Program Profile

Florida International University

FIU Tabadul: Creating Language-Learning Community Through Virtual Reality

  • Undergraduate

Florida International University’s Tabadul: Creating Language-Learning Community Through Virtual Reality brings together college-aged youth in the United States and in the Middle East and North Africa for language-learning and community building through virtual reality (VR).

Participants engage in one-on-one exchange meetings in VR spaces that are entirely accessible from their cell phones and that represent everyday scenes in their home countries (e.g., an outdoor market, a restaurant, a university classroom, etc.). By completing real-world pedagogic tasks together in both English and Arabic, participants develop language proficiencysocio-cultural openness, and cultural humility. As the first study of its kind to examine the impact of dosage as well as the learning environment for the acquisition of Arabic as a foreign language, Tabadul brings together interdisciplinary areas of expertise to scale language learning virtual exchange and to contribute to knowledge on virtual exchange efficacy.


Participants meet and access the virtual reality real-world scenes via Google Cardboard. They work together to complete everyday tasks in the target language in the virtual reality spaces, such as successfully ordering coffee and food at a restaurant. The exchanges are conducted 100% over cell phones. Participants create portfolios showing language, phrases, and cultural norms learned, as well as the pedagogic tasks that they achieved together in English and in Arabic. 

Program Details:
  • Number of Participants: 1,200
  • Participant Age Group: Undergraduate
  • Partners in the United States: Michigan – University of Michigan, Dearborn
  • Partners in the Middle East and North Africa: Algeria  Oum El Bouaghi University; Morocco – Ibn Tofail University 
  • Project Duration: April 2021June 2023

Tabadul: Creating Language-Learning Community Through Virtual Reality is implemented by Florida International University and is supported by the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative (JCSVEI). JCSVEI is a U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program administered by the Aspen Institute.