Students' Use of Second Life in Learning Spanish as a Foreign Language


  • Deoksoon Kim Boston College
  • Oksana Vorobel Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York
  • Brandon King University of South Florida


Second Life, virtual world, Spanish as a foreign language, language learning


The affordances of Second Life provide a life-like environment for language learning. This study explores how college students learn Spanish as a foreign language in the Second Life environment. We investigated their perceptions of and experiences with Second Life in their foreign language learning, from a sociocultural perspective. Employing qualitative research methods, we collected chat logs, observations, reflective journals, and interviews. Findings include a) the advantages of authentic communication with native Spanish speakers, b) learners’ motivation and anxiety, c) opportunities to practice the target language, d) the nature of their language production, and e) the participatory culture. Our discussion highlights the various ways in which Second Life can provide a good environment for language learning. We describe benefits such as opportunities for authentic conversation, and to explore the target culture, as well as increased motivation for foreign language learning in Second Life. Students did encounter a few challenges, but in general Second Life provides an excellent platform to practice language skills.