Joan Bajorek Abstracts

Joan Bajorek

Ph.D. Candidate

Second Language Acquisition & Teaching GIDP

 

Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO)

Champaign, Illinois

May 28-June 2, 2018

 

ImmerseMe is a virtual reality-based (VRb) software with automatic speech recognition (ASR) embedded into language learning lessons designed for language study. The desktop version is currently licensed to over 13,000 users (Cardwell, 2017). Created from 3D videos recorded from around the world, ImmerseMe provides language learners with novel opportunities to interact with pragmatically authentic situations, i.e. buying bread, reserving a room, asking for directions. Despite increasing interest and momentum in the field, there remains a dearth of studies investigating second language (L2) learning through virtual reality (Lee and Wong, 2015; Lin & Lan, 2015), and even fewer examining L2 in ASR (Liakin et al., 2015).

Considering the L2 affordances of ImmerseMe, what are the average minutes of use for first time and returning users? How might this focused time of spoken output and interactivity impact language learners? Time spent interacting in the target language is crucial for second language acquisition (Ellis, 2005). “Time on task” is especially important for SLA in computer-assisted language learning (CALL) environments (Blake, 2011, p. 21). In a typical classroom, L2 students are rarely provided with several instances of personalized and immediate feedback on oral production. ImmerseMe users must continually speak target utterances into the microphone to progress through lessons. ImmerseMe offers over 450 lessons in 9 languages that range in minutes depending on lesson storyline pathways. 

Analyzing company backend user data, preliminary results indicate that 52% of learners used the software for 19-35 minutes during one session. Data demonstrate that sessions for returning users averaged 3 minutes less than their counterparts. Compared to a classroom setting, time immersed in individualized speaking and listening practice for 20 minutes is valuable and rare for typical language classes. These affordances and time averages suggest there is merit in L2 VRb software as a complement to classroom language instruction.

 

Abstract for Lay Audience

ImmerseMe is a virtual reality-based software with automatic speech recognition embedded into language learning lessons designed for language study. The desktop version is currently licensed to over 13,000 users (Cardwell, 2017). Created from 3D videos recorded from around the world, ImmerseMe provides language learners with novel opportunities to interact with realworld learning through authentic situations, i.e. buying bread, reserving a room, asking for directions. Despite increasing interest and momentum in the field, there remains a gap in studies investigating language learning through virtual reality based software (Lee and Wong, 2015; Lin & Lan, 2015), and even fewer examining language learning through speech technology such as speech recognition (Liakin et al., 2015).

ImmerseMe offers over 450 lessons in 9 languages that range in time depending on lesson storyline pathways. ImmerseMe users must continually speak words and phrases into the microphone to progress through lessons. Considering the learning opportunities of the ImmerseMe software, questions to be considered are the engagement students have with the learning technology, specifically what are the average minutes of use for first time and returning users? How might this focused amount of spoken output and interactivity impact language learners? Time spent interacting in the new language is crucial for second language acquisition (Ellis, 2005). “Time on task” is especially important for learning in computer-assisted language learning contexts (Blake, 2011, p. 21). In a typical classroom, language students are rarely provided with immediate and personalized feedback about their speech. 

Analyzing company backend user data, preliminary results indicate that 52% of learners used the software for 19-35 minutes during one session. Compared to a classroom setting, time immersed in individualized speaking and listening practice for 20 minutes is valuable and rare for typical language classes. Typical university courses are roughly 50 minutes in length and do not focus specifically on giving students feedback on their speaking skills. ImmerseMe software can present supplementary time for students to work individually to get timely, personalized feedback and simulate authentic situations. While this software cannot replace grammar and writing instruction, they can augment the learning experience for speaking skills. These affordances and time averages suggest there is merit in language learning virtual reality-based software as a complement to classroom language instruction. 

Last updated 5 Jun 2019