By Michael Blazek, Director of Babbel for Business (www.https://www.babbelforbusiness.com)
Without a doubt, the pandemic has been a catalyst for digital learning and innovation, causing HR leaders to implement new digital learning practices across their workforces. More than ever, it’s important to think about how you can develop and upskill your staff in a virtual setting, in order to encourage both personal and professional growth.
Boosting your workforce’s language skills is a clear route to higher employee retention, greater talent acquisition, improved sales operations, and increased customer satisfaction. The good news is that digital learning tools for languages have never been better. I work for Babbel, which has long been the leading player within the language learning market, with our didactic method helping millions of subscribers to learn genuinely useful, conversational language.
Our B2B arm, Babbel for Business, is now used worldwide by over 800 companies with learners across various industries, as part of their professional learning and development programmes.
We’ve built up a huge amount of feedback from language learners across the UK this past year, so here are my top 5 tips you can share with your colleagues in order to achieve effective language learning at work:
- Concentration – Make sure you have uninterrupted focus.
Put any distractions away, mute your computer notifications and make sure that the learning time is marked in your calendar so that those you work closely with know that you will be busy during that period.
- Place – Create the perfect learning space.
Make sure you are in a place where you can study comfortably on the device of your choice, where you can confidently practice pronouncing words and sentences out loud, and can stay long enough to complete the lesson without being disturbed.
- Time – Find out when you learn best.
According to our research, 75% of employees prefer practicing their new language in the late afternoon when the most important tasks of the day have already been completed. Many of our subscribers tell us they also enjoy learning on their lunch breaks, or early in the morning as part of a wake-up routine. Ultimately, find the time that works for you and stick to it. Only with regular learning can it develop into a positive habit.
- Duration and Relevancy – Organise your learning slots and max out the efficiency.
We recommend 20 minute sessions, three times a week, unless you are using a product such as Babbel Intensive where you receive 1:1 online video sessions lasting 30 minutes each. The vast majority of companies particularly value the flexibility of digital learning and so we strive to combine this with goal-orientated efficiency. Our platform offers a wide choice of carefully prepared and relevant lessons for you to choose from and, on request, we can create learning plans that lay out the relevant courses for your specific learning goals.
- Motivation – Set goals and rewards.
It is important to set small attainable goals and to celebrate each victory, whatever the size. Breaking down a big task into smaller essential parts enables you to feel a sense of accomplishment more often. “I want to speak French” is seemingly insurmountable at first, so start with “I want to be able to introduce myself in French” then “I want to be able to introduce my colleagues in French” and work your way up from there. Furthermore, we recommend hosting ‘language lunches’ where you can practice your new skills with colleagues, which is always the best way to retain knowledge and build confidence. So, if you and your sales team are learning French, for example, organise a virtual lunch session with some easy topics of discussion, and I guarantee you will all walk away feeling motivated to learn more.