Online virtual world developed as a tool to teach academics

Teachers at UQ’s Institute of Continuing and TESOL Education are producing an online virtual world to train academics in how to teach their subject in English. The CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) online project involves the development of a series of modules using scenario based learning (SBL) to simulate a ‘real world’ university environment.

The online CLIL program provides academics with an opportunity to experience UQ-ICTE’s expertise in this area and acts as a complement and lead-in to UQ-ICTE’s current face-to-face CLIL - Higher Education program.

There are many academics around the world that currently teach their subjects in the English language. At the moment, there are more than 8,000 courses being taught in English at universities in non-Anglophone countries around the world and this is growing (From Walkinshaw et al, 2017). The project is therefore an important step in supporting a growing demand for CLIL.
 

Students participating in filming for the CLIL online project

The finalised product will feature virtual characters, three trainees named ‘Al’, ‘Mei’ and ‘Kwan’, and a trainer, ‘Amy’. The trainee characters primarily introduce correct and incorrect content information and experiences throughout the storyline, while ‘Amy’ acts as a proxy for the UQ-ICTE CLIL experts. The academic who is logged on takes the role of a fourth trainee and progresses their learning by interacting and cooperating with the characters in various ways. For example, in a multiple choice type question, each of the answer options would be presented as three different opinions from each trainee. The user would then ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ with each opinion.

UQ-ICTE Teacher and Content Writer, Martin Dutton said that there is evidence that the immersive-ness of scenario-based and game-based learning offers higher motivation for learners.

“It gives the user a feeling like they are part of a real university environment even though they are watching virtual characters. This makes learning easier.”

The project is being produced in-house at UQ-ICTE and is expected to be completed by December 2018.

The CLIL online project team

The project team members include:
Martin Dutton – Content Writer
Lisa Arnold – Content Writer
Melika Stannard – Content Writer
Mark Gillow – Learning Designer

Last updated:
12 July 2018