Promoting Intercultural Competence in a Learning Activity Supported by Virtual Reality Technology
Virtual reality (VR) technology makes it possible to create an authentic virtual environment that benefits immersive learning. We designed an intercultural learning activity and applied VR technology to support it. Then, we investigated students’ perceptions of the learning activity, VR technology, and intercultural competence (IC) development during learning. Students from China and Uzbekistan participated in the activity, in which a pragmatic mixed-methods approach was used. The data were collected through student reports, three questionnaires, and interviews, and then analyzed. Three main findings were obtained. First, 13 items related to perception of the learning activity were revealed. When compared with earlier studies, new items were found, including presence, immersion, and authentic cultural experience. Second, the results showed that the participants intended to continue using VR technology, were satisfied with intercultural learning supported by VR technology, and felt that the technology confirmed their expectations. Third, the results showed that intercultural learning supported by VR technology helped facilitate IC development. Based on these results, we discuss implications and offer suggestions for educators and researchers.
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