see memories flood back into your mind.

This phenomenon is known as Context-Dependent Memory, and study after study have found it to be an effective memorization technique. Renowned psychological researcher Harvey A. Carr wrote in 1925, “An experience can be recalled most readily in those environmental situations with which it has the most direct, the strongest, and most numerous associations.”2 Goddenn and Baddelay in their famous 1975 study that people who learned information while scuba diving could recall more when they were back underwater than when they were tested on land, and vice-versa.3 Similarly, a study in 1992 showed how bringing eyewitnesses back to the scene of a crime can help them remember more of what they witnessed.4 All that to say, it is a well-established and commonly-experienced fact that context affects recall.

You remember foreign language better because of the Correct Context in VR

Language works in the same way: VR simulates the environment in which you will use the language so you can remember more of what you learned when you’re back in that context. Classrooms, textbooks, and flashcard apps have no helpful context and so inhibit your recall ability.

Using Immerse, you can learn how to order food in a 3D restaurant scene, or pitch your product in a 3D conference room scene. Then, when you find yourself in that situation in real life, you will recall the correct words much better. Dalgarno and Lee discovered in 2010 that ideas learned within a VR environment are more readily recalled and applied within the corresponding real environment. This is because the learning environment is modeled on the context in which the knowledge is expected to be applied.5

Learning in VR helps you remember foreign language

Second Language Acquisition in Virtual Reality has many benefits, but improved recall is one of the most important. Memorization is a huge part of learning a second language, and remembering the language you’ve learned is much easier when you learn it in a relevant virtual context using Immerse. Confirm this intuition and schedule a demo today at immerse.online!

  1. https://www.fluentu.com/blog/how-many-words-do-i-need-to-know/
  2. Carr, H.A. (1925).  CarrPsychology: A Study of Mental Activity. Longmans Green, New York
  3. Goddenn, D. R. and Baddelay, A. D. (1975), Context-Dependent Memory in Two Natural Environments: On Land and Underwater. British Journal of Psychology, 66: 325-331. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1975.tb01468.x
  4. Smith, S. M., & Vela, E. (1992). Environmental context-dependent eyewitness recognition. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 6, 125–139.
  5. “It can also be argued that there will be more effective real-world application of newly-acquired knowledge and skills if the learning environment is modelled on the context in which the knowledge is expected to be applied. Specifically, because 3-D technologies can provide levels of visual or sensory realism and interactivity consistent with the real world, ideas learnt within a 3-D VE [virtual environment] should be more readily recalled and applied within the corresponding real environment.” Dalgarno, B. and Lee, M. J. (2010), What are the learning affordances of 3‐D virtual environments?. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41: 10-32. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.01038.x

Posted on

November 14, 2018