Effective e-learning platform to help first-year university students become active learners.

Sector: University

A university offering five-year degrees in the fields of mechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, electronic control engineering, information engineering and environmental city engineering, challenged us to help increase their students’ English skills and motivation levels. They required course content specially designed for TOEIC and able to adapt to different students’ needs.

After implementing our programme:

  • Students are satisfied and able to fit in English study around their specialist degree subjects
  • Teacher satisfaction is high thanks to the easy-to-use management platform
  • The university is becoming more confident in its students’ English skills

The client:

Our client is a university specialising in mechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, electronic control engineering, information engineering and environmental city engineering.

The university’s mission is to prepare its students so they are ready not only to contribute to different fields of engineering, but also to respond to and express themselves in the advanced information society in which we live.

Students are able to take English classes throughout their five-year degree programmes; however, in the first few years, as there are fewer specialist engineering classes, it’s easier for students to devote more time to studying English.

Each year students take external exams, including TOEIC, a practical English proficiency test and an industrial English proficiency test. Based on their results, students earn credits, which they’re able to transfer to course subjects.

The challenge:

One of our client’s core aims was to raise TOEIC participation rates and scores for students – to help them fulfil what is often a requirement for working in companies after university.

Internal constraints meant that setting up new TOEIC classes was not a viable option, so the university started to research external teaching materials and platforms. Their thinking was that an e-learning solution, in particular, would also future-proof them against changes to curriculum squeezing the amount of time allocated to English study.

The university identified a priority list of requirements. Course content would need to be specially designed for TOEIC and it would need to adapt according to the varying ability of students, starting right at beginner level. The management system would also need to be easy to use – with the ability to track student progress easily and export data into spreadsheets – and of course the cost would need to be accessible.


Implementing the new digital learning platform has meant more flexibility for students, while teachers have been able to monitor their students and offer them support in an easy-to-manage way.

With our help, the university introduced an e-learning beginners’ English class to its fourth-year students, teaching Practical English 6 (Elementary). On this programme, students take 30 hours’ worth of grammar, listening and reading modules over the course of the year, aiming for a TOEIC score of at least 350 points. Students reaching English Level 2 earn credits from the university, while those earning 400 points or over are able to transfer credits to the English Exercise II course, which they can take within five years. This incentivized learning, coupled with the flexibility, has helped to boost student motivation.

In the next phase the university is looking into extending eligibility for the course to third-year students. Empowering students to take TOEIC in earlier degree years is important, as the number of engineering modules they are expected to take increases each year, meaning the time they have left to take complementary courses, including English, decreases.


“In introducing e-learning, we wanted to lighten the burden on our teachers at the same time as helping students attain English qualifications earlier on in their degree course.”

Students are able to use the learning platform we introduced for them as and when they want to – for instance during exam periods and casually, during summer holidays, when they aren’t at the university, in preparation for their October TOEIC tests. The course is popular among students taking summer training programmes too.

The new platform has also meant less confusion about what to study, as students have enjoyed the clear, guided style and tailored course content.

Student and teacher satisfaction levels are high, and the university is starting to shake the feeling that its students can’t speak English.