Last Updated: October 20, 2023
- Using naturalistic avatars makes Members feel like they are really immersed together with their peers and live Guide in the virtual world
- Using a 3D avatar to learn a language has been shown to be more comfortable and more successful than learning in a physical classroom or through videoconferencing
- Customizable avatars lead to the best learning experience and results
Your identity in 3D
In VR language apps, you are represented by an avatar, a virtual character that represents you in the 3D world.
These avatars promote learning in several ways.
Feel like you are really there
For one thing, avatars give you the feeling that you are truly inside the virtual world rather than the real world.
They make you feel like you are actually in the same space with your peers and Guide.
The sensation of realism creates an engaging immersive environment ideal for language learning.
Researchers have also studied how using avatars affects learners’ anxiety, confidence, motivation, and engagement.
One of the main findings has been that avatars help language learners feel less anxious.
The avatar creates a kind of “shield” that students can hide behind, providing a safe environment to communicate in without being physically on view.
This reduction in anxiety and boost in confidence is particularly beneficial when learners are engaging in speaking activities.
Members are less worried and more willing to take risks since they are not worried about 'losing face'.
Through interacting with other avatars successfully, learners gain self-confidence and a sense of achievement, both of which foster more independent learning.
More effective language learning
One study comparing language learners in a traditional classroom with those using avatars in VR learning environments showed the avatar users significantly outperformed their counterparts in vocabulary learning, grammar accuracy, and reading comprehension.
Another study found that French language learners were more comprehensible when speaking via avatars than face-to-face.
There are two reasons behind these improvements:
- The first is that using avatars lowers anxiety, and lower anxiety levels mean better and more successful language learning and performance.
- The other is that avatars provide attentional and motivational benefits that encourage peer-to-peer interactions, which can increase language practice and improve learning.
Member perceptions of avatars
What do Immerse Members actually think about avatars?
Do they find it natural to interact with their peers using these virtual characters?
Short answer -- yes!
In fact, Immerse Members repeatedly find learning a new language as an avatar is as natural as learning in-person. This is because students feel immersed together in the virtual environment when they take live classes, join conversation events, or engage in other group activities in Immerse.
All of these elements make interacting feel normal.
One participant in a research study on language learning in VR said:
“You don’t have to care about what you look like generally, cause you’re just a character... So, like whenever we did the VR things, I generally felt more relaxed I guess and just like - I don’t know, I feel like [it was] easier to just talk and not worry too much about any other part of anything else.”
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Gruber, A., & Kaplan-Rakowski, R. (2021). The impact of high-immersion virtual reality on foreign language anxiety when speaking in public. SSRN. Retrieved from https://ssrn.com/abstract=3882215
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