Promoting language skills within your company is an essential goal in human resource development. So when it comes to choosing the right language course for you and your business, this is no time for a snap decision. It’s no casual project to implement a corporate language course that accomplishes all of your technical requirements and motivates and interests your employees, so it’s crucial to research your options carefully. But with such a seemingly endless number of language courses available, how do you find the right fit for you?
Here are five simple tips for your search for the right language course for your employees.
1. Make your criteria clear
To find the right language course for your business, the first step is to evaluate exactly what you need: Are you looking for a course that concentrates on learning one specific language? Or for a course that covers as many languages as possible? What sort of course content should be covered? Which technical requirements have to be in place?
Before you start your research, you should know all of your company’s requirements for a language course.
You can start by answering the following questions:
- Should the course be online, in person, or perhaps a mixture of both, called a blended learning model?
- Which topics and themes are especially relevant for your employees?
- Should the course content cover only business-related themes, or expand to other areas?
- How important is it to you that your language course use the latest pedagogical concepts?
- What sort of devices (for online courses) should be compatible with the course?
- Do existing learning management systems (LMS) have to be taken into account? Do these interfaces have to be made available to the new providers?
2. Talk to your employees
Use your company’s existing knowledge. It’s often helpful to interact with employees and find out what’s important and motivating for them — which language course or app they use already, for example, and how their experiences have been. Especially with respect to online learning, young employees are often quite well-versed, and have even used apps such as Babbel already. This knowledge, partnered with a structured analysis of your company’s needs, will make your research a lot more effective.
3. Give it (enough) time
At this point, you should have a clear understanding of what you will need in a language course for your business. The next step is to take enough time to complete exhaustive research, so that you can be well-informed about all existing options. Read all information and reviews of language courses that look like they might be right for you, and contact customer service to obtain a demo version and success stories from long-term customers. Definitely find out what sort of additional offers each provider makes available — for example, at Babbel, in addition to the app there is the possibility to book a blended learning package, which combines the best of both worlds in off- and online learning. This kind of offer can be particularly attractive for businesses, and are usually quite flexibly adaptive. The goal in all of this research should be to find a provider that meets as many of your requirements as possible. During this step, it also makes sense to get all of the “hard facts” from customer service, and see if your account manager has any further questions to pass on. A great customer service department is worth its weight in gold, especially at the start, and will likely be able to help with any issues you encounter now or in the future.
4. Separate the wheat from the chaff
With your newfound knowledge, you are now equipped to make your decision: You should have a good grasp of what products are on offer, and the quality of their customer service. Now, create an overview that factors in both “hard” and “soft” facts, and then a ranked list based on how each provider meets your specific company’s needs. Remember that the quality of the language course itself is paramount — a slightly higher price may pay higher dividends in the long-term.
5. Let’s do this!
You’ve now made it past the biggest and most important hurdle: You’ve chosen the right language course for your business. Now, together with your new provider’s customer service department, it’s time to make the language course available to your employees. Once they have registered, now it’s really time to get going: Create learning goals together, arrange “Language Lunches,” film nights (with subtitles), and keep your employees keen to learn with our learning and motivation tips. Your employees will thank you!
Sandro Köpke, Key Account Manager B2B
Sandro believes in lifelong learning – both professionally and privately. Language learning plays a particularly important role for him, since international communication means openness and potential to grow.