Why Personalized Learning Is Key to Effective Language Learning

At school and university, knowledge is valued in itself, and learners’ success is measured purely in terms of test scores. But in corporate language training, the gold standard of mastery is not a final exam, but the learner’s use of the target language in real work and life situations. Here, success means something different for each learner. This makes it extra important for the content and activities in corporate language courses to be personalized learning which is tailored to the individual. For this, we need to understand not only each individual learner’s training goals, but also their unique learning style.

For a training course to really succeed, both learners and trainers need to take learning style into account. For the learner, understanding their own unique learning style can help them:


  • Be self-directed and independent
  • Build confidence
  • Identify and stick to their aims

Trainers for their part need to understand how learning styles apply to their learners in order to select the most useful materials and activities and deliver the lessons as effectively as possible.


For the last century, discussion around learning styles has mostly focused on the senses. We have been categorized as auditory, visual, reading-based and kinesthetic learners.

The idea is that some people learn best through listening, some through seeing, some through reading, and some through movement and handling objects.

This notion has been popularized by Dr. Neil Fleming, who developed a 16-question test which learners can use to figure out which category best describes them.

On the plus side, this framework has contributed to the diversification of classroom activities in recent decades. Typical classrooms now incorporate audio and video content and task-based learning, in addition to traditional “textbook” material.

However, the theory of sensory learning styles has also been repeatedly “debunked.”

Current research suggests that tailoring activities and materials to sensory preferences is less important that choosing the sensory mode best suited to the content. And indeed, adapting content into different media does not always seem logical.