1 National Research Council of Italy - Institute for High Performance Computing and Networking (ITALY)
2 National Research Council of Italy - Institute for Educational Technology (ITALY)
3 Utrecht University, Department of Information and Computing Sciences (NETHERLANDS)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 10494-10500
ISBN: 978-84-09-14755-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2019.2577
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Serious Games (SG) represent a widely used tool to support learning at different ages and in several fields of knowledge.

According to this definition, an SG involves players in activities designed for the improvements of their knowledge and skills through engaging learning paths. Within such a perspective, computer-assisted second language (L2) learning has recently become a specific field of application that requires specific methodologies and suitable solutions that SG can provide. In particular, by exploiting SGs it is possible to contextualize and situate L2 learning processes in a simulation of the cultural and social world along a narrative stream that increases the engagement and keeps the player in the flow during the game-play sessions.

In this paper, we present the re-design of VIRGIL2 (VIRtual Guide for Immigrants in L2) serious game in the light of a Social Practice Theory (SPT) based framework, named S.A.L.V.E. (Social Agents for Learning in Virtual Environments). The main components of the S.A.L.V.E. framework allow for an interaction with a conversational agent according to socially accepted practices.

VIRGIL2 is an SG designed to support and enhance the learning of an L2 by illiterate and semi-illiterate immigrants and realized, in its first version, as a set of different 2D mini-games.

The core of the re-design is to frame the mini-games as learning activities of a broader 3D immersive experience in a specific learning scenario (a supermarket). In this context, the player is involved in L2 learning situated in relational and social processes, through a continuous narrative flow made up of conversational activities with a guide character (Virgil) and with other NPCs (Non-Player Characters).

To reach this aim, one of the most complex tasks is the implementation of socially effective conversations between the player and the NPCs.

To this aim, the 3D version is designed according to S.A.L.V.E. framework.
Social Agents, Social Practice Theory, L2 learning, Serious Games.