Empowering employee success: establishing a learning culture

Pearson Languages
Business people in a group smiiling with their hands up in air

In the fast-paced world of business, there is one undeniable fact that holds true: employees are the key to success. Their commitment and expertise propel organizations towards their objectives, which is why investing in a learning culture is essential. The advantages are numerous and include improved staff retention, increased productivity and the goal of higher employee engagement.

How learning cultures can help your business thrive
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Developing a culture of learning in an organization requires a thorough understanding of its skill gaps and the range of skills that employees want to improve, including both hard and soft skills. A recent Pearson survey of 4,000 employees in the UK, US, India and Brazil found that employees expect equal emphasis on both interpersonal (soft) and technical (hard) skills.

Organizations are investing more in fostering interpersonal skills. Leaders and HR professionals are realizing the importance of soft skills such as emotional intelligence, creativity, collaboration and adaptability. These skills not only contribute to effective management but also help in problem-solving and project management. This shift is crucial, particularly in addressing the decline of social skills within the workforce due to the pandemic.

Why is a learning culture important, particularly language learning?

Language skills stand out as pivotal in developing interpersonal business skills. English language learning, in particular, serves as a catalyst for improved communication, bolstering employee confidence, engagement and networking, as well as personal and professional growth. Learning a new language can improve cognitive function, enhancing multitasking skills and creativity, making for a more skilled workforce.

Elevating English proficiency across an organization opens the door to international markets, yielding substantial bottom-line benefits. Clearer communication leads to smoother operations, minimized errors and enhanced productivity. One of our Pearson studies identifies some of these skills, such as communication, as a highly prized workforce skill, so it's easy to see the importance of learning in a workplace setting.

So, how can you or your organization help to address and encourage a learning culture?

Communication is key

It's about keeping the dialogue open. Celebrating successes and reflecting on progress during year-end performance management and appraisals while understanding employees' learning ambitions for the year ahead fosters collective buy-in and a sense of belonging. The outcomes of these discussions form the basis of a robust learning and development roadmap for future years.

Lead by example

Active leadership involvement is essential in promoting language learning within an organization. By participating in language classes or demonstrating the value of language skills through their interactions, leaders and managers can set an example for their employees. Their involvement can encourage others to follow suit, thereby emphasizing the organization's commitment to learning and development.

Measurable goals

Establishing measurable learning milestones not only bolsters the learning culture but also fuels employee motivation and continuous development, aiding leadership in producing management reports that showcase organizational progress.

Offer Incentives

Create incentives for employees to learn languages by offering rewards, recognition or certifications upon reaching proficiency milestones. Tie language learning to career advancement opportunities or salary increases to incentivize continuous growth.

Make it fun and accessible

For a thriving learning culture, make workplace learning accessible, enjoyable and interactive. Leveraging emerging technologies like AI and XR reshapes learning experiences, necessitating user-friendly tech-based learning methods over outdated training methodologies. If learning is easy to access, staff are much more likely to participate; no one likes operating an awkward, long-winded or old-fashioned system. It can take the fun and motivation out of learning.

Cultivating a culture of learning necessitates a proactive approach starting from the top. Offering a blend of hard and soft skills, including language learning, is pivotal for a successful learning culture, elevated employee engagement and fostering sustainable business growth.

Remember, the journey towards a thriving culture of learning is not just an investment in your employees; it's an investment in the future success of your business.

Check out Mondly by Pearson Workplace English to build those crucial soft skills alongside language learning. 

Mondly by Pearson Workplace English


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    I believe the GSE is one of the most valuable resources a language teacher needs in teaching English; the learning outcomes provide clear guidance on what to teach, tailored to the specific needs of learner groups. With five options designed for pre-primary, young, general adult, professional and academic English learner groups, the GSE offers educators clear paths to customize their teaching strategies effectively. It also assists teachers in motivating their students by showing their progress regularly, which provides precious support throughout their learning journey.

