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Zheng, D., Young, M. F., Brewer, B., & Wagner, M. (2009). Attitude and self-efficacy change: English language learning in virtual worlds. The Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium Journal, 27(1), 205-231.

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Zheng, D., Young, M. F., Brewer, B., & Wagner, M. (2009). Attitude and self-efficacy change: English language learning in virtual worlds. The Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium Journal, 27(1), 205-231.
  See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: Attitude and Self-Efficacy Change: EnglishLanguage Learning in Virtual Worlds  Article  · September 2009 DOI: 10.11139/cj.27.1.205-231 CITATIONS 26 READS 132 4 authors , including: Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects: Teaching intercultural competence across the age range   View projectFROM PRINCIPLES TO PRACTICE IN EDUCATION FOR INTERCULTURAL CITIZENSHIP   View projectDongping ZhengUniversity of Hawai ʻ i at M ā noa 33   PUBLICATIONS   219   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE Michael F. YoungUniversity of Connecticut 46   PUBLICATIONS   1,176   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE Manuela MARIA WagnerUniversity of Connecticut 14   PUBLICATIONS   105   CITATIONS   SEE PROFILE All content following this page was uploaded by Manuela MARIA Wagner on 19 January 2017. The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file. All in-text references underlined in blue are added to the srcinal documentand are linked to publications on ResearchGate, letting you access and read them immediately.    205 CALICO Journal, 27  (1) D. Zheng, M. Young, R. Brewer, and M. Wagner CALICO Journal, 27  (1), p-p 205-231. © 2009 CALICO Journal   Attitude and Self-Efficacy Change: English Language Learning in Virtual Worlds D ONGPING  Z HENG University of Hawaii  M ICHAEL  F. Y OUNG University of Connecticut  R  OBERT  A. B REWER  Michigan State University  M ANUELA  W AGNER  University of Connecticut   ABSTRACT This study explored affective factors in learning English as a foreign language in a 3D game-like virtual world, Quest Atlantis (QA). Through the use of communication tools (e.g., chat, bulletin board, telegrams, and email), 3D avatars, and 2D webpage naviga-tion tools in virtual space, nonnative English speakers (NNES) co-solved online content-related problem quests with native English speakers (NES). Students in the QA group rated themselves higher than the non-QA group in self-efcacy toward advanced use of English, attitude toward English, and self-efcacy toward e -communication. These ndings suggest that virtual worlds may provide a space for English language learners (ELLs) in the United States and other countries to increase condence and comfort and to overcome cultural barriers for learning English. KEYWORDS Foreign Language Learning, English Language Learning, 3D Gaming Environment, Virtual Worlds, At- titude and Self-Efcacy, Intercultural Collaboration INTRODUCTION This paper, based on data collected during a large-scale study using mixed methods, explores affective factors in learning English as a foreign language in a 3D game-like virtual world, Quest Atlantis (QA; Quantitative research methods were used to measure differences between the QA and non-QA groups on measures of (a) attitude and self-efcacy toward English language learning , (b) English achievement test scores, and (c) responses to English writing prompts. A 2004 report by the American Educational Research Association stated that in the United States 3.4 million children aged 5-17 do not speak English or do not speak it well (Snow, 2004). The majority, 2.7 million, live in “linguistically isolated households” (p. 1). Snow pointed out that most English language learners (ELLs) lag well behind classmates in academic English including the ability to read, write, and engage in conversation about aca- demic subjects. A similar need for students to learn English exists in mainland China. With    206 CALICO Journal, 27  (1) Language Learning in Virtual Worlds rapid globalization and a leaning toward an increasingly information-driven economy, China faces the need to cultivate citizens that can communicate in English and compete in the global economy. The country now is redesigning its traditionally objectivist drill-and-kill schooling systems to foster innovation and creativity. English is a required subject from elementary school to college for most mainland Chinese students . Unlike nonnative English speakers (NNESs) in the US, Chinese students in mainland China do not have many opportunities to use English in authentic settings and generally have low self-efcacy and poor attitudes  toward English language learning. However, virtual worlds, in which learners travel through virtual spaces to engage in collaborative learning with native English speakers (NESs) and pick up language usage in naturalistic contexts, provide a possibility for a less stressful and more enjoyable environment to use the English language (Roed, 2003). We hypothesized that students’ attitude and self-efcacy toward language learning would improve after they experienced QA. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY Benets of Exolingual Virtual Environments Exolingual (between a native speaker and nonnative speaker) interactions have been shown to have benets for second language learning. Gardner (1985) reviewed studies  conducted by Desrochers and Gardner (as cited in Gardner, 198 5) and Cziko and Lambert ( as cited in Gardner, 198 5) on short-term face-to-face interaction with members of the target language community, in this case a French community. Desrochers and Gardner found that the high-contact (frequent and interethnic) group expressed signicantly more favorable attitudes towards learning  French and signicantly less anxiety in using the language than a comparable control group. However, Cziko and Lambert ’s study showed no signicant changes for either the high-contact or the control group. Gardner (1985) suggested that this nonsignicant re-contact or the control group. Gardner (1985) suggested that this nonsignicant re-or the control group. Gardner (1985) suggested that this nonsignicant re-suggested that this nonsignicant re-that this nonsignicant re-nonsignicant re -sult probably reect ed dissatisfaction with having to complete a lengthy attitude battery a second time in the pre-post research design. Gardner concluded that under these conditions (short-term and face-to-face conditions) those experiencing frequent and presumably pleasant contact expressed more favorable attitudes, indicating the possible positive effects of inner-ethnic contact for language training.  