Key trends of language learning point towards online language learning
busuu.com is on a quest to define the future key trends of language learning. In collaboration with IE Business School, a leading postgraduate education institution, we present: The busuu.com Language Barometer 2012!
More than 45,000 busuu.com users from 230 different countries responded to our survey, held at the beginning of March 2012. Let’s have a look at our users’ preferred methods for improving their language skills, what encourages or hampers their learning process and many more exciting outcomes!
The future of language learning relies on online methods!
With 23% of the vote, our community defines language courses abroad as the most efficient learning method. No wonder, who wouldn’t prefer to have a nice holiday abroad whilst simultaneously improving language skills?
Web 2.0 platforms such as busuu.com are a close second, with 20% preferring to study languages through these interactive online communities. Our users even found this method more efficient than learning with a personal teacher (15%)!
The survey clearly shows that language learners regard grammar books and language classes as less attractive forms of learning. Only 8% of our users like to learn languages in a classroom, and books and CD-ROMS are considered the most efficient method by a mere 6% and 3% respectively.
Interestingly, mobile learning is not yet a popular option for learning languages. Only 2% identified this method as most efficient for them. We are curious as to how this perception of mobile applications will change in the future.
63% of our users believe that combining different learning methods will be most important in the future. Those who opted for a single method clearly preferred online learning (27%). Only 6% rely on traditional methods and 4% believe that mobile learning will be important for future language learning.
Flexibility and direct contact with native speakers are the key advantages of online learning
35% of our users who preferred online learning value this method for its flexibility which allows them to learn whenever and wherever they want. Almost a quarter of the respondents learn languages online in order to learn with native speakers. 16% believe that this method is efficient and 15% learn online because it’s an economical way to learn languages.
How much money do people spend over their lifetime on language learning?
To keep it short and simple: a lot! The lifetime average spending of our users on language learning is approximately 740 Euros (975 USD). More than 17% of our users have spent more than 1,000 EUR (1,300 USD) in language learning over time.
Those who decide to invest in language learning have a good reason to do so: 78% of our users believe that foreign language skills will improve their career prospects and 72% are confident that the ability to speak a foreign language will directly improve their financial situation.
Why do people learn languages?
The reasons that motivate people to learn a new language have certainly changed in recent years. The main reasons for our users to take up language learning are travelling (46.5%), fun (37.6%) and business (37.1%). What is also interesting is the fact that 30% of our users learn languages for mental training.
What makes learning a language difficult?
Let’s see what our users have to say about the challenges of language learning: 23% think they don’t have enough time to learn languages. 19% believe that not having access to native speakers slows down their learning process and 14% have trouble staying motivated. No wonder over 15 million users learn languages with busuu.com, where these main challenges are tackled right away!
What is the language of the future?
An impressive 51% of our users agree that English will be the language of the future! The second most voted language is Chinese with 22% and Spanish comes in third place with 7%. The rest of our users are split between languages such as Russian, Arabic, German, Japanese and others.
Concerning the topic of which language children should learn, English and Chinese are still the top choice with 40% and 11% respectively. However, the other main Western languages follow closely behind: 11% vote for Spanish, 10% for French and 8% for German.
Who learns languages on busuu.com?
Users on busuu.com cover all age ranges: Almost two thirds of our users are between 14 and 35 years old. 32% are between 36 and 60 years and a notable 6% of our users are older than 60! Congratulations to the so-called “silver surfers” for taking up the trend of online language learning!
Interestingly, an impressive 58% have a university degree and 23% have an MBA or a PhD.
This educational background is also represented in the current activity of our language students. 30% are studying and 41% are working either for a company or as entrepreneurs or freelancers. As already indicated by the age ranges, 6% of our users are retired.
What does this mean for the future of language learning?
To sum up, people mainly learn languages for travelling, entertainment and business. However, the ability to speak different languages is also seen as very beneficial for opening opportunities for career progression and financial stability.
The numbers certainly show that, whether used in combination with other learning methods, or as an interesting alternative, online learning is the tool of the future. People look for a flexible and interactive tool that offers them direct access to native speakers. We’re glad to be on the right track with our language learning solution!
Many thanks to all of you who took part in this survey! We look forward to further discussing our results about the future trends of language learning with you in the comment section below!