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Virtual Field Trips for Active, Personalized Foreign Language Learning

Faerber-Ovaska, Rachel (2021) Virtual Field Trips for Active, Personalized Foreign Language Learning. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This mixed-methods study involved implementation of virtual field trip (VFT) projects in an online undergraduate foreign language (FL) course, with a close focus on four student participants’ use of VFTs over four weeks. Participants explored an Italian city using desktop virtual reality; narrated their experiences, and created an annotated digital VFT exhibit. This study sought to determine whether VFTs increased students’ opportunities for active, experiential FL learning; evaluated student perceptions of choice, personalization, and authenticity of the VFT activity; and examined the role of instructional design for VFTs. Data were derived from participant surveys, interviews, classroom observations, participant VFT use recordings and learning artifacts. Analysis of recorded VFT sessions revealed participants spoke significantly more in the target language (TL) when using VFTs than during other course activities. Significant personalization was observed in students’ VFT learning artifacts. Surveys and interviews indicated participants valued the realism of the virtual environment and responded positively to the opportunity for personalized exploration of the city. The findings suggest that options for personalization contributed to students’ level of interest in the VFT and motivated increased TL communication with peers. Participants reported the VFT activity supported learning both from and about their peers. Interestingly, all participants reported structuring their VFT design around relationships with family and friends whom they envisioned accompanying them on the virtual visit. This study’s findings will be useful to instructors interested in VFTs as a strategy to increase opportunities for active, personalized learning in their courses.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Faerber-Ovaska, Rachelrof35@pitt.edurof350000-0001-8061-7921
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDonato,
Committee MemberCrowley,
Committee MemberRainey,
Date: 31 August 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 June 2021
Approval Date: 31 August 2021
Submission Date: 29 July 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 151
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: virtual field trip, place-based learning, foreign language teaching, active foreign language learning, personalized foreign language learning, Venice, Improvement Science, linguistic landscape
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2021 18:10
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2021 18:10


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