CLIL Project: Virtual Reality in English for Medicine and Psychology undergraduate students
The use of Virtual Reality (VR) within the educational field has been described as a meaningful tool for students to learn, clarify and get a deeper understanding of specific topics while practicing a foreign language. The Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures jointly with professors from the Medicine and Psychology schools have initiated a project to implement VR as a medium of instruction for content and language integrated learning (CLIL). The project embraces the use of virtual reality in order to potentialize the comprehension of some concepts and processes presented in English, such as “action potential”, “synapsis”, “human ear” and “human eye”. The content and exercises are displayed in 3D, giving students the opportunity to interact, manipulate and practice with the content within an immersive environment, while practicing English. The study explores to what extent learners are able to integrate content learning with the vocabulary presented in English in a VR learning experience. It also explores learners’ engagement and self-efficacy, when being immersed in a VR learning environment. During the implementation phase, students become familiar with the VR headset and joystick. Then, they get immersed in the VR environment where they can read and listen to the learning objectives, and follow an interactive lecture that explains the content. Then, students complete an assessment over that content. The data collection instruments include vocabulary tests, surveys and interviews to students. Students are surveyed on how much they agreed or disagreed with statements such as “I can understand audios in English with specific vocabulary related to my field of study”. Students are also tested on how much they learned the content related vocabulary in English with 10 multiple-choice questions and 10 spelling questions. The Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures is in the process of including professors from other schools into this project, so that more students are involved in this innovative learning experience.