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August 2017
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TD Magazine

El Valor del Aprendizaje = The Value of Learning

Three first steps to building a language training program.

From an organizational perspective, the value of language training programs is clear. According to an April 2017 research report from Forbes Insights and Rosetta Stone that surveyed more than 200 senior executives and managers from around the world, 92 percent of respondents said that their companies reap at least some benefit from such programs.

According to the survey, 59 percent of respondents think language training improves customer feedback, 51 percent think it gives employees more confidence, and 46 percent think it improves performance. The areas of the business most likely to be affected are sales, marketing, and customer service.

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Most companies don't doggedly pursue these rewards. According to the survey, almost half of companies report that at least 25 percent of their employees should be learning another language, but almost three-quarters of companies admit that less than 25 percent of employees are doing so.

However, putting together an effective language learning program isn't prohibitively difficult. Tanya Mas, director of global marketing for demand generation and content strategy at Rosetta Stone, recommends taking three steps to get started.

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First, Mas recommends evaluating how a prospective language training program connects to your organization's overall mission and goals. "You need to know whether the purpose of the program will be to support a global expansion, or if it's an effort to develop better engagement and teamwork across countries," she says.

Next, Mas stresses the importance of identifying an internal audience for language training programs. Creating an inventory of "what languages your company should be fluent in, and where you have fluency deficits," is critical to delivering the right content to the right people at the right time.

Finally, she suggests building a pre-assessment into language training programs "because not everybody starts at the same level or pace when it comes to picking up a new language and it's important to get started at the right difficulty."

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About the Author
Alex Moore is a writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development. Prior to his current role, he served as the research coordinator for ATD, writing content for the research department, managing its Twitter account, and assisting with data collection and analysis. Alex graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in English.
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