Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Elt Evaluation: The Issue of In-Company English Training in Tunisia

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Elt Evaluation: The Issue of In-Company English Training in Tunisia

Article excerpt

Introduction

With the advent of the 21st century Knowledge Age, lifelong learning has become inevitable as the education at schools is no longer considered as complete when the student leaves the formal classroom environment. (OECD/CERI, 2008). As a consequence, work procedures have been restructured and a 'new work order' has been established to meet the new global values and trends (Shied, 2003).

In order to fill the gap left by academic education, and to take part in the knowledge society, many companies in Tunisia engage in different types of training courses to be able to improve technical or communication skills of their employees. For these companies aiming to compete on a global level with a skilled workforce, workplace learning is an opportunity to connect the development of the individual with the development of the company through an emphasis on continuous development (Mavin et al, 2010). To this end, considerable amounts of money and time are invested in order to reach the desired goals.

Most often workplace training has involved people who are more likely to have had less rewarding school experiences and to view themselves as less able learners and more motivated by extrinsic rewards (for example, credit, qualifications, promotions) than intrinsic enjoyment in learning (Vaughan, 2008). This is why undertaking a formal evaluation of an English training program is vital to see how beneficial the training is for the trainees.

The evaluation of an English language training program helps ensure program quality as when weaknesses are identified, it allows a program to be improved, and it keeps a strong and successful program intact by confirming its success. (Rosenbusch, 1991, Indira, 2008, Kirkpatrick & Kirkpatrick, 2009,).

Workplace training evaluation is an under-researched area. The main objective of this work is to highlight English training achievements and challenges in a sample of two companies in Tunisia: an advertising agency and a pharmaceutical services provider company within a framework of a social and economic desire for a sustainable development.

The present work addresses the following research question:

How effective was the English training in the advertising agency and the pharmaceutical services company?

To answer this question, four sub-questions were formulated:

1.What was the trainees' reaction to the course? (Reaction)

2. How much did the trainees learn from the course? (Learning)

3. Did the trainees change their working behavior thanks to the course? (Behavior)

4. Did the two companies benefit from the training course in terms of ROI? (Result)

REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

This section introduces the major models of evaluation, findings from previous studies as well as taking into consideration the role of needs analysis and company culture in evaluating the effectiveness of a training program.

Models of evaluation

Although assessment and evaluation seem to be synonymous, the literature draws a clear distinction between them. In fact, assessment refers to judgment of learners' performance, while evaluation refers to judgment of program or organizational effectiveness (OECD/CERI, 2008). In this regard, the present work will address the evaluation of an English training program for a group of executives belonging to an advertising agency and a pharmaceutical services company in Tunisia. To this end, a theoretical framework for a program evaluation is presented. Also a review of the literature relating to program evaluation in the vocational field follows. Prior to this some definitions are worth considering in order to understand the term 'evaluation'.

Evaluation can be internal or external, formative or summative. Internal evaluation, often carried out by teachers or curriculum developers, is time saving and less threatening for the learners (Byram, 2001). Contrarily to internal evaluation, external evaluation is praised for objectivity; however, it is more time consuming, and may not be totally reliable as the learners may feel suspicious of the external evaluators (Byram, 2001). …

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