Category Archives: Language Learning

Online learning trends for universities

As we all know, because of the pandemic, probably all universities created some sort of online alternative to cater for their students’ learning requirements during lockdown. Initially online solutions may have been considered as just a stop gap until students could return to the physical classroom. However, it now looks like 100% online degrees or online components as part of a degree are going to play an important part in university offerings from now on.

In this post we analyse what is happening.

What do the statistics say?

According to a report by BestColleges on online Education in colleges in the US (2022):

  • 43% of administrators said their universities would offer online options for students in the future.
  • 70% of students claimed that online education is better than or equal to on-site education.
  • 95% of online program graduates said they would recommend online education to others.
  • 90% of online course graduates said that their degree has had a positive return on investment.
  • 60% of remote students (students who had registered for on-site courses but were studying remotely because of the pandemic) said they were likely to enrol in an online course after their campuses return to normal operations.

Although this is data for just the US market, the trend towards more demand for online courses and degrees is clear.

Why does this make sense for universities?

The obvious answer is that if higher education institutions want to be able to take advantage of the demand for online courses, they will need to expand their online offerings to match this demand.

In addition to this, online offerings open up new markets to universities. These markets are students who either don’t want to study on university premises or can’t study there due to limitations such as visas, costs, family or work commitments etc. By offering online courses, learning institutions gain access to a broader range of global students. See article by Higher Education Partners (UK).

Why does this make sense for students?

From a student point of view, the advantages are manifold:

According to Research.com flexibility and convenience are the two most important factors when deciding between an online course or an on-site course. Most online courses offer flexibility in terms of when students need to study and can thus fit around work, family, or other commitments.

Online education gives students access to world-class teaching, courses and degrees. They have many more options to choose from and can access these courses from the comfort of their own homes.

Online courses are significantly cheaper than attending a face-to-face course. In addition to the course costs, they can make substantial savings with living expenses, transportation etc.

And last but not least, online studies can be more effective than traditional courses as students can work at their own pace and focus on areas which are of most interest to them.

What is going to happen next?

The exponential growth in online courses available has already seen a boom in “stackable microcredentials” and “nanodegree” programs and this trend is likely to continue. Stackable microcredentials are short courses which can be combined together to create a bigger course or degree with the corresponding qualification or certification. This trend is in response to an increase in on-demand and micro-learning options: people study short, concise, relevant courses as and when they need them.

Keeping engagement high in online courses has always been something of an issue. Those courses which include components of gamification or find ways to keep the student engaged will be more popular than others. Gamification, when done well, can help to make e-learning more enjoyable and result in higher uptake and ongoing participation.

For educational organisations, machine learning and analytics will be important to help them to measure student performance and use this information to guide future developments. Depending on the sophistication of the analytics, it can also tailor the students’ learning to their specific needs.

Mobile learning options are extremely important and this trend will continue. There are many reasons for this:

  1. For many people in developing countries or with limited incomes smartphones are the only device they can use to learn. Courses will need to be fully responsive to be truly inclusive and accessible to these people.
  2. Smartphones are the default device to use to follow micro-learning courses. Micro-learning courses are designed to be done in short periods of time, so they lend themselves to being done on the go when typically, students only have a smartphone.
  3. Multi-device options are also relevant for bigger, more substantial courses providing students with the flexibility to use different devices depending on where they are studying and the devices they have available at any given time.

Inevitably creating a great student experience requires the integration of many different components: integrated tech platforms, the redesign of courses and delivery models, and the development of an educational infrastructure that will not only deliver but also enable universities to analyse and redefine their offerings to create exceptional learning experiences for everyone.

In order to do this many universities are developing their own online courses but, many are also partnering with third-party EdTech and online platform providers to advance progress and have access to expert knowledge.

How can we help?

We specialise in licensing online English and Spanish language course content to universities to use as part of core studies or as a resource to access from online libraries or resource centres. If you are interested in knowing more, fill in this form and we’ll set up a meeting or send you information.

Sources:

BestColleges: https://www.bestcolleges.com/research/annual-trends-in-online-education/

Higher Education Partners: https://higheredpartners.co.uk/why-online-learning-in-higher-education-is-here-to-stay-a-trends-assessment/)

Higher Education Partners: https://higheredpartners.co.uk/edtech-how-technology-is-empowering-universities-to-deliver-high-quality-online-programmes/

Research.com https://research.com/education/online-education-trends

Why do multilingual employees give companies a competitive edge? (a summary of recent studies)

In a global survey by the Economist on how cultural and communication barriers affect business, two-thirds of 572 international company executives said that multicultural teams increase their organisation’s innovation. Why is this? In this blog post, we give a brief summary of some of the latest research into the benefits of multilingualism. Continue reading

The future of online training courses for the corporate market

corporate training

Where to next with corporate training?

