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The Usage of Virtual Reality in Task-Based Language Teaching

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Abstract

Experiential learning, in which knowledge acquisition occurs via as opposed to for task performance, represents a core principle of task-based language education. Against this background, virtual reality (VR) holds the potential to provide incidental learning experiences by facilitating communicative, socio-physical interactions across a host of language learning domains. Thus, it is the purpose of this article to describe the use of VR as a medium for task-based language teaching. Specifically, the capabilities of the Oculus Quest VR headset will be outlined by disclosing the background, implementation, and results of a small-scale study in which tertiary-level English as a foreign language participants utilized VR to navigate the information gap game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. Key findings indicate that the convergence of VR and commercial game software constitutes engagement that, in keeping with the principles of task-based inquiry, occasions learner collaboration and student-led resolution. More distinct to the VR method, however, is an enhanced sense of presence within its accompanying "world."
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Michael D. Smith and David P. McCurrach 153
The Usage of Virtual Reality in Task-Based Language
Teaching
Michael D. Smith and David P. McCurrach
Kwansei Gakuin University, Nishinomiya, Japan
Experiential learning, in which knowledge acquisition occurs via as opposed
to for task performance, represents a core principle of task-based language
education. Against this background, virtual reality (VR) holds the potential to
provide incidental learning experiences by facilitating communicative,
socio-physical interactions across a host of language learning domains. Thus,
it is the purpose of this article to describe the use of VR as a medium for
task-based language teaching. Specifically, the capabilities of the Oculus
Quest VR headset will be outlined by disclosing the background,
implementation, and results of a small-scale study in which tertiary-level
English as a foreign language participants utilized VR to navigate the
information gap game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. Key findings
indicate that the convergence of VR and commercial game software
constitutes engagement that, in keeping with the principles of task-based
inquiry, occasions learner collaboration and student-led resolution. More
distinct to the VR method, however, is an enhanced sense of presence within
its accompanying world.
INTRODUCTION
More than 80 years ago, Dewey (1938) reasoned that, as part of a progressive
doctrine, education should be experiential, whereby students learn by doing.
Within the sphere of language education, this core principle of task-based
instruction enables the delivery of contextually authentic, student-centered content
via incidental learning. Despite the advantages of this socio-constructivist
approach, however, Hanson and Shelton (2008) note that it is customary for
learners to study within decontextualized environments, and in this vein, language
acquisition content may often prove unengaging and lacking in tasks connected
directly to the learners linguistic or socio-educative needs.
Against this background, virtual reality (VR) technologies hold the potential to
reinforce the strengths of task-based language teaching (TBLT) by simulating
learning environments that exploit collaboration and existing linguistic knowledge.
Further, VR is characterized in terms of immersive, multisensory experience[s]
(Gigante, 1993, p. 3), requiring the usage of immersive technologies to sustain a
simulated user interface. Consequently, VR provides distinct experiences that, in
keeping with TBLT, may be perceived as important, urgent, or meaningful
(Aubrey, 2017, p. 719). Despite these benefits, the nascent status of task-based VR
instruction dictates that expansion in terms of viable pedagogy is necessary before
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154
more pervasive adoption may occur.
Through a small-scale account of VR usage within a Japanese English as a
foreign language (EFL) context, this article hopes to communicate the qualities
that, in the view of the authors, confirm VR as a novel vehicle for task-based
language acquisition; one that facilitates contextual, collaborative, and
self-determined learning, and uniquely to the medium, a highly immersive
synthetic presence. Specifically, the TBLT practice described here utilizes the
Oculus series of gamified VR hardware in conjunction with the immersive
information gap software Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (KTNE). In
demonstrating both the strengths and, where appropriate, limitations inherent to
this approach, it is hoped that this enquiry draws attention to a new type of
computer-assisted language learning (CALL) that offers encouraging possibilities
for future task-based practice.
BACKGROUND
The Rationale for CALL and Task-Based Language Teaching
As noted by Thomas and Reinders (2010), TBLT and CALL share a sequence
of conceptual antecedents, comprising project-based, content-based, and
experiential learning, as well as constructivist and social constructivist thought (p.
5). Lambert (2019) noted that experiential learning within the TBLT context is
anchored to three points of reference: learning by doing, individual development,
and relevance (pp. 155 156). Regarding the former, TBLT involves learners
exploiting and refining existing knowledge in an effort to achieve specific language
generation outcomes. Language acquisition is thus viewed as an incidental process
occurring in consonance with a learners communicative requirements.
