Université Libre de Bruxelles 1: Plan Langues

Author(s): Ian Tudor
Institution/Organisation: Université Libre de Bruxelles (BE)


The study focuses on the Plan Langues, an initiative launched by the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), and which involves the extension of language learning to all 1st cycle students in four faculties which until that time had little of no language learning on their academic programme – over 3,000 students in all. The Plan Langues involves 8 ECTS of obligatory language courses taught by ULB staff plus access to voluntary remedial courses taught by the Fondation 9, a language school affiliated to the ULB. Languages taught are English and Dutch and learning objectives are set on the basis of the CEFR. The content of teaching-learning materials for the obligatory ECTS-credited courses is linked to students’ academic specialisation. The adoption of the Plan Langues coincided with the adoption of the Bologna Process by the ULB and reflects the institution’s adherence to the broader goals of the Process. The case study highlights three main points. The first is the question of obligation: within the target context, the obligatory nature of language learning would appear to be a key success factor. The second is the linking of teaching-learning materials to students’ academic specialisation, which has a strong motivational value. Both of these points relate to the motivation for language learning among the target student population. Thirdly, the case study points to the need for faculty / institution level support for language learning within the broader framework of the goals of students’ academic / professional training. In more general terms, the case study raises a number of key variables with respect to language policy initiatives. One relates to the need to assess current levels of motivation for language learning among the target population as a starting point for the planning of language initiatives. Another is the need to assess and potentially revise initiatives regularly over time in the light of attitudes and motivations among the target student population, which may well be related to strategic goals and priorities at institutional level.

Read the full-text Print this case study