A Needs Analysis for English for Specific Purposes Online Course for Management and Information Technology (MIT): A Tertiary Level Sri Lankan Study


Authors: Imani Randhuli


English for specific purposes, English for Management and Information Technology, Needs Analysis, Online English Curriculum design

Issue Date:

18th February 2022


Conducting a needs analysis is the first step to designing an English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course. The objective is to design a curriculum which caters to the specific needs of the Management and Information Technology MIT students. Due to the advancements of science and technology, most of the traditional models of language education are inadequate to meet the needs of the present day demands of the world of professions [1]. Merely teaching grammatical content will not aid filling the gap between the skills that students possess, and the skills that are demanded at their workplaces. Therefore, the present research intends to investigate the subjective needs, present needs and target needs of the sample along with key teaching methods. Sampling method s convenient sampling; it consists of fifty second year undergraduates of the Department of Industrial Management, University of Kelaniya. The participants were provided google forms with closed and open-ended questions. To validate the industry needs, semi-structured interviews were conducted with five industry professionals, and they were recorded and transcribed verbatim for thematic analysis. Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS. According to the findings, it is revealed that the students are least confident about speaking and are expecting to improve both speaking and writing skills, mainly speaking. According to the professionals, speaking is the most demanded skill at the workplaces. Semi formal emails, presentations, conversations are said to be the most recurrent instances of English use. The methods of learning preferred are role plays/conversations, group work, pair work, writing exercises and individual work. Since the course delivery method is online/ hybrid, the item which addresses online learning gets positive responses from the majority although challenges are explained in the open-ended item that followed. However, to cater to the specific needs of the MIT students, both perceptions of students themselves and industry professionals are considered to design a more effective English course which caters to the demanded language skills of the learners. Future research is to be conducted to gain subject experts’ perceptions and knowledge to design the course.