NIOW – Case Study

August 12th, 2012

In 2011 NIOW  started to use English360 as an additional learning tool for Business English courses. With enthusiastic customers as a result. Menno Hordijik (E-learning Manager – NIOW) would like to share this success with everyone.

Menno Hordjik  Elearning Manager

Menno Hordjik - E-learning Manager (NIOW)

Why do we use English360 in our courses?

Until last year training at NIOW was traditional: classroom lessons, using books for homework.
Then the demand for a more versatile approach was growing. A substantial request for proposal for a Business English course required e-learning to be an essential element in the course programmes. Although a large number of e-learning systems are on the market, they all lack suitable content. When doing our research we eventually found the English360 system to be an excellent platform with content based on the elaborate Cambridge University Press’ study materials.

Blended learning: essential!

E-learning is now an integral part of almost all NIOW course programmes in combination with classroom training. Through this highly effective combination the efficiency of our courses has increased significantly. The trainer monitors the progress, provides feedback where necessary and uses the results of the exercises to make a lesson plan for the following classroom session. Parts where participants score poorly are discussed in class. NIOW only provides customized training programmes. This means that we use the available material from English360 in combination with tailor made theory and exercises.

Use of English360

Our trainers are trained in how to use English360 and taught how to monitor and coach participants. They are familiar with the workflow, so every trainer can deliver a valuable asset to a blended learning course. The platform is user friendly and therefore easy to learn. To ensure that participants make a good start with English360 a brief instruction is given during the first classroom session.

Summarizing the advantages for our clients:

• Better training results

• Lower investment

• Reduced travel costs

• Fewer classes during working hours


for NIOW using English360 means:

• More variety in types of courses

• Even more satisfied customers

Convinced of the benefits of English360?

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IATEFL Chile plenary presentation

July 30th, 2012

Great conference in Santiago last Friday and Saturday – well worth the long flight. Pete Sharma was excellent as always and Penny Ur’s sessions were both spectacular. Her talk on higher order thinking skills in task design and teaching really made me think of how to help teachers apply those concepts to the content that they author in the English360 platform. Based on Penny’s talk I had an idea for a nifty continuum for drill design that might be useful – a good example of how a great conference session can act as a catalyst for further thought.

Anyway, I told the audience that the slides from my talk would be available on the blog, so here they are. Comments welcome.

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Mercedes Viola – webinar recording

July 5th, 2012

Yesterday during our English360 Community Webinar presented by Mercedes Viola we discussed designing effective learning experiences. Mercedes reminded us of the importance of scenario-based tasks and the need for real-world interaction and exchanges.

Here is the link to the WebEx recording for those who were unable to attend or who would like to review the session.

Thanks for the great turn out – a true global gathering –  it was great to see and chat with you all. Many thanks again to Mercedes and 4D content  for sharing course design experience and ideas with us.
Our next Community Webinar will be at the beginning of September. We’ll post more details on this blog and Community forum.

Next Open tour is scheduled for 10th July 2012 from 16.00 to 17.00 and our next Open training is on 11th July 2012 from 13.00 to 14.00 CET

To register, view full schedule from Upcoming events or from our WebEx schedule.

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Mercedes Viola – English360 Community Webinar

June 25th, 2012

Our next community webinar is a special event: on Wednesday 4th July 2012 (UTC 16.00, CET 18.00) our guest speaker will be Mercedes Viola. Register here for this upcoming English360 Community Webinar.
In today’s knowledge economy, corporate clients need to become competent business English communicators. However, this could mean many different things depending on the people, the organization, the context and the changing circumstances and times.
On 4th of July (GMT 16.00, CET 18.00; check your local time), Mercedes Viola will share ideas on how to design different programmes and materials for business English learners. She will discuss how a mixture of traditional face-to-face sessions and online training blends the best of two worlds, allowing clients to reach the performance levels they need.
In this webinar, Mercedes will give practical examples of how she uses English360 to design effective learning experiences for her clients.

Mercedes Viola lives and works in Uruguay. She holds a degree from the Universidad de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay and is finishing her MA in TESOL.
Mercedes has been running a language school for more than 20 years. She is in charge of designing business English learning experiences for government-owned organizations, universities and many well-known global companies such as Microsoft, HP, American Express, McDonald’s, Deloitte, John Deere and MasterCard. She designs materials for business English clients and trains new teachers on business English.
Mercedes contributes to the British Council Teaching English site and is an active member of the BESIG Online Team. She delivers online presentations and workshops, and coordinates online events. She won the IATEFL BESIG Facilitator Scholarship in 2011.
Our English360 Community Webinars are held in our English360 WebEx meeting room. Register now to attend.
Join us on 4th July to share and get ideas!


Daily Tweet Digest

March 20th, 2012

  • Extraordinarily useful session on ELF by @chiasuan, great mix of theory and practice, audio examples. Audience is enthralled #IATEFL #BESIG ->
  • RT @ericbaber: Nervously waiting to be interviewed for #IATEFL online! Actually, Eric's never nervous…he is sangfroid personified. ->

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What’s in your blended learning toolkit?

March 18th, 2012

“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!”. Technology-supported learning activities need to be driven by the understanding of the unique opportunities the tools provide. My IATEFL workshop will illustrate how the self-authoring tools on English360 can personalise and humanise course design. The workshop will share ways promoting reflection, increasing interaction and offering unique relevant self-paced learning paths. I’ll post ideas on our blog later this week.

