The crossroads of English language learners, task-based instruction, and 3D multi-user virtual learning in Second Life
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English as a foreign language (EFL) learners' task-based practices in 3D multi-user virtual environments are a dynamic avenue that has attracted research attention in current second language acquisition literature. This study explores EFL adult learners' perceptions and language practices in a 10-session, task-based course in Second Life (SL). A full-blown task-based syllabus that capitalized on meaningful real-life tasks was designed and documented in this study. Employing the grounded theory approach and triangulating multiple qualitative data sources, two core themes emerged: factors that influence SL learning experience and effects of task-based instruction on language learning in SL. SL was evidenced as a viable learning environment due to its conspicuous features, immersive and virtual reality, sense of tele- and co-presence. This study implicates that 1) 3D multimodal resources in SL provide EFL learners with visual and linguistic support and facilitate language teaching and learning; and 2) tasks that draw upon SL features, accommodate learners' cultural/world knowledge, and simulate real-life scenarios, can optimize learners' virtual learning experiences.
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