Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2021.


Computer Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Daniel Lewis


Learning Chinese as a second language often poses a challenge to students, and the extensive non-alphabetic script that accompanies it adds to the complexity of the language. It can take years for a student to feel comfortable writing with Chinese characters, and practice is a key component of this learning process. Most practice includes repetitive writing of the characters until the student memorizes the look and stroke order of a character, but this method could be improved with the addition of visuals and audio to enhance the learning experience. The stakeholders of this problem are students seeking to learn the Chinese language, and tutors looking for alternate teaching tools.

Our project is a virtual reality (VR) experience where players enter a traditional Chinese housing complex, a siheyuan, as a child who cannot yet understand language. By using place and memory, the user can gain a greater sense of connection and understanding of Chinese written language. As the child explores the house, she witnesses the story of the previous family of the house. Rather than learn Chinese as a second language, in which each word is learned through direct translation from English, this VR experience allows the player the experience of learning Chinese as a first language. Scenes are visual descriptions of a word, which appears on the ground or wall next to the scene. The child learns the word by observing the scene of the family’s story, and completes her learning by practicing writing the words’ characters in the correct stroke order.