Language Learning on top of the user list in virtual worlds
From a study in May 2012 we can make the conclusion, that foreign language learning with 25% is the most frequented field of the educational use in virtual worlds (Kim, Lee, Thomas, 12). Of all educational ventures, the most are carried out in the Second Life metaverse with 35% (Kim, Lee, Thomas, 9).
Figure 7: Analysis of reasearch fields using virtual worlds by majors
Kim, Lee, Thomas, p. 12
Reliable data go back to 2006, which means that just at the time, when BABEL Language School was established by Mike Meltzer early in 2007, many others have made their entrance and have consolidated in the field of foreign language learning since.
We still are very concrete in our thinking: Eventually nations have a strong identification with their languages, landscapes, heritage and boundaries etc. In virtual worlds our identification could reside e.g. in the present multiculturality, the creation of virtual spaces, the online history and the absence of uncrossable borders, which we act in between and from. The research focus on virtual worlds in these years “is now focussing on understanding the immersive characteristics of virtual worlds, such as making learners feel as if there exists an online learning space” (Kim, Lee, Thomas, 15).
When will we feel, that also our mental orientation in an online existence will claim a substitute for or an extension of a former “national” feeling from us individuals behind the avatar, who act and develop so much in virtual worlds?
Bon voyage, Mike – from this study you have something to meet and contribute with, when you now travel to Bulgaria with it’s strong traditional national feelings.
Sahoon H. Kim, Jiyeon Lee Lee, Michael K. Thomas: “Between Purpose and Method: A Review of Educational Research on 3D Virtual Worlds.” Journal of Virtual Worlds Research 5 (2012) 1: 2-15. Retrieved February 17, 2013 from: