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A Virtual Walk through London: Culture Learning through a Cultural Immersion Experience
ARTICLE

Computer Assisted Language Learning Volume 28, Number 5, ISSN 0958-8221

Abstract

Integrating Google Street View into a three-dimensional virtual environment in which users control personal avatars provides these said users with access to an innovative, interactive, and real-world context for communication and culture learning. We have selected London, a city famous for its rich historical, architectural, and artistic heritage, as the location of choice for culture learning. Using avatars, learners walk the virtual streets of London under the guidance of a native English-speaking instructor, and interact with each other using text and voice chat functions. The study examines the effects of this virtual environment on culture learning. Specifically, a qualitative case study combined with a time-series design is used to investigate the virtual context's impact on culture learning in terms of learner knowledge and attitudes, and to track associated change processes across the three research phases (baseline, treatment, and maintenance). The results show that all four English learners involved in the study benefitted from their cultural immersion, to varying extents, in the virtual environment. Four contributing learner factors, namely linguistic proficiency, motivation, character traits, and attitudes were found to correspond to the learners' levels of acquaintance with the target culture.

Citation

Shih, Y.C. (2015). A Virtual Walk through London: Culture Learning through a Cultural Immersion Experience. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 28(5), 407-428. Retrieved October 15, 2019 from .

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