September 27 2020

17 Questions to ask your Language Learning Provider [Sep 2020 update]

Note: this is one of our more popular articles (and useful, we hope!)  and has been updated in response to some of the madness of 2020!


Time to read: 5 minutes

Some decisions are more difficult to make than others, C’est la vie! The human brain is just not very well equipped for making complex decisions (such as trying to buy a sofa, now there’s a tricky one). That’s where list may come in handy. The purpose of this list of 17 questions is to help you make a decision that is ultimately better for everyone in your company.

Where do the language courses take place?  

Companies may say they offer online learning, but you should check out their learning content before continuing the conversation. Learning content should introduce rich and relevant authentic material to bring fun, engagement and interest into each lesson. Courses should include modern and pedagogically effective digital learning modules.

How many students are there per class? 

Online Face-to-Face classes may suit some learners one-to-one, but others prefer group based learning. Especially in 2020, with people spending more time at home, it’s great to be able to interact with colleagues in an interactive virtual learning environment.

Do you offer custom courses? 

Maybe you want employees to attend an intensive course or maybe you need employees to work on their communication, personal, & management skills? Or how about some intercultural training?

Do you offer any type of supplementary training? 

Digital learning is powerful, you should ask a prospective supplier how they supplement learning.

Is there a placement/level test at the beginning/end of the course? 

Placement tests are an inexact science but they are a necessary evil as learners should be in classes with other learners with a similar level. If not, the lower level learners get lost and higher level learners get bored. Verifying at the end of a course how far learners have progressed is also essential.

How are the needs of each learner taken into consideration? Do you carry out a needs analysis at the beginning of the course? 

This is a useful step so tutors are aware of what each learner’s needs are (as well as the company’s needs of course).

How do we schedule, reschedule and cancel classes? 

Can this be handled online? Can you schedule all of the classes for the entire course? How about giving learners the flexibility to schedule, reschedule and cancel classes?

Can we test your platform? 

Enough with the talking already! Can I dive into your platform and check it out for myself?

What teaching/content methodology do you use? What evidence is there that this approach works? 

How they answer this question will tell you how much they really think about their learners and learning outcomes (which ultimately reflects on ROI for you as a client)

Do the students do homework outside of the classes? 

This is linked to methodology; learners should have the option to study as much as they want/like outside of class, or in some cases, as little as they want to avoid being overwhelmed. Either way, everyone should be working towards the same clear goals, no matter how big or small.

Are your tutors experienced in online learning? 

Don’t be fooled, online learning is different than traditional face to face learning. It requires a slightly different method of teaching but it is highly effective, if done correctly!

How can your courses help us achieve our business goals? 

This is linked to methodology, learning content, demonstrable effective of the courses via reporting, learner success etc.

How is learner progress monitored? What reporting/feedback will you provide us with and how often? 

Learners should be receiving constant feedback from their tutors and companies and learners should be able to track their learning journey with useful, insightful and actionable data.

Can we use our own LMS? 

Where do learners take their courses? Do they need multiple logins, how easy is the process? Or can learners take their courses in our LMS/learning environment?

How much will the training cost? 

This is obviously an important element in any purchasing decision, the cheapest option may not provide you with satisfactory answers to the above questions but the most expensive option may overwhelm you with information and the learners may drown in non-useful course content.

Can our learners top-up their learning if they want to? 

If enthusiastic learners feel they would like to augment their learning by purchasing  and scheduling some extra classes or other learning experiences, can they do that? Ultimately, learners will progress more and increase their value as an asset to the company they work for.

Is there anything extra your company is doing that may be beneficial to us as a company and to our employees?

2020 has been quite the year, there’s no denying it! It can’t be all work, work, work, right? Downtime, and looking after the mental health and wellness side of things is more important now than ever.

If you are happy with the answers to the above questions, you can rest assured you are most likely choosing the correct language learning provider. for your company. If you are not happy with the responses you receive, then maybe it's time to consider a change :)


  • Previous
    How Flipped Learning Helps You Learn More Effectively
  • Next
    Remote working and supporting staff mental health