Learning Language in VR Trains Employees for Business English

Imagine an employee who is undertrained in business English in the following scenario

One of your sales reps are traveling to the USA to close a deal with a top client. They have all the right business knowledge to make the deal go perfectly, and you have full confidence in them. But when they arrive, everything goes wrong. In the heat of the moment, they stumble through the conversations and struggle to say the right things at the right time. The rep and the client fail to connect on a number of levels, and all hopes of building a relationship are gone.

Business English can only be learned in the correct context

Unfortunately, this sort of situation happens all the time. Finding the right words and using them at the right time in a foreign language is already difficult. It is even more difficult in a high stakes business environment when a deal is on the line. On top of that, most people learn foreign languages in limited, artificial environments with textbooks and flashcard apps. So how can we expect someone to use the correct words at the correct time if they’ve never learned the words in context?

Textbooks, grammar charts, and vocab apps cannot lead to fluency. While they might help increase your word count, they don’t help you learn how to use the language. This should be obvious, because language is contextual: we change what we say, and how we say it depending on our surroundings, our audience, our mood, etc. This blog post itself was written in a specific context for a specific audience!

Yes, culture is an important part of context and acquiring business English

A hugely important aspect of international business is understanding the culture of the people you are doing business with, and an equally important aspect of language learning is understanding the culture of the desired language. Crozet and Lo Bianco report that, “If we reflect on the meagre success of much foreign language education we would surely conclude that one of the main explanations is that the cultural domain, so critical to appropriate communication, so essential to effective communication, has been treated as either exotic to language teaching, or as ‘high’ culture and able to be taught apart from language.”1 Culture must be taught in context with language for the learner to be successful in communication. A tutor over skype can only tell you about the culture whereas in virtual reality you can experience the culture. It is important to experience how people carry themselves and act towards one another in a business environment. How does a business meeting change when you are meeting over coffee versus in a business room? It’s no surprise that you might speak differently in these situations.

How does one practice for real life?

One common way people practice for business scenarios, is by practicing business English conversations with an online tutor. This of course is better than memorizing vocab and speeches or studying a textbook, but it is still not preparing you for the real situation.

In a high stress, critical situation, you don’t have the time to rack your brain for the correct business English vocabulary; it needs to come naturally. It is the same with any sport. When you are running down the field, you don’t actually have to think before you kick the ball, it just happens. This is the way it needs to be with language.

If you are a professional athlete, how do you practice for your game? The best way to practice is to simulate a real game time situation so that you are used to the environment, and then the motions become second nature. When you put on your virtual reality goggles and are transported into a convincingly real 3D business room with other people, you are practicing for the real deal.

VR trains employees in context based learning that will enable them to excel in real business scenarios

This is why Immerse is so different. With Immerse you can meet up with your tutor in a virtual conference room scene or coffee shop scene and simulate the real business conversations in an accurate context. Immerse is the only tool that puts the learner in the correct geographic, social, and cultural environment without them ever having to leave their home or office.

Learning a language in VR trains employees for real life applications in business english conversations in a way that flashcards and memorized speeches never will. Plus, it increases motivation and interest, lowers stress, and creates an embarrassment-free learning environment.

The best way to know how to speak business English in different contexts is to actually practice speaking in those different contexts. With our VR courses and expert tutors, we can put your employees in a coffee shop scene to practice an informal meeting or in a boardroom scene to practice a formal presentation. Go to learn.immerse.online to learn more, schedule a demo, or download our whitepaper that explains the efficacy of language learning in VR.


Striving for the Third Place: Intercultural Competence through Language Education.

Lo Bianco, Joseph, Ed.; Liddicoat, Anthony J., Ed.; Crozet, Chantal, Ed.


Posted on

November 1, 2018