Suggestions for non-ESL training for an ESL audience?

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Suggestions for non-ESL training for an ESL audience?

Unread postby blank » 18 Apr 2012, 17:00

Hello all,

I work for an American technology company, and one of my responsibilities is developing a training and certification program for our employees. I have lots of prior experience developing technical training, but until now I've had the luxury of being able to assume that my audience is mostly native English speakers. However, this training is going to also be used by our offices in places like India and Poland. The curriulum will be delivered as a series of self-paced, online courses (using Moodle), with a local mentor for answering questions. I've already completed most of the written materials and we are going to begin work on video supplements.

Before getting moving on that, though (really I should have done this a while ago), I thought I would ask here and see if anyone had suggestions or resources that I should keep in mind. Most of the advice I've found when searching online has to do with developing ESL materials specifically, whereas my subject matter is very different.

Most of what I've got so far is pretty intuitive...

For video materials:
* Take care to speak slowly and clearly
* Include subtitles
* Use graphics

For text materials:
* Take care to write at something like a 6th grade level (this one's really tough for me, to be honest, and I think I'm going to have to revise a lot of what I have)
* Use graphics

Anything else people would suggest?

I'm also curious what people think about the optimal balance between text and video for non-native speakers. On the one hand, it's easier for a non-native speaker to read than listen (that's my understanding, at least), but on the other, I am very keen to avoid "text fatigue" from students being bombarded with gobs of reading in a stretch. There are also hands-on exercises and quizzes, but there's still a lot of text to get through in parts, so my reasoning is that it's a net-positive to at least give students a choice between watching a presentation and/or reading text for some of the longer topics. Does that seem sound?

Thanks in advance for any help folks can offer!

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Re: Suggestions for non-ESL training for an ESL audience?

Unread postby Richardavie » 19 Apr 2012, 08:18

It's a tricky one! All the suggestions you've made are completely correct, the most important thing is to put yourself in their shoes and think about what they would / wouldn't understand. You'll get better at this with a little practice with your ESL audience. As you've got lots of experience you'll know when a student understands or looks at you blankly.

At least for the Latin languages a lot of the technical words are very similar so you'd be surprised at the amount of 'difficult' words they understand. I'm not too sure about Polish and Indian though... good luck!

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