TBLT further serves to enhance the learners capacity to monitor and assess
linguistic productions independently, and to establish internal syllabi to navigate a
given context (i.e., individual development). Finally, task relevance refers to the
utilization of tasks directly applicable to the communicative requirements of
participants and, as noted by Lambert (2019), their conceptions of what being
proficient in a language involves (p. 155). With these fundamental concepts in
mind, the conditions for assessing TBLT correspond with Chapelles (2001)
criteria for CALL task appropriateness, specifically, the principles of meaning
focus, learner fit, and authenticity (p. 55).
On a practical level, TBLT-driven CALL directs learner focus towards the
real-world employment of language, exploiting existing schemata to scaffold the
language acquisition process collaboratively. Consequently, tasks conforming to
this approach take a Vygotskyan socal constructivist turn, with learning positioned
as a creative process of discovery, expression, and synthesis (Smith & Kim,
2017, p. 325) in which interaction serves as the primary impetus of meaning. In
this regard, CALL activities enhance the affective dimensions of language use
which may, in turn, reinforce self-efficacy and the willingness of learners to invest
personal resources into task performance (Thomas, 2011).
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Defining VR
Huang et al. (2010) noted that past descriptions of VR viewed the technology
as any three-dimensional world viewed through, amongst other means, projectors,
multiple displays, head-mounted devices, and augmented reality and tracked input
devices. More recently, however, a consensus has been reached between Sherman
and Craig (2003) and Mikropoulus and Bellou (2006), who have defined the
current state of VR accordingly:
1. Virtual worlds that can be created to simulate real and impossible environments.
2. Tracking from controllers, headsets, and so on that provide multisensory
interactions.
3. Interactional feedback from vibrations, or cause and effect reactions.
4. A high sense of immersion created from points 1 3.
The Usage of VR in Education
It has been noted by Monahan et al. (2008) that certain VR activities increase
the degree and quality of peer-to-peer and student-to-content interactions. This
synergy further enhances self-reflection and motivation (Lehtinen et al., 1999)
while also broadening communities of practice on both the local and remote
levels. In this communal context, students explore and negotiate linguistic features
in peer-supported environments that minimize negative affective factors
(Garcia-Ruiz et al., 2008).
Further, several studies (e.g., Budianto, 2014; Farivar & Rahimi, 2014) have
described educational technologies as benefitting learner autonomy. In the context
of VR-driven TBLT, self-determination is an inherent characteristic as learners
generate contextual learning processes via the active negotiation and manipulation
of virtual environments. Further, Schwienhorst (2002) suggested that VR and
autonomy go hand-in-hand given the medium is highly effective in creating
learner-centered environments. This follows an inquiry by Feria-Marrugo and
Zúñiga-López (2016), who reported not only higher self-efficacy amongst
participants but a preference for virtual learning over traditional tasks.
Given its multi-modal nature, VR also serves to balance language acquisition
considered both implicit (unconscious) and explicit (selective). In the case of
virtual reality learning environments (VRLEs), learners encounter visual, auditory,
and tactile stimuli, allowing vocabulary to be absorbed within settings that
reinforce the cognitive means of acquisition (Chen, 2016). For example, a
three-dimensional representation of an airplane may be touched via haptic
feedback and heard through headphones.
Hanson and Shelton (2008), meanwhile, characterized circumstantial learning
occasioned by VR as a sequence of cognitive restructurings, from the
representational to the conceptual. In this regard, the manipulation of virtual
objects permits learners to independently observe and evaluate the immediate
conditions of their input, and thus, witness more clearly the causal relationships
between action and result, implying that students generate knowledge more
effectively within VRLEs.
Finally, the immersion described by Mikropoulus and Bellou (2006)
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somewhat understates VRs current status. Indeed, VR may better be described in
terms of presence, which represents a heightened sense of absorption within a
virtual space, to the point where the participant believes that they are somatically
situated within the learning environment. Accordingly, an inquiry by Repetto et al.
(2015) measuring the impact of presence on virtual language acquisition
demonstrated an increase in test response accuracy in accordance with the
perceived authenticity of the VR setting. As posited by Makowski et al. (2017),
improved memory recall may result from heightened concentration within highly
immersive contexts, creating more complex cognitive processing during language
learning (Chen, 2016).
