As I have written multiple times, creating an effective workplace language learning program is a significant investment, and HR managers should ensure that they have the necessary resources to determine employees’ needs, offer meaningful instruction, track learner progress, and measure outcomes. Generally speaking, direct managers who need their employees to be able to communicate effectively in English can easily see why this investment of resources is necessary, but there is sometimes hesitation from senior leadership. Whether it is because they are reluctant to change, wary of new technology, or have given up on language learning altogether, senior leaders are often a blocker to getting effective, technology-mediated workplace English programs off the ground. Here are three common objections offered by senior decision-makers and how to combat them:
Objection #1: We already have teachers who come to the office; there is no way that a technology solution is better than in-person classroom teachers. There is no reason to change.
Even when a workplace has language teachers on-site, there is room for improvement. HR managers often have little visibility into what goes on in on-site classes, and there is no way to tell what the employees are learning. We know that one-size-fits-all classes do not work, but it is impossible for teachers to personalize instruction with the same level of sophistication as an adaptive classroom. By combining in-person instruction with data from a needs analysis and insights from an adaptive, self-study platform, we can maximize learning outcomes. Further, in-person instruction can be accomplished more effectively, efficiently, and at a far lower cost with live, virtual classes. In other words, an integrated technology solution can deliver the benefits of classroom teachers along with the improved visibility, outcomes, and scalability that technology offers.
Objection #2: We have tried different online training providers for other skills and no one uses them; I do not want to invest in technology.
This is a common objection, and the sad truth is that there are many training programs—for languages and for other skills—where vendors sell software and then disappear without making sure that it is properly implemented. Voxy is designed to avoid those problems. With dedicated customer support and learner onboarding managers, Voxy makes sure that every workplace has the language learning program designed for its own needs and goals. HR managers are enabled to easily track employee progress and performance, without a significant investment of time.
Objection #3: We have offered workplace language training for years, but no one actually learns any English.
This is perhaps the saddest objection, and there is an element of truth to it. Most language learning programs are not designed to be effective, and most participants do not learn nearly as much as they could. However, not all solutions are created equally, and there are years of empirical evidence establishing that Voxy will work to improve learner outcomes. By offering career-aligned courses, Voxy gives employees the real-world English training that they need to accomplish their goals.
Katie is Voxy’s Chief Education Officer, which means she leads the teams ensuring that learners are getting the most efficient and effective educational experience possible. She has a PhD in Second Language Acquisition and years of experience teaching languages, building language courses, and evaluating the effectiveness of language training as a research scientist. She lectures and writes about all things related to language learning and educational technology.