Business English: New approaches are needed to increase the ROI in corporate English learning

deal of money and time to help their employees

Is there a satisfactory ROI (return on investment) for English language training in corporations or organizations?

Could the return on investment for business English be improved? According to information presented at a conference on language training for business called Sprachen und Beruf in Duesseldorf, Germany in 2005;

  1. Most business English training involves English teachers visiting companies once or twice a week or employees attending language schools. E-learning is growing as an alternative for learning e English.
  2. Organizations usually allow employees to study business English during working time. Surprisingly most employees do not like studying on company time because they are too busy working. They prefer to learn English on their own time.
  3. Even employees involved in company-sponsored business English courses usually spend little more than one hour a week studying on their own.

What does this mean? The preferred approaches for business English learning are on-site instruction or off-site schools. Yet these are largely perceived by employees as distractions from their main job. These activities also represent a loss of productivity for the employer, thereby adding to the cost of these programs.


Is there a good ROI in this investment? Employees usually recognize that they need to improve their own level of English proficiency. Yet one or two hours of group instruction, followed by one hour of self-study per week, will not usually bring about a meaningful improvement in business English skills. Results presented at Sprachen und Beruf indicated that it took 18 months for any improvement in business English language skills to become noticeable, in the best cases.

How Can E-learning Deliver Greater ROI?

E-learning is often considered as an alternative because of its greater fle