TASK IMPLEMENTATION
Participants
This study consisted of three Japanese private university students (1 male, 2
female), all of whom were nineteen-year-old international studies majors
possessing an EFL comprehension level recognized as intermediate to
upper-intermediate (B1 B2) by the Common European Framework of Reference
for Languages. All learners had participated in one full semester of tertiary-level
English education, during which they were exposed to a mixture of oral
communication, extensive reading, and academic writing classes weekly. Of the
three, only one participant had previous experience of VR technology, albeit in a
non-educational context. Finally, two of the three reported that they participated
in electronic gaming regularly, while the remaining student indicated that she
enjoyed video games from time to time.
Hardware and Software
This study utilized the Oculus Rift Quest (ORQ) VR gaming headset, which
unlike previous iterations of the Oculus product line, is an all-in-one apparatus
that foregoes physical or digital connectivity to external PCs. One of the principal
benefits of ORQ, therefore, is the freedom of usage given to the user. The
onboard Oculus Insight tracking system translates user feedback into the virtual
space, regardless of real-world location or play area boundaries, without the need
for external sensors or wires. Further, player input is recorded using dual Oculus
Touch controllers that allow the user to pick up, hold, and relinquish virtual
objects with intuitive, realistic precision and haptic-kinesthetic feedback (see
Oculus Quest, 2019).
To target a collaborative, task-based VR experience, it was decided to employ
ORQ in conjunction with the information gap puzzle game KTNE. This software is
designed to be played with at least two participants, with the player operating
ORQ tasked with disarming procedurally generated bombs. One participant wore
the headset (the defuser), while two others gave them instructions. The defuser
has five minutes, or a maximum of three mistakes, until the bomb explodes, at
which point participants change roles.
This defuser is assisted by partner experts, who communicate the
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Michael D. Smith and David P. McCurrach 157
information necessary for successful completion contained within the bomb
defusal manual, a contextually immersive instruction booklet. The modules of each
bomb manifest algorithmically, resulting in a myriad of bomb component
combinations, and the requirement for KTNE participants to generate linguistic
and problem-solving strategies in real time via rapid and accurate information
exchange. Accordingly, KTNE serves to enhance the following holistic skills:
Functioning efficiently and strategically as part of a team.
Describing, labeling, and communicating visual information.
Generating questions to elicit feedback.
Searching specialized EFL text to locate precise instructions.
Task Preparation
Given the complex information-gap nature of KTNE, in which the
disarmament of bomb modules necessitates virtual wire cutting, code-breaking,
maze negotiation, and password and numbered sequence memorization, it was
important that participants were given adequate time to prepare. Prior to task
implementation, each learner was briefed on the activity, gave informed consent,
and provided with a specialized vocabulary list, module identification chart (see
Figure 1), and bomb defusal manual, before being allocated ten minutes to
orientate themselves to the task. During this time, the authors prepared a
demonstration of the activity to be introduced once students had finished
preparation.
FIGURE 1. The Eleven Bomb Module Components Used in KTNE
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Post-demonstration, learners were provided with copies of a keypad
identification worksheet and given five minutes to translate and label each of the
27 abstract symbols used during the keypad task (see Figure 2). This handout not
only facilitated efficient in-game communication of task-critical components but
served as a warm-up activity, allowing learners to generate unique and memorable
lexical strategies for task completion. This activity conforms to the concepts of
supportive performance and focus on form, in which TBLT activities provide
learners opportunities to optimize their own task performance by being provided
with time to plan, and draw attention to forms that are difficult to acquire
incidentally during the performance of communicative tasks, respectively
(Lambert, 2019, p. 156). During the final phase of task preparation, each
participant completed the five-minute KTNE tutorial. This level consisted of
utilizing the ORQ headset and controllers for basic orientation tasks, such as
navigating the virtual space and fundamental task completion measures, including
item manipulation, wire cutting, and button pressing.
FIGURE 2. The Various Symbols Used in the KTNE Keypad Activity
Task Delivery and Feedback
Initially, participants were divided into a single defuser and two experts, and
were tasked with completing KTNEs five-minute opening level, which involved an
elementary device containing three procedurally generated modules (see Figure 3).