    I also believe that the sooner we introduce teachers to this valuable tool in their teaching careers, the better equipped they will be to help their learners. With this belief in mind, we integrated the GSE into our pre-service teacher education program, making it the cornerstone for lesson planning and assessment. This blog aims to explain our implementation process at TED University's Education Faculty English Language Teaching Department, hoping to provide a model for other programs interested in adopting a similar approach.  

    Implementing the GSE

    Our implementation process started with conducting in-service training sessions for the faculty members, many of whom were also unfamiliar with the GSE. To ensure comprehensive understanding, we organized meetings with the teacher trainers responsible for teaching the methodology courses. These sessions consisted of in-depth discussions on the nature of the GSE, its significance in language teaching and practical guidance on integrating it into the curriculum we were following.

    As the second step, we designed a lesson plan to be used for the first methodology course our pre-service teacher trainees would undertake for the same objective we had for in-service teacher training sessions. In this initial lesson, we started by discussing the aims of CEFR and GSE, highlighting their differences.

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    The lesson then transitioned into practical exercises designed to familiarize the teachers with the toolkit. Through guided instructions, such as selecting a target group, a skill, and a proficiency range, we prompted them to engage in activities aimed at perceiving the usefulness of the toolkit. We then asked them to report on some chosen parameters, such as the selected range, the number of objectives identified, and the potential text materials applicable to the chosen skill (e.g., reading comprehension). We followed a similar process for the other skills. 

    The second part of the lesson illustrated how different teaching materials were mapped with the GSE framework, utilizing sample coursebooks like Speakout, Roadmap and Startup. The lesson concluded with getting reflections from the pre-service teachers on their perceptions of the GSE. We gathered their insights on its usefulness, including its impact on curriculum design, teaching methodologies, and skill assessment practices.

    After being introduced to the GSE, we asked our pre-service teachers to integrate it into all their teaching-related courses. They now plan their lessons based on the learning outcomes provided in the toolkit, benefitting from the additional resources it offers to enhance their instructional practices. Teaching Skills, Teaching English to Young Learners, and Material Development can be given as samples of the courses the GSE was integrated into; there is no need to mention that all teaching practicum-related courses are in the integration part as well.

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    What did we gain by integrating the GSE into our pre-service teacher education program? Quite a few significant benefits, actually. Firstly, it standardized the language and terminology used throughout the department; when we refer to terms like 'learning outcomes', 'proficiency of language learners' or 'learner progress', everyone understands the set of terms uniformly across our department. No need to mention that our pre-service teachers gained the privilege of being introduced to a widely recognized toolkit in the field. While their peers may not yet be familiar with the GSE, our students gain early exposure to this valuable resource. Incorporating the GSE into our program also has allowed our pre-service teachers access to a range of valuable resources.

    In addition to the GSE Toolkit, resources such as Text Analyzer or instructional materials aligned with the GSE help our future teachers plan and deliver language instruction more effectively. As a result, our pre-service teachers enter the field with a deeper understanding of language assessment, proficiency levels, and learner needs.

    Next steps

    What's next? There's still much to accomplish and a considerable journey ahead of us. Currently, our primary focus is on making our initiatives more public, aiming to share our experiences with other pre-service teacher education programs considering integrating the GSE into their curriculum. In addition, introducing the GSE to in-service teacher programs in Turkey and globally could also be valuable for enhancing language teaching practices and the professional development of language teachers worldwide.

    Publishing articles, presenting at conferences, hosting workshops, or developing online resources might be some of the sources for sharing our practices. Increasing the awareness of policymakers, school administrators, and language teachers on the GSE and highlighting the benefits of using a standardized granular framework like the GSE can encourage broader adoption and implementation across educational settings. Collaboration opportunities with other institutions and stakeholders in language education will help all of us to reach our destination more quickly and efficiently. Finally, research on the impact of the GSE in language education is required to refine our approaches.

    As a result, we are very pleased with the integration of the GSE into our teacher education program, as it has paved the way for significant advances. While recognizing there's still a considerable journey ahead, we also celebrate the progress we've made thus far and are curious about the other possible opportunities that lie ahead.