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Title:Comparing the effects of traditional and virtual reality enhanced task-based language instruction on Chinese L1-English L2 knowledge of phrasal verbs
Author(s):Burkel, Alexander B.
Advisor(s):Sadler, Randall W.
Contributor(s):Yan, Xun
Department / Program:Linguistics
Discipline:Teaching of English Sec Lang
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):VR, Virtual Reality, Phrasal Verb, Phrasal Verbs, PV. Technology, Teaching, L1, L2, English, Chinese.
Abstract:Until now the authenticity of materials used in Language Learning, and the context in which they are used, had been debated in a favorable light (Chomsky, 1965). Using current Virtual-Reality (VR) technology in the classroom has the potential to increase the authenticity of the context in which students perform meaningful tasks and allows us to combine different theoretical and applied approaches to Second Language Acquisition (SLA) such as Task Based Language Teaching (TBLT) and Total Physical Response (TPR) (Asher, 1969). This study examined the learning of phrasal verbs (PV) by three groups (n=21 each) of Chinese-L1 ESL intermediate to advanced proficiency learners. Participants completed Session 1 which consisted of a PV proficiency knowledge test used as a pre-screening test, as well as a language background questionnaire. Those who showed little-to-no knowledge of the PVs being tested were called in for Session 2, for which participants were split into three groups; a control group and two experimental groups. Participants in both experimental groups first received a list of the PVs being tested and were shown a short 10-minute video presenting the PVs and their definitions in a traditional-style classroom format. After this, the participants in the task-based group practiced showing their understanding of the meaning of these verbs by completing a semi-guided VR game, in which they adopted the role of a cook in training, completing tasks in an attempt to get hired; whereas participants in the other traditional group completed a traditional practice where they had to insert the most appropriate VP (from a textbox) in several contextualized dialogues. After completing each of their respective practice portions in session 2, the participants of both groups were asked to take the same PV knowledge test they had been given during session 1, and again a week later, to assess potential gains over time. Participants in the control group only completed the PV proficiency knowledge tests in session 1 and were given the same PV knowledge test as the other groups for the following sessions. Overall, my findings show that participants in the experimental VR group showed larger gains over time compared to the control and other experimental group, particularly regarding the figurative PVs. This study aimed to investigate the use of the HTC Vive (a virtual reality headset) to increase the acquisition of Phrasal Verbs by intermediate proficiency ESL learners. We incorporated the factor of VR into Task Based Language Teaching to give participants a communicative meaning-based task with a more immersive and authentic setting. Preliminary results suggest that VR offers a more authentic scenario for vocabulary learning, than traditional practice, leading to greater learning gains. In addition, responses from my debriefing questionnaire suggest that participants also perceived this practice as a more positive and encouraging experience, which mirrored real-life situations for them.
Issue Date:2018-07-16
Rights Information:Copyright, 2018. Burkel. A.
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-27
Date Deposited:2018-08

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