Is Customized English Training the Right Solution for You?Media Team
If you are a training manager in a company that has offered English courses to your staff, you may have discovered that the participants don’t show fast, dramatic improvement in their on-the-job communication. There may be several reasons for this, but one is probably that little of the language they are learning can be directly applied to their work. A customized course is an excellent way to make your English training more relevant. But it’s not always the best solution. Let’s take a look at when a customized course is the way to go.
- General English
The content in general English courses is usually a combination of socializing, everyday activities and culture. So you will learn how to talk about your weekend, your family, your city, your preferences in music, fashion, food, etc. These are useful communication topics, but they have little direct application to anyone’s job.
- Business English
The content in business English courses is usually a combination of current business topics, such as ‘green’ business, digital marketing, or flexible working hours, along with business communication functions, such as greeting visitors, leaving telephone messages, handling complaints, participating in meetings, etc. The communication functions are the most useful parts of these courses, but not enough time is spent on each function to make a big difference at work.
- Business Skill Courses
Business skills courses focus on one communication skill, such as email writing, presentations, or meeting skills. Sometimes two or more skills may be combined into a single longer course. Skill courses can be very helpful up to a point. For example, an email course can help you to control the style of your writing to be more professional. It can help you to use the correct opening and closing phrases. It can help you learn appropriate ways to refer to attachments or request information. However, in reality the content of most business emails – as well as most business presentations and meetings – is specifically related to products, services or processes of your company. You will not find that language in any standard course.
- Industry & Job Courses
These are courses designed for particular industries or job positions. For example, we have English for industries like medicine, IT, logistics, etc. We also have English for job roles like Customer Service, HR, Accounting, etc. In my opinion these are the least useful of all the course types. Even though they focus on specific business content, it usually does not match the job roles of your staff. For example, an English for Accounting course may have one section on accounts receivable, one section on accounts payable, one on payroll accounting, and one on management accounting. But each trainee will do only one of these roles, so only a small part of the course can be directly applied to their job. The rest of it will just be boring.
- Customized Courses
This brings me to the type of course that can produce the best on-the-job results. Customized courses can focus only on the skills and language content that you need. More importantly, they can include specific information about your company, your products or services, your processes and your customers.
Customized vs. Standard Course
If customized training is the best solution, then why doesn’t everyone do it? Actually, customized training may not be the best solution for every case. For one thing, your company may need to combine people from different departments with very different job roles into one group. In that case, customized content that’s great for one trainee might be useless for another.
Also keep in mind also that a successful customized course requires a lot of input from your company. Without that input, the training is likely to miss the target and be no more effective than a standard course (and might be less effective). If you need a customized email writing course, for example, plan to give your training provider 20-30 example email exchanges from the target staff. For a presentation skills course, plan to give your provider the presentation slides/documents from 5-10 different presentations, and even better, let your provider observe several real presentations. Arrange for your training provider to meet with one or more senior staff who know the requirements and problems of your team. When it comes to customization, more input is always better. If you are not able to provide enough input, you may be better off with a standard course.
Finally, it’s a fact that customized training is more expensive than standard training. But if your objective is to see real improvement on the job, and you are able to provide the right kind of input to your training provider, it is well worth the investment.
To sum up, you should consider a customized English course if your situation meets the following conditions.
Choose customized English training if…
- You can separate trainees by job role.
- You can provide the necessary information to your provider to develop an effective course.
- You need to see a real improvement on the job in a short period of time.
We hope this article has been helpful. Please contact Pro Language Corporate Training Department for help with all your language training needs.