9 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Language Training Partner – Part 1
In an increasingly interconnected world, in which communication across borders is imperative to the success of modern organizations, language training cannot be overlooked. In fact, research from LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Trends cites that talent developers, executives and people managers agree soft skills and leadership communication are the most important areas of focus when it comes to preparing L&D programs. If you’re an HR or L&D professional tasked with finding a corporate language training partner for your organization, there is a lot to consider while you navigate through the wide variety of providers on the market.
The reality is, your employees will all be starting their language training programs at different levels. Some will be close to fluency in a given language; others, starting from the very beginning with “hello” and “how are you.” Some won’t know where they fall in terms of language skill levels; others will be convinced they’re at a certain level, when they’re not at all quite that proficient. Worse still – not everyone will be engaged in growth and training, and attention spans can wax and wane.
In addition to selecting a partner that can help you accurately assess skill levels, as well as meet the individualized needs of your learners, you’ll want to be sure you choose one that aligns with your organization’s business objectives. Whether you want to train your workforce to speak the language of your international partners and clients, or you need to roll out language training as a company language, choosing your partner is no small feat. In a two-part series, we suggest nine questions to ask yourself before you select a corporate language training partner.
1.Does the language provider offer accurate skills assessment for both potential candidates and current employees?
Skills assessment can help you determine if a potential candidate has the right skills required to perform well in a position and be a good fit for your company. It can also help you find out what language training your employees need and which level they are at – making it easier to decide who in your organization might need specific types of language training. At Speexx, we use AI to help learners prioritize content and learning strategy at the moment of need, from the right level. This way you can ensure no time or effort is wasted on unnecessary training due to false placement.
2. What role does technology play in my language training program?
As digital learning is evolving, and technology becomes more accessible, people from all around the globe are capable of learning a new language through distance-learning programs. Thanks to digital learning, language training providers can now offer the perfect blend where technology can support certified language trainers in teaching a new language and enhance learning experiences, while offering more flexibility for learning opportunities to busy professionals and modern learners. AI also plays an important role when it comes to learning a new language, as some language learning programs are now harnessing its power to offer more relevant and personalized content to their learners. Speexx Essentials is available across all devices on PC, Mac, Android, iOS and LINUX, so you can familiarize employees with digital training in a ‘’lightweight’’ way, while allowing them to use their own digital devices. It can also be integrated into all HR systems globally within 24 hours, along with continuous performance support. In the end, technology is offering certified language trainers the opportunity to provide their learners with a modern and personalized learning experience like never before.
3. How can I gauge if the content is truly relevant for my learners and benefitting my team?
By 2020, the global workforce will be comprised of four or five generations, generations which differ greatly from one another when it comes to their learning preferences (among other things!). For learning to remain relevant, content must be personalized so that each individual remains engaged and motivated to continue learning. Find out if your potential language training partner offers a variety of personalized learning content to suit your learners – such as content designed specifically for marketing professionals, materials for those in STEM fields, and so on.
Learners should have access to a skills center or resource library with current, up-to-date resources (videos, articles, and so on) so that they can stay updated and knowledgeable on hot topics related to their industries. Social learning is another beneficial way for learners to engage with others and strengthen their language skills. With Speexx, your employees can join virtual classrooms or webinars where they can practice speaking and listening with other learners from around the globe. Many people are eager to express their newfound skills in a new language in social settings that feel natural – talking about the news, pop culture, and so on; it can be demotivating to simply practice verb conjugations all day. It’s important that the content is also customized towards an individual’s career goals and daily work so he or she masters vocabulary relevant to his or her specific industry and can start applying phrases and sentences to the workplace.
4. Do their methods and learning delivery fit into your existing training programs and align with your business objectives?
As learning has evolved, many language learning providers are offering blended learning solutions to maximize the effectiveness of their teaching efforts and benefit from both the latest available technology and traditional face-to-face classes.
You’ll first want to ensure your new provider offers a needs analysis and proficiency test in order to accurately measure the current language proficiency level of each learner, and then design a course that’s customized and fits the needs of your organization. Look for a provider who can offer a broad range of training methods (such as macrolearning and microlearning) and learning delivery (like gamification, for example), to ensure the various needs of your diverse, and presumably multigenerational workforce can be met.
To expand on this: The digital natives of your workforce, such as Gen Z and millennials, prefer to learn on their mobile devices and will be keen on learning a new language on-the-go. Check to see if your language training provider offers language training via a mobile app. The more seasoned employees might prefer more traditional learning methods, so determine if those exist as well.
Join us next week as we continue our two-part series and go through the questions you should ask when choosing a corporate language training partner. Find out more about customization capabilities you’ll want to look out for, the different types of technical and customer support you will need, accreditation and certification, and much more.