Title: Berlitz Online – a virtual language school in the Internet

Authors: Stefanie I. Fischer

Addresses: Berlitz Training & Services GmbH, Online/Fernstudium Haupstrasse 81-85, 65760 Eschborn, Germany

Abstract: Our information society is based upon new technologies such as multimedia, telecommunications and virtual reality. New technologies are playing an increasingly important role in our working and private lives. There is almost no profession left, which has not been influenced by new technologies. The principle of lifelong learning is becoming one of the most important criteria for professional qualification and quality of life in the information society. The Multimedia Teleschool (MTS) Project was a market-oriented application project within the DELTA program dealing with flexible and distance learning systems across borders for the training of employees in European companies. The main objective was to develop and test large and realistic scenarios for the application of advanced telecommunications technologies in corporate training. The positive reaction to the project, from evaluators and learners alike, prompted Berlitz to pursue its development of a new form of distance learning and to include it in its service – Berlitz Online. Berlitz Online endeavours to combine the advantages inherent in other forms of teaching and training to create a method of teaching and learning which not only eliminates the disadvantages of traditional forms of teaching, but, by its nature, provides a setting in which the learner can create his/her own learning environment. Learners from any geographical location are linked from their workplace or from home via PC and modem with their tutors of the distance education centre in Frankfurt, Germany or to any other Berlitz Online regional centre. Learners retrieve their |homework| assignments in the form of electronic study letters from a central host. The study letters are in Windows |Help| format. The learners complete the exercises and tasks assigned to them, and then return their work to their personal tutor via E-mail. The tutors correct the work, give advice on what to practice and return the assignment to the student electronically within 24 hours. The product range currently includes Business English at three levels, English for Banking at two levels, English for Telecommunications, Technical English, English for the Secretary, Business French, Business Spanish and soon also Business German.

Keywords: Multimedia Teleschool project; Berlitz Online; language learning; internet; virtual language schools; world wide web; online learning; e-learning; electronic learning; lifelong learning; distance learning; flexible learning; corporate training; Germany.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.1997.030245

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 1997 Vol.7 No.2, pp.151 - 163

Available online: 12 Dec 2009 *

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