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Incorporating needs analysis in the design of a process-oriented business communication course

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  • English Language
  • Business Communication
  • Course Design
  • Communication
  • Design
  • Education
  • Linguistics


In a generic and product-oriented Business Communication course, students are very often taught a number of communication skills, and are asked to produce pieces of communication, without a context or purpose. In developing a Business Communication course (LANG 101) for first-year students of the School of Business and Management at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the principal objective of the course team has been to design a curriculum to meet the specific needs of the students in terms of their linguistic knowledge as well as the communication demands made of them in their future professions. A major problem in teaching Business Communication in an academic environment is that the courses taught may not reflect the communication tasks required in the work-place. In order to bridge this gap, it is essential that in the process of developing the curriculum, the needs of students, teaching staff and the business world should be taken into account. The focus of our course has thus been to contextualise the communicative process and lend purpose to the assignments given. Students are required to accomplish a number of activities linked to a business visit and a simulation, which incorporate such tasks as telephone conversations, meetings, presentations, negotiation etc. With a process-oriented syllabus, learners are given the autonomy and flexibility to negotiate and plan their learning within a given framework.

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