Saturday, 25 October 2014

Business English eLearning

Having worked on many elearning and mlearning materials development projects I can safely say that I know what a huge task it is, even when working with experienced teams, to produce really good quality, well designed, interactive digital content and that’s why it is such a surprise to see Paul Emmerson’s new BEhereBEthere Business English site.

The site is remarkable, because it doesn’t just tick all of the boxes for good design, excellent content and great interactive design, but it is also free and is produced by Paul working pretty much alone!

As Paul state’s on the home page, the site is still under construction, but the courses and materials that are there already are really useful for either a self-study Business English student or for a teacher working with groups of Pre-intermediate to Upper Intermediate business students.

To find the course materials, just click on ‘Free Courses’ and choose either ’Talk Business’ or ‘Business Bites’.

The ’Talk Business’ section has a lesson based around an interview with a manager who discusses various issues relating to supply chain management in the auto industry.

The video has preparation activities to help students understand the content, as well as activities to help students analyse the content and at the end students can text their understanding of what they have studied.
At the end of the lesson there are also some classroom activities so teachers can use the materials as a form of ready made blended learning.

The ‘Business Bites’ section has three courses, one at each level on the topic of Inbound Marketing. These courses have a strong emphasis on building students’ vocabulary around the topic as well as teaching the core concepts, so these aren’t just online language lessons they are also valuable lessons that help students to understand the topic area.

The materials themselves rely heavily on video, but these aren’t just the usual talking head type video. The videos have been well produced and developed and all the points in the monologue are well illustrated to support students understanding.

One of the things I like best about BEhereBEthere is the way Paul has designed the interactive activities. They are clear and intuitive and simple for students to navigate. Paul has also taken the time to add feedback for students when they get the answers wrong, so this isn’t these aren’t just click and test activities.

As I said at the beginning of this review, the site is free but Paul is hoping to finance it on sales of his books, so do check out the ‘Books’ section of the site where you can download some samples of his books or if you like his content you can buy the books.
I think BEhereBEthere is a great site to support Business English teachers and learners and I really hope that Paul gets the support he needs to keep the site going and keep developing new materials for it. If you are a Business English teacher, then do go along to and check out the content and sign up to get information when new courses are added.

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Nik Peachey

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