IMPROVING ONLINE LANGUAGE LEARNING INTERACTIVITY WITH MULTIUSER VIRTUAL REALITY ENVIRONMENTS: PREPARING FOR THE METAVERSE
University of Patras (GREECE)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Online language learning has increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it has not always been engaging and effective as remote emergency teaching had significant limitations in comparison to attendance-based instruction in physical classrooms. Online teaching and learning entail a blend of pedagogy, technology, and organizational support. Interactivity is a prerequisite for effective eLearning. Effective online learning should be active and should engage learners in individual and collaborative learning activities that lead to the formation of learning communities. Interactivity is in the heart of the Community of Inquiry theory. This theory is an attempt to help teachers in the design of effective online teaching and learning by facilitating the creation of learning communities. According to the Community of Inquiry theory, an effective online experience needs to establish teaching, cognitive and social presence. To achieve these three types of presence, online courses should include three forms of meaningful student interactions: interactions with teachers, content, or non-human elements and with peer students. Metaverse is an open network of digital, persistent, spatial immersive worlds. It is an emerging technology that is expected to transform distance online education by significantly enhancing the affordances for interpersonal communication, community building and meaning making. This study focuses on how the interactivity of online teaching and learning English as second or foreign language (ESL/EFL) can be amplified by using Multiuser Virtual Reality Environments or Virtual Worlds. It contains recommendations for practitioners on how to improve the quality of teaching as well as students’ satisfaction and achievement by facilitating online students’ interactions within a community culture of inquiry.
Keywords: Online learning, e-learning, ESL/EFL, interactivity, teaching, metaverse, multiuser virtual environments, virtual worlds, virtual reality.