The Impact of High-Immersion Virtual Reality on Foreign Language Anxiety When Speaking in Public

21 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2022

See all articles by Alice Gruber

Alice Gruber

Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Regina Kaplan-Rakowski

University of North Texas

Date Written: January 6, 2022

Abstract

Public speaking, especially in a foreign language, is associated with increased anxiety. Research has shown the potential of virtual reality (VR) for simulating real-life experiences, allowing for public speaking practice in an ecological and safe environment. In this between-subjects study, intermediate learners of English participated in eight public speaking sessions over a three-month period. The experimental intervention took place in high-immersion VR with subjects wearing a VR headset and speaking in front of virtual humans. In the control intervention, subjects used a videoconferencing platform (Zoom) to speak in front of a real human being. Multivariate regression analysis revealed that practicing speaking in VR was associated with statistically significant lower foreign language anxiety (FLA) scores, compared with speaking practice using Zoom. This study provides evidence supporting the positive effect of VR technology on practicing public speaking in a foreign language. The research findings have practical implications for professionals and curriculum designers in various domains where public speaking skills are essential.

Keywords: Virtual reality (VR), foreign language anxiety (FLA), virtual assistant, English as a foreign language (EFL), pedagogical agents, simulations, speaking practice, public speaking, Zoom

Suggested Citation

Gruber, Alice and Kaplan-Rakowski, Regina, The Impact of High-Immersion Virtual Reality on Foreign Language Anxiety When Speaking in Public (January 6, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3882215 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3882215

Alice Gruber

Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences, Germany ( email )

Regina Kaplan-Rakowski (Contact Author)

University of North Texas ( email )

3940 N.Elm Street
Denton, TX 76207
United States
76207 (Fax)

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