In July 2022, The Centre for Learning and Multilingualism conducted a comprehensive language needs analysis to determine the new language learning strategy. This survey consisted of two parts: one for the Management & Communication unit and the other for the Language Training Programme (LTP). This summary report focuses exclusively on the results of the language needs.



A total of 575 individuals participated in this part of the survey. These comprised 88 potential clients, 166 past training participants and 321 current participants.

The respondents were UNOG staff members, external agency and mission staff, spouses, consultants and interns, based in or outside Geneva. These findings should not be seen as representative of the whole learning field, however.


Main learning objectives

We asked each respondent interested in learning a language or already on a language learning pathway to select their main objectives in this regard.

We can observe that in all languages the two main objectives are to learn the language for professional purposes and/or learn about the language and culture.

Respondents interested in French also wish to use the language in daily life and socialize with colleagues, while those interested in learning Spanish wish to pass the Language Proficiency Examination (LPE). We will take these results into account when developing new specialized courses in the six languages.


Training type and schedule

As we can see, respondents prefer the options corresponding to our current offer in terms of type of training and schedule, namely:

  • extensive courses (73.5%) over a period of 12 weeks (64%)
  • a frequency of two classes per week (76%)
  • a 1.5-hour face-to-face component, online or in-person, + 30 minutes of autonomous online activities (66%)

However, we also note the growing demand for evening courses, outside working hours, and we are committed to exploring whether expanding the offer in the coming terms would be possible.


Preferred learning modes

Learning modes have been the main focus of attention in recent years. Virtual learning, only intended as a temporary solution during Covid-19, has proved to be effective and has considerably developed over the last three years, alongside increased teacher competence.  On the right, we can see that 87 per cent of the 427 respondents who have learned a language online at CLM are satisfied or very satisfied.

According to these respondents, the virtual learning mode has positively impacted attendance, progress, autonomy, motivation, focus and interaction with their teachers. These results help to understand the 45.2 per cent wishing to learn and/or continue learning languages online.

In view of these results and to adapt to our clients’ needs, we have decided to continue and improve the virtual offer while resuming the in-person offer to a lesser extent. The third option concerning a hybrid offer – online courses with some in-person sessions motivated by a pedagogical objective – is currently being studied.


External factors that could facilitate language training

Some individuals might have difficulty in embarking on a process of learning one or more languages. Aware of this caveat, we were interested to know what could facilitate this process at an institutional level. These are the three most selected factors: