866-266-7496 imex@psu.edu

Soft Skills Pilot

What is the Soft Skills Pilot?

The Soft Skills Pilot offers students the opportunity to practice their interpersonal communication skills through unique, virtual scenarios.

This new pilot offering leverages the (University-approved) VirtualSpeech suite, a collection of interactive modules that place speakers in a variety of situations where clear communication is key. Not just presenting is covered, though there are stages, conference rooms and more to hone these skills. Participants can also engage with interviewing, press conferences, difficult conversations in the workplace and much more.

How is virtual reality (VR) being used for soft skills training?

Learn how PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is already using VR to train its staff.

How do virtual scenarios benefit soft skills learning?

VR offers the ability to fully immerse learners in experiences that are realistic enough to practice nuanced forms of communication but removed enough from reality to circumvent the potential awkwardness of role play.

In the above example, part of a larger study on the effectiveness of VR in soft skills training, PwC uncovered key takeaways when comparing virtual learning to traditional classroom and e-learning:

  • 40% of the v[irtual] learners saw an improvement in confidence compared to classroom learners and 35% improvement over e-learners;
  • v[irtual] learners were 4 times more focused during training than their e-learning peers and 1.5 times classroom colleagues.

What assistance is available as a pilot participant?

From faculty consultation to in-class training to student support, the Soft Skills Pilot connects you with the right tools and technical expertise to make your speaking or training activities classroom favorites.

Our consultants will work with you to evaluate learning goals and create an assignment description, match instruction with deliverables, train students on using hardware and software, provision enterprise accounts to students and maximize access to mentorship and support for your class(es) no matter the activity.

For speaking activities, consultants will also assist with gathering recorded materials as it is created by students.

Is my activity a good fit for the Soft Skills Pilot?

Pilot engagements are particularly compelling when students will be:


  • practicing for speaking in-class by using VR outside class time
  • taking part in training exercises that will inform class activities such as discussion boards or in-class conversations
  • reflecting on their proficiency with soft skills before and after the experience

Soft Skills VR experiences are not the best option when:


  • students’ practice requires controlled access to sensitive groups such as children or the elderly
  • projects require group communications, like a team sales pitch

To ensure you have a successful experience, IMEX Lab recommends:


  • letting students know early-on that they will be using VR headsets and interactive training software
  • scheduling training sessions for students around hardware and software

VirtualSpeech Run Through

VAR Studio at Penn State Behrend takes us on a guided tour of VirtualSpeech in this video playlist.

About Pilot Technologies


Headset IconImmersive headset technology is continuously evolving and IMEX Lab has been keeping available hardware current since first offered in 2017.

Students, faculty and staff have access to Meta Quest 2 devices at select campuses and through the Immersive Headset Pilot. Tutorials are available for headsets supported by IMEX Lab.


Virtual Speech LogoVirtualSpeech was founded in 2016 as a way to practice public speaking in a more realistic way. 

VirtualSpeech is an award-winning soft skills training platform, with a focus on communication skills such as public speaking, sales, and leadership. Clients include Universities and Fortune 500 companies around the world.

Contact Us

We’re here to help! If you have questions about our Soft Skills Pilot accounts while working through an activity, shoot us an email at mediacommons@psu.edu or call us at 866-266-7496.

Accepting Fall 2024 Submissions

The Soft Skills Pilot is accepting applications to join its cohort of faculty participants. We would love to hear your ideas for ways to engage your students with immersive content through VirtualSpeech. Please take a few moments to complete the Form for Submissions where you can let us know the details of what you’d like to accomplish. We’ll get back in touch to help clarify the specifics and determine if our pilot is a good fit for your goals. We look forward to seeing your application.

Share Your Pilot Activity Idea