Product & Curriculum Guide

Page 1

2015 Edition




About Open English. Open English is the leading online Englishlanguage school serving 20 countries across the Americas. The company was founded in 2007 seeking to reinvent the English language learning experience for today’s busy professional, by offering them customized 24/7 online-only instruction imparted by native English-speaking teachers. Currently having surpassed 400,000 students, the company’s language program is founded on helping students achieve fluency in English in a short amount of time, and have fun along the way. To learn more, please visit


LP2 The New Platform.


Content. 6-8


New and Improved Learning Platform 9-12


New Student Set-up & Placement Test Learning Profile Placement Test Levels Level Requirements 13-15

Study Plan

Home Weekly Study Plan 16-18

Live Classes 19-21

Lessons 22-24

Practice 25-27


My Progress 28-30


Teacher Feedback Activity Record Notebook 31-33

Learn 34-36


Teacher Support Advisor Support



Overview The recently redesigned learning platform boasts an all-new curriculum, optimized study paths and more teacher interaction than ever before.


New and Improved Learning Platform Simply put, Open English’s goal is to help students succeed. With this goal in mind, Open English is on a quest to deliver the best service through continuously improving its learning platform. After observing over 100,000 students learn with our initial learning platform, we have developed and refined an innovative system to make human interaction more efficient and effective. The recently redesigned learning platform boasts an all-new curriculum, mobile access, optimized study paths and more teacher interaction than ever before. We are ready to service hundreds of thousands of students with our new and improved learning platform.



Overview Open English has two placement tests that are used to ensure students are placed in the appropriate learning level.




New Student Set-up & Placement Test Learning Profile The learning profile is a survey developed by the Open English team to identify relevant characteristics about our students. The survey includes questions about their interests, the reason they chose to learn English, and how they would describe their current English skills. The information gathered from this process helps us personalize the students’ experience by placing them in the most appropriate starting level with content related to their indicated interests.

Placement Test Open English has two placement tests that are used to ensure that students are placed in the appropriate learning level. The first evaluation of a student’s English proficiency is the Open English Placement Test, which was developed by the Academic team at Open English. This test consists of three sections, which evaluate the vocabulary, grammar, listening and writing skills of each student. Forty-five questions are chosen at random from a pool of over 600 questions, and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. It is an adaptive test in that the accuracy of each answer determines the level of difficulty of the subsequent question. This test has been calibrated to have an 87% correlation with that of our second evaluation tool – the nationally recognized Versant English Test.

The Versant English Test is a product of Pearson Australia Group PYT, Ltd., the largest educational company in the world. Open English students are given the option to take this test if they believe the content they are working on is too easy and would like to advance to a more challenging level. This test is longer and more challenging than the Open English Placement Test, with nine sections that should take students approximately 50 minutes to complete. This nationally recognized test is the gold standard by which we validate the Open English Placement Test results to ensure that students are placed in the appropriate level.




Levels Open English has developed eight English competency levels, where level 1 represents “brand new” English students and level 8 represents those who may be considered “bilingual”. Each Open English level is aligned with the equivalent levels on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Why the CEFR? The CEFR was developed after over 20 years of extensive research as a frame of reference for all major universities and institutions involved in language learning. It is a comprehensive tool that assists language teachers and learners to understand the various levels and competencies associated with language learning. The CEFR identifies six levels of language proficiency, A1 and A2, B1 and B2 and C1 and C2, where A1 represents beginners and C2 is for those who have mastered a language. It provides a guide for the objectives and content necessary at each level of a curriculum to facilitate universally recognized learning outcomes. Open English has modeled our curriculum based on these internationally accepted levels, including the objectives and learning content, to ensure that our students attain the highest possible level of English language skills.

Level Requirements Open English’s approach to teaching English truly differentiates the company from other English teaching programs. Open English recognizes that various factors are essential to fully develop skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking English. Students cannot expect to have impressive writing skills by just taking live classes, have accurate pronunciation by taking only grammar classes or give extraordinary presentations at work by just watching American television. In order to develop the full spectrum of English language skills, students need to participate in a variety of activities that allow them to practice and, ultimately, perfect these skills. This is why we have multiple types of activities, such as live classes, daily news articles, interactive videos, pronunciation practice and podcasts. Optimal results are achieved when students combine these activities. We have 100% of the activities and tools necessary to become fluent in all areas, not just vocabulary learning tools.



Overview The most notable improvement in the layout of the learning platform is the weekly study plan located directly on the Home page. 14



Home Once students complete the Open English Placement Test, they are placed in the appropriate level to begin taking lessons. Each level is a combination of unlimited live classes, 60 lessons and hundreds of practice exercises. These learning activities are organized within weekly study plans and provide the appropriate mix of learning content. The Weekly Study Plan is estimated to be 3 – 3 ½ hours of work and is located directly on the Home page.

