IE Business School and busuu.com, a European online community for learning languages, have conducted the 2011 Language Barometer survey, the world’s largest online report on the future of language learning. More than 16,000 people from over 150 different countries took part in the survey which was carried out in March 2011.

37% of the people surveyed believe that one of the best ways to learn a language is online. 24% specifically identify Web 2.0 platforms as the most efficient way to learn a language and 13% prefer individual online language learning. 32% of them believe that language courses abroad are the most efficient way to learn a language.

The lifetime average amount spent by survey participants on language learning is around 750 euros. More than 17% have spent even more than 1,000 EUR (1,400 USD) on language learning over time. 71% of them believe that the ability to speak a foreign language will directly improve their financial situation.

The reasons that people learn a new language are changing. The people surveyed want to learn a foreign language for travel (37.7%), business (35.7%), fun (37.1%), school/university (27.4%) and personal/family reasons (22.1%).

Regarding the difficulties found when learning a new language, 24% say that they don’t have time, 16% think it is hard to keep up the motivation, and 15% believe that not having access to native speakers hampers their learning process.

82% of the people surveyed believe that knowing a foreign language in the workplace is important.  The report shows that 40% of companies actively support their employees when it comes to learning a new language.

52% of the people surveyed believe that the language of the future is English, 23% chose Mandarin and 8% Spanish. The rest are split between languages that include French, Japanese, Arabic, and German.

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