EVEIL-3D: Learning foreign languages through immersive virtual reality games

A pilot project in the Upper Rhine region uses modern 3D and ICT technology to create “serious games”, which make learning a foreign language both more fun and more efficient.

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EVEIL-3D uses immersive virtual reality to make language learning more fun and efficient. © Karlsruher Institut für Technologie and Fondation de l’Œuvre Notre Dame. EVEIL-3D uses immersive virtual reality to make language learning more fun and efficient. © Karlsruher Institut für Technologie and Fondation de l’Œuvre Notre Dame.

The main goal of the project is the creation of a virtual reality game for language students. Based on the results of research in the fields of language learning and neurophysiology, according to which continuous practice between two persons is the most efficient way of learning a language, the game creates situations of contextual communication with a highly realistic feel. As a result, language students will benefit from a new way of learning a language at school. At the same time, the project aims at sensitizing teachers to the virtual reality technology in order to enable them to incorporate them into their lessons as a new method of teaching.

Learning a language by exploring Strasbourg Cathedral

A so-called “serious game” is the main output of the project. Language learners can explore the 400-year long building history of Strasbourg Cathedral. Music and sounds are used to create a realistic feeling of immersion, and users can move around freely, talk, and interact in the virtual world thanks to state-of-the-art motion capture and speech recognition.

In addition to the game, research about Strasbourg Cathedral can form part of the language lesson. Afterwards, students can visit and discover the cathedral, adding a “real-life” edge to the virtual experience.

Preparing a new way of learning languages

The project is organised in four stages. The first part consisted in the adaptation of the necessary technologies, and the development of pedagogical scenarios for the virtual reality game. In a second stage, researchers presented the game in pilot classes and studied the game’s learning effect as well as pupil’s reactions to the technology.

In order to achieve a sustainable and durable benefit, the third part of the project deals with identifying infrastructure and equipment requirements of schools wishing to use the 3D learning environment. Finally, scientific cooperation between researchers in technology, linguistic, and education science constitutes the fourth angle of work. Presentations of project outputs at specialist conferences as well as the organisation of a project symposium will ensure the continued development and research on this new take on language learning at school.

The Project generated 3 new jobs during its implementation phase.

“Finally, language is becoming tangible – using speech recognition, motion capture, and object manipulation, this game goes beyond traditional classroom dialogues. With EVEIL-3D, we are really coming one step closer towards the so-called holistic learning, which includes academic, extracurricular, and virtual learning environments.”

Prof. Dr. Gérald Schlemminger, Scientific coordinator

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “EVEIL-3D” is EUR 1 618 016 with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contributing EUR 809 008 through the “INTERREG IV Upper Rhine” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. 

Draft date