Weekly Study Plan The most notable improvement in the layout of the learning platform is the weekly study plan located directly on the Home page. The study plan provides a solution for a common question for many students: “what do I need to do next?” The Weekly Study Plan guides students through an optimal combination of the three major activities of our curriculum – live classes, lessons and practice exercises. This tool helps to keep

students on track so they are able to fulfill each learning objective before moving on to another concept. Completed activities turn blue, which is a great visual tool for students to focus on the next step. Although students are able to complete components in the order of their preference, they are required to complete all activities within a level in order to proceed to the subsequent level.



Overview Virtual classrooms are available to Open English students with unlimited sessions every hour of the day.



Live Classes Live Classes are available to students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are taught by native English-speaking instructors located around the globe. Two types of live classes are offered, casual conversation and classic instruction, with different class topics each day. Classes are 45 minutes long and begin at the top of every hour. Live classes are unlimited, so students have the option to participate in one or both classes every day. A timer located on the Home page counts down the time remaining before the next class begins so that students are always aware of the upcoming classes. Students can choose to join the next class at any time and are given a reminder shortly before the next class begins. There are two types of live classes: casual conversation and classic instruction. Casual conversations cover topics that are more likely to occur within informal settings, such as “Travel – Packing for a trip”, while classic conversations are those that would occur within formal settings, such as “Business – Meeting time.” Live

classes are composed of an average of 6-8 students for casual conversations and 3-5 students for classic instruction. Students are grouped based on their levels to give them the chance to move at a comfortable pace; advanced students are able to move at a faster pace and beginners are not intimidated. Conversations are related to the objectives outlined within each unit. This gives students the opportunity to practice speaking, as well as ask questions, all while building their confidence to speak English. At the end of each live class, students are able to critique their teacher and the quality of the learning experience. This helps us to continuously improve our teacher quality and learning content. Teachers also provide personalized feedback to each student regarding their performance in the class. This feedback shows up in the Progress tab under Teacher Feedback and is one of the many ways we personalize the experience to ensure each student learns all the material at the appropriate pace.



Overview In addition to Live Classes and Practice, each level contains 15 units of coursework. Each unit is comprised of lessons followed by a review lesson and a unit assessment.



Lessons In addition to Live Classes and Practice activities, each level contains 15 units of coursework. Each unit is comprised of lessons, with one review lesson and a unit assessment. The unit objectives are outlined at the beginning of lesson 1, and specific themes related to these objectives are identified at the beginning of each subsequent lesson. Every lesson contains 27 slides consisting of various interactive activities, such as comprehension and listening, “drag and drop” and fill in the blank exercises. Each lesson presents the student with one or two learning objectives and six vocabulary words. These level appropriate objectives and words were modeled after the equivalent CEFR level. To reinforce the concept of sentence structure and parts of speech within the lessons we employ a color code system where nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are each assigned a particular color. This is a powerful teaching technique in which the student will associate the parts of speech without explicitly being told what they are. Through association with the same concepts in their own language, students begin to develop their own knowledge rather than just rote memorization. There is additional functionality within the lesson page to enhance the students’ learning experience: Common Questions, and My Notes. The Common Questions feature allows students to view questions that have been previously asked by other students about this lesson, as well as to submit new questions. Teachers respond to new questions within 24 hours, which is posted to the student’s Progress tab under Teacher Feedback. New questions and the respective responses are then added to the existing list for future reference. The My Notes feature is an electronic notebook that takes the hassle out of taking notes on paper. These notes can be viewed at any time in the Progress tab under Notebook and later converted to Adobe pdf files for download. Students are given a congratulatory prompt at the end of each lesson. They are required to take a unit assessment once all activities within a unit are complete. This assessment consists of approximately 30 multiple-choice questions using similar activities to those in the lessons. A student must receive a score of 705 or greater before they can move on to the next unit of lessons. Students that pass the Unit Assessment are prompted to respond to an optional writing question for additional practice. The student is asked to write a paragraph on a particular topic using the skills they learned to this point in their studies. The student will receive direct feedback from a teacher for their submission. This is yet another one of the many ways our students receive live (human) support.



Overview The Student can focus on pronunciation, vocabulary, and comprehension with English Central Video content, and our exclusive podcasts and Daily Newsreader.



Practice The third learning component of the Open English platform is practice. Practice differs from live instruction and lessons in that practice activities do not introduce a new academic concept, instead they reinforce the concepts student have already learned in live classes and lessons. Each study plan features various practice activities that allow students to practice their vocabulary, grammar, listening and speaking skills with exciting tools that keep them engaged in the learning experience. This consists of hundreds of videos, daily news articles and interactive challenges that feature concepts outlined in the unit objectives. We’ve even incorporated interactive videos that utilize innovative speech assessment technology. These interactive videos present the student with a video clip to watch, vocabulary words to learn and then, using the video as a model, speak the dialog. The student receives immediate feedback on their performance and can even listen to their recorded voice to better understand their pronunciation. The daily news articles feature top stories in entertainment, technology, breaking news, and sports from around the world. They are written in level appropriate English for each student. Each news article is followed by comprehension questions that challenge the student on what they just read. This daily content ensures the student will have new, engaging challenges each time they log onto the platform. Students can access the complete list of practice activities by going to the Learn tab and clicking on Practice. This is a great way for students to perfect their English skills.



