Traveling by Headset
Immersive VR for Language Learning
Keywords:immersive virtual reality, languaculture learning, technological affordances
In line with the 2021 CALICO Conference theme “Global realities,” we presented a plenary on how immersive virtual reality (IVR) could be used for second language learning by allowing learners to virtually travel around the globe via headset. The main affordances of virtual reality (VR) technology include immersing learners in an authentic cultural context almost anywhere on the globe, while manifesting a strong sense of presence and enabling learning through embodied cognition, which involves kinesthetic engagement. In this article, we first review current models of immersive learning and note how certain processes of second language and culture learning are missing in these models. Using some examples of IVR apps for second language learning, we discuss the research to date that focuses on the affordances of the technology for languaculture learning and propose how the effectiveness of these apps could be studied, expanding on the cognitive-affective model of immersive learning (CAMIL, proposed by Makransky & Petersen, 2021) to include social factors. We conclude with some recommendations for the development of future IVR apps for languaculture learning that follow our expanded theoretical model.
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