Whether someone is learning a new language or just deepening their existing knowledge, often the following scenario happens: At the beginning, learners will go after their goals ambitiously, but after a little while, their motivation wanes. So how can they succeed in maintaining the necessary attention span for language learning over multiple weeks or even months? From our many years of experience learning and teaching languages, we’ve selected five effective learning incentives that can help you motivate your employees, both by upping the fun factor and maximizing language learning success.
1. Learning incentive: Learner of the Month
Both studying as a group and sharing successes with the team increase individual learners’ ambitions, thereby also increasing learning activity within the group. You can, for example, recognize individual learners’ outstanding achievements with small awards: Choose, for example, “Language Learner of the Month,” where, with the help of Babbel’s user reports, you can determine who spent the most time studying, or who successfully completed the most lessons. (For an additional incentive, you can even make intermediary results public throughout the month!) You can also establish a Wall of Fame on which you display photos of high achievers, which can create more incentive to study by adding an element of competition to the language learning process. The Account Management Team at Babbel for Business is happy to help with any of these incentives.
2. Learning Incentive: Challenge of the Week
With a weekly challenge, you can create a regular and playful learning incentive and offer a chance for employees to test what they know. In so doing, you offer a framework in which learners can see what they’ve successfully retained from the past few days. Here, many different formats can work, from classic vocabulary quizzes to creative roleplay. This sort of regularity and transparency awakens a sense of play and competitive spirit within the group and increases engagement among participants.
3. Learning Incentive: Goal-Setting as a Team
It’s often challenging at the outset to set regular and realistic objectives with language learning – and yet, these are so crucial for maintaining motivation. In order to make this easier, it’s sometimes a good idea to assign this task to a group of learners, rather than an individual. This way, instead of being left alone to ruminate on their study goals, learners can discuss realistic study strategies together and decide upon a collective learning goal. Give your learners plenty of company support, and suggest that they put their goals in writing. For even more motivation, you can hang a poster with the goals they’ve set somewhere visible, which can serve as a helpful reminder. Sharing learning goals, as well as hanging posters where everyone can see them, also works to increase each learner’s sense of personal responsibility and has a positive impact on the team spirit of your group of learners.
4. Learning Incentive: Study Partners
By having your employees choose study partners, you’ll guarantee they’ll have more fun learning! This interpersonal component will also mean higher learning efficiency, through the increased sense of accountability that comes with partner work. Depending on the makeup of the group of learners, study partners can choose each other or be assigned partners. Within the study partnership, a sense of trust grows, that will allow learners to communicate easily about their study goals, strategies, frustrations and successes. Of course, when two partners are learning the same language, there’s the added bonus of being able to try out what they’ve learned in real time! You can help support the study partnership by sending each partner small reminders to meet – this is especially helpful when differing work schedules or learning environments mean that these employees wouldn’t otherwise cross paths.
5. Learning Incentive: Annual Meetings
Language learning goals can also be an important part of most employees’ yearly evaluations with their managers. By adding this small organizational component to your annual reviews, you’ll reinforce the importance of language learning within your company. Plus, by evaluating study habits and language learning progress in annual reviews, learners will know to give their target language adequate attention. Thanks to Babbel’s user reports, each user’s exact invested study time and personal progress can be communicated precisely and formally during their annual review. This feedback and acknowledgement motivates learners and increases learning success. And of course, the annual review is also a great time to strategically discuss further study plans.
Which learning incentive is right for your team?
Choose one or more learning incentives that seem practical and interesting to you. Learning incentives are most successful when they’re implemented in combination, that is, multiple incentives at once: This way, you’ll acknowledge the diversity of your team and support different learning styles and preferences. This will be the most effective way to optimize learning activity in your business. Try it out, and let yourself be surprised by your employees’ motivation and ambition to learn!
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Svenja Blessner, Language Learning Expert
Svenja is passionate about language learning trends, product development, and traveling. Having lived and worked in six different countries around the globe, she’s convinced that being able to communicate across languages and cultures is not only the key to the world but also to personal and professional success.