In addition to the literature that describes positive effects of immersion in the tar -get language community, Roed (2003) suggested that virtual communities may constitute a more relaxed and stress-free atmosphere than classrooms. The low level of inhibition and social anxiety, in particular, could be advantageous in foreign language learning because it might result in increased language production. In studies of socialization in a bilingual chat room, mainland Chinese immigrants who spoke English as a second language were found to exhibit increased sense of comfort, condence, and uency in spoken English as a result of socialization (Lam, 2004, 2006). Exolingual environments may well have advantages for language learning and attitude changes about language learning. Virtual worlds can create an exolingual learning community for children who live in linguistically isolated households in the United States as well as children who study English in other countries such as China and Korea. Self-Efcacy and Task Performance The relationship between self-efcacy and task performance involves condence and anticipa - tion in accomplishing specic tasks. Social learning theorists see self-efcacy as inuencing    207 CALICO Journal, 27  (1) D. Zheng, M. Young, R. Brewer, and M. Wagner future effort, persistence, learning, and achievement (Bandura, 1977, 1982, 1989a; Schunk,  1989a, 1989b; Zimmerman, Bandura, & Martinez-Pons, 1992). Perceived self-efcacy is dened as people’s beliefs about their capabilities to   produce designated levels of performance that exercise inuence over events that affect their lives. Self-efcacy beliefs determine how people feel, think, motivate themselves and behave. Such beliefs produce these diverse effects through four major processes. They include cognitive, motivational, affective and selection processes. (Bandura, 1994, p. 71)  Bandura (1982, 1989a, 1989b, 1994) also posited that experience results in a general anticipation by learners in the area of cause and effect. An individual’s beliefs about his/her capabilities are situation-specic constructs. Strong positive self-efcacy beliefs are proac - tive in that they promote action. Although efcacy that is falsely too high can be detrimental, higher student self-efcacy (academic efcacy) should generally lead to greater success, which is supported by research (Chapman, Skinner, & Baltes, 1990; Pintrich & DeGroot, 1990;  Pintrich , Roeser, & DeGroot, 1994; Schunk, 1989a; Skinner, 1985). Schunk (1984, 1989b) ap - plied self-efcacy as an academic construct in efforts to connect self-efcacy with academic performance. He used instructional interventions designed to raise learners’ perceptions of efcacy and corresponding performance on tasks. The study described here used chat and asynchronous interactions in game-like virtual worlds to engage NNESs in language use, com-municating with NESs, and writing quest responses in English in hopes of increasing their self- efcacy for English language use. Through “mastery experiences,” “vicarious experiences,”  “social persuasion,” and “positive emotional states,” the four major sources of self-efcacy beliefs (Bandura, 1994, pp. 71-72) that a virtual immersive environment could provide, learn-ers might be more likely to use and more comfortable using English in the future. Virtual worlds afford users unique opportunities to interact with others through sight and sound (Dede, 2004; Maher & Corbit, 2002) while still maintaining the capabilities of pre -ceding technologies such as text-based chat and 2D webpage displays. Virtual 3D gaming en-vironments establish complex situations in which English communication tools, manipulating tools, and created artifacts are embedded. Kulikowich and Young (2001) suggested that such complex learning environments can be educative by affording multiple opportunities to form intentions and pick up information in service to goal-driven action through collaboration. Thus we hypothesized the exolingual affordances of the virtual world, QA, might increase Chinese students’ self-efcacy for using English. METHOD Research Design A posttest only quasi-experimental design was employed for the study. The study involved a total of 61 students at the seventh grade level in a typical middle school in mainland China . Material  QA, an ActiveWorlds’ 3D educational metaverse with avatars designed for children ages 9-13, was the learning environment for this study. QA allows users to travel to virtual lands where they select educational activities (quests); talk with other users and mentors through chat, telegrams, and emails; and build virtual personae (Barab, Thomas, Dodge, Carteaux, & Tu -    208 CALICO Journal, 27  (1) Language Learning in Virtual Worlds zun, 2005). QA is different from other 3D virtual worlds in that it is designed with game-like activities for children (e.g., a mythological back story), a point rewarding system (QA Lumins and Cols ), rich graphic object-oriented worlds, and themes of social responsibility, as well as embedded educational quests and instructional affordances for teachers to give just-in-time instructions (see Figure 1). Figure 1Avatars/Questers in QA 3D World Educational quests are usually composed of three parts: a scenario based on the QA back story (see back story in Appendix A), quest goals, and resources (see quest in Appendix B).  In order to gain Lumins and Cols, questers need to complete quests that are designed to improve Atlantis in seven areas of social commitments. Gaining a certain amount of Lumins grants questers more power (e.g., the ability to build). Such game reward systems can pro-vide a strong motivation for questers to progress in questing. Participants Students from the Monkey King Middle School (MKMS), a pseudonym, participated in the study. MKMS is typical of about 50 public middle schools in Changchun, China. The school serves about 2,000 students from one of the four districts in the province, Chaoyang Dis - trict, which is considered the educational district by Changchun citizens. A few landmarks in Chaoyang District (e.g., two highly ranked universities, Northeast Normal University and Jilin University, two of the largest computer technology development and shopping areas, and Jilin Provincial Hospital) are indicative of the cultural, educational and higher-than-average tech - nological development in this area of China. Sixty-one seventh grade students (the capacity of the computer lab), 42 female and 19 male, were randomly selected from a pool of 100 volun-teers from two classes, each of which had more than 50 students. Volunteers were randomly
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