Student Preferences and Expectations: Some Practical Tips for Designers of English Enhancement Programmes

  •  Marine Yeung    
  •  Tilo Li    


As one of the essential skills for success in work and studies, English communication is often made a key component in the GE curriculum of tertiary study programmes. In addition to the provision of required English proficiency courses, many tertiary institutions have established English centres of some description to promote English learning on campus. Yet from students’ perspective, what kinds of programmes and activities should be offered, and how they feel about these initiatives is not very widely discussed in the existing literature.

This paper aims to address these questions with practical experiences gained from a project to establish an English language enhancement centre by one self-financing tertiary institution in Hong Kong. Funded by the Quality Enhancement Support Scheme (QESS), the centre, titled the Centre for Academic and Professional Language Enhancement (CAPLE), was set up in March 2016. Cognizant of the benefits of life-wide learning, independent learning and collaborative peer learning, CAPLE offers a series of workshops and various kinds of English and culture learning activities that adopt these pedagogical approaches.

Centre usage figures and user feedback were continuously collected for evaluative purposes. Data collected through student diaries, online surveys, usage records of the online programmes and other resources and a focus group interview showed varying levels of popularity of different types of workshops/activities, suggesting there is a need for programme designers to have a more realistic view about students’ actual English learning needs and learning motivation. Recommendations are made accordingly for more economical use of resources.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.