Language Learning Course Case Study


Discussing language to learning to give learner training advice and look at business writing genres

Learner training/ Memos, questionnaires, notes, reports and minutes

Notes for teachers


Students work together to analyse all the data and decide which is the best method of language learning course for the employees of the company.



Photocopy and cut up one copy of the worksheets per 2 or 3 students.

Photocopy one more copy of the worksheets for the students to take away for reference and to help with the homework



  1. Students try to put the different documents into order by when they were written
  2. Students match the copies to the types of document – a note, a questionnaire, a report, a memo/ group email, minutes
  3. Go through the answers as a class and discuss the differences between the different types of document, e.g. use of headings, greetings, use of passives, use of bullet points, abbreviations (AP, RE etc.)
  4. Students discuss in their groups of 2 or 3 what the best language learning course or courses for this company might be
  5. Nominate a chair and someone to take the minutes and hold a meeting as a whole class or in groups of 5 to 10 people to decide on a final solution
  6. Set writing tasks in class or as homework as a follow up to the decision, based on the genres of writing in the original worksheets and relevant to your students, e.g.; a memo to all staff announcing the decision and telling them what will happen and when and if they need to take any action themselves; a questionnaire testing student satisfaction during or after the course etc, or the typed-up minutes of the meeting.


Background documents

Please answer all the following questions by circling one answer that most closely

matches your opinion. If you have any further comments, please write them in the space

given at the end.

Name: __________________________________

Department: _____________________________________

Position: __________________________________


  • How often do you use a foreign language in your job?
  1. Very often
  2. Quite often
  3. Sometimes
  4. Seldom
  5. Very rarely
  6. Never


  • Amongst the many types of training available (computer training, management skills training etc.), how much of a priority is language training for you?
  1. By far the highest priority
  2. The highest priority
  3. One of the highest priorities
  4. One of the lower priorities
  5. Not a priority


  • As the type(s) of training we choose will need to be within the annual budget, which of these do you think would be most effective in improving your language skills at work?
  1. Lessons once a week throughout the year
  2. Lessons twice a week for 6 months, then a break until the next financial year
  3. Lessons 3 times a week for 4 months
  4. A one month intensive course every year.
  5. A two week course in a foreign country once a year
  6. Two one week courses in a foreign country every year


Other comments__________________________________________________________





From: HR

To: All staff

Subject: The English training questionnaire


Hi everyone

First of all, thanks to all those who have already returned their questionnaires.

I have had a quick look at them at I am sure your answers will be very helpful when we write the report next month on which kinds of training we will provide next year. If anyone hasn’t returned theirs already, please email or fax it to me by the middle of next week, or leave it on my desk with a note with attached with that day’s date.




Language training options for the next financial year

Terms of reference

This report was written by Rajiv Gandhi, Head of HR, in order to help the company decide how to increase the language skills of our workforce to cope with the globalization of our business



A questionnaire on the use of foreign languages at work and opinions on how to develop these skills was sent out to all employees of the company.



The use of language and opinions on how to use it are quite mixed:

  1. Most of the employees use a foreign language “sometimes” or “quite often”, but 15% use a foreign language “very rarely” or “never”. The highest use of English is in the Sales Department and the lowest is in the Accounts Department.
  2. Over 60% of employees rate improving language skills as “the highest priority” or “one of the highest priorities”. Only 5% rated it as “not a priority”.
  3. There was no clear favourite way of arranging the lessons, with each of the available options getting between 10 and 20%. There is a slight but clear trend for executives to prefer short intensive courses and middle managers and below to prefer extensive courses.



Further analysis of the data will be necessary before a final decision is reached on where and when lessons are provided, but it seems likely that more than one option is needed. As well as the questions raised in the questionnaire, other issues to be decided include:

  1. Will lessons be obligatory or optional?
  2. If employees sign up for courses or are made to go, how will their attendance and progress be checked and how will they be made to come?




Mr Jones phoned - can you write a memo to chase up the questionnaire slow coaches?






Date: 21/**/20**

Time: 15:00

Present: Harry Pearson, CEO; Roger Strange, Head of Accounts; Rajiv Gandhi, Head of HR; Susan Sarandon, Head of Sales

Apologies: Trevor MacDonald, Head of R and D

Minutes: RG


The minutes of the last meeting were checked and agreed upon.

The issue of language training needing to be provided for Sales staff and others was discussed.

RS mentioned that there were some staff who never used foreign languages.

RG stressed that even staff who do not need foreign languages now might need them in the future.

SS and HP agreed.

RS reported that several of his staff had told him that computer training was more of a priority for them.

It was agreed that before further action was taken a questionnaire would be sent out to all staff- AP; RG

It was also agreed that a report would then be written up before the next meeting- AP; RG



Terms of Use

Lesson plans & worksheets can be used by teachers without any fee in the classroom; however, please ensure you keep all copyright information and references to in place.

You will need Adobe Reader to view these files.

Get Adobe Reader