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VR Technology Empowering Learner Agency in Vocational Language Training


Many service industries in Australia have to regularly deal with local and international non-English & non-native English speakers. This is particularly true in two of Australia’s largest import industries tourism and education. A further subset of this is large international events held in Australia on an occasional basis such at the Summer Olympic games which will be held in Brisbane in 2032.

Despite many non-background Australian’s being unwilling to undertake extensive foreign language study due to the amount of time and effort that needs to be committed, short, intensive language training with a vocational focus may be more appealing, particularly where it leads to government certified vocational qualifications. Currently in Australia while there is a national certification standard for basic Mandarin training for vocational purposes (SITXLAN001), there are no purpose-designed courses that meet the accreditation standards available anywhere in the country.

3D virtual environments have been shown to have many features conducive to learning of all kinds. In relation to vocational skills, studies have shown that well designed curricula utilising the immersive and highly interactive nature of 3D VR environments together with the ability to simulate real world conditions can shorten training times for specific tasks significantly. A number of major corporations around the world have adopted 3D VR environments to train their staff in areas such as customer service, personnel management, warehousing and manufacturing procedures, safety procedures, etc. One well known example in the USA is Walmart. Because skills can be practiced in a safe environment (mentally, emotionally, physically) populated with highly interactive AI-driven virtual characters, can be carried out any time, any place, and can be repeated as many times as necessary until mastery is achieved, learner agency is greatly enhanced.

Drawn on the situated learning theory (Lave, & Wenger 1991), the research proposed aims to provide a platform in a 3D virtual environment for those who need vocational training of basic Mandarin oral skills through the experience of cognitive apprenticeship (Collins and Kapur, 2014). The project will investigate the design, development, testing and implementation of a short-term program for the learning of basic Mandarin communication skills that meet the requirements of the Australian Government SITXLAN001 certification. The program will consist of 6 roleplays that represent the most common interactions between staff in a wide range of service industries and non-English & non-native English-speaking clients. The learning approach will combine multimedia-based language learning material with practical application in simulated real-life scenarios in the 3D virtual environment. The project will also look at the potential for formal assessment to also be carried out in the 3D virtual environment.


Collins, A., & M. Kapur (2014) Cognitive apprenticeship in R. Keith Sawyer (ed) The Cambridge Handbook of Learning Sciences. Pp 109-127

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge university press.

Dr. Grace Yue Qi
  Panelists & sub-topics  

Dr. Scott Grant 
Mobilising 3D virtual environments and AI virtual characters for second/foreign language learning

Dr. Hui Huang
Second language acquisition and andragogy

Ms. Lisa Miller
Australian Government accredited vocational language training

Cultivating Digital Pedagogy in Teacher Professional Development:Frameworks, Practices and Reflection


This panel discussion focuses on how the advancement in technology-mediated multimodal environments enhances collaboration and reflection in teacher education (Farrell, 2019), considered as current and vital trends in the field of TELL teacher education (Chun, 2019). The first paper by Tsou implements an approach of blended instruction of a large-scale in-service bilingual teacher training program on the Webex platform in Taiwan, with an aim to investigate its feasibility based on the perceptions of the participants about their familiarity with bilingual education and their satisfaction with the integration of technological tools used in the blended instruction. The second paper by Qi examines how the cyclic process of a virtual peer mentoring framework, CARR in four stages: Collaborative planning, Acting with peer support, Reflecting, and Reimplementing/Readapting (Qi, forthcoming) enhances the effectiveness in supporting teachers’ continued professional development in multimodal teaching design and practices through investigating two teachers in a university-based Chinese language program in Aotearoa New Zealand. The last paper by Wu investigates how an inquiry-based, TPACK-focused CALL training framework: CATARR (Comprehension, Analyzing, Teaching demonstration, Negotiation, Reflection and Readjusting) enhanced the digital pedagogy of 42 pre-service teachers’ in a 18-week course in a Teachers’ college in Taiwan via longitudinal and individual TPACK profile tracking, including the degree and manner of TPACK knowledge and technology integration. In conclusion, the authors all advocate the importance of both in-service and pre-service teachers’ awareness and application of multimodal teaching and multiliteracies. Furthermore, pedagogical frameworks based on the positive results of the studies are proposed and discussed.


Teacher Education, Professional Development, Blended Approach, Virtual Peer Mentioning, TPACK


Chun, D. M. (2019). Current and Future Directions in TELL. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 22(2), 14–25.

Farrell, T. S. C. 2019. “Reflective Practice in L2 Teacher Education.” In The Routledge Handbook of English Language Teacher Education, edited by S. Walsh and S. Mann, 25-37. Abingdon/New York: Routledge.

Liu, M. H., & Kleinsasser, R. C. (2015). Exploring EFL teachers’ CALL knowledge and competencies: In-service program perspectives. Language Learning & Technology, 19(1), 119–138. Retrieved from

Qi, G. Y. (forthcoming). Virtual peer mentoring for language teacher professional development: A framework towards the Aotearoa New Zealand context. In Wang, D. & East, M. (forthcoming), Chinese language education in Anglophone countries: Perspectives from New Zealand. Springer.

Dr. Dorothy M. Chun

Dr. Wenli Tsou is a Full Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages & Literature, and currently Director of the Foreign Language Center at National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. She received her PhD in Foreign and Second Language Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo, U.S. Since 2020, Wenli has been commissioned by the Taiwan Ministry of Education (MOE) to set up in-service professional development programs for bilingual teachers and EMI professors of universities from all over Taiwan. She is also a key promoter for Taiwan MOE’s international education (IE) division, responsible for curriculum design and IE implementation in compulsory education to facilitate development of global competence. Together with a team of researchers Wenli’s most current research has focused on the links between disciplinary literacy and translanguaging of bilingual education and EMI.
Dr Grace Yue Qi is a Lecturer and Researcher in the School of Humanities, Media and Creative Communication, Massey University, Aotearoa New Zealand. Her current research interests lie in the epistemological and ontological intersections of language, culture and technology, as well as the humanistic orientation of language education. She is particularly interested in language teacher agency, identity construction and negotiation and tailored ongoing training and professional development for language teachers’ transformative practice. Her recent projects and publications also include curriculum design and pedagogy for learning diversity, multilingual education, decentring languages/languaging, and early language policy and planning in Australasia.
Dr. Yi-ju (Ariel) Wu is an assistant professor in Department of English Instruction at University of Taipei, Taiwan. She received her PhD in Education from University of California, Santa Barbara. She has been serving as a teacher educator of the primary school English teacher education program by Education Department of Taipei City Government. Since 2021, she has involved in in-service professional development programs initiated by Education Departments of Taipei City Government and New Taipei City Government as an instructor and mentor for bilingual teachers. Her current research expertise includes teacher education, TPACK, data-driven learning, virtual reality, L2 speaking, L2 writing, English for Academic Purposes, English for medical purposes, and English for legal purposes. She has published in leading international journals such as Language Learning & Technology and Educational Technology & Society.