With a new year comes new promises — such as going to the gym more regularly, cutting down on caffeine intake, traveling more often, or all of the above. But the biggest promise of all at the start of the new year is to learn a new language.
It’s easy to feel motivated in January — it’s a clean slate and a fresh start — and with 2020 ringing in a new decade as well as a new year, we think your learners will be more motivated than ever to cram in those extra language lessons. But what happens two weeks into January when the excitement of Christmas has worn off and the New Year’s celebrations have faded into the distance? That’s when motivation dips and, even though your learners have the best intentions, their good habits quickly fly out the window.
To make sure your learners don’t fall into that trap, we’ve collected some tips and ideas to help keep them interested. Because let’s face it, January isn’t exactly a motivating month…
1. Make New Year’s Resolutions stick
Your learners have every intention of learning a new language in 2020 — but how do you motivate them to stick to it? We recommend you send weekly reminder emails to keep your team on their language-learning path. At Babbel, we know that the secret to staying motivated is to build a routine, so we suggest allowing a fixed time dedicated to language learning every day so your team builds a habit that they stick to. Coffee and Babbel at 11:00 anyone? Genius!
2. Enable your employees
It’s vital that all learners have easy and convenient access to their language-learning tools. You can make sure they’re familiar with their new tool by organizing a mini-workshop to give learners space to try out their tools and ask any questions they might have. If you’re a Babbel professional or intensive customer, you have access to our new onboarding video, designed to give your learner an overview of their language training opportunities with Babbel. (Just contact your account manager for access.)
You can also share this ‘How to get started’ article and take advantage of our admin portal. Through this portal you’re able to keep track of learner usage, including whether they’ve accepted their Babbel invitations. That way you’ll know which teams and learners need a little boost, and you can adapt your strategies accordingly.
3. Communicate the joys of language learning
Towards the end of January, when it’s getting really dark and gloomy and it feels like winter will never end, we recommend organizing a language-learning lunch where your learners can come together and practice speaking. This is also a good opportunity to remind your learners why they’re learning a new language. This might be specific to your company or more generalized according to the individual — it could be to experience a new culture, to build self-confidence, or to improve career prospects.
If you are a customer, make sure your employees have access to learning materials such as a learning path and, to really harness the spirit of socializing, you could arrange foreign language film screenings after work.
4. Get competitive
There’s nothing more motivating than some healthy competition. Why not organize a tournament with a fantastic prize that will inspire learners to complete as many lessons as possible? They could compete over who completes the most lessons in a month, or it could be something more sophisticated, like a debating competition in a different language. Whoever wins the debate could win a trip for two to the country of the language they’ve learned. Trust us — your employees will be fluent in Spanish, Italian, or French in no time.
5. Get management involved
Last year we teamed up with Sodexo, a Fortune 500 food service company and one of the world’s largest multinational organizations. Their workforce consists of more than 420,000 employees with over 130 nationalities. We worked with researchers at the University of Massachusetts who conducted a ten-week study to give us insight into what keeps language-learners at Sodexo motivated. A key finding was that when managers also learned a language, the rest of the team felt significantly more motivated. Our researchers at UMass said “Strong support from site managers may positively impact employees’ use and view of Babbel. One manager even acted as a role model by using the mobile app to learn a foreign language, clocking in over 60 minutes a week with the app.”
The support and participation of managers also contributed to the development of a positive learning culture. So get your team-leads involved in your language-learning strategy in 2020 and discover the benefits for yourself!
Interested in language learning for your company or getting more support for your current efforts? Take your first steps by downloading our practical language learning guide for your company.