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LoD Viewpoints April 2007

Language Learning in Second Life Shows Potential

Developments in multiplayer virtual environments, particularly the provision of high-quality voice communications, may enhance learning and collaboration for language students by enabling them to learn and practice in complex, open-ended, virtual settings in ways that would be difficult to replicate in real life. Language learning is a general-purpose application for virtual worlds that could become commonplace once interface issues find resolution. When interfaces improve, other applications that require virtual-face-to-face with voice communications will also follow.

Recent Developments: U.S. National Science Foundation Funds Leading-Edge Research Project: "Towards Life-like Computer Interfaces that Learn"

Combining several leading-edge technologies in addition to developing humanlike avatars that appear lifelike and respond intelligibly to questions could create remarkable results. Software agents that understand speech and can respond, through speech, to topic-specific questions could create a variety of new applications and services in learning, as well as in customer services, sales, and other people-facing roles.