The B1 course Deutsch im Job - Profis gesucht: Einzelhandel is part of a broader learning resource provided by Deutsche Welle (DW): It includes a range of multimedia learning content in the form of videos and audios, as well as various writing and speaking exercises. Thus, all assessable language skills (listening, writing, reading comprehension and speaking) are covered by the course. In addition, the DW platform offers the learner the opportunity to both download the content and go through the learning path directly on the website.
This online course assumes a consolidated knowledge of German grammar up to level B1 of the CEFR, as its focus is rather on teaching specific information and vocabulary related to German retail. Nevertheless, the 7 units provide various grammar exercises related to the context, such as modal verbs (unit Service meeting), indirect interrogative sentences (unit Customer advice) and subordinate clauses (unit At the checkout). The remaining material focuses on vocabulary related to the retail sector (Handling Goods unit) and generally gives the learner a broad overview of the duties of a salesperson in Germany.
With this in mind, this course is particularly suitable for independent learners who wish to pursue a career as a salesperson in German-speaking countries.
The learning units can also be worked on independently of the given order, as the last unit Knowledge Check provides concluding questions and finally the result of the corrected answers from the previous units. Thus, the learner has a tangible means to independently correct his/her mistakes and evaluate his/her own progress.
Parts of the resource were tested in a B1 course for General German for university students at Vienna University for Business and Economics. . All students were between 21 and 26 years old and studied in the fields of economics and law. The whole package of 7 lessons was presented in class, lesson 1 was done in class and the rest was proposed as additional, optional task. A couple of students did chapters “Dienstbesprechung” and “Fakten” but most students said they would come back to the lessons after the course.
Each chapter consists of a short video and corresponding comprehension exercises. A grammar explanation is followed by exercises before vocabulary and pronunciation tasks complete the chapter. Some chapters are complemented by a second input, usually another audio. In the last chapter, students can watch the entire video and repeat content from the previous lessons.
The whole resource is very suitable for autonomous learning: Progression is well-thought, progress can be seen by students themselves, all exercises relate to everyday life and there is no work in pairs or groups necessary (it is however possible to do some tasks in pairs or groups). It is important to decide beforehand whether the videos should be viewed with or without subtitles.
. Students of the course found the exercises quite easy, so it might be suitable to try them already at an upper A2 level. The technical handling of some tasks and presentation of the solution were difficult for some students and therefore demotivating. Students can create an account if they want to follow their progress throughout DW’s offer for learning German. Chapters can also be done independently from one another.
The resource is available online at the abovementioned link. Thanks to the ‘Settings’ button marked with a ‘=’, one can easily surf through the available contents (e.g. ‘Grammar’, ‘Script’, ‘Exercises’, ‘Course overview’).
The learning path is already set up and is comprised of 7 learning units (Einstieg, Dienstbesprechung, … Wissenscheck), all of which are further subdivided into 10 exercises’ units. At the end of each learning unit, the platform provides a calculation of the correct answers and a consequent evaluation. The learner can easily scroll the learning path backwards and redo the exercises. Once all the exercises’ units are elaborated, an overview of the correct answers and related score is provided.
It is advisable to first register and log in to the platform, in order for the learner to save their score and better keep track of their results, lest the browser should be closed and the results lost.
Capacity to match the needs of lecturers and students
The provided tangible improvements
The capacity to motivate students to improve their language skills
Effectiveness in introducing innovative, creative and previously unknown approaches to LSP learning
Measurement of the transferable potential and possibility to be a source of further capitalisation/application for other language projects in different countries
Skills assessment and validation
Availability of appropriate tools for lecturers to monitor students’ progress and for students to assess own progress and to reflect on learning
Flexibility of the contents and possibilities for the LSP lecturers to adapt the contents to their and to students’ need
Assess the technical usability from the point of view of the lecturer and the student
Assess the accessibility from the point of view of the lecturer and the student
The resource is easily accessible and usable on devices (the interface is also mobile-friendly). Although not very flexible in terms of learner’s level adaptation, as the resource is solely focused on one topic and can not be in any way modulated, its utility lies in the multifaceted and highly multimedial learning path. A learner who is already confident with the use of modern devices will find the resource to be highly intuitive and user-friendly.
Every chapter is provided with exercises that cover any assessable language skill, both oral and written, passive (comprehension) and active (production).
By so doing, a certain level of language exposition is virtually created and hence a holistic approach to language learning is adopted.
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