Although Virtual Reality (VR) technology is becoming increasingly popular, little is known about the prospect of using VR tools for educational purposes in the context of teaching Maltese language. The current study used a mixed research methodology. The qualitative approach and a focus group technique were applied to collect data from 25 teachers about the usage of VR in language learning settings. A quantitative phase of the research entailed conducting an online survey among the same respondents to obtain empirical evidence for the potential effectiveness of VR tools in ML2 settings. The study's findings shed light on the effectiveness of VR in teaching and learning Maltese as a second language. The study offers a detailed discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of VR for international students learning Maltese based on the results of NVivo thematic analysis and the quantitative data. Educators laud VR for engaging students in an immersive environment and enriching the learning context with vital entertainment features. The research demonstrates that VR tools are not widely used to facilitate language learning, and there is still a high level of uncertainty surrounding the principles that guide the application of these tools in ML2 settings. Simultaneously, the study critically discusses the most important aspects of this uncertainty and also emphasises a number of challenges related to VR, including high costs, bulky headsets, and technical issues.
Jacqueline Zammit, University of Malta, Malta