Developing Online English Language Training for Specific Purposes: A Challenging Collaborative Effort

J.B. Strother (USA)


Online courseware design, corporate language training


The development of an online corporate training program is a challenge from many standpoints. When the training program involves specialized content and the need for the trainees to meet an international professional standard, the challenges multiply. This case study discusses the development of an online program for international aviation personnel who must meet a newly mandated English language proficiency level. The collaborative effort to design and implement such an Aviation English program has involved two corporations plus a host of subject matter experts (SMEs) in the fields of both aviation and linguistics. In parallel, a program for Business English followed the same developmental path. For each specialized area, a test was written to assess trainees' English language proficiency and to place them in the appropriate course level. The program design includes a variety of methods of course delivery, from self-paced online instruction to several models of blended learning, which includes classroom instruction to supplement online courses. Blended learning adds the challenge of developing a team of instructors who can be placed in international locations, as well as training on site corporate instructors when needed. Results of and future plans for assessment of trainee performance as well as overall program effectiveness are also presented

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