Virtual Blended Learning in Plain English

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<ul><li> Virtual Blended Learning IN PLAIN ENGLISH <ul><li>What is Virtual Blended Learning? </li></ul><ul><li>Is online learning right for my company? </li></ul><ul><li>Questions you need to ask. </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual Blended Learning and ROI. </li></ul></li> <li> Is there a business case for investing in foreign language training for employees? Copyright Ad_Lib Language Service Ltd. 2010 In the current economic climate every investment tends to come under close scrutiny and training budgets usually are the first to get cut. Yet, a recently published research suggest that even though cost cutting might be in order in many areas, neglecting language training can have a very detrimental effect on the company's reputation and revenue. The data quoted in this document comes from a report published recently by TIRF - The International Research Foundation for English Language Education - a non-profit organization whose goal is to generate new knowledge about English language teaching and learning. Plurilingualism, and proficiency in English as a second or foreign language in particular, matter greatly in the global economy, and they matter to employers as well as to individuals. Indeed, it is possible to estimate the effect of language on business performance. (The Impact of English and Plurilingualism in Global Corporations - TIRF Report) </li> <li> The key areas that may negatively be affected by the lack of language proficiency in corporations are: <ul><li>buyer/seller relationships, </li></ul><ul><li>foreign market expansion, </li></ul><ul><li>joint ventures, </li></ul><ul><li>headquarter-subsidiary relationships, </li></ul><ul><li>staffing policies </li></ul> The literature and the data from the corporations we surveyed strongly suggest that there are measurable economic returns on English and plurilingual skills for individuals, corporations,and economies. TIRFs findings also suggest that there is a considerable price to be paid if corporate global and local communications fail, or are ineffective due to poor language proficiency ofemployees. (The Impact of English and Plurilingualism in Global Corporations - TIRF Report) </li> <li> Other negative effects of the lack of appropriate language training include: <ul><li>Revenue Impact: Lost Opportunities: </li></ul><ul><li>Decreased customer satisfaction due to inaccurate and incomplete information or slower response times due to language barriers. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced sales performance due to missed opportunities and inefficient communication affecting sales cycle, close rates, and order sizes. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduction in expansion speed due to a lack of a common language and poor goal alignment due to inadequate communication. </li></ul><ul><li>Increased merger and acquisition issues such as lack of company-wide proficiency to facilitate cultural integration and business process alignment. </li></ul><ul><li>Cost Impact: Decreased Productivity: </li></ul><ul><li>Increased response times </li></ul><ul><li>Losses in productivity due to translation demands. </li></ul><ul><li>Increased need to provide organizational supports to verify accuracy and quality of work, which can be costly. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced opportunities in succession planning due to the lack of language-related qualifications. </li></ul><ul><li>Increase in resources diverted to translation. </li></ul><ul><li>(Source: TIRF Report) </li></ul></li> <li> Language impact on the employee: <ul><li>Employees feel increasingly pressured to use English, but feel they are not always prepared. There is a large and growing English gap, with 91% of employees indicating English is critical or important for their jobs, but with only 8% stating that their current English abilities are adequate to be successful in their jobs. </li></ul><ul><li>The need for English is spreading, affecting all levels of an organization, a broad array of employees, and a growing number of work situations where English increasingly matters for both internal and external communication purposes. </li></ul><ul><li>English-speaking employees in non-English-speaking countries have a job advancement advantage relative to those who lack proficiency in English. </li></ul><ul><li>(Source: TIRF Report) </li></ul><ul><li>Areas positively affected </li></ul><ul><li>through language training </li></ul><ul><li>include: </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>employee satisfaction </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>performance </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>productivity </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>attendance </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>mobility </li></ul></li></ul></li> <li> <ul><li>Blended Learning refers to a mix of different learning environments. In a language-teaching context it usually refers to combining synchronous, face-to-face instruction (i.e. live lessons carried out in real-time) with asynchronous, usually computer assisted learning. In the case of Virtual Blended Learning offered by Ad_Lib Business, both synchronous and asynchronous learning takes place online. It comprises: </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>(asynchronous) an online learning platform accessible to the students 24/7 and consisting of: </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li><ul><li>a series