Acceleration courses were first developed for maritime clients. Seafarers often do their language training programs while on leave. Therefore the time thay have available for language training programs is limited. Spot On Learning has developed a Maritime English Program that help seafarers improve their English language skills measurably. If seafarers exercise frequently, using the EnglishCentral video and speech technology platform for learning English, they can go up one CEFR level in the time that is normally available (8 weeks) for them to work on the maritime English program.
In a large majority of the cases seafarers make enough progress and can reach the level required by many shipowners and shipmanagement companies in one or two periods of around 8 weeks. They do most of their learning on their own, online, supported by Spot On Learning's progress coaches at the support desk (most support is by email and chat).
Sometimes there is a larger than average gap between the entry level of a seafarer and the level that is required for him. He or she has an overall level that is more than one CEFR level too low or he lacks basic (grammar or other) skills. For those seafarers Spot On Learning has developed online learning courses that also include assistance by a teacher from Spot On Learning's international network. Aim is to help the seafarers learn faster. These courses are what we call General English acceleration courses.
All English language programs by Spot On Learning start with a test to assess the entry level of each indivicual participant. They are invited to start the program and are asked to schedule a level test within a week. That test is conducted online via skype.
The outcome of the test determines the next step.
If the test shows that the participant already is on the required CEFR level for the English language he or she can proceed to a specific maritime course (if he is in the Maritime English program).
If he is one level below the required CEFR level he will be invited to start the 'regular' General English course (at Spot On Learning we often choose a course called Social English). If he exercises three times a week for half an hour to an hour he will in most cases improve his English in two months. After finshing the General English video courses he is again tested to see if he went up one CEFR level as expected.
If the score of the test shows that he is more than one CEFR level below the required level he will be invited to start the course General English and to also enter the 'General English acceleration course'. A teacher will be assigned to him to monitor progress and help him with weekly online sessions (or in some cases classroom sessions).The teacher uses additional learning material, which will be made available for the participant in his personal 'my.spotonlearning.eu' online learning environment.
The teacher can use the following online learning material:
Online videos and video courses on EnglishCentral to upgrade the participant's skills in Grammar, Pronunciation and Vocabulary
Short online learning interventions that we call 'Learning Paths' especially developed for Maritime (English) Communication or other industry-specific settings. For instance : LP1: Question Words; LP2: This is an order!; LP3: Do you Copy?; LP4: Talking about the present; LP5: Talking about the future and the past
After a CEFR Level Test, the participants have 7 weeks to finish their program and reach their required level. They are provided with a total amount of around 90 videos to work on. The participants are asked to exercise at least three times a week for at least half an hour to an hour per session. If they go through the regular watch-learn-speak exercises of 12 - 15 videos a week and use the quiz mode for some time during each session they will surely improve measurably. They can do some extra pronunciation exercises now and then, using the feedback the pronunciation dashboard provides.
The participants that have entered the acceleration course should spend more time and make extra efforts on top of the efforts required to do the regular General English video courses. On average the time and effort required to finish the acceleration course and show results as expected (and often required) are about the same as the regular English course. That includes time to communicatie online with the supporting teacher.
International team and crew members that take part in our language programs are supported by a network of stakeholders. Part of that network are often:
For participants in our acceleration courses a supporting teacher is involved. Spot On Learning assigns a teacher to each participant, the teacher is chosen from an international network of teachers. His/her role is to coach, support, monitor the progress and discuss the results of and with the participants weekly (by phone, skype, email, chat). He/she also chooses the additional learning material that is used for each participant and made available in his persional online learning environment that they can acces on my.spotonlearning.eu and sometimes on the EnglishCentral platform.
Information and step by step instruction for (client-side) coordinators, teachers and others involved is available online on my.spotonlearning.eu. Also support information (tutorials, frequently-asked questions, contact information of the support desk) is provided online at my.spotonlearning.eu.
Spot On Learning's Client Success Manager helps build the support network around participants in our English language programs. She coaches and supports members of that network during the first 4 weeks of a cooperation between Spot On Learning and the client. Spot On Learning provides online information for all involved, the client success manager is available to explain the different roles and what is expected from each person involved, she shows her virtual colleagues how they can access and use information about progress and results.