Initially for young learners aged 11-17, the offer aims to provide a “stimulating and fully interactive” learning environment by use of virtual reality headsets.
“At a time when travel is more difficult, it is a fantastic way to truly immerse them in the English language”
“Through the launch of our VR programs, EC is proving how we will not stand still and wait for this pandemic to end and for normality to return,” Andrew Mangion, the company’s CEO, said.
“We are pivoting ourselves into a whole new area, not only for EC, but for the ELT industry.”
In 2020, EC English introduced its EC Virtual platform in response to the pandemic.
Travelling to participate in a full immersion course remains the “optimum way” to learn languages, but the EC VR Experience will sit comfortably alongside EC’s other offers, Mangion added.
“VR offers us an exciting opportunity to enhance the online learning environment,” continued Gillian Davidson, Group Academic director at EC.
The “engaging real-life environments” via the virtual reality “replicate the very communication-based challenges students will face in their daily lives”, Davidson highlighted.
“Students work together in a safe and supportive space to develop the skills and confidence necessary to be successful in the modern world.”
Managing director of the EC Young Learner division at EC, Lisa James, said that the cohort of students the product is designed for have “grown up with technology”.
“It makes perfect sense to use virtual reality as a learning tool for [11-17 year-olds],” she said.
“At a time when travel is more difficult, it is a fantastic way to truly immerse them in the English language and maximise their learning experience.
“However, we do not see VR learning as something that will go away when this pandemic is over. Rather, it is transformational in terms of ELT and we are delighted to be part of it from the beginning.”
The PIE hosted a webinar focusing on Virtual Reality delivery in English language teaching on March 4, 16:30 GMT. Watch it here.