of Interactive Learning Modules </li></ul></li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li><ul><li>a series of Email assignments; corrected and annotated by a tutor </li></ul></li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li><ul><li>a series of Forum tasks which allow the student to interact with each other in English and practice newly acquired skills </li></ul></li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>(synchronous) live lessons taking place in a virtual classroom </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>and using VOIP solutions or telephone </li></ul></li></ul>Introducing Virtual Blended Learning . </li> <li> <ul><li>Introducing new material through ILMs </li></ul><ul><li>Reading and listening practice </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive exercises </li></ul><ul><li>Email tasks and support </li></ul><ul><li>Forum tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Exercises </li></ul><ul><li>Writing assignments </li></ul>Homework (asynchronous learning) <ul><li>Targeted explanations (explaining the material already introduced in ILMs) </li></ul><ul><li>Pairwork, breakout groups </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul><ul><li>File and application sharing (if appropriate) </li></ul><ul><li>Live chat </li></ul><ul><li>Audio and video activities </li></ul><ul><li>Pronunciation practice </li></ul><ul><li>Introducing and explaining new material </li></ul><ul><li>Pairwork and group practice </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Exercises </li></ul><ul><li>Listening activities, video </li></ul><ul><li>Pronunciation practice </li></ul>Live learning activities (synchronous learning) <ul><li>Wide choice of tutors who are: </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>native speakers of English </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>fully qualified to teach </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>LANCELOT-trained (i.e. qualified to deliver training online) </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li>Tutors available locally </li></ul>Tutors <ul><li>Interactive Learning Modules (ILM) </li></ul><ul><li>Live online tutition (1-to-1 or groups) </li></ul><ul><li>Online learning communities </li></ul><ul><li>Unlimited email support </li></ul><ul><li>Local or remote bricks and mortar venue </li></ul><ul><li>1-to-1 or group tuition </li></ul>Delivering Training <ul><li>Schedule an online event (via email) </li></ul><ul><li>Schedule the course </li></ul><ul><li>Organise the venue or travel arrangements </li></ul>Scheduling Training <ul><li>Online test </li></ul><ul><li>Paper assessment test </li></ul>Placement Virtual Blended Learning: Traditional Language Training </li> <li> <ul><li>Accelerated </li></ul><ul><li>Standard </li></ul>Speed of learning <ul><li>Online test </li></ul><ul><li>In-house paper or software test </li></ul>Progress assessment <ul><li>Students can accless ILMs 24/7 from any computer connected to the internet </li></ul><ul><li>Students can access live sessions from any computer with a good broadband connection. </li></ul><ul><li>1-to-1 tuition can be rescheduled 'no </li></ul><ul><li>questions asked' with a minimum of 24hrs notification </li></ul><ul><li>Students who are absent receive a hard copy of the materials (handouts, etc) and try to 'catch up'. </li></ul>Contingencies (employees unable to attend classes due to business travel, illness, etc) Virtual Blended Learning: In Person Training: </li> <li> The benefits of Virtual Blended Learning: <ul><li>flexible </li></ul><ul><li>easily adapted to the level of individual students </li></ul><ul><li>standardised content , yet easily customisable to meet specific objectives of each client / student </li></ul><ul><li>time and cost-effective ; eliminating the expenses associated with travel or booking a venue </li></ul><ul><li>faster progress with fewer live lessons </li></ul><ul><li>'green', environmentally responsible , training solution </li></ul><ul><li>increases confidence when dealing with long-distance communication (telephone, email, web) </li></ul><ul><li>increases web literacy and web-engagement (indicated greater engagement on company's intranet) </li></ul><ul><li>entirely browser-based solution with no need for any installation or download </li></ul><ul><li>integrated VOIP ; telephone conference calls also available (headset needed) </li></ul><ul><li>experienced, LANCELOT-certified, tutors ; native speakers of English </li></ul></li> <li> When is online learning particularly appropriate? <ul><li>The target audience is large and/or geographically dispersed. </li></ul><ul><li>The students are located in places where availability of highly-qualified native speakers might be limited </li></ul><ul><li>The students work away from the main office and would not be able to attend regular classes </li></ul><ul><li>The students' role in the company requires them to travel frequently. They can learn asynchronously in their own time and access live lessons from any place in the world providing they have got good internet access </li></ul><ul><li>The students need to master long distance communication in English (web interactions, email and telephone etiquette, cold calling, video conferencing, etc) </li></ul></li> <li> You should consider more traditional training methods when: <ul><li>You cannot be sure that all students will have access to computers with sufficient broadband speed </li></ul><ul><li>You need to teach absolute beginners </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>students with