New media in teaching and learning business languages

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Main terms and issues
  • 3. Languages for specific (business) purposes, technology and globalisation
  • 4. Focus on the setting: Technology in four types of learning environments
  • 5. Focus on the “technology solution”: Examples of technology use in different settings
  • 6. Focus on learner differences
  • 7. Conclusion


Despite the ubiquity of the so-called new media in business life, the extent to which they are employed in the service of (business) language teaching and learning varies greatly. This contribution explores developments and research in the field of computer-assisted language learning (CALL), where the introduction of second generation Internet-based applications (Web 2.0) has redefined the concept of interactivity and created completely new affordances for foreign language communication and practice. Blogs, webinars and podcasts, for instance, not only facilitate exposure to up-to-date, authentic language and business skills such as meetings and presentations, but also allow learners and native speakers to interact across borders. Integration into (business) language courses accordingly takes any number of forms, encompassing in-class use as well as blended and distance learning environments; and a wealth of technology solutions are available that promise to meet the most specific learning needs. Yet despite the unprecedented opportunities that technology undoubtedly offers, a number of caveats also need to be addressed. The new learning spaces such as the Internet or video-conferencing tools are not replications of conventional face-to-face contexts, but pose different challenges for learners in terms of independence and self-regulation. What is more, the characteristics of a technology application need to be considered and tasks carefully devised to make it a valuable tool for language learning in a specific context and for particular types of learners.

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