Language Learning in Virtual Worlds: The Role of Foreign Language and Technical Anxiety
Keywords:Language learning, Foreign Language Anxiety (FLA), Second Language Acquisition (SLA)
This project examines whether or not learners feel less foreign language anxiety (FLA) in an online multiuser 3D virtual world simulation than in the real world classroom. Previous research has shown FLA to have negative effects on learner performance and learning outcomes. Research into learning in virtual worlds has indicated that performance anxiety may be lessened in these environments, however, the use of such virtual environments also places demands on the learner to develop a range of technical skills to facilitate interaction. The project examines whether or not learners feel less FLA in an online multiuser 3D virtual world simulation than in the real world classroom and also attempts to establish what impacts these demands have on learner performance and FLA. This work-in-progress paper, on the basis of preliminary analysis, has found 1) there are multiple sources of FLA in both classroom and virtual environments; 2) students found the virtual environment less stressful in terms of language use and 3) there was not a significant inherent level of technical related anxiety.