While the defuser employed the ORQ headset and controllers to navigate the
virtual environment, experts were tasked with assisting the defuser using the
bomb disposal manual. Learners were directed to proceed throughout the device
tiers, with each instance becoming gradually more complex until failure. Due to
time constraints, this was limited to three defuser sessions per user, all of which
were successful. It should be noted that while this activity initially required
players to disarm three modules per device, a single game of KTNE may
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Michael D. Smith and David P. McCurrach 159
incorporate up to eleven, with game time adjustable in increments of 30 seconds
to account for the additional complexity of more advanced puzzles. Upon the
completion of each bomb defusal session, participants were instructed to swap
roles between defuser and expert so each learner could experience the KTNE
activity loop in its entirety. All participants were successful in defusing the bomb.
FIGURE 3. The First Bomb, Featuring (Left to Right) Keypad, Button, and Wires Activities
Once all learners had completed three bomb puzzles as a defuser, participant
reception and feedback measures were implemented. Specifically, player
enjoyment, engagement, and contribution levels were self-reported via a
semi-structured group interview, with the task participation and socialization
elements that impacted the learning experience grouped under the themes
highlighted in this articles background section. Further, the perceived suitability
of the technology for contextual-experiential language generation, and its impact
on participant desire to exploit VR media for tertiary-level EFL consumption, was
addressed. It should also be noted that participants were encouraged to respond
in either Japanese or English, depending on their comfort with the concepts being
discussed; the majority of recorded feedback was in English. To ensure thorough
thematic evaluation of this data, interview transcripts were analyzed inductively
via open coding methods, including Braun and Clarks (2006) six-phase
framework for thematic analysis, which involved examination of the aggregated
data set, as opposed to individual participant responses (Rivas, 2012, p. 370).
LEARNER FEEDBACK AND DISCUSSION
As noted by Aubrey (2017), the cognitive mechanisms that drive task-based
interactions involve curiosity-driven engagement with a specific activity, such as
solving a problem, which can impact emotional engagement through changes in
willingness to interact, attitudes towards the task, and sense of enjoyment (p. 3).
In this vein, findings indicate that VR represents a feasible delivery method for
TBLT. Specifically, participants reported a uniformly high degree of satisfaction
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with VR, stating that it was fun on numerous occasions and that the enjoyable
and collaborative nature of the activity acted as a potential driver of interaction
and task completion, and reporting that they didnt hesitate to talk, particularly
when occupying the role of defuser.
In this regard, the VR task may have involved participants emotionally to
build an intrinsically rewarding language learning experience that, in keeping with
Csíkszentmihályis (1990) flow theory, engendered immersion conducive to higher
involvement and improved task performance. The heightened degree of co-located
collaboration, in which the task was judged to be especially fun because we got
to play it together, created a sense of shared belonging. This enhanced group
social identity, potentially creating a more tangible context for the language being
acquired and the conditions that drive learning (Lave & Wenger, 1990).
It should also be noted that the gamified nature of the task at times
occasioned incidental linguistic performance (I really didnt notice or care about
the language), demonstrating consistency with the learning-by-doing concept that
upholds TBLT practice. However, that is not to say that form was eschewed
entirely. On several occasions, participants noted that they were careful to
verbalize their inquiries clearly when operating within the virtual environment.
Interestingly, this was noted to be the most challenging part of the activity on
account of the isolating nature of the ORQ apparatus. When asked how this
impacted their language usage, one respondent described how they had to
explain things more clearly, and I had to listen more carefully because the
emotions or face[s] of her partners were not readily visible.
These statements support a heightened sense of presence experienced by
learners within the virtual space and, to some extent, the findings of Repetto et
al. (2015), who found a direct correlation between linguistic accuracy and the
degree of immersion within a VR environment. The impact of cognitive presence
was confirmed by all participants, who agreed that the TBLT experience felt
realistic in VR. Moreover, one learner indicated that [VR] was much better
[because] you felt like you were there in that situation. Further, the presence
experienced during collaboration motivated learners to take additional team
strategy measures, demonstrating consistency with Garzotto (2007), who lists
apply[ing] knowledge for creative problem solving, develop[ing] strategies for
overcoming obstacles, and optimiz[ing] performance within constraints (p. 29) as
key skills for CALL gamification.
