Enhancing medical students' communicative skills in a 3D virtual world

Yi Ju Ariel Wu, Yu Ju Lan*, Sin Bao Paul Huang, Yen Ting R. Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This study explores the effects of how collaborating in a virtual world (VW) enhanced learners' healthcare professional-patient communicative skills, including physician-patient and inter-professional communication in medical discourse. Through a quasi-experimental design case study, 47 Taiwanese Freshman English students from a College of Medicine participated in this study for 3 weeks. Research data included video analysis of students' role-play creations in two different media (on the stage versus VW program), transcripts of learners' role-plays, and questionnaire results of students' perceptions of role-playing. The results include (1) rich description of the scenarios and plots created by students in the VW group, (2) VW group learners' better performance in using effective communicative skills when role-playing via the VW, including building rapport with the patients and colleagues and showing empathy and understanding toward patients; and (3) VW group learners' higher evaluation of how the role-play helped their English language skills, healthcare professional-patient communication and learning in general. The study concludes by discussing the theoretical and pedagogical implications of the results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-32
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Technology and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • 3D Virtual World (VW)
  • English for medical purposes
  • English for specific purposes
  • Healthcare professional-patient communication
  • Inter-professional communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Engineering


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