Exploring the experience of Year 10 South Korean students’ English language learning in immersive virtual reality.


  • Greg Restall
  • Ada Yao University of South Australia
  • Belle Niu University of South Australia




A prescribed English language textbook often directs classroom teaching practices in secondary school classes in EFL contexts, such as in South Korea. The textbook is often accompanied by multimedia resources which are delivered to students as input at a regulated pace with limited opportunities for communicative interaction or spoken output. Such opportunities are further limited in the community outside of the English classroom. Immersive virtual reality (i-VR) has the potential to situate learners in a real-world context for authentic application of textbook language learning. English teachers in the formal classroom focus on linguistic competence development within time constraints by teaching new vocabulary and grammatical items in decontextualised forms. By comparison, i-VR environments focus on learning to construct meaning in communicative events in contextualised, real-world settings based on students’ existing linguistic knowledge and ability. In a small-scale pilot study, two teachers of Year 10 English classes in Seoul implemented four i-VR language learning modules in their classes: one as a self-directed learning experience that extended beyond formal classroom learning, and the other as a teacher-facilitated learning experience within the formal classroom. Both teachers were interviewed after the two-week implementation to seek their views on their perceptions of the value of such i-VR learning for their students. Beyond the motivational and entertainment value, the teachers viewed the i-VR experience as capable of incorporating pedagogical structures using the embedded multimodal resources that is not possible in other immersive forms of language learning. Moreover, the teachers believed that incorporation of authentic conversations and interactional opportunities could further enhance the learning potential.


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Author Biographies

  • Ada Yao, University of South Australia

    Ms Ada Yao has recently completed a M.Ed. (TESOL) at UniSA from which she has developed interest, experience and expertise at developing virtual reality learning environments to support foreign language learning. She has applied her expertise to the current i-VR project and is a current PhD student of Dr Greg Restall.

  • Belle Niu, University of South Australia

    Miss Belle Niu is a current Ph.D. student of Dr Greg Restall. She has completed education degrees in both Australia and China from which she has developed experience and expertise at ESL teaching and learning. She also has expertise in dance and performance arts which were applied to the current i-VR project.




How to Cite

Exploring the experience of Year 10 South Korean students’ English language learning in immersive virtual reality. (2023). TESOL in Context, 31(2). https://doi.org/10.21153/tesol2023vol31no2art1731
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