This page aims to explain what underpins our design, learning focus and pedagogy.
Here are some acronyms used on this page:
- TL = Target Language (the language you are trying to learn, your 'target')
- BL = Base Language (the language you are already fluent in, your 'base')
ImmerseMe is designed to develop the learners’ TL skills through the authentic use of language in a contextualised virtual setting. We combine 360-degree videos in real-life situations with voice recognition to allow learners to reproduce interactions with native speakers. All our scenarios are broken down into bitesize learning modes which build up students’ fluency and autonomy. Each of the 4 modes is designed to provide progressive learning blocks which scaffold skill development, based on a Constructivism theory of education (wikipedia). According to the constructivist approach, learners actively construct or make their own knowledge, [which] is determined by [their] experiences (Elliot et al., 2000:256). We believe and support the fact that our learners are ‘active in their learning environments and use their previous knowledge to build their new knowledge’ (Huang et al., 2010) - see this article for more detailed information on constructivism and ImmerseMe by Dr Serpil Meri-Yilan (Agri Ibrahim Cecen University, Turkey).
Dr Meri-Yilan found 'All of the participants agreed in both the first and second interview sessions that they learned something new, especially pronunciation and vocabulary in both English and other languages. More than half of them thought that ImmerseMe positively improved their learning processes in terms of learning the culture of the TL, other languages such as French, and pronunciation; they reflected positively on interactive communication, conversation with ‘real people’ in a foreign country with the TL, and on learning easily and enjoyably.'
We also take into consideration the work of Dr Gianfranco Conti who describes the following stages in the language learning journey:
- Listening as Modelling (LAM, or awareness raising)
- Thorough Processing
- Structured Production
- Autonomy and Spontaneity
For further resources, please visit the Language Gym: www.language-gym.com
Phase 1: Pre-ImmerseMe
The teacher introduces new language by modelling it to their students in class, or via online learning tools, and aims to raise their awareness of its linguistic components. The main focus of this first stage is to enable students to absorb all new language through intensive exposure and oral repetition with visual support.
Phase 2: ImmerseMe assisted repetition focus
ImmerseMe focuses on tackling that part of the learning journey, and on supporting learners to cement their processing of language (through listening and reading) and transition into guided production. We have designed the first 2 learning modes, Pronunciation and Typing, to assist with an intensive processing of language from one macro skill (reading, listening, writing, speaking) to another.
Pronunciation mode = Listen to a native speaker, read the example response, listen to the example response spoken by a native speaker then reproduce it by speaking the sentence out loud (Listen/Read TL > Speak TL).
Typing mode = Listen to a native speaker, read the example response, type the response out accurately on screen including correct punctuation and spelling (Listen/Read TL > Write TL). The exact response we are expecting students to produce is given to them, they are receiving the information and processing it from one skill to another.
Phase 3: ImmerseMe autonomy focus
We have designed the Translation and Immersion learning modes to assist with the structured production of language.
Translation mode = Listen to a native speaker, read the example response in BL then translate the sentence into the TL accurately (Read BL > Speak TL).
Immersion mode = Listen to a native speaker, read a TL instruction with some keywords in TL, then speak an appropriate response given this information and context (Interpret TL instruction > Speak TL). By this point, all the content available to students is within the TL so they are fully 'immersed' and really only one step away from full autonomy.
Phase 4: Post-ImmerseMe
By now, we are hoping students have some degree of autonomy and therefore no longer reliant on technology or their language educator (depending on the context!) to produce language. This is a clear goal for all stakeholders in a language learners’ journey, as it paves the way for greater complexity and spontaneity. If students have successfully completed all ImmerseMe Learning Modes, they 'should' be able to spontaneously complete those conversation in 'real life' given the same types of questions/responses. Voila!
There have been numerous studies, such as the 'Constructivist-Desktop-Virtual-Reality-Based-Approach-to-Learning-in-a-Higher-Education-Institution' example by Dr Meri-Yilan.
We have also collaborated with:
- Dr Kevin Papin (LinkedIn, French Lecturer at McGill University, Montreal) who investigated "Can 360 virtual reality tasks impact L2 willingness to communicate?" Preview Kevin’s slideshow presentation of research findings here that he presented at CALICO 2019, Montreal (CALICO = Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium)
Dr Papin found that ImmerseMe had a statistically significant impact on lowering anxiety, increasing willingness to communicate and increasing students' self-perceived communicative competence (slide 16).
- Dr Joan Palmiter Bajorek (LinkedIn, Twitter, SLAT Program, University of Arizona) who investigated "Virtual Reality Technology ImmerseMe Software: Speaking, Interactivity, & Time. (Bajorek, 2018) CALICO 2018"
Dr Palmiter Bajorek investigated the impact of student-computer interaction and how the time spent on task when using the software was perceived by students as improving their pronunciation skills.