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

Sector: University

A private university approached us to help design and implement an English learning platform that would help their first-year students become active learners ready to use English in their eventual careers.

We helped the university achieve:

  • An increase in the participation rate
  • A consistently high completion rate
  • An improved level of support and encouragement for its students

The client:

Our client has an enviable reputation for the number of its students who embark on successful careers after graduating. Of the 2000 or so students, many go on to pursue careers in the fields of medicine or education.

Among the required subjects for first-year students is an English communication module. The university aims to foster active learners and train “talented human resource capable of combining specialised bachelor’s degree subjects with acquired language skills in future professions”.

The challenge:

As the English communication module is only a mandatory subject in the first year of students’ degrees, our challenge was to help our client develop a programme that would be extremely effective in just one year, empowering students to become active learners and reach a sufficiently comprehensive level of English.

The university had made a number of improvements to its course. It had revised and aligned its syllabus and teaching materials, introduced a ‘Can-Do List’ to make learning goals more tangible and make sure achievements were celebrated, and provided tablets for all first-year students on the English communication course so they could each be responsible for keeping their learning portfolio up to date and ready for review. 

Recognising that class time was limited, and for the programme to be truly effective students would need to be able to access materials and self-manage their study outside formal lessons, the university asked us for help developing an e-learning platform.


Having recently updated its English courses and started to experiment with ICT-related components, the university now needed help developing complementary teaching materials for all its first-year students’ English communication classes and a platform that would put students in charge of their own learning.

We designed course content that would closely follow the syllabus taught in the classroom and adapted it to the requirements of the students.

“It’s easy for teachers and students alike to get the most out of the e-learning lessons as they’re tailored to them, for instance by featuring relevant role-play scenarios such as in an airport. The goals of each lesson are clear and organised systematically so they can be used effectively in conjunction with the Can-Do List we use”.

We set teachers up with access to a learning management dashboard, which allows them to monitor student progress, flag areas where students are struggling and offer targeted support. The platform has made it easier for teachers to motivate students, allowing them to identify learning milestones where certificates can be issued by way of encouragement. All teachers, full time and part time, are now using the platform, aided by a user manual to make sure it’s a simple and easy-to-use tool. 


The implementation of our learning platform has helped the university achieve a consistently high completion rate, and teachers have seen the benefits of the learning management dashboard, using it to support and encourage students.

With increases in the number of applicants for both short-term study-abroad programmes and TOEIC® tests since the introduction of the new English training programme, it’s clear that the demand is there for these courses and that students are highly motivated.

Our client is now looking to expand the programme by conducting research to better understand student motivations and how they could support their learning objectives through an effective e-learning programme.