Myngle partners with Lancelot School to Train and Certify its Teachers

The language learning platform Myngle recently partnered with online language teacher training organization Lancelot School. Besides the regular Lancelot training and certification the school will offer a special Myngle certificate for teachers of the platform.

I interviewed Heike Philp, Managing Director of Lancelot School on this partnership.

Below you will find an overview about the different certifications and trainings Lancelot School is offering with a detailed description of the content.

Teachers on Myngle are asking for quite a while to receive some training on the virtual classroom and the other tools of the platform. Myngle have now decided to give this training to an outside teacher training organization whereas platforms like eduFire, WiZiQ or TeachStreet offer free training to their members by the staff of the platforms.

It is also interesting to see that two of the trainers who will be training the Myngle teachers are actually Myngle staff members who received their own training during the test run with the joint scholarship last year. So it wouldn’t be any problem for Myngle to offer the same training for free to its teachers if they wanted to.

Hence to me this is all about building a staff of officially certified and trained teachers to show potential customers that Myngle teachers were better than those of its competitors. In Europe where certifications are still seen as a sign of quality this actually might have an effect on  potential customers.

On the other hand it will put pressure on the teachers to get at least the Myngle certification for 60 Euro as this certificate is for

Newly signed-up and inactive Mynglers […]

But if you did not teach yet and don’t know if you will get a student on Myngle you will think twice to invest this money, especially when you come from a country outside Europe or North America. Of course this could also be a way for Myngle to select only teachers who are really interested in teaching on their platform. And Myngle is even paying 80 Euro to Lancelot School for this certification process and the teacher only 60 Euro. One could say this is a shared effort of the platform and the teacher, somekind of a contract maybe. It would for sure establish a more professional relationship as it is based on a mutual deal.

So many open questions that only time will be able to answer. I think we will see a new group of Lancelot trained and certified teachers signing up to Myngle as this is now the first platform that will promote them with their badge. This is of course a huge benefit for those teachers, or Lancelotters as they call themselves. It will probably force some of the active Myngle teachers to get at least Myngle certified to protect their good standing on the platform and not to lose students to those “better qualified” teachers. In the end the less active teachers will fall through the net leaving a pool of only Myngle certified or Lancelot trained / certified teachers on the platform.

This is a good deal for Heike Philp who wants to establish the Lancelot certification as the “CELTA of online language teachers”. It is also a good deal for Myngle as it will help the platform to underline their statement of delivering quality courses and being the world leader in online language training.

For the teachers it means that they either have to invest in their career on Myngle or hope to find ways to convince potential students that they are equally good teachers without a certification. But it could of course result in more bookings of students who trust a platform with certified teachers more than one with a hierarchy based on ratings only.

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  • heikephilp

    Hi Kirsten,

    Thank you for your summary. You are very accurately relating all the input I provided and this shows that you are a great interviewer who listens carefully.

    This might not have been all so easy in this case because you too took the LANCELOT training together with the other Mynglers last year. You too were one of the 10 Mynglers who applied for the scholarship and who stayed to the end of the 10 week course.

    May I ask whether you felt it added value to your teaching? Did you benefit from the training? How does this compare to the 'free' training you received from Edufire, WizIQ or TeachStreet?

    You paid 95 EUR for that course because it was a scholarship offer. Would you have paid the myngle prize of 390 EUR for it? If not, how much do you think it is worth?

    We are continually asking to find out whether it truly adds value to the professional and want to find a price which is just right. It is not an easy course to teach and we have to adhere to EU standards, but we are not bound to any financial guidelines.

    There were many a times when we offered training for free. Either by those who took the EU offers when we piloted this training or when we felt we had enough paying participants in a course, then we sponsored s.b. who could not afford it.

    Unfortunately of all of those who received for free hardly anybody is left.

    Those who paid for their training are the ones that are the busiest now and they certainly saw a return on their investment.

    When Myngle asked us whether they should offer the training for free, we recommended them not to do it because of this past experience. So, don’t blame myngle, blame us. We recommended myngle, which has shown itself to be utmost generous not to offer this course for free because of the aforesaid reasons.

