Learning & Development

What You Should Look for in a Language-Learning Program and Why

Going international? Not yet? Already there? While English is still recognized as a top language of commerce, taking for granted the English-only shortcut puts your business partnerships at risk and your organization subject to the bottom of the pile.

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Merging into the global market unprepared and expecting to strike a meaningful balance of mutual understanding could be detrimental to your current or future global business endeavors if you step into the ring with a limited perspective. Learning the language and culture of an international partner is the untapped secret to growing and fostering a healthy workforce. Plus, standing out among the competition depends on it.
There are several language-training resources and global relocation services out there; however, depending on the volume of travel your organization handles, financial practicality, learning efficiency, and learning management system (LMS) integration are just some of the factors considered when seeking out the most effective language-training system for your organization. But what should you look for and why?
Here are a few key specifics to seek out when you’re looking for the language-training solution that will prepare your teams efficiently and for the long term:
Practical content driven by authentic experiences. The content should be authentic and effective in making a real connection with a native speaker. Find language software that delivers lessons with practical content for navigating everyday situations, using relevant, local expressions and on-the-street insights that are immediately applicable and effectively delivered.
An emphasis on quality across the board. Free doesn’t always mean quality. Courses developed without dedicated teaching professionals aren’t going to deliver the content in a way that’s going to support the complex ways our brains process specific information. Choose content that’s created by experienced linguists and language teachers, who are conscious of how people learn and acquire language and develop effective methodology based on this knowledge.
Pronunciation help and active participation. Speaking in another language for the first time is intimidating. A resource with an audio experience that helps the learner pick up on the intonation of a language, and encourages the repetition of new words and phrases out loud, will empower the learner to practice pronunciation with confidence so there’s less second-guessing in real-time scenarios.
Critical-thinking and memory-building exercises. The point of putting effort into learning another language is so that it becomes a natural way of communicating. Learners need effective tools to become independent communicators. The right resource bakes memory-building into its methodology, with features that help users think in that language and learn to intuitively build their own phrases and sentences.
Cultural and grammatical context. Learning only vocabulary won’t cut it. To really learn a language, cultural awareness is often overlooked, though it is a crucial component of the connection that really makes the difference. A resource that includes cultural and grammatical context aids in understanding nuances and helps the learner use and understand new phrases and colloquialisms correctly.
Connectivity-proof mobile experience. Do you need an Internet connection to learn? Does this program work on all your devices? Does it remove the “if only” and other barriers that stand between you and learning? A language-learning system with hands-free and offline features empowers the learner to continue his or her lessons wherever, however, and whenever he or she learns best.
Integration that supports your organization’s unique needs. The right language partner wants to build community and encourage key individuals to get involved. A dedicated account representative and customer support team that offers troubleshooting and promotional guidance goes a long way. Choose software that supplies a straightforward tracking dashboard that plays nicely with your existing LMS system, with a knowledgeable, responsive support team behind it.
Establishing a multilingual standard in the English-only workplace is going to strengthen your pursuit of global market share from the inside out. Imagine a fleet of open-minded, informed employees who are more confident in themselves and their ability to comprehend and pursue myriad cross-cultural business and interpersonal opportunities.
Encouraging a learning culture in the workplace will enhance your reputation as a business partner and an empathetic employer brand. Learning a new language has also proven to boost cognitive functions and enhance the understanding of one’s own language while broadening perspectives and building overall conversational confidence—not a bad fringe benefits package.

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Going to the T&D Summit this year? Set up a meeting with Brian Rovito, Mango Languages’ Account Executive, to learn more about how Mango Languages’ learning system works. Be sure to ask about additional product offerings and packages that meet your team’s unique language-training needs.

Anja Green is the Content Development Manager at Mango Languages, with an MA in Applied Linguistics/Translation from Leipzig University in Germany. With 14 years under her belt as a linguist expert, the last 9 have been spent with Mango Languages, where she leads teams of linguists and subject matter experts in the creation of learning content, development of new tools and features, and administration of new and innovative language instruction modules.
Guided by its core purpose to enrich lives with language and culture, Mango Languages creates practical, effective language-learning experiences for thousands of libraries, schools, corporations, government agencies, and individuals across the globe in over 70 world languages and dialects, plus more than 20 ESL/ELL courses.