busuu.com in collaboration with IE Business School, a leading postgraduate education institution, presents: The busuu.com Language Barometer 2011, the worldwide largest online survey regarding the future of language learning.
More than 16,000 of busuu.com users from over 150 different countries took part in the survey which we conducted in March 2011. The findings clearly show that the future of language learning no longer lies in between the pages of dusty books or passively sitting in a dark classroom. Merely 2% of our users consider books as an efficient tool to learn languages and only 3% believe it’s CD-ROMS! Impressively, only 4% of our users think a traditional classroom is the right place to learn a language.
The most efficient method to learn a language is online language learning!
37% of our users believe that one of the best ways to learn a language is online. 24% specifically identify Web 2.0 platforms like busuu.com as the most efficient way to learn a language and 13% prefer individual online language learning. 32% of our users believe that language courses abroad are most efficient.
How much money do people spend over their lifetime for language learning?
The short answer: quite a lot! The lifetime average spending of our users in language learning is approx. 750 Euros (1,000 USD). More than 17% of our users have spent even more than 1,000 EUR (1,400 USD) in language learning over time. In fact, the reason why people spend quite a lot of money on language learning is also reflected in the study. 71% of our users believe 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 might also be different than some years ago. Our users want to learn a foreign language for traveling (37.7%), business (35.7%), fun (37.1%), school/university (27.4%) and personal/family reasons (22.1%).
What are the main challenges when learning a language?
We all know that language learning is a difficult subject! But what do our users believe? 24% say that they don’t have time. 16% think it is hard to keep up the motivation, and 15% believe that not having access to native speakers hampers their learning process. The latter might be the reasons why busuu.com seems to be the perfect language learning solution for our users! With our community aspect you can have access to native speakers, and it’s fun and easy to keep you motivated. Furthermore, you can choose to study whenever you want to.
How old are language learners around the world?
35% of our users are between 16 and 25 years old and 22% are between 26 and 35 years. 36% are between 36 and 60 years and an impressive 8% of our users are older than 60! It seems that the so called “silver surfers” are really active in online language learning – congrats to that!
What is the educational background of our language students and what do they do for a living?
Interestingly, an impressive 61% of our users have at least a university degree, and 18% have an MBA or a PhD.
The high educational background is also represented in the current activity of our language students. 29% of busuu.com´s users are currently studying. 40% are working either for a company or as entrepreneurs or freelancers. As already shown within the age ranges, 8% of our users are already retired.
82% of our users believe that knowing a foreign language in the workplace is very important. However, only 40% of the companies actively support their employees to learn a new language. We hope that we are soon able to change that by offering our platform also to companies!
What is the language of the future?
52% of our users believe that the language of the future is English, 23% voted for Mandarin and 8% for Spanish. The rest of our users are split between languages such as French, Japanese, Arabic, German and others.
If this is what they believe, are the current learning habits of our students pointing in that direction? Indeed they are! 41% of users learn English on busuu.com! French is the second most popular language with 14% and Spanish the third one with 13% of our users studying this language on busuu.com.
This study might be just a peek into the future, but it clearly shows the importance of language learning in general. A new language is not only an open door to new career opportunities and better financial conditions, but also to new ideas, cultures and friends. Furthermore, the numbers imply that Web 2.0 language learning is the tool of the future. In fact, as people have less and less time, they look for an interactive tool to learn efficiently while having access to native speakers. This goes definitely hand in hand with the fun aspect of learning online through busuu.com.
Many thanks to all of you, who took part in this survey! We are looking forward to discussing these interesting results with you below in the comment section!