Virtual Reality and Multilingualism

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With this subproject, the University of Kassel is promoting an interdisciplinary teaching concept in the field of web-based foreign language didactics (developing English, French and Spanish) in order to professionalize future teachers in the autonomous construction, implementation and evaluation of multilingual, virtual spaces for authentic teaching/learning situations.

Virtual Reality and Multilingualism is an interdisciplinary course concept for web-based foreign language didactics (English, French, Spanish) under the direction of Prof. Dr. Claudia Finkbeiner and Prof. Dr. Claudia Schlaak. The cooperative research project "Virtual Reality and Multilingualism" at the University of Kassel aims to prepare future teachers for effective, digital work in everyday school life and ties in with the multilingual and multicultural reality of learners' lives. The project aims to promote didactic,  multilingual, intercultural and digital skills, in particular for the development and analysis of 360-degree and VR learning environments. As in DigCompEdu, these skills also play an important role in the professionalization model "LMR-Plus" (Finkbeiner, 2004).

A pre-post design (Finkbeiner, Schlaak & Ost, published) collects qualitative and quantitative data in order to measure and evaluate the impact of the project. Initial analyses show a significant increase in digital skills. It is clear that learning progression has taken place at various levels. Student teachers who acquire these skills as part of their training can act as multipliers and mediators in their future careers. 

Funding: Foundation for Innovation in University Teaching

In the winter semester 2021/22, the development, implementation and evaluation of an interdisciplinary course concept in the field of 360-degree learning environments and multilingualism (English, French and other foreign languages) was piloted. The aim was to enable future teachers to autonomously construct, implement and evaluate multilingual, virtual spaces for the most authentic teaching/learning situations possible. In the course of the course, the students dealt with the concepts of  augmentedrealitymixed reality and virtual reality , got to know the concept of visual literacy and, based on their newly acquired knowledge, created virtual teaching and learning spaces using suitable tools (in the seminar context: Lapentor) whose  design takes into account the embedding of specific, contextually situated and culturally bound situations as well as the use of multilingual means of communication.

The project will also create new, inclusive access to facilities and institutions in times of crisis and evaluate the opportunities and limitations of multilingual and multicultural embedded competence experiences in virtual spaces.

Due to the impact of the pandemic, the research project went fully digital in 2021. In the summer semester of 2023, face-to-face courses were able to take place again and in this  semester, the use and evaluation of the language learning application with the help of VR glasses was specifically tested in the training of prospective foreign language teachers. Based on the seminar approach of the winter semester 2021/2022, a course was developed that was both interdisciplinary and multilingual. This course was organized by the departments of English/American Studies and Romance Studies and was aimed at students studying to become teachers of English, French and Spanish.

15 Meta Quest 2 VR headsets were used in the seminar. The integration of the VR headsets into the seminar made it possible to add the VR dimension to traditional teaching methods. This opened up the opportunity to integrate the potential benefits of virtual reality into the process of language teaching and learning. Following a criteria-based analysis, the following language learning applications were used and evaluated in the seminar:

  • BRINK Traveler

  • Mondly - learning languages in VR
  • National Geographic VR
  • Noun Town
  • Language Lab

High student interest in VR and 360-degree media in foreign language teaching

Significant increase in students' digital skills (self-assessment) after participating in both seminar concepts (paired t-test)

Critical discussion regarding the use of VR in the classroom

Pupils of the Anne Frank School in action

High level of interest and motivation to use the materials and lesson plans created in later practice, transfer possibilities in other subjects


Networking measures, training and publications

Project presentations 

  • Lecture: "360° applications and multilingualism in higher education: an important step towards learning with virtual reality" as part of the VR/AR area at LEARNTEC 2023, Karlsruhe, 25.05.2023
  • Lecture: "360-Degree-Media in Foreign Language Learning: A Pre-Post Survey Study" at the conference "Evidence-based foreign language learning - Multilingualism in education (EBFL)", Ascona, 07.-10.06.2023
  • Poster presentation at the PRONET final conference  "Digitalization in school and teacher education - a look into the year 2040", Science Park, University of Kassel, 10.07.2023
  • Workshop and Open Space as part of the project week "Digitale Lehre Neu Gestalten" Integrated Study Workshop - Languages, University of Kassel, 07.11.2023
  • Poster presentation as part of the Digital Teaching Day, Gießhaus, University of Kassel, 17.11.2023

Further education

19.06.2023 Further training for teachers in the preparatory service (Spanish) at the Studienseminar Kassel
28.09.2023 State specialist day on media education and digitalization of the Hessian Teachers' Academy in Frankfurt am Main
10.10.2023 Teacher training at the Ursulinenschule Fritzlar
29.01.2024 Further training for teachers in the preparatory service (French) at the Studienseminar Kassel
12.02.2024 Teacher training at the University of Kassel in the Integrated Language Study Workshop


Finkbeiner, C., Schlaak, C. & Ost, W.S. (forthcoming). 360-Degree Multilingual Learning Environments and Virtual Reality: A Pilot Study in Higher Education. In S. Braselmann et al, Teacher education in (post-)pandemic times: International perspectives, Peter Lang.


Prof. Dr. Claudia Finkbeiner

Foreign Language Teaching and Learning Research & Intercultural Communication
University of Kassel
+49 561 804-3353

Prof. Dr. Claudia Schlaak

Foreign language teaching and learning research: Didactics of French and Spanish
University of Kassel
+49 561 804-3360