November 20, 2012 11:00 ET

goFLUENT Sets Out a Best Practice RFP Template for Companies Seeking Language Learning Programs

NEW YORK, NEW YORK--(Marketwire - Nov. 20, 2012) - As the business world becomes increasingly 'global', global businesses are tending to standardize English as the global business language. According to goFLUENT - a leading provider of Business English training - some 90 per cent of the world's current business skills language learning budget is devoted to teaching people English.

Since English training is a global need, deployment tends to be done on a wide scale; calls for a consistent strategy across different locations, and involves elements of change management. This trend is producing an increasing demand for English language training programs and, consequently, there are increasing numbers of 'Request for Proposal' (RFPs) to providers of these programs.

So, to provide value to organizations going through the provider selection process for language training, goFLUENT has published a whitepaper on 'A Guide for Developing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Language Services'. The whitepaper is freely available on goFLUENT's website: http://www.gofluent.com/web/us/a-guide-for-developing-a-request-for-proposal-for-language-training-services.

The paper is the product of goFLUENT's in-depth analysis of the RFPs it has received recently. In addition to an analysis of the current market situation for English training solutions, it contains a:

  • Suggested strategy for preparing an RFP
  • Template for an RFP document
  • Template for an RFP questionnaire

Christophe Ferrandou, CEO of goFLUENT, believes that: "In recent years, the effects of globalization have intensified the need for fast and effective communication among employees and offices worldwide. With English increasingly being accepted as the worldwide business language, this has increased the pressure on workers to improve their English language skills.

"In our experience, clients who've had the most successful RFP process and who've been the most satisfied with the implementation of their selected training program were those which had a clear, well-thought out strategy from the beginning," he continued. "When formulating such a strategy, you must involve senior executives; analyze the business needs driving the RFP, and agree the criteria for evaluating providers.

"Involving senior executives not only secures support for the training program but these people have a long-term view of the overall direction of their company as well as the workforce skills required for its growth. In coordination with the HR department, they decide how developing these capabilities should be prioritized.

"So they can ensure that investment in language training is strategically placed - whether it's in particular types of job roles, certain departments, or the development of specific Business English skills. Their involvement leads to the clarity of perspective that's crucial to finalizing an RFP's requirements - and evaluating those who respond," he said.

Then, goFLUENT believes, an RFP must be based on clearly stated - and agreed - business needs. Otherwise the selection process will be determined solely by price or technology comparisons. These business needs should lead the strategy for the entire language training program and should identify the:

  • Languages required
  • Learners (the job roles and functions where language training is most needed)
  • Type of learning content needed - such as authentic content in the target language, practice exams for standardized tests, grammar-focused or vocabulary-focused resources and so on
  • Training delivery method
  • LMS integration

After senior executives have given their input and the driving factors for language training have been clarified, the organization must agree its criteria for evaluating the submitted proposals. Traditionally, these would include the provider's lesson delivery methods, quality of content, availability of testing tools, technological innovation and pricing models but increasing globalization has added a new dimension to corporate language training demands.

"Learners need to learn at a faster pace than ever before, but with more flexibility in terms of scheduling of lessons and training paths," observed Ferrandou. "They also need highly specialized content that's relevant to their industry and job roles.

"There's now a further challenge at corporate level: a growing need for the seamless administration of training across various locations worldwide. So you must be able to administer training programs globally; have experience in training learners whose learning needs are strongly business-oriented and whose learning goals may shift dynamically according to the demands of their job, and you must have a technological infrastructure for supporting the pedagogical and administrative aspects of the training program in an integrated way, from registration, lesson delivery, progress monitoring, to evaluation."

A summary of goFLUENT's suggested template for an RFP to be sent to targeted providers is:

1. Introduction

  • Company background - a brief company overview including your company history, size, locations, products and services.
  • Project goals - set out the business needs you want the language training program to address; describe how you expect the project to meet those needs; provide a picture of the kind of supplier and range of services you want; state the number of users you expect to register, the training delivery methods you prefer, the level of customisation you require - and state whether you are seeking only one or several suppliers.
  • Project timetable - outline the project's major phases, such as pilot test, launch, evaluation and review, as well as possible extensions of the project scope.
  • Profile of users - the number of employees, their office locations, job roles, training needs and general level of proficiency (if known). Describe any possible changes to job roles that might occur based on employees' performance in the training program and as a result of company strategy.

2. Instructions to providers

  • Timetable - outline the schedule for the provider selection process.
  • Contact information - the name and contact details of the person in charge of RFP compilation and management.
  • Format - state the preferred format for supplier proposals (such as Word document or PDF) and an indication of the maximum number of pages and/or file size limits.
  • Other guidelines - that might apply to the selection process, for example confidentiality or the binding nature of the supplier's responses.

3. Requirements

Outline the pedagogical, administrative, and technical requirements, stating your expectations for each of these. This will help potential providers to know whether or not they can meet your needs, and to write their response in a way that makes their capabilities clear.

The whitepaper - 'A Guide for Developing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Language Services' - is available on goFLUENT's website: http://www.gofluent.com/web/us/a-guide-for-developing-a-request-for-proposal-for-language-training-services.

About goFLUENT (http://www.gofluent.com)

goFLUENT offers distance English training combining eLearning, telephone lessons and written practice solutions. Each year, goFLUENT assists more than 100,000 employees in over 2,000 companies across the word to enable them to perform better in their international relations. goFLUENT is present in ten countries and has 560 employees - of which 400 are trainers. NTT Communications (NTT Group) holds 30% of shares in the company.

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