While not explicitly directed to do so, it was noted by the authors that the
subjects immediately divided the expert role into two distinct phases. Upon the
commencement of a new bomb disposal task, the defuser would describe the
virtual bomb per the module identification chart, giving a brief overview of each
activity to be completed. At the same time, both experts took notes and located
pertinent information in the bomb disposal manual before providing instructions
on a rotational basis. While Expert 1 was directing the defuser to complete the
first module, Expert 2 was researching the next activity and formulating
English-medium questions that facilitated efficient task completion. In doing so,
the learners adapted their linguistic output, establishing internal strategies to
navigate the language generation context of KTNE, suggesting a consistency with
the individual development previously described as an essential feature of effective
task-based practice.
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Additionally, when questioned on their preferred number of participants for
task performance, the learners were uniform in their belief that three players
facilitated efficient communication and collaboration. Specifically, if the number of
experts was to be increased, the complexity of the task would be enhanced
unnecessarily on account of the difficulty in tracking additional peer commands
and feedback; put simply, you wouldnt be sure who to listen to. Likewise, one
expert was viewed as inadequate given that it would be more difficult to read
everything [with] one person, thereby negatively impacting the process of
locating, categorizing, and communicating task-critical information described
above. It should be noted, however, that this was the learners first time using
both ORQ and KTNE, so any frame of reference was severely limited.
Despite agreeing that [VR] would be a good study thing for the class,
participants were hesitant to give it their full recommendation for tertiary-level
EFL education on account of its enjoyability. Specifically, it may be viewed as
more like a game, rather than [something by which] to learn language. While a
valid critique, this statement nevertheless emphasizes the potential for
subconscious language acquisition via collaborative gaming software. This is
consistent with the findings of Garzotto (2007), who posits that the positive
affective considerations occasioned by participating in multiplayer games represent
a key motivation for learner engagement, raising educational effectiveness via
incidental learning experiences.
Indeed, recognizing the association between learning and social interaction
(Rogoff, 1990), the educational benefits of VR are, as noted by Garzotto (2007),
potentially even stronger in situations of social gaming involving multiple
players (p. 29). Following Ellis (2003), the tasks cognitive and interactive
demands, and the presence of incidental EFL acquisition, strengthen the authors
claims of effective task-based practice. Lambert (2019) also notes that TBLT
conceptualizes tasks in terms of learners real-world needs and the relevance that
this has for them (p. 14). While the likelihood of these learners participating in
legitimate bomb disposal remains extremely remote, successful navigation of the
VR task necessitated the use of true-to-life communicative skills, including critical
thinking, problem-solving, peer-to-peer negotiation, and the four skills for
communication.
The applicability of VR for contextual language learning and holistic skill
development is further supported by participant feedback. When questioned, Do
you believe that VR can have a positive impact on your ability to communicate in
English? the learners were uniform in their agreement, clarifying not only that
they would like to experience VR EFL content in their future education but that
the presence felt during these activities would prove beneficial to their relevant,
and thus authentic, language generation contexts. Specifically, one participant
noted the difficulty in transferring vocabulary acquired during regular classes to
real-world situations; yet, if I use that word in this [VR] situation, in this class,
I can get used to it.
Limitations and Suggestions for Future Practice
Given its purposefully small-scale nature, this account of VR-driven TBLT lays
no claims to comprehensiveness; indeed, considering this study utilized low
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participant numbers and was conducted within a single department within a
private Japanese university setting, its results are highly contextual. With this in
view, the authors advise caution if attempting to generalize these findings beyond
their present scope. Nevertheless, Donmoyer (2008) suggests that reading
qualitative accounts of radically different cases could produce enriched cognitive
schema [which] would allow for a kind of intellectual generalization even when
settings are radically different (p. 372).
Further, the negative impact of COVID-19 on this inquiry cannot be
overstated. Follow-up measures were severely impeded and limited to additional
questioning only. To that end, the authors suggest that future investigations into
task-based VR increase not only student numbers, but the number and variety of
devices used. For example, utilizing two or more ORQ units (budget allowing) to
increase the number of defuser roles and thus groups actively participating in the
task. It was the intention of this study to repeat KTNE sessions while also using
tablets or laptops so that comparisons could be made between devices, user
interfaces, and learner experiences. The authors had hoped that this would
enhance the conclusions of this study and encourage future researchers to develop
upon the method described here.
