What is LondonSchool Online?
From this year, all students who study with us will get free access to the London School of English’s new online learning platform, LondonSchool Online. We spoke to our Development Manager, Andy Johnson, who is responsible for the platform.
Q. Could you tell us a little bit about what you do as Development Manager?
A. My role was created last year to look at ways of improving the things we do here at the London School. In many respects I’m a project manager, and one of my main tasks of the past few months is to develop LondonSchool Online.
Q. So what exactly is LondonSchool Online?
A. LondonSchool Online is designed to be an online community for all of our students - present, past and future. It combines online learning and progress reporting along with useful information about events happening in our centres and living in London.
Q. Can you tell us a little more about the online learning?
A. Sure. When you book a course with us you automatically get a user ID which gives you access to the platform, allowing you to start something called a “Study Plan”. You are asked to provide your level of English (if you’re not sure what level you are then you can take our online test) and then you are given access to our online materials. Each level has approximately 45 hours’ worth of study material, and you can work through it in any order you choose. You can focus on topics or a particular skill – it’s entirely up to you!
Q. So it’s like a course book?
Yes, that’s one way of looking at it. A virtual course book that you can work through before you arrive, while you’re here at the school, or even after you have left. All users have access to LondonSchool Online for three months following their course with us.
Q. What else can clients expect from the platform?
A. So much more! In addition to the Study Plan, we also have weekly lessons based on a story in the news. These are called “Flash Point” lessons and use internet news sites for their subject matter. These are great because they encourage learners to engage with authentic resources and widen their vocabulary. We also have access the pronunciation practice and exam practice materials.
Q. How is LondonSchool Online going to affect students studying in the school?
A. Good question. Students in the school can expect the same high-level of face-to-face training and this won’t change a bit. What we have changed is our pre-course questionnaire and feedback procedures. Traditionally these were done on paper – now they are easily accessed online. This saves us time and of course is kinder to the environment. So instead of filling in forms in the classroom, our clients can now complete their feedback on their phones, tablet devices or laptops. Students can also browse and sign-up for the social programme events going on in our centres via the platform.
Q. It sounds like the system can be used to get lots of useful information…
A. That’s true, and the information we gather is used to improve every aspect of what we do at the school. The platform has allowed us to improve our administrative functions. Trainers use the system to record work records and to chart learner progress, which brings me on to what I see as one of the main benefits of the platform – our new reports.
Q. Could you tell us more about the reports?
A. Of course. The reports are completely unique and are designed to show our clients exactly where they have improved (and where they still need to improve!). Each report is tailored to the individual student and is made up of three sections. The first section shows their level of English in a variety of areas (e.g. reading, listening, presentation skills etc.) at the beginning of their course and at the end, detailing the progress they have made. This data is recorded by their trainer and creates an easy-to-read bar chart. The second section measures a client’s own confidence when using English. This section is completed by the client and is intended to show them how much more confident they have become as an English speaker. The final section offers practical suggestions from the trainer to the student on how to continue to improve their English.
Q. It all sounds very exciting! Thank you for speaking to us.
A. Thank you!
Interviewed by Akiko
In many respects (adv.) – in a lot of ways
user ID (adj.+n) – an identification number
virtual (adj.) – not physically existing but made by software to appear to do so.
subject matter (n.phr) – topic or subject
authentic sources (adj.+n.) – genuine, not artificial
browse (v.) – search or look for
administrative functions (adj.+n.) – activities relating to the running of a business or organization
chart (v.) – measure or check
unique (adj.) – being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else
bar chart (n.) – a graph that represents numbers by the length of lines
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