A Comparative Eye-Tracking Study Between a Virtual Reality System and a Desktop Environment for Learning the Prepositions of Place in English





Virtual Reality, Eye tracking, Prepositions of Place, English as a Foreign Language, effectiveness, time on-task


Virtual reality (VR) is gaining momentum in language education thanks to technological advances and technology at a cost that is affordable for deploying a learning experience. However, there is a need for more research to identify the topics that are most suitable to be taught using VR in English as a foreign language (EFL) courses. In order to close part of this gap, this article reports on the results of a comparative eye-tracking study conducted with 80 university students on the effectiveness of a VR system and a desktop application for learning English prepositions of place. The results show that students using the VR system significantly outperformed those using a 2D application for learning English prepositions of place. However, students spent more time and made more mistakes in the VR system. The easiest English preposition was “on” and the most difficult one was “below” for the desktop application, and “behind” for the VR system. Some implications and recommendations for teachers are provided based on the results.

Author Biographies

Jorge Bacca-Acosta, Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz

Jorge Bacca-Acosta is an Associate Professor at the Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz in Bogotá (Colombia). He has been working in the field of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in Education for nine years. He chairs the Colombia chapter of the Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN).

Julian Tejada, University of Sergipe

Julian Tejada holds a PhD from the University of São Paulo (Brazil), and is an Associate Professor at the Federal University of Sergipe (Brazil). His research interests are computational neuroscience and computer-based tasks in psychology and neuroscience

Georgios Lampropoulos, International Hellenic University

Georgios Lampropoulos holds an MSc in Web Intelligence and is currently a visiting Lecturer at the Department of Information and Electronic Engineering at International Hellenic University, Greece. He is currently a PhD student, and his research interests are immersive technologies and artificial intelligence.

Cecilia Avila, Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz

Cecilia Avila holds an MSc in Informatics and a PhD in Technology from the University of Girona, Spain (2013, 2018). Her current research interests at the Fundación Universitaria Konrad Lorenz, Bogotá (Colombia) are web accessibility, usability, learning analytics, open educational resources, semantic web, and immersive technologies.


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How to Cite

Bacca-Acosta, J., Tejada, J., Lampropoulos, G., & Avila, C. (2023). A Comparative Eye-Tracking Study Between a Virtual Reality System and a Desktop Environment for Learning the Prepositions of Place in English. CALICO Journal, 40(1), 68–90. https://doi.org/10.1558/cj.22803