Founded in 2021, Language Teams is a language school offering online, on-site and business language courses for adults.
We met with Seppe Gérimont, founder of Language Teams, to learn more about the importance of offering a Blended Learning package in a (more or less) post-COVID era.
Hello Seppe! Could you tell us more about Language Teams?
Language Teams is a newly-created branch of our Belgium language school, BXL Academy, which welcomes 1,000 students each year. Initially, we set out to offer immersion courses with accommodation in Paris, Brussels and the Normandy region. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we realized this wasn’t a sustainable option, which explains why we decided to switch to a full online class offer.
At Language Teams, we are able to meet the growing demand for sought-after global languages such as English, French, Spanish, German and Dutch language courses by offering face-to-face training, live online sessions with certified teachers, business language training and full e-learning courses. For our virtual classes offer alone, we work with a pool of 50+ teachers living in the UK, the US and Italy.
Why choose to launch a full online offer with Language Teams?
Our initial plan was to offer immersion courses with an accommodation package, but we soon realized that switching to online language courses would be the savviest option. In truth, we were already thinking of going towards online learning even before 2020, as we knew we would reach a much larger audience that way. Of course, the pandemic led to an abrupt shift from the traditional classroom to digital learning, so I guess we were right to trust our first instinct!
The online language market has been on the rise since the 2020 pandemic. Would you say that the future of education lies in e-learning?
There’s no doubt that the pandemic has changed the way we live, work and learn. Full online offers have become the norm. I actually view e-learning as a highly effective complement to physical learning. In my opinion, both in-person and online courses ensure long-term and effective results. However, I believe the learners of tomorrow will want to gradually move away from full e-learning courses and seek a Blended Learning offer instead – a mixed training environment that includes face-to-face learning and online solutions.
Learning a language is of course about mastering core language skills such as grammar, vocabulary, and conjugation. But it’s also about the experience of it all. The environment in which one learns a foreign language will have a significant impact on his or her level of fluency. All the more so emerging from COVID-19, learners are now, more than ever, seeking more human contact. Many of our students currently learning French in our Paris language school say they want to learn a language for networking purposes, to make friends, to go out for a drink, and so on. Learning will, from my point of view, become a social activity.
How did you first hear about Gymglish’s language courses? What convinced you to start a partnership with us?
As we aren’t specialized in creating e-learning content, we preferred to partner up with an existing, high-standard solution rather than invest in a new tool that wouldn’t be up to par.
As it so happens, I contacted Gymglish just a few days after the global lockdown back in March 2020! At the time, I was looking for an e-learning solution that I could offer learners at Language Teams – and that’s when I came across Gymglish. We decided to launch a partnership just a few months later, in August 2021.
I saw great potential in your online French lessons Frantastique; I found the videos featured in the lesson were entertaining and that they offered an interesting insight into French culture. But that doesn’t alter the fact that all of your language courses – Gymglish (English courses), Hotel Borbollón (Spanish courses) and Wunderbla (German courses) – are just as innovative! We were also thrilled to hear you recently launched a new Italian course.
Compared to other language-learning solutions, I found that Gymglish had a bit more of an edge both in terms of content and format. Courses enable learners to monitor their progress and work on their foreign language skills daily. It gives them a clear routine, one we hope they will stick to, come what may!
All in all, I’ve had a great experience with the partnership team at Gymglish: the contract terms are straightforward right from the start and the co-branding opportunity enables language courses such as Language Teams to increase their online presence.
Gymglish’s only weakness is that you don’t offer Dutch e-learning courses! We would love this course to see the light of day, as the Dutch language market is thriving here in Belgium :).
In light of your experience as a language school specialist, what are the benefits of offering Blended Learning packages?
The Blended Learning package is first and foremost very effective for motivation purposes. Students will prove to be more motivated with the help of a live teacher with whom they can interact in context. These face-to-face sessions add extra value and help make the most of the teacher’s time, while also providing an opportunity for discussion and underlining specific areas to review.
Blended Learning has also proven to be effective in terms of flexibility. With Gymglish for instance, learners can complete their lessons anywhere, at any time and from any device! It’s a very convenient offer. Learners can also take virtual classes with a teacher whenever they have some spare time on their hands or a slot available in their schedule. Such isn’t the case with face-to-face lessons, which require availability.
Last but not least, if you had to give three tips for success in building a company from the ground up, what would they be?
First of all, ensure that the course content is relevant right from the start – quality matters!
Secondly, make sure to increase your online marketing presence (all the more so in the e-learning market!)
Last but not least: surround yourself with a good team, people you can trust and rely on. Teamwork is paramount.
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