Using a quest in a 3D virtual environment for student interaction and vocabulary acquisition in foreign language learning

Denise Kastoudi


The gaming and interactional nature of the virtual environment of Second Life offers opportunities for language learning beyond the traditional pedagogy. This study case examined the potential of 3D virtual quest games to enhance vocabulary acquisition through interaction, negotiation of meaning and noticing. Four adult students of English at advanced level and a native speaker of English formed two groups, one group of two students and one group of two students and the native speaker. The groups took part in the Pot Healer Adventure Quest in Second Life. Qualitative analysis showed that a) there was a great amount of output and meaningful interaction, as well as negotiation of meaning and negative feedback for the words tested, b) small but substantial quantities of incidental learning of vocabulary occurred, together with some small samples of incidental learning from some students, and c) noticing worked very well in the activity, due to the combination of the written chat, the virtual environment and the game itself. There is a need to promote the creation of quests that will combine the attractive elements of games with the aim of second language learning. More research is needed to see how we can have effective language learning while interacting in virtual environments. More study cases with various samples should be conducted for more conclusive evidence.


Virtual environments; quest; Second Language Acquisition; interactional theories; incidental and intentional learning; vocabulary learning

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