Lost in second life: virtual embodiment and language learning via multimodal communication

Sarah Ellen Pasfield-Neofitou, Hui Huang, Scott John Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Increased recognition of the role of the body and environment in cognition has taken place in recent decades in the form of new theories of embodied and extended cognition. The growing use of ever more sophisticated computer-generated 3D virtual worlds and avatars has added a new dimension to these theories of cognition. Both developments provide new opportunities for exploring new ways of facilitating language acquisition in the foreign language classroom environment. In this article, through two case studies we examine student interaction in a virtual environment customised for foreign language learning to examine virtually embodied and extended cognition. Our examination identifies two particular features of this combination of mind, (virtual) body and (virtual) environment that further underline the potential of 3D virtual worlds as sites for embodied and extended cognition: students often do not distinguish between themselves and their avatars; the boundaries between the real and virtual environments are highly (cognitively) permeable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709 - 726
Number of pages18
JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Avatars
  • Embodied cognition
  • Non-player character
  • SLA
  • Virtual worlds

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