Putting business back into business language learning


When the former CEO of a leading global e-commerce company and member of Vodafone’s management team, Thomas Engelbertz joined Learning in January 2021 as CEO, the language learning solutions provider was in the right place at the right time.

“Remote work, globalization, continuous learning and digital transformation are hot topics on the C-suite agenda,” says Engelbertz. “Today more than ever, digital language training is on trend.”

Learnship was originally launched in 2008 when edtech was mostly used as a fallback term for e-learning – and e-learning, applied to language skills, suffered from a particularly poor track record. People couldn’t imagine that virtual classroom learning could be as effective as traditional classroom training. Over the next decade, Learnship became a leader in online business language and cross-cultural communication training, serving more than 2,000 corporate clients worldwide.

In February 2019, it accelerated its international expansion, supported by a €10 million investment from THI Investment Group. In the same year, the company acquired GlobalEnglish, a world leader in providing business English communication e-learning solutions to corporate learners.

Although 2020 was a tough year, Engelbertz saw an opportunity in Learnship. “Containment has accelerated the pace of digital transformation and hybrid working,” explains the CEO of Learnship. “It felt like Learnship offered mature technology to support organizations – and business needs for innovation, efficiency, diversity and inclusion.”

The evolution of online language learning

Until the late 2010s, Learnship built the widest possible range of training solutions to cover all employee needs, from initial assessment to large-scale e-learning technologies, including more personalized solutions such as individual learning led by a trainer, preparation for expatriation or executive coaching. By performing enterprise-wide diagnostics involving learners, managers, and program owners, Learnship accurately identifies local and global challenges, then selects the most appropriate solutions to address them.

But while Learnship offers a full suite of solutions, the company has consistently pushed the boundaries of learning impact. And that’s what precision learning is.

“Precision learning is about delivering language lessons that are less time-consuming, more business-focused and cost-effective.”

Initiated shortly before the arrival of Engelbertz, Precision Learning is an innovative training format more suited to the needs of companies than any other language training. “In a nutshell, Precision Learning is about delivering less time-consuming, more business-focused, and cost-effective language lessons. In just five to twenty-two weeks, professionals can be intensively trained in specific business language skills and situations that matter to them.”

Focus on the future of work

According to a 2021 article published in Forbes by best-selling author Julian Torres, communication, strong interpersonal skills and remote work strategies are the top skills required for the future of work.

“We have paid particular attention to the existing but also future needs of our customers and have developed functional language content focused on areas that will be relevant to them, such as remote teamwork, remote project management or remote networking. We put languages ​​at the service of business. We are putting business back into learning business languages”.

Another benefit of Precision Learning is that it makes learning measurable. Our granular approach makes it possible to accurately predict and measure the skills acquired by learners, week after week. A digital dashboard allows program owners to track learner progress, from vocabulary and grammar to negotiation and presentation skills in a foreign language.

Measuring the indicator that matters: the return on investment

“Today, Learnship is no longer just a business language and cross-cultural communication training provider. It is a true strategic partner for business improvement. By focusing on business language and relevant topics, we help companies improve employee skills, retention rates, quality of hire, culture, reduce costs and reduce the skills gap . »

If the upstream of the business diagnosis and the deployment of training aim to better understand the business needs of a company, the downstream is just as crucial for Engelbertz.

“Today, we serve more than 25% of Fortune 500 companies globally, and demand is higher than ever thanks to our new approach.”

“Whenever we work with global companies, we not only measure training-specific metrics according to the Kirkpatrick model – reaction, learning, behavior, results – but also a metric that matters to the C-suite and decision makers: return on investment.”

Based on interviews conducted with learners and their managers, designed to demonstrate how their improved communication skills have impacted business results, L&D managers can show the impact of language training on their business. “Today, we serve more than 25% of Fortune 500 companies globally, and demand is higher than ever thanks to our new approach,” concludes Engelbertz.

“One of our clients estimates that he saves an average of two million euros in OPEX each year thanks to Learnship – so it’s worth doing the math.”

Learnship is a leading provider of online language learning solutions that helps businesses succeed in global markets by breaking down cross-cultural communication barriers. Visit Learning for more information.


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