EFFECTS OF VIRTUAL REALITY USE ON JAPANESE ENGLISH LEARNERS' FOREIGN LANGUAGE ANXIETY
Aoyama Gakuin University (JAPAN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 8-9 November, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced learners to learn remotely, virtual reality (VR) tools have become a good option for English learning because English learners can learn through communication resembling that of real classrooms. Furthermore, using VR for English learning can also help reduce foreign language anxiety that many Japanese English learners have, as communication with an avatar in VR reduces the learners' psychological burden of speaking English. Therefore, this ongoing study examines the effects of VR use on Japanese English learners' attitudes toward speaking English. The authors focus on how learners feel about speaking English and intercultural communication and explore the effects of VR use by analyzing their statements in questionnaires. The participants number approximately sixty intermediate English learners at a Japanese university. The participants wear a VR headset (Oculus Quest 2) to take English conversation classes in VR, where they are supplied with the settings appropriate to the classes and can freely walk and communicate with their avatar. The participants attend one-hour classes taught by native English speakers once a week for nine months. They are advised to write and submit their thoughts and impressions after each lesson and answer a questionnaire on their learning once a month. They also took an OPIC speaking pre-test and 22 pre-questionnaires to determine the effective use of VR in learning English and cross-cultural competency. The authors collect their writing and create a corpus to show co-occurrence networks and perform cluster analysis, keyword analysis, and correspondence analysis. Finally, the authors verify the effects of VR English classes. The expected effects include promoting confidence in speaking and intercultural communication skills and improving motivation to learn English. English conversation with their avatar in VR would be more comfortable with less anxiety and stress than English conversation face-to-face conversation in English. This study will expand the possibilities of VR for education by proposing the use of VR for English lessons as an excellent approach to deal with Japanese learners' foreign language anxiety.
Keywords: Virtual reality (VR), English learning, foreign language anxiety.