From Simulations to Virtuality: Mirroring Tasks for Language Learning

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The boom of 3D virtual worlds in education is attracting the interest of many language teachers due to its great potential for language practice as an immersion experience. Its significance is based on a sense of presence (solving a common difficulty of distance learning programs), a sense of authenticity (offering real tasks to the language learner), a sense of creativity (developing the learner's imagination) and a sense of gaming (providing motivation and a "flow" experience in the learning process).

Considering these senses, we are facing a new learning environment (Svensson, 2003; Stevens, 2006) that will necessarily prompt a new language learning methodology. This developing MUVE (Multi-user Virtual Environment) methodology can also take advantage of some language learning methods from the past such as simulations in the 80s (Jones, 1983; Crookall & Oxford, 1990) or tasks using MOOs (Multi-user domain Object Oriented) in the 90s (Shield et al. 2000), which can provide a pedagogically sound basis for meaningful learning-teaching activities.

This paper explores the methodological potential for language learning in 3D virtual worlds. A brief historical overview will be first provided about the methodology and activities starting with simulations in real classrooms and moving then to virtual learning experiences in MOOs and 3D virtual worlds. A classification of language learning tasks in MUVEs will be also presented, analysing the common tasks at present used in different language learning courses.


Keywords: 3D MUVE, Foreign Language Learning Methodology, Language Learning, Web 2.0
Stream: Literacy, Language, Multiliteracies; Languages Education and Second Language Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Joan-Tomàs Pujolà

Vice-dean of the Faculty of Education, Department of Language and Literature Education, Universitat de Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain, Spain

Dr Joan-Tomàs Pujolà has a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh and teaches various courses on CALL and EFL Methodology at the Faculty of Education in the University of Barcelona. He is currently Vice-dean for Academic Affairs.

Cristina Palomeque

EFL Teacher, English Department, Escola Oficial d'Idiomes La Pau
Barcelona, Spain, Spain

Cristina Palomeque is currently a PhD student developing her research in the area of CALL specifically in discourse and learning processes in 3D virtual worlds. She teaches English at the Escola Oficial d'Idiomes in Barcelona.

Dr. Miquel Llobera

Professor, Department of Language and Literature Education, Universitat de Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain, Spain

Miquel Llobera is a professor in Foreign Language Education at the Universitat de Barcelona. He specialises in Discourse Analysis, Second Language Acquisition and Language Methodology. He is currently director of the Masters Degree in Teacher Training for Spanish as a Foreign Language.

Ref: L09P1045