Overview Welcome to the My Progress page, a student’s own personal dashboard, where he/she can track completed practice, live classes, and units.



My Progress The My Progress screen is a great tool that allows students to track their personal progress in each level. This screen displays the student’s current level, as well as statistics on their longest study session and longest study streak. Additionally, there are color-coded wheels and graphs that display progress within each activity – yellow represents practice, live classes are blue and units are green. The three wheels, representing practice, live classes and units, illustrate progress within each level. Students will graduate to the next level once these circles are filled in with their respective colors. That is, the level is complete once the practice wheel is entirely yellow, the live classes wheel is blue, and the unit wheel is green. The bar chart illustrates weekly or monthly progress, depending on the student’s preference. The students are able to see day-by-day efforts using the weekly view

and week-by-week efforts using the monthly view. Each bar is divided into the three activity colors and displays the number of hours spent on each activity. In addition to viewing their progress, students that feel that the level they are working at is not challenging enough are also able to change their current level via the My Progress page. Students can use the Change Level button to take either the Open English Placement Test, if they have not previously taken it, or the Versant English test, if they have, to determine the most appropriate level for their abilities. Finally, students are given the opportunity to inspire and be inspired by sharing their story or reading the stories of others, respectively. This, along with the other tools featured on this screen, helps to keep students motivated by showing them how far they have come and how far they can go.



Overview Our students can always access teacher feedback records, review past content, and even view their personal notebook and highlights on their way to fluency.





Teacher Feedback Students are able to view personalized feedback from instructors on every aspect of their learning experience via the Teacher Feedback tab. This includes feedback regarding the student’s performance in live classes, feedback on writing samples after each unit, and answers to “Ask a Teacher” submissions. The purpose of this feedback is to suggest opportunities for improvement, as well as provide encouragement and positive reinforcement when appropriate.

Activity Record The Activity Record page displays a complete history of students’ learning activities in one convenient table. The purpose of this page is to present the student a record of every lesson, live class and practice activity he/she has completed on the platform. Students can also use this list to find and replay a live class session or read their notes from a specific lesson. Students can easily trace their electronic footsteps to review past content and refresh their memory.

Notebook The Notebook feature is an electronic version of a notebook that allows students to view notes they took during their lessons. This is a great reviewing tool that gives students full control of its content. During the lessons they are able to take notes on specific concepts, which they are able to view in one convenient location at any time.



Overview The Learn tab provides direct access to all Open English activities. Each is organized by type of activity with separate tabs for Live Classes, Lessons and Practice.



Learn The Learn tab provides direct access to all Open English learning activities. They are organized by type of activity with separate tabs for Live Classes, Units & Lessons and Practice.

button, students will get a list of all the lessons in the current unit. They are eligible to take the unit assessment only once they complete all the lessons in a unit.

Finally, students have access to hundreds of videos and activities via the Practice tab. Live Class topics are listed in a seven day Featured practice activities are located at advance calendar. “Today’s Live Classes” are listed prominently at the top of the page, the top of the page. Students can scroll through these activities using the arrows while the upcoming topics for the next seven days are listed below. This list shows located to the left and the right. They are topics for both classic instruction and casual able to view the entire catalog of practice exercises by scrolling down the page. conversation classes for each day. This allows students to effectively plan to attend There are also convenient search options any class that interests them. As a reminder, that allow students to filter exercises by keyword, level or topic. students are able to attend an unlimited number of live classes. The Units & Lessons tab presents the student with the current lesson they should be working on. Using the “Show Menu”



Overview Our students are never alone. Our mission is to enhance the Open English learning experience by providing Advisor and Teacher support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.





Support Support is an integral part of achieving Open English’s goal of student success. Our mission is to revolutionize the English learning experience by providing engaging and convenient online learning tools and support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is incredibly important to us that our students know that we are always available to make their online learning experience as convenient and effective as possible. Their success and satisfaction are our number one priorities. No matter where they are on the platform students are always one or two clicks away from getting help from a teacher for academic questions or contacting an advisor for questions concerning their account, payments or technical support.

Teacher Support Teacher Support is one of the many ways students are able to receive academic support from native English-speaking teachers. Apart from the feedback they receive regarding live classes, lessons and unit assessments, they are also able to reach out to teachers directly. Teachers respond directly to a student’s inquiry within 24 hours, which students can view in the Teacher Feedback menu. All teacher feedback remains in the Teacher Feedback menu so that students have a chance to refer to it at any time.

Advisor Support Students also receive non-academic support from our Advisors. Advisors who speak the same language as the student respond to queries regarding their account, payments, and technical issues. Our advisors can be contacted via telephone; live-chat or a student can even submit a request for advisors to call them directly. We want to ensure that our students receive prompt support in all areas so that they are able to focus on learning the material by immediately addressing and/or resolving any issues that may arise.

Copyright © 2015 Open English LLC. All rights reserved. The Open English name and the Open English logo are registered trademarks.


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