Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Talk It Out: Promoting Verbal Communication Through Virtual Reality Games

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Version 1 2021-11-23, 02:25
posted on 2023-09-26, 01:35 authored by Bodnar, James

Verbal communication skills have been shown to be important for both social and professional settings. However, a need for greater communication skills has been identified for graduated students entering the workplace, specifically task-based verbal communication (Daniels, 2001). In light of these findings new communication teaching techniques need to be explored to better prepare our students for effectively communicating information in their future work environment.  This thesis researched the potential for virtual reality video games to promote verbal communication skills in students. The motivation behind using virtual reality video games to teach these skills is based on the theory (Richard Van Eck, 2006) that video games have the potential to enhance the learning outcome of students. Initial research also shows that virtual reality experiences further immerse the player in the educational setting improving their engagement with the game's content (Thornhill-Miller & Dupont, 2016).  The thesis researched how virtual reality games can teach verbal communication skills firstly by analysing past works, completing an in- depth literature review and multiple case studies. Secondly, by using research through design methods in the creation of a prototype game that incorporates both communication and game teaching mechanics researched in the first stage. Finally, user tests were conducted on the prototype game to analyse how effective it was at promoting verbal communication skills in students. The paper’s outcome was that virtual reality games can be effective at promoting verbal communication skills and have tested specific teaching techniques and video game mechanics that can be used to effectively promote these skills.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License


Degree Discipline

Media Design

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Design Innovation

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design


Gurevitch, Leon; Mallett, Byron