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Advances in Human-Computer Interaction
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 389523, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/389523
Research Article

Interactive Language Learning through Speech-Enabled Virtual Scenarios

Centre for Communication Interface Research, School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, UK

Received 30 May 2012; Accepted 5 September 2012

Academic Editor: M. Carmen Juan

Copyright © 2012 Hazel Morton et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This paper describes the evaluation of an educational game designed to give learners of foreign languages the opportunity to practice their spoken language skills. Within the speech interactive Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) program, scenarios are presented in which learners interact with virtual characters in the target language using speech recognition technology. Two types of interactive scenarios with virtual characters are presented as part of the game: the one-to-one scenarios which take the form of practice question and answer scenarios where the learner interacts with one virtual character and the interactive scenario which is an immersive contextualised scenario where the learner interacts with two or more virtual characters within the scene to complete a (task-based) communicative goal. The study presented here compares learners’ subjective attitudes towards the different scenarios. In addition, the study investigates the performance of the speech recognition component in this game. Forty-eight students of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) took part in the evaluation. Results indicate that learners’ subjective ratings for the contextualised interactive scenario are higher than for the one-to-one, practice scenarios. In addition, recognition performance was better for these interactive scenarios.