    But perhaps you can help us find a good price. Just imagine that the Myngle Certified Course is a third of the LANCELOT Training. Is 60 EUR justified?

    Rgds Heike

    • chinamike

      Heike,

      You make some very interesting points. The point you make about paid training is very accurate in my opinion. It is almost an axiom in the business world, if you pay for something it is more valued than if you give it away for free.

      But you definitely create a problem when self paid training is NECESSARY to advance in an organization. While you may personally envision your training as benefiting the individual the actual effect in Myngle may be to establish yet another “merit badge barrier” within the organization.

      It is also correct for teachers to speculate if these merit badges actually demonstrate better teaching or are simply used as ritual devices to authenticate and glorify the institution (for marketing purposes).

      I have no problem with Lancelot training unless it creates an completely artificial gap between trained and untrained teachers. Here are specific problems I forsee:
      1. To my knowledge you don't offer an entry test to determine if the content of your course is already known by the teacher. Other, self-paced ways to learn the information are not being offered. Finally, no one offers to freely certify teachers who might already know the key content in question.
      2. The nature of your coursework, the use of Myngle tools and technology, could be covered in a much less framework. I mean, most Myngle teachers have studied in University right? Figuring out how to use the tools is not exactly rocket science right?
      3. It is unclear, as yet, what value this certification will have on the Myngle platform. Is this certification going to create a new caste system on Myngle? There is concern that the upshot of this training will be to create a new caste of teachers. Put this under the heading of the law of unintended effects.

      • heikephilp

        Hi Mike,

        You raise an interesting point and I thank you for asking.

        Can a knowledgeable and experienced live online trainer take the LANCELOT Assessment Test without taking the course?

        Yes, he or she can. Taking the course is not a pre-requisite for taking the 'exam'.

        The fee for the LANCELOT Assessment test is 390 EUR and with this price we just about cover the costs involved. It involves 2 trainers evaluating the portfolio, which essentially is a collection of work you already have done. Also some evidence of the peer-to-peer work needs to be added and we pair up those who just want to take the assessment so they can work together (40%). Then there is an observed live online teaching practice which will be evaluated and assessed (60%). This is a bit like a driving license test. One can fail the test, but you can retake it.

        As regards your questions about whether qualification may foster competition amongst Mynglers, I am the wrong person to ask because I am not an insider myself. So I don’t know how competitive the spirit is. As a learner of languages however I must admit that I would chose a teacher based upon the ratings. If 100 students were satisfied before, well, what better reputation can you have than this?

        Mike, may I ask what you teach?

        Rgds Heike

        • chinamike

          Heike,

          I teach English.

          • heikephilp

            Great and where? Live online or face-to-face?

            I am asking because I don't seem to find you on the Myngle site. I am not so familiar with the search functions but chinamike was not there.

            Could you give me the URL to your offering?

            Rgds Heike

          • chinamike

            It will need the skills of Sherlock Holmes to find me on Myngle. I'm there, just a bit hidden. I'm neither a one nor a zero. Think of me as 0.5

          • heikephilp

            Hi ChinaMike,

            I don't understand. Can you explain?

            Heike

          • chinamike

            Not really. Let it suffice to say that I'm there but I am invisible to anyone not on the forum.

          • heikephilp

            Hi ChinaMike,

            I appreciate that you don't want to discuss this in public. May I ask you to contact me via Skype? I would value it very much to talk to you. (ID letstalkonline)

            Rgds Heike

          • heikephilp

            May I ask again, ChinaMike, to be able to talk to you via Skype?

            Rgds Heike

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Hello Heike,
      yes, I know. I still owe you my review of the course :). But let me give you some thoughts on pricing and expectations here.

      First of all I agree that a good course deserves a pricing in general. And I don't think that 60 Euro for a certification are too much.

      What I do think though is that any price is too high if the product does not match the expectations of the market you are targeting.
      From what I am reading in the Myngle certification course content you teach about 75% Myngle platform related topics like how to use Dimdim, chat etc or market yourself on the platform and the rest will be about methodology for 1o1 and group lessons.