Before the pandemic some companies provided employees with the option of taking online courses but the majority of training was conducted in person. Indeed, according to a report by the Ken Blanchard Companies in 2021, prior to the pandemic, corporate training was as follows:

  • 70% in-person instructor-led training (physically present teacher)
  • 14% virtual instructor-led training (a teacher connecting with the class online)
  • 16% self-paced courses (structured online interactive content)

With the pandemic this changed unsurprisingly to:

  • 19% in-person instructor-led training
  • 57% virtual instructor-led training
  • 24% self-paced courses

Now that the pandemic seems to be behind us, how is this affecting corporate training? Are we reverting to how things were before the pandemic or is online training playing a much more significant role than it did in 2019? Well, the indications are that online training is playing a much more significant role in corporate training than it did prior to the pandemic.

According to the Ken Banchard Companies report, the prediction is for the following:

  • 34% in-person instructor-led training
  • 40% virtual instructor-led training
  • 25% self-paced courses

So, if this is right, traditional face-to-face training is just going to be half of what it was prior to the pandemic. And there will be more virtual instructor-led training than in-person training. However, what is even more interesting is the importance of self-paced courses. This refers to online learning platforms which include structured interactive digital content which allow course participants to work through the course material at their own pace.

Why has the balance changed? There are many different reasons:

  1. More and more people are either working 100% from home or part-time from home, part-time from the office. Online training options particularly self-paced courses provide the flexibility to cater for this type of working environment much better than in-person instructor-led training.
  2. Due to the pandemic, more people have now experienced online training options and realised that it can be an effective way to train people. As such it has broken down psychological barriers that existed with certain people who hadn’t experienced online courses before.
  3. Self-paced courses and virtual instructor-led training can be more effective, more efficient and cheaper than conventional training options.
  4. People are more digitally confident than they were prior to the pandemic. The vast majority of people have experienced Zoom, Teams or other web-conferencing tools. Following an online course is no longer an intimidating prospect for most people.
  5. People now expect more flexible training options. They know that flexibility is possible and want to continue to enjoy these options.

The conclusion seems to be that corporate markets will require more and more flexible options to cater for a fast-changing work environment. Self-paced courses combined with virtual instructor-led training caters well for this environment.

Net Languages has over 20 years’ experience of doing just that.

Find out more about what Net Languages can do for your corporate training needs.

And contact us here to schedule a call or request information.

Or, if you are a language school or training organisation, contact us to find out how you can use our materials with your clients.

Measuring learning: KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

If you work in corporate training, you have probably heard the term KPIs. But what are KPIs and what are they used for?

KPIs stand for Key Performance Indicators. They are the critical indicators of progress toward an intended result. They are often used by training managers to help them measure learning and the effectiveness of training programmes. Simply put, they are the reason for running a course and the means to evaluate if the training has had a positive effect on achieving the objective.

Here is a visual representation of how KPIs can be created:

Key Performance Indicators

Key Performance Indicators

A practical example of Key Performance Indicators

Let’s imagine that certain people in a company need to attend international conferences and deliver presentations in English. However, feedback on these presentations is not good. It has been noted that the presentations are not easy to follow because of the level of English of the presenters. The company decides to commission the services of a language training specialist to change this. The training has three clear objectives: to help the presenters deliver talks in a clear, register-appropriate and engaging way in English.

In order to evaluate learning and improved performance, the participants in the course need to be assessed both prior to training and after training using the same criteria. In our example, the course participants would need to be evaluated on clarity, register and audience engagement in the delivery of their presentations in English.

It is important for language teaching organisations to find out whether corporate clients will use KPIs to measure the effectiveness of a course and to set realistic expectations. The teachers delivering the course also need to be involved in the dialogue about the KPIs to ensure that the training is focused on making improvements in these specific areas.

The difference between KPIs and Learning Analytics

Key Performance Indicators tend to be different from Learning Analytics. Learning Analytics is the more granular data provided by language teaching organisations to prove that learning has taken place. Typically, the data includes results of tests or exam results and can be broken down into specific language areas e.g. Vocabulary, Grammar, Functional Language, reading skills, listening skills, writing skills and speaking skills.

Learning analytics is normally presented to training managers by the language teaching organisations. Key Performance Indicators, on the other hand, are normally analysed by the training manager and are closely linked to the specific training needs and goals.

Communication is key

The important thing is that there is an open and frank dialogue between the language training organisation and the training manager or learning and development manager of the company about the goals of the training. For training to be successful we need to ensure that realistic objectives for the language training are both set and met.

Do you need help to achieve your language learning objectives?

If you represent a company or institution and are interested in finding out how we can help you achieve your language learning objectives using KPIs, fill in this form and we’ll set up a call.

 

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task-based learning image

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