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Applications of immersive virtual reality (iVR) for language learning are on the rise due to enhanced interaction possibilities with virtual agents and objects. However, iVR environments for language learning are not yet supporting speech recognition, hence limiting the potential to use iVR for fostering users’ pronunciation training. This is due to a lack of methodological guidelines helping education professionals to create iVR environments effectively supporting speech recognition and pronunciation feedback. Moreover, no matter how close to reality iVR settings are designed to be, users may miss the correspondence between virtuality and reality due to design issues and lack of realistic input, with detrimental effects on enabling users to transfer iVR-acquired language skills to real-life interactions. Attempting to address these gaps, this study examines the methodology adopted by a group of researchers at the AP University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Antwerp to design an iVR experience for learning the pronunciation of Flemish words. Following a participatory design approach, an iVR prototype was planned and designed with the game engine Unity and targeted to prospective international students at the University of Antwerp. Findings from user trials revealed that virtual agents’ timed feedback, environmental real-likeness and users’ involvement in completing linguistic challenges were considered to be essential tenets for fostering iVR-based pronunciation training. Additionally, results suggested that further developments are needed to develop a technology for speech recognition in iVR environments that foster students’ pronunciation skills and cultural exposure through pre-reality language training.


e-Learning Instructional Design Language Education Immersive Virtual Reality Pronunciation Training Spatial Affordances Participatory Design

Article Details

How to Cite
Compagnoni, I. (2023). A methodology to design immersive Virtual Reality experiences for foreign language pronunciation training. Journal of E-Learning and Knowledge Society, 19(4), 17-25.


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