Tutorial on the use of ILP and ERP
Frequently asked questions
1. What is a Learner Needs Assessment (LNA)?
A Learner Needs Assessment (LNA) is a document which you use during the tutorial session, to assess a learner’s second language learning needs. A form with questions to guide your tutorial. Its aim is to understand what the learner’s needs and priorities are, in terms of language learning, and how that fits into their personal and professional goals, or daily life.
2. How much time should I spend on an LNA?
How much time you spend on needs analysis is up to you. Lower level learners might not be able to discuss their needs at length so you may want to spend less time on it and more time clarifying the ILP procedure. Higher level learners, however, can give valuable information about what they need and prioritise so it might be worth spending more time discussing it with them. Use your own judgement.
3. What is an Individual Learning Plan (ILP)?
An Individual Learning Plan (ILP) is the document you produce and give to a learner with a list of tasks designed for them to carry out themselves, to improve their English outside the class. These should match the needs and priorities highlighted in the Learner Needs Assessment.
4. How much time should I spend on an ILP?
It is recommended that you spend no more than 5 – 10 minutes, but this may vary depending on the teacher and the learner. You don’t need a minimum number of tasks but you do have to provide a number which will keep the learner busy for next the 6 or 8 weeks, or until the time they . Again, use your own judgment: the learner’s working habits in class will give a good indication of how much they will be willing to work outside the class. Feel free to grade the language of the “Procedure” and “Advice” section of the form so as to ensure your learner will be able to understand what to do.
5. What are Tutorials and Feedback sessions?
A Tutorial is a short meeting which a teacher or tutor has with learners in which they assess the learners learning needs. This is the initial meeting, during which the teacher and learner discuss
A Feedback Session is the second (and possibly third) tutorial you have with a learner to review their progress towards their ILP. In this session, you will check whether or not the learner has completed the tasks you have set, assess their usefulness and comment on the learner’s progress. These sessions also offer the teacher an opportunity to revise the learners ILP activities and goals, and potentially update the learners LNA if required.
6. How often should I carry out tutorials and feedback sessions?
The recommended amount of time between each tutorial session varies depending on how many contact hours per week the learner studies/has with the teacher.
|Hourse Per Week||Recommended Frequency of Tutorial|
|1 to 4 hours||Every 16 weeks|
|5 to 9 hours||Every 14 weeks|
|10 to 14 hours||Every 12 weeks|
|15 to 19 hours||Every 10 weeks|
|20 to 24 hours||Every 8 weeks|
|25+ hours||Every 6 weeks|
7. How long should I spend on tutorial sessions?
It is recommended that you spend no more than 10 – 15 minutes, but this may vary depending on the teacher and the learner.
8. How long should I spend preparing the ILP?
It is recommended that you spend no more than 5 – 10 minutes, but this may vary depending on the teacher and the learner.
9. What is a Task Bank?
A Task Bank is a library of resources which is developed by the teacher (or teachers), relevant to your learners’ needs, challenging but achievable, and the learners should be able to check answers themselves. The tasks must also be measurable: the learners should be able to write down a result. For example, asking learners to read graded readers is a good ILP task but you MUST include a specific number (how many graded readers you want them to read by next tutorial, or how many news article they should read before the next tutorial).
Exam practice websites, (for example Cambridge and IELTS exams) contain many tasks which can be set for learners. Cambridge Young Learners exam practice websites contain vocabulary activities which can be useful for lower levels.
A number of prerequisites are advised and required before a teacher begins using the LNA and ILP templates with a learner, or learners.
This procedure recommends that teachers have some knowledge of the learner’s background and motivations for learning the language, and perhaps have a little information into the background of their life outside of the classroom. From a learner development perspective, although not essential, this is helpful so that teachers are able to tailor the related activities accordingly.
From a pedagogical perspective, it is expected that, prior to carrying out the initial tutorial, the teacher has observed the learner in class for a number of lessons, to understand their strengths, weaknesses, learning style and general attitude towards learning.
Step 1: Initial Tutorial
This is the most important tutorial, as it will give you an insight into the learner’s perspective on their learning and what they want to achieve. In general, more time may be spent on this tutorial, as understanding the aims and needs of the learner is important and is worth spending extra time on for the first time, so that there is clarity between the learner and teacher about what is to be achieved.
Step 2: Learner Needs Assessment
You should complete the LNA together with the learner, ensuring that the learner completes the assessment as honestly as possible.
Step 3: Individual Learning Plan
Using resources from the task bank, allocate activities and exercises for the learner, that they can focus on outside of classroom hours, to improve the areas you have both identified together as areas to work on.
Step 4: In-Class Monitoring of Learner
After the ILP has been developed and the targets have been agreed with the learner, the teacher should, keep track of the learner’s progress, in class and through homework and marked exercises. This process is relatively informal, and does not need to go beyond the amount of monitoring that is done on a day-to-day basis, regardless of whether or not the teacher is also incorporating ILPs & LNAs into their learners’ experience.
Step 5: Follow-Up Tutorial
During the follow-up tutorial, the teacher and learner will review the progress made by the learner towards the ILP targets set during the first tutorial, and either revise, or add new personal learning goals to the ILP, depending on how the learner feels about the tasks.
The learner should inform the teacher of how they felt about the tasks, whether they were too easy, too difficult, suitable for the learner’s long term language learning goals, whether they benefitted from the exercises and activities, and whether the learner would like to request anything to be added to the Revised ILP, based on this.
Step 6: Revised Learner Needs Assessment
During the follow-up tutorial, the teacher should briefly ask the learner if the needs assessment completed during the first tutorial is still valid. If the LNA needs to be revised to reflect the learner’s aims having changed, this should be done before revising the ILP.
Step 7: Revised Individual Learning Plan
Based on the learner’s progress towards previously agreed learning goals, the teacher should again, allocate activities and exercises for the learner, resources from the task bank. If the learner has made more progress than expected, the teacher can allocate additional exercises, or alternatively, activities and exercises of increasing difficulty, so that the ILP remains challenging for the learner.
Step 8: Continuous Process
After the step above, teachers should continue Step 4 to Step 7, as a continual process of learner engagement and progress.
This process will help the teacher and the learner both contribute to the learner’s progress over time, and will ensure the benefits of the ILPs, LNAs and in-class differentiation for the learner.