Effectiveness of Second Life virtual Learning Environment for Language Training in Hospitality and Tourism
Keywords:Virtual learning, SL, language education, hospitality, tourism, ESP
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) systems have been widely used in higher education as an effective e-learning platform. With its large user community and virtual facilities in various disciplines, including education, recreation, tourism, business, etc. Second Life (SL) has become one of the most dominant VLE systems for hospitality and tourism training. With better student devices and a faster internet connection, language education in Vietnam recently saw soaring interest in using SL for training, especially in an ESP area like English for hospitality and tourism. However, there is still very little research on the effectiveness of SL VLE for language training in hospitality and tourism. This fifteen-week quasi-experimental study was conducted on two classes (n = 81) in order to investigate the effectiveness of SL VLE for language training in hospitality and tourism with a focus on speaking skills. The instruments included English speaking tests, an attitudinal questionnaire, and a semi-structured interview. The findings of the study indicated that language training activities in SL positively contributed to students' language proficiency progress. Besides, students have positive perceptions about the use of SL VLE in their training. It is recommended that language training programs in hospitality and tourism make more substantial use of virtual restaurants, hotels, resorts, and entertainment places in SL to enrich students' learning experience. Hospitality and tourism training institutions should spend resources on formal SL VLE training for teachers and students and build their SL facilities.
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