Research & Thought Leadership

Customized language training: Why one size does not fit all

Patricia Laszlo

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When it comes to learning, we are all different and just like the way we acquire new knowledge, the learning platforms that we use should be tailored and adapted to our individual needs and styles.

Remember when you were back in school and you had to prepare for an exam? Your teacher may have recommended to use flashcards, listen to recordings or write lecture notes to learn effectively. The truth is that, when it comes to language learning, one size does not fit all.

According to the British Council, every fourth person in the world is a speaker of the English language. Of these, native speakers are outnumbered by non-native speakers at a 1:4 ratio. Unsurprisingly this means educational institutions such as those in corporate training, must cater not only for a high number of learners but also to a wide variety of learning styles and needs. When it comes to language training, learning solutions should be developed in a way that optimizes learning for each individual and helps achieve personal goals.

Imagine, you are a professional in the aviation industry, where it is required of you to communicate effectively with customers at the support desk or you are part of the cabin crew working with colleagues from all over the world. You will probably need to communicate in one common language, English. It’s also likely, that your needs will be quite different from those of a professional working in the pharmaceutical or banking industry. From the vocabulary you use to the way you communicate, you will both require a different type of language training, which is tailored to your own specific needs.

Here at Hult EF, we understand the need for customized language training to make each learning experience relevant and meaningful. Tailoring the content to suit the students’ needs, industry, job role and company-specific vocabulary following four key steps.

4 steps to customize your language training program:


    The first step of implementing any successful language training program is to identify what the key objectives of the company are and how the language program will help them achieve these goals. These objectives will then form the blueprints for success. Effective communication at this stage is critical. The program’s direction and focus are shaped at this point in the process.


    Once the objectives have been identified and the need is established, we assess in what time frame the company’s goals can be achieved. To ensure these goals are personalized and achievable, it is important to know the level of each learner through language testing. Attempting to teach someone to run before they can walk is an unlikely formula for success. This initial testing process will help both parties gain a strong understanding of what the company’s current language competency is and how best to take the next step. Already at this stage offering an individualized assessment test is crucial. If fluency in a language is critical to the company’s overall efficiency, the level of testing can be altered to that need. Some individuals may need to be able to read and write complex documents whereas others find that through clear verbal communication they are able to achieve maximum productivity.


    Different organizations, or possibly different teams within a larger organization, may require different solutions. Tailoring the language training program to a specific industry, job role or company-specific vocabulary is vital for success. The goals should be manageable and relevant to the learner’s specific job responsibilities and objectives. This can be achieved with diverse, flexible and engaging content that covers a broad range of learning needs.


    Finally, once those objectives have been set, the employees’ initial language levels have been tested and the course has been tailored, the program should be delivered in a timely manner. But the fun doesn’t stop there – learning should be continuous.

    Having a 24/7 reporting center in place, where a possible dip in learning can be monitored and prevented is a necessity. Individualized motivational messages and targeted reminders can be sent out to learners. This helps keep them encouraged, with the aim of motivating them to explore the thousands of hours of content that is available. Through this, new curiosities can be sparked, and learners can reach their study goals.

    In conclusion, there is no “one size fits all” solution out there, and your language training program should not be any different. Here at EF, we joined forces with Avianca Airlines. Avianca is a commercial brand that represents the Latin American airlines to provide customized language training to 2,500 employees.

These Avianca employees are currently in customer-facing roles and therefore, have an urgent need to improve their language skills to communicate effectively.

In order to make Avianca’s training relevant, meaningful and to maximize results, EF tailored the program to their specific needs, including frontline training for cabin crew and counter service courses.

Just like the way you learn; your language training provider should be able to adapt to your company-specific needs – here are 10 critical questions to ask before choosing a language provider.

At Hult EF we ensure that our corporate training programs are engaging and completely tailored to the needs of your employees. Through our four-step process, we cater to millions of students who have different needs ensuring that learning is fun and personal to every one of them.

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