Aoyama Gakuin University (JAPAN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 3199-3203
ISBN: 978-84-09-55942-8
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2023.0837
Conference name: 16th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 13-15 November, 2023
Location: Seville, Spain
Vygotsky's social constructivism emphasizes that human learning is an inherently social process, in which interactions with others, cultural tools, and language are essential to cognitive development. Recognizing the critical importance of English language proficiency and cultural comprehension, contemporary educators have embarked on the exploration of innovative pedagogical methods. This paper showcases two carefully examined case studies, conducted between April 2021 and January 2023, that investigate the integration of Virtual Reality (VR) and interactive lessons with eight native English speakers. Making monthly visits to the classroom, these native speakers engaged with students, offering invaluable insights and feedback through the utilization of PeerEval assessment software, thereby fostering an enriched learning environment.

Case Study 1: Virtual Reality (VR) for English Language Learning
Participants and Design: 57 students, participating in 45-minute VR lessons in groups of three, twice a week, over two semesters.
Supplementary Activities: Opportunities for personalized instruction on a virtual platform.
Outcomes: Reduced anxiety and increased confidence; TOEIC mean score increase of approximately 100 points; no change in OPIc speaking test; 25% dropout rate.
Conclusions: The VR approach was found to enhance comfort and enjoyment in learning English, indicating a successful reduction in learning anxiety.

Case Study 2: Interaction with Native English Speakers
Participants and Design: 41 students interacting with eight native English speakers through Zoom and face-to-face lessons over 30 weeks.
Content: A blended program covering Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), World Heritage sites, Global leadership, Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) with National University of Singapore (NUS), world religions, and global issues; preparation of digital storytelling and MP4 movies.
Tools: Utilization of PeerEval software, Group Line, and smartphones.
Outcomes: Improvement in English proficiency (TOEIC mean score increase of 71 points); increased cross-cultural sensitivity and 21st-century skills.
Conclusions: The study demonstrates the effectiveness of interaction with native English speakers in enhancing linguistic competence and global awareness.

Overall Conclusion:
The research affirms the transformative potential of using VR and interactive engagement with native speakers in English language learning. Both approaches contributed to reduced anxiety and improved linguistic and cross-cultural skills. These innovative practices align with the educational needs of the 21st century and offer new directions for overcoming critical global challenges. The findings of these studies hold significant implications for the design and implementation of English language curricula, shedding light on novel methods that resonate with the digital era and global citizenship. Through frequent interactions with native speakers, approximately 90% of students broadened their worldviews and became more open-minded.
Virtual Reality, Flipped learning, Frequent Interaction with native speakers, ZOOM platform, Anxiety.