Student Life

Grant Funds ESL Virtual Reality Project

Nash Community College’s English as a Second Language students are learning through virtual reality instruction thanks to grants funded by Nash Community College Foundation, Wake Electric Membership Corporation and WE Care.

Using virtual reality headsets, students employ cutting-edge technology in a uniquely concentrated and tangible manner through virtual learning, benefiting various learning styles and increasing academic gains. This aids in the learning process as students work to acquire the skills needed for citizenship, high-quality employment and careers.

“Experienced ESL educators are always interested in acquiring new ways to broaden students’ writing abilities as their fluency increases as part of increasing their preparation for the workplace,” NCC ESL Instructor Michele Cruz said. “For ESL students, writing can be the most challenging skill in which to gain proficiency. Through these learning experiences, students have new insight into places and ideas that were previously only abstract concepts. These experiences serve to heighten written content and develop critical thinking regarding various topics for essays.”

Research shows that virtual reality-based education can support both theoretical and practical skills training.

The NCC students also use virtual reality technology for enhanced learning regarding American culture, US history and civics, career skills, social studies and science. ESL students benefit greatly from the addition of VR learning opportunities in all these areas, which coincide with the integrated education and training goals set out by the Workforce Innovations and Opportunities Act.

“In addition to personalized learning, groups may also experience the same virtual reality setting together at the same time, which allows for interaction, collaboration, and team building. This dynamic tool will have a lasting positive impact on students and will help them to achieve the educational gains they need to advance in their learning and life goals,” explained Cruz.

The grant supported the license subscription, instructor headset training, preparations and development of workforce training and soft skill activities. The software includes access to a class portal with over 500 lessons and activities, the option to create a playlist of lessons, and to create/manage class content.