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Designing oral participation in Second Life – a comparative study of two language proficiency courses

  • Mats Deutschmann (a1), Luisa Panichi (a2) and Judith Molka-Danielsen (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 May 2009

The following paper presents two stages of an action research project involving two oral proficiency courses held in the virtual world Second Life. Course 1 was conducted during the Autumn of 2007. Based on the experiences of this course, we redesigned many aspects of it in order to improve student activity in terms of oral participation and gave the course again in Spring 2008. By analysing the recordings of four 90-minute sessions, two from each course, we were able to measure student participation based on floor space, turn lengths and turn-taking patterns, and in the study we discuss how different changes in design may have contributed to more favourable outcomes. Results seem to indicate that meaning focussed task design, which involves authenticity and collaborative elements, has a direct impact on learner participation and engagement. Furthermore, our results seem to suggest that technical and social initiations into a complex environment such as SL are important factors that have to be worked into the course design.

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M. Hauck B. L. Youngs (2008) Telecollaboration in multimodal environments: the impact on task design and learner interaction. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 21(2): 87124.

B. Hudson , D. Owen K. van Veen (2006) Working on educational research methods with Masters students in an international online learning community. British Journal of Educational Technology, 37(4): 577603.

C. M. Jones B. L. Youngs (2006) Teacher Preparation for Online Language Instruction. In: Hubbard, P. and Levy, M. (eds.), Teacher Education in CALL. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 267280.

M. Peterson (2006) Learner Interaction Management in an Avatar and Chat-based Virtual World. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 19(1): 79103.

B. Seidlhofer (2005) English as a lingua franca. ELT Journal, 59: 339341.

L. van Lier (2004) The Ecology and Semiotics of Language Learning: a Sociocultural Perspective. London: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

M. Warschauer (1997) Computer-Mediated Collaborative Learning: Theory and Practice. The Modern Language Journal, 81(4): 470481.

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