no knowledge of English whatsoever will probably struggle with using programmes where the interface and language of instruction is English. They will also probably benefit more from real-life interaction with a tutor, ideally one who also speaks their native language </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li>The computer literacy of the potential students is very low </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>this does not necessarily disqualify these students from benefiting from online learning. However, what needs to be taken into account is that a lot of time that otherwise would be spent on improving their language skills will go towards increasing their computer literacy. A language tutor is not necessarily the best person to deliver basic IT training. </li></ul></li></ul><ul><li>Students exhibit very low motivation towards learning </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li>again, this does not mean that these students will not benefit from training at all. Yet, the fact the asynchronous component plays such crucial role in Blended Learning, requires the students to take some responsibility for their own learning. A certain degree of self-discipline is required in order to make the most of the online learning platform available to the students as a part of the course. </li></ul></li></ul></li> <li> YES YES NO Students need to be introduced to new technologies YES YES DIFFICULT Students need to master long distance communication skills YES YES NO Geographically dispersed students YES YES NO Highly mobile students YES YES YES Content involving interpersonal skills DIFFICULT YES YES Limited computer experience YES YES NOT RECOMMENDED Shift work, difficult to schedule training NOT RECOMMENDED NOT RECOMMENDED YES Poor internet connection / low internet speed NOT RECOMMENDED NOT RECOMMENDED YES High Internet connectivity costs DIFFICULT YES YES Low learning motivation levels DIFFICULT YES YES Learners need high levels of guidance Asynchronous Online Synchronous Online Synchronous Off Line Requirements: Virtual Blended Learning Traditional Language Training </li> <li> Return on Investment - ROI <ul><li>How much should we spend on training? </li></ul><ul><li><ul><li><ul><li>Ask yourself how much your employees' lack of necessary skills is costing you in revenue? </li></ul></li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li><ul><li>Then ask yourself how much of an increase in revenue you expect in connection to your staff's language proficiency? </li></ul></li></ul></li></ul><ul><li><ul><li><ul><li>Then calculate how much the training is worth to your company. </li></ul></li></ul></li></ul></li> <li> How to ensure ROI on language training? <ul><li>ROI is a difficult concept in training and one that is notoriously difficult to measure. In language </li></ul><ul><li>learning, any good training provider should carry out initial, diagnostic, assessment of the </li></ul><ul><li>students language skills, as well as a final test to measure the students' progress. </li></ul><ul><li>ROI however depends not so much on the objective increase of your employees' language skills, </li></ul><ul><li>but on whether their newly acquired skills are relevant to the company's needs and if the training </li></ul><ul><li>has improved their performance at work. </li></ul><ul><li>On the following page we have listed steps that can be taken to ensure that money spent on </li></ul><ul><li>training brings rewards in the shape of increased productivity and revenue. </li></ul></li> <li> How to ensure ROI on language training? <ul><li>Define the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Create a baseline by benchmarking current performance </li></ul><ul><li>Translate the problem into specific individual learning competencies - what is it that your employees need to learn? </li></ul><ul><li>Establish which group of people needs to receive training </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you get the employees' support for the training </li></ul><ul><li>Define a quantifiable organizational result - in what way do you expect their performance to improve after they have acquired the necessary skills? </li></ul><ul><li>Decide on a type of training programme required - is it going to be training delivered in a traditional way, blended learning or other solution </li></ul><ul><li>Choose a training provider </li></ul><ul><li>Appoint a person responsible for the training - a person to manage the LMS, and ensure good communication between your company and the training provider. </li></ul><ul><li>Have a strategy in place to discipline employees who are reluctant to learn. </li></ul></li> <li> About Ad_Lib Business <ul><li>Ad_Lib Language Service Ltd, trading as Ad_Lib </li></ul><ul><li>Business and Ad_Lib English, is a limited company </li></ul><ul><li>registered in the United Kingdom (CompanyNo.6612718) </li></ul><ul><li>We offer a range of both 'off-the-shelf' and highly </li></ul><ul><li>customised online English language courses, including </li></ul><ul><li>live 1-to-1 and group tuition, as well as blended learning </li></ul><ul><li>courses. </li></ul><ul><li>To find out more about our courses please visit our </li></ul><ul><li>website: </li></ul><ul><li>Or contact us directly: </li></ul><ul><li>Suite 12501 2nd Floor 145-157 </li></ul><ul><li>St John Street </li></ul><ul><li>London EC1V 4PY </li></ul><ul><li>UNITED KINGDOM </li></ul><ul><li>Tel / Fax: +44 208 3503644 </li></ul><ul><li>Email: </li></ul>OUR PARTNERS: </li> </ul>


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