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Effect of SCMC on foreign language anxiety and learning experience: A comparison of voice, video, and VR-based oral interaction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 June 2020

James York
Tokyo Denki University, Japan (
Koichi Shibata
Tokyo Denki University, Japan (
Hayato Tokutake
Tokyo Denki University, Japan (
Hiroshi Nakayama
Tokyo Denki University, Japan (


Studies on computer-mediated communication often compare the affective affordances of different technologies with face-to-face communication. This study aimed to understand how three different computer-mediated communication modalities may affect EFL learners’ foreign language anxiety (FLA). Using a counterbalanced 3 by 3 factorial design, 30 undergraduate Japanese university students participated in this study, completing a spot-the-difference task in three different oral synchronous computer-mediated communication modes: voice, video, and virtual reality (VR). Upon completing each task, participants responded to an FLA questionnaire and answered questions regarding their learning experiences. Finally, a post-experiment questionnaire asked participants to explicitly compare their experiences of learning within each modality. Results suggest that although all three modes were successful in reducing learner FLA, no statistically significant differences were found between mean scores. However, the results of the learner perceptions questionnaire suggested that VR was the easiest environment to communicate in, was the most fun, and the most effective environment for language learning. Participant responses to an open-ended question suggested that learner dispositions to technology as well as their affective characteristics may be responsible for differing opinions regarding the affordances of VR for language learning. The study concludes with a call for more research in the area of learner affect and technology use, including studies that more effectively utilize the technological affordances of VR, and also qualitatively assess which elements of VR may affect learner FLA and motivation.

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© European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning, 2020

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