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Building Language Learners' Metacognition in VR

How to use virtual reality to support language learners’ metacognition?

A lot is spoken about the amazing potential of learning English in virtual reality but if we are to truly understand more about its potential in education, we need to utilise it for things which simply cannot be done in the physical world or which would be highly impractical. One area I’ve started exploring more about the ways #VR can support the students’ knowledge of their knowledge – those higher-order skills where one is aware of what they are saying or doing.

It’s common for those learning a foreign language to say things but not really reflect on exactly what they’re saying – they are often oblivious to the fact they make grammatical errors. However, with tools like ENGAGE by Immersive VR Education we can very easily make a recording of the students as they talk, then watch back together what was spoken about. This gives the student an opportunity to identify themselves where they’re going wrong and receive feedback from the teacher.

This clearly would not be so easy to do in the bricks-and-mortar classroom environment, also because of privacy issues. Filming your students would be ill advised without the explicit consent of parents and voice recordings could work I suppose, but having the opportunity to disembody yourself and watch and listen to yourself in the context can have a significant impact on the students’ learning.

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