Immersive simulation journeys
LangPerform Language Simulations
Film-based Adventures through Languages & Cultures – Across diverse Curricular Contexts
Backgrounds - Where do the LangPerform simulations come from?
In the course of a comprehensive scientific research measure on the acquisition of spoken German at school especially in subject-integrated, immersive learning environments, the need for such research settings in the future, as well as for the development of appropriate tools for related tasks in the practice of institutional language education started to show in more and more concrete terms as early as in 2005. It appeared necessary to develop instruments that could offer up-to-date support for appropriate documentation or profiling and evaluation of cross-curricular (language) competencies, as well as for the training and development of linguistic-communicative skills, especially in environments of cross-curricular and immersive learning of languages and non-linguistic content subjects. Furthermore, it became obvious that the potential of the technology, developing rapidly already those days, should be utilized and exploited as much as possible, bearing in mind the central principles of immersive educational approaches as well as the current curricular and language education policy trends in language education at school – not least with the ambitious goal of using technological aids wherever they represent a “conditio sine qua non”, or, where they clearly show a genuinely value-adding potential.
Shortly after the creation of a rough concept draft (2006) for the so-called “language performance approach” (LangPerform or LP), the very first prototype for the technical implementation of the concept became available as early as in 2007. The international cooperation network for subject-integrated, immersive learning of German, which was just beginning to establish itself in the course of the current and first-ever international survey on the subject under the acronym “CLILiG” , Content and Language Integrated Learning in German, offered excellent opportunities to test-run the very first LangPerform prototype even internationally – and with an example of German as the target (foreign) language – building on the friendly logistical and organizational support from the network of German Schools Abroad.These initial tests, for example in Barcelona, Cluj-Napoca and Helsinki, eventually initiated a development journey completely unimagined at the time and with many stations, successes and challenges to come. Even today, almost 20 years later, no finishing line is in sight for this journey, which, quite on the contrary, keeps on motivating its initiators over and over again, and attracting more and more new adventurers and experts to join – with growing tendency.
Goal settings - What are they aiming at?
The simulation concept “LangPerform” arose primarily from the idea and the increasing need to offer environments as realistic as possible for the documentation or profiling language competencies. Utilizing a simulative performance approach, a cinematic-immersive communication setting was born, which, on the one hand, encourages and invites language users – and learners – to the most natural possible oral and written use of language, and at the same time, on the other hand, also enable a properly-founded and above all contemporary-economic documentation, analysis and evaluation of the linguistic-communicative performance – at any time and worldwide.
Born originally as a “by-product” of a comprehensive research task on subject-integrated, immersive foreign language acquisition, the focus has, from the beginning on, been on the objective of using research-based innovation work to promote the educational approach of “Content and Language Integrated Learning” (CLIL) as a whole and accordingly both to gain added value for CLIL research as such, as well as for the numerous various CLIL practices with the help of contemporary technology solutions and their appropriate adaptation. As with the “evolution” of the CLIL approach itself, there was of course no question from the outset that the “research transfer” would not be aimed exclusively at so-called “CLIL environments” but rather at the (foreign) language education in institutional contexts as a whole – in principle similar to how (foreign) language education at school should be perceived: about language(s) as and in subject(s), and vice versa – about subject content in language(s), instead of the more conventional view on “pure” foreign language lessons and foreign language subject teaching.
The language simulations take their “users” on a journey through different, “quasi-authentic” communication situations – in real environments and with real people. They place them in contexts and environments in which the respective target language is the main working and communication language, a sort of lingua franca, but by no means excludes the realistic use of other languages either – quite on the contrary, and thus very similar to what we know today from our everyday lives.
The LangPerform simulations have been in the service of institutional (foreign) language education and its research ever since they were first born. They endeavor to enable modern quality assurance and development of institutional (foreign) language education and to support this continuously and systematically – and above all on the basis of research and up-to-date technologies. Especially for the learners, language simulations are not to give the appearance of a conventional “language test situation”, but instead to depict the language and communication skills all the more realistically and, through frequent use, of course also help to foster the skills in a “reality-like” manner in “super immersive” settings.
Simulation design - How are the LP simulations designed?
In the overall structure of the LangPerform approach, the film-based language simulations represent, obviously, a very central component. In addition to these, the overall concept also includes systematic steps for individual language (learning) profiling or for location- and time-independent self-assessment or the external evaluation of the simulation performance. Users of the LangPerform tools usually – but less surprisingly – remember the film-based simulations best and preferably as the one core element, which – according to the voices of numerous informants – de facto enables a simulative and highly immersive language adventure, a realistic immersion into experiences and communication environments characterized through the “reality-like” presence of the target language. Appearently for this very reason, it seems that the language simulations tend to encourage their users to communicative achievements in the target language only seldomly experienced in this form and with this liveliness from more conventional contexts of (foreign) language education at school – let alone from contexts of so called “more conventional” performance measurement.
Behind the effect of such a “super immersion” are not only the appealing format of the language simulations, but also other characteristics of their implementation; The immersion journey begins with the creation of a first rough draft of the manuscript, which always focuses on the respective addressees and their learning stages, areas of interest and linguistic experiences and learning realities – ideally paired with the content and learning objectives of context-specific curricula. Step by step and with the inclusion of language-didactic, dramaturgical and theater-pedagogical expertise, the simulation manuscripts mature into screenplays, which then form the central starting point for the preparation and execution of the shooting – usually not in the style of a “Hollywood production”, but basically with everything that This includes – from casting and location search and preparation to the selection, coaching and coordination of film crew, cast and other participants, to name just a few key points of the production. Once the raw material is “in the can”, the editing and other post-production phases that are customary in the context follow, which in the case of simulation production finally lead to a separate work step for software integration; Here the completed film material of each simulation sequence (“unit”), which is divided into specific sub-sequences, is “welded together” with other elements, composed into a finished interactive simulation unit and finally uploaded to a “simulation cloud”. After logging into the individual user account, the simulation series can start immediately – anytime & worldwide.
Answers to your Questions
LangPerform Simulations Language Education at School - How to implement and use?
LangPerform Simulations for Language Education Research - How to proceed?
LangPerform Simulations for Your Curriculum?
LangPerform Simulations for Professional Development?
LangPerform Simulations for Recruitment & Working Life?
A Selection of earlier Research & Development Measures on LangPerform-Simulations & German as a Target Language
LangPerform Simulations | Backgrounds & Overviews
LP Simulations in Action – This is what it looks like:
PLURICLIL is an international research and development project co-funded through the Strategic Partnership Action under the Erasmus+- programme of the European Union. The initiative is carried out in partial conjunction with daf-immersion.de, a long-term research initative focusing on immersive settings of German as a foreign language on a global scale, kindly supported through the Federal Foreign Office of the Republic of Germany.
The synergetic interplay between the two initiatives enables so far unique contributions to the empirical research of immersive language education especially with respect to German as a target language (“CLILiG“).