Last Sunday evening I was having dinner with the CEO of a mid-sized European company and his wife. A wonderful couple! The three of us at a mature wise age and all enjoying the conversation, superb food and excellent wine! They both speak excellent English and we started to talk about his company, which is undergoing global expansion and how companies deal with the question of language learning due to the globalization of business. He then made a comment that was “music to my ears”. He stated that
“In my company we have realized that group training is not effective, so we only provide one to one training. We know it is more expensive, but we also know that, in the long run, we are getting the full effect of the learning.”
Fantastic! A company that has broken away from the idea that clumping groups together to save money can produce reliable learning results! And even worse, in my experience, I am seeing companies that are not only putting groups of 10 to 12 learners in one group, but also then choosing the lowest possible available language training prices on the market, which then means that the teacher is being paid minimum prices and may not even be qualified and, if qualified, will definitely not be motivated or even care if the group learn anything anyway.
Of course, this becomes the eternal dichotomy. Companies must cut costs and at the same time ensure quality learning that is effective and gives the company the necessary results for an effective globalized business. So, how can the balance be achieved?
Here are some tips for companies to choose wisely:
- No two brains are the same, so pushing people into large groups will not only produce low effective learning, but also could potentially be harming some of those learners by causing limbic reactions to speaking the language. This means that the learner goes into panic with the language and could even suffer blocks in the two essential parts of the brain which have to be engaged for effective learning: the hippocampus and the pre-frontal cortex. If it is really necessary to make groups, make sure they are exceptionally small (ideally 2-3 and definitely maximum 4 people) and ensure that the language level is really similar and finally ensure that you have an expert language coach who knows how the limbic system reacts and how the brain likes to learn.
- Check the qualifications of the language trainer, teacher, coach. There should be proven language expertise either through a language teaching qualification or proven years of experience. If it is a language coach, ensure that there is in fact a coaching qualification and even go one step further and engage a neurolanguage coach, who has the training as a coach as well as the training as a neuroeducator, that is an educator who understands how the brain learns and how the brain functions.
- Always question the reason for being offered extremely low prices by a language provider. Quality has to be questioned, and not only quality but also the effectiveness of the training. Is the company actually wasting and dumping money on ineffective training?
- Engage in measuring the progress and success of the language learning. At Efficient Language Coaching we now measure the success and progress in real terms. We want to ensure the learning is efficient and that it is having a positive impact on your business. We want your employees to learn fast and in a sustainable manner. The more confident your employees become in the target language, the better they will do business in that language.
- It may be that quality training and coaching costs more, but in the long run less time will be needed for the learning. So in effect in the long run, you as a company will in fact be paying less!
Some companies have “cottoned on” and I am extremely happy to know that!
Copyright Rachel Marie Paling 2015