The authors also concede that the novelty effect, or the tendency for task
performance to improve primarily in response to curiosity in a newly introduced
technology, may have played a role in learner feedback. As previously described,
all participants reported little to no previous experience with VR, and none within
an educational context. Given that learning gains occasioned by the novelty effect
tend to diminish as students become more familiar with the new medium
(Pisapia et al., 1993, p. 76), it must also be recognized that a more longitudinal
strategy would have benefitted this study. Again, this was not possible due to the
outbreak of COVID-19; however, the authors hope to implement follow-up
measures in a future investigation.
It should also be noted that the technology presented here revealed several
practical constraints that necessitate clarification. For instance, despite the
increased affordability of the technology, VR gamification remains an expensive
endeavor. Presently, the official Oculus website prices ORQ at ¥49,800 62,800,
depending on onboard storage capacity (Oculus Quest, 2019). With this expense in
mind, the authors speculate that a blended learning station rotation model (Staker
& Horn, 2012) may improve the learning experience of larger groups, in which,
for example, learners rotate on a fixed schedule between teacher-led instruction,
collaborative task-based activities, and VR.
Indeed, the expense and inherently isolating nature of the technology
(Keskitalo, 2011) may restrict the implementation of VR within larger groups,
particularly during first-time use. It is suggested that practitioner familiarity with
the technology and, more importantly, learner-task sequencing and scaffolding are
crucial. Additionally, while KTNE is a seated experience offering sufficient
multi-modal interactions, it lacks a key presence multiplier, namely standing and
navigating the physical space (Chan, 2015). In the context of the present study,
this involved a relatively comfortable user experience; however, a significant
portion of VR software is comprised of locomotion-based activities (Boletsis &
Cedergren, 2019) that may create a disparity with the bodys vestibular system,
thereby resulting in nausea and vertigo (Clarke et al., 2016).
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Michael D. Smith and David P. McCurrach 163
It should also be noted that ORQ is not specifically targeted towards
pedagogical contexts and thus lacks the classroom management functionality that
rival solutions, such as ClassVR (2019), offer as standard. ClassVR provides
educators with a host of features, including the capacity to launch activities
simultaneously, highlight key areas within a VR application, and display headset
views in real time, albeit with significantly inferior tracking capabilities and
headset specifications compared to the ORQ. While several of the features offered
by ClassVR are feasible in ORQ, they necessitate an advanced knowledge of the
apparatus on behalf of the educator if they are to be implemented.
While gamified VR-TBLT represents the core focus of this investigation, it is
worth mentioning other pedagogic approaches to the technology. For example, VR
presence further supports the understanding of intricate concepts via transactional
interaction with immersive multimedia, such as video and real-time satellite
imagery. A geography-centric EFL lesson or syllabus may, for instance, exploit
Google Earth VR to transport learners to distant terrain landforms to acquire
and exploit specialized vocabulary to study climate, topography, or other
geographical features (He et al., 2016).
To conclude, this account of task-based practice seeks to provide a deeper
awareness of the properties that contribute to the pedagogical application of VR
and, in doing so, foster increased adoption within the EFL context. As
demonstrated here, the implementation of VR should place functionally relevant
educational content as a key driver of the gamified experience. Indeed, the act of
play should draw directly on the knowledge and skills that the game is designed
to foster in its users and should promote reflection about or application of such
knowledge and skills (Garzotto, 2007, p. 30) to occasion learning that serves to
enhance student interest and enrich the language learning experience.
Practitioners may thus apply VR broadly to EFL or English-medium instruction,
either as an isolated learning experience or in partnership with traditional
classroom methods.
THE AUTHORS
Michael D. Smith is an instructor in English as a foreign language at Kwansei Gakuin
University, School of International Studies, Japan. Currently enrolled as a doctoral student
at the University of Bath, he holds both a teaching license and MA in applied linguistics
and is an alumnus of University College London Institute of Education, where he gained
an MA with distinction in technology and education. Michaels research interests include
the sociology of education, international education, language policy, globalization, and
CALL. Email: Michael.Dean.Smith@Kwansei.ac.jp
David P. McCurrach is an English as a foreign language instructor and researcher at
Kwansei Gakuin University, School of Economics, Japan. He holds a BA from Durham
University, an MA in TESOL from the University of Nottingham, and is currently a
doctoral student at the University of Bath, where he specializes in educational research.
His interests include computer-assisted language learning (CALL), corpus linguistics, and
virtual reality learning environments (VRLEs). Email: davidm@kwansei.ac.jp
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