The perennial question people ask us – how long will it take? The answer must always be: It depends on the learner's objectives, level and aptitude.
Different languages require varying numbers of hours to reach set levels of proficiency. The time it takes will also depend on the priority they wish to give each of the language skills:
Another important factor to bear in mind is what you want to do with the language. Dialogue can create programmes based around specific (business) tasks: Negotiation techniques, presentations, telephoning or using social media.
We will be able to advise you on the approximate number of hours you might need to achieve a particular competency in a given language, once we have assessed the starting point and potential of the learner.
Little and often or fast and furious?
A mixture of on-going and intensive training works best. Dialogue’s on-going weekly training builds a bedrock of knowledge and familiarity with the language. Whereas our intensive or semi-intensive course accelerates the learning significantly. This builds enthusiasm and confidence.
The best approach to take is to consider the hours required to reach the desired target level alongside the timeframe set out by the sponsor and then work backwards from there. This will tell you if you need to look at 2 hours a week or maybe top up or kickstart with some intensive training too.
Keeping the learners engaged ensures that the training sponsors are getting a positive return on investment. Regular and frequent reports will demonstrate individual progress. We find that the occasional exam sharpens their focus should their attention wander!
Visiting the target country on business or on holiday will accelerate progress significantly. There’s no substitute for learning from experience! Engaging with the local culture is another way to build confidence and broaden the cultural mind.
In-country training (staying with a host-family if at all possible) will be even more effective. Just try to avoid doing 7 hours in the classroom – you may as well do it at home for all the real-life experience you get. Time spent out with the family, the teacher and other members of the local community is invaluable. And shadowing a colleague in the local office works wonders for building relationships and forging friendships.
How does it work?
We start with an in-depth training needs analysis (TNA) and assessment of the proficiency level in the foreign language. From this we calculate the number of hours needed to achieve the objectives defined in the TNA.
We then determine the milestones, frequency of reviews and exams for each learner and language. It’s a collaborative process. You tell us what’s practical in terms of time and budget and we will do the rest.