      I am not sure if teachers see a true benefit in taking this paid course for the topics above. I am sure they will take for another reason, to stay in the game but this is a negative approach, like a pay for play scheme.

      What you should do is to go in the trenches, e.g. the forum of Myngle and explain to the teachers what Lancelot is offering them and, maybe more importantly, listen to what the teachers want. I think you could explain them the benefits much better.

      The free introduction sessions are already a good beginning but teachers behave different in their “natural environment” than in a classroom ;).

      • stivibi

        thank you again for the feedback. Good food for thought, as we learn from this process and we plan Teacher Training 2.0. We are gathering a lot of information from our teachers, including surveys, teacher gatherings, direct contact, and even in the forum. I think we have taken a step in the right direction: teachers, if they need to, will have an opportunity to learn more and become better teachers. Myngle will benefit as a consequence of having better teachers on its premises. As I have said before, teachers and Myngle are joined at the hip. We hope to continue to collaborate for the benefit of both. I don't think our growth is mutually exclusive, in fact, it's mutually beneficial.

      • Yasemin (amicamia)

        quote: Kirsten Winkler wrote:
        “What I do think though is that any price is too high if the product does not match the expectations of the market you are targeting.
        From what I am reading in the Myngle certification course content you teach about 75% Myngle platform related topics like how to use Dimdim, chat etc or market yourself on the platform and the rest will be about methodology for 1o1 and group lessons.

        I am not sure if teachers see a true benefit in taking this paid course for the topics above. I am sure they will take for another reason, to stay in the game but this is a negative approach, like a pay for play scheme.”
        Totally,I agree with you dear Kirsten.That is what I was thinking…I mean,why should I take a paid course in order to learn how to use this ..that..although I know them very well ?
        It's ok for the newbies;useful for them if from now on myngle won't be offering any consulting sessions.

  • stivibi

    Thank you for covering the topic, Kirsten. Just some quick clarification: As far as training options available to teachers on Myngle, the standard basic training is still given to all of the teachers. In fact, this basic training is mandatory to each teacher to be made visible on Myngle. The opportunities offered through LANCELOT are additional options for the teachers. The conclusion we came to at Myngle is that we could offer good technical basics to the teachers to get started on the site. However, when we saw what LANCELOT could do, specifically for language teachers online, we knew we needed to find a way to offer the same training to our teachers. They are the best available in the market today.
    Also, the assumption about Myngle's trainers being among the LANCELOT trainers and therefore having the ability to offer the service for free is fair, but in this case incorrect. Without going into the contract's details, their work in this course is above and beyond their regular work at Myngle. Hence, the costs for Myngle and LANCELOT for the training is still the same.
    Having said that and recognizing that the current prices for these courses are already a bargain for teachers in Europe and North America, we do have a large contingent of teachers in developing countries who would have a hard time affording them. We plan to offer very advantageous payment conditions for the teachers, including the possibility for a full refund of the Myngle Certified Course. We don't want to leave anyone behind. We will work with the willing teachers, who are really trying to develop their work on Myngle. Needless to say, we are very excited about this collaboration.

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Hey Stefan,
      thank you for joining the conversation here. Hope to see you more often on this blog from now on :).

      The thing is, we have a Steve Jobs situation here. When the iPad came out most about everyone, even the fanboys and girls, were disappointed. Only some hardcore guys said: “You don't understand it. Steve gives you what you need, not what you want.”

      The Myngle certification is basically the same. You know what Myngle wants to achieve with it and hence you shaped the course based on your roadmap. But most teachers on the forum were expecting something different. Something without a price tag and something more basic. There were some great discussions going a couple of months ago but Myngle did not listen, for whatever reason.

      So this certification serves first the need of Myngle for qualified and even more important officially certified teachers which is understandable from the companies point of view.

      What teachers don't understand and what makes them suspicious is if you start trying to sell this to them as being good for them in the first place. If you would say this certification is to lift the profile of the Myngle brand and if the teachers want to benefit from this by getting certified and working with Myngle it would look different, right?

      And if Hala and Soaad would have developed a Myngle training based on their knowledge of the Lancelot course you could offer this certification for free. In the end it's not rocket science ;).

  • chinamike

    ..

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