If you can’t attend the event in Glasgow, join us online here:
Glasgow Online

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Virtual Meeting recording and slides

February 29th, 2012

Yesterday during our English360 Community Webinar presented by Mike Hogan we discussed virtual meeting software and enjoyed some tips and tricks shared by Mike.

Here are his slides

View more PowerPoint from Mike Hogan

Here is the link to the WebEx recording for those who were unable to attend or who would like to review the session.

Thanks everyone for coming, it was great to see you all there. Special thanks to Mike for sharing his knowledge and experience with us.
Our next Community Webinar will be at the end of March. We’ll post more details on this blog and Community forum.

Our next Open Tour will be Tuesday 6 March 10.00 – 11.00 Central European time . The Open tour is a weekly virtual walkthrough for newcomers or all educators interested in finding out more about English360..

We will be holding Open Training sessions for all existing English360 school administrators and / or teachers on

  • Friday 2nd March 11.00-12.00 Central European time
  • Thursday 8 March 9.00 – 10.00 Central European time

Send an email to  ”teacher support at english 360 dot com”  to register or get more details.

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Mike Hogan on virtual meetings

February 23rd, 2012

Are you using English360 in conjunction with real-time tools?

Do you have experience teaching in WebEx, Adobe Connect, or on Skype?

How can these virtual meeting environments be used with learners?

Our next Community webinar will be presented by Mike Hogan.

Mike is  a teacher trainer, author, and ELT consultant. He is experienced in virtual training using a range of synchronous and asynchronous platforms both with corporate clients and in teacher training sessions. He also moderates online workshops as part of the BESIG Online Team. Read more about Mike Hogan here.

Come along to our English360 Open Community Webinar to find out more on delivering lessons in real-time when learners are geographically dispersed or unable to attend face-to-face classroom lessons.

Register now to enjoy Mike Hogan ‘s expertise and experience of using virtual meeting rooms.

Send us an email to Register for the Community Webinar 28th Feb 13.00-14.00 CET


Breaking news: English360 is now independent

September 7th, 2011

As we announced to our customers last week, English360 is now independent of Cambridge University Press, and we are now a wholly owned and fully autonomous organization. This is, of course, very exciting for all of us at English360, and not just from a business perspective: it’s exciting because it’s the next step in fulfilling our shared vision of where education is going, and how teachers will use technology.

How it all began

English360 was founded 6 years ago as a tiny, teacher-led start-up with big plans but few resources. We presented an alpha version of our web application at BESIG in Berlin in 2007 (it went live on the web for the first time the night before the session!). We had a clear vision, but as a tiny start-up we faced huge challenges when entering into a global ELT community dominated by big players.

BESIG Berlin 2007: The English360 launch session

BESIG Berlin 2007: The English360 launch session

Now, as it happened, Cambridge University Press was scouting new technology at BESIG that year. They attended our session, and to make an extremely long story short, English360 and Cambridge entered into a joint venture, creating Cambridge-English360 Ltd. It was an inspired partnership for a range of reasons: Cambridge got some cutting-edge technology, together with the team that built it. English360 received:

  • a wide range of Cambridge courses and resources to re-purpose in the platform
  • support from the global Cambridge sales teams
  • financial support (we were now able to pay ourselves a salary)
  • co-branding with the strongest brand in ELT

The partnership was successful. Together with Cambridge, we launched over 50 courses in the platform. We signed up thousands of users in dozens of countries and on every continent. We picked up the David Riley Award for Innovation and were shortlisted for an ELTon. We made the software more powerful and added some extremely cool content authoring templates. Many challenges remained, but we had managed to gain traction towards our goal.

So what happened?

And of course what happened is what always happens: this very success stressed the organization. We’d proven the concept: an open platform that gives teachers and schools unprecedented ability to work with publisher content, author their own content, and combine the two into personalized courses, to be delivered online, in class, or as blended learning.

And, now having proven the concept, we were inundated with new ideas and new projects for the platform, from ourselves, from our partner, and from customers. We worked hard to continue to prioritize and execute, but soon both partners realized that we were in danger of losing focus.

So we mutually decided to allow both partners to use the platform as needed, enabling each to dedicate the focus necessary for their own projects. It made perfect sense, and then about a week later we all realized that at this point there was really no reason for a joint venture any more, and that it would be better for both partners to maintain a strong strategic alliance, but without having the complications of a formal joint venture.

So that is what we’ve accomplished: an amicable separation that jettisons the problems but maintains what works. Cambridge University Press deserves tremendous credit for the enlightened, collaborative, teacher-focused business philosophy that provided the flexibility for this new relationship. English360 is now independent, but with the content agreements in place for the all the Cambridge resources currently in the system, and new agreements for new Cambridge content as well (we’re launching the first new course in October).

What does this mean for English360 going forward?

For us, independence has some intriguing advantages, some of which you can probably guess. Everyone on the English360 team is tremendously excited about this next step in our progress. We’ll discuss these advantages in “Part 2” of his post, coming soon.


Engineers needed!

September 5th, 2011

Do you teach engineers? If so, English360 needs you! We’re looking for non-native speaker engineers to take a short online questionnaire and possibly participate in a quick follow-up phone or Skype call (purely optional!). In return, we’re offering free access to some amazing forthcoming English for engineering resources. If you know anyone who might be interested, please email engineers at english360 dot com, and we’ll do the rest.

Photo by Chris Willis

Photo by Chris Willis

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