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All activities related to business involve different types of risks that should be taken into account to improve development strategies and maximize profits. The universal principles of risk assessment apply to a range of spheres of life since they focus on the prevention of any unwanted events. This essay is devoted to the use of a five-step risk assessment model in personal goals such as language learning.
Risk Assessment Stages
The assessment of hazards can be listed among the most effective practices ensuring the positive outcomes of work-related or personal situations. To conduct a thorough assessment of risks, an individual or a working group is required to have well-developed analytical and systematization skills and pay attention to details (Luko, 2014). In addition, given that many unwanted events can be described quantitatively, people who conduct assessments are expected to work with numbers and make reliable predictions based on statistical data. Due to the seeming complexity of risk assessment processes, such techniques are commonly used in business, whereas many people do not dare to transform them to make them applicable to personal life situations.
Risk assessment cannot be called a well-developed discipline because there are many disputes around the best practices that shape the process of analyzing potential negative events. The approaches taken to fulfill this task greatly vary “depending on the position one has in an organization” and inter-industry differences (Luko, 2014, p. 382). The risk assessment choices can be different because of the peculiarities of business activities and the degrees of project complexity (Williams, 2017). There is a step-by-step approach recommended to employers, and it can be applied to conduct personal risk assessments. The aforementioned model includes the following steps: the identification of hazards, the identification of vulnerable people and the ways of how they can be harmed, and risk evaluation followed by the development of precautionary measures (SETON, 2016). The fourth and the fifth steps are presented by the documentation of findings for further implementation and the use of post-implementation reviews to define the need for updates (SETON, 2016).
Risk Assessment in Language Learning
I have a range of plans such as starting my own small business, becoming a good leader and learning new foreign languages. When it comes to the acquisition of new linguistic knowledge, the key risks include the ineffective use of time such as focusing on passive listening instead of improving speaking skills. Also, the decision to buy some language courses, books, or video lectures for language learners can result in unnecessary expenses.
To apply the first stage of risk assessment before learning a new language, it would be necessary to identify hazardous areas. In this situation, they include teachers’ levels of competence, the quality of study guides, the effectiveness of teaching methods, the presence of free time for independent work, and the relevance of learning some language for future career development. The next stage of risk assessment would involve the detailed analysis of the potential impact of these factors on my well-being and educational outcomes. Thus, it would be important to analyze each area to identify a range of unwanted outcomes related to its impact on the learning process. For instance, teachers’ amateurism can result in students’ pronunciation and grammar mistakes or poor knowledge of informal style, which runs counter to the goals of language learners (O’Dowd, 2015). Having singled out all unwanted outcomes associated with the previously identified areas, I would be able to design some preventive measures to eliminate the risks.
The third step, risk evaluation and deciding on precautions, would be quite difficult to implement in the case of language learning. In business, it is possible to quantify many types of risks and calculate their approximate costs. As for the case being discussed, potential risks would be related to the ineffective use of two types of resources, money and time. To analyze the situation, it would be possible to list all risks and compare them regarding probability and the amount of harm. Having classified the risks concerning the factors above, I would design a few sets of recommendations helping to eliminate each of them. For example, to avoid using the services of incompetent teachers, it would be beneficial to use friends’ recommendations, check the presence of language proficiency certificates, analyzing the reviews of former students, etc.
Within the frame of the fourth step, the documentation of findings, it would be necessary to structure the information on the ways to reduce risks. As is clear from the nature of this step, it would be more applicable to business activities, where clear action plans are required. However, when it comes to language learning, the ability to present all risk mitigation strategies in an easy-to-read format would be helpful for implementation. Having documented the tips, I would implement them to evaluate different options and exclude the least effective approaches to learning new languages. In the end, it would be possible to combine the remaining options to create an effective strategy. Finally, sometime after the implementation, I would use my goal statements and language proficiency tests to define the success of the strategy. In case of unsatisfactory results, it would be obligatory to review the findings and correct mistakes.
Conscious Processes and Evaluation Criteria
The process of risk assessment should be conscious and practice-oriented to provide credible results. After the development of a risk assessment strategy, I understand that my choices would be defined based on objective criteria. Due to that, the process of evaluating various options would be conscious. As a result, it would be beneficial for the desired outcomes. The potential impact of subjective factors such as attitudes to teachers would be analyzed to improve the credibility of findings. Having outlined the risk assessment strategy for language learning, I realize that I can use the information of different quality to weigh potential options. The choice of information sources should depend on potential losses.
As for the activity discussed in the paper, it would be possible to use academic articles on language learning techniques. At the same time, the use of more subjective information from reviews, recommendations, and school ratings would also be helpful. In terms of the criteria used in the decision-making process, they can vary depending on the nature of planned activities. If an activity is related to my duties as a professional, I will focus on relevant policies or ethical standards. The need to acquire new knowledge in the field of languages and culture is among my personal development goals. Thus, the key criteria would include the results of my research combined with other people’s recommendations.
Despite the importance of proper risk assessment techniques for financial and reputational outcomes for companies, various approaches to risk evaluation can be used not only in commercial activities. By using a five-step model for the identification of risks, it is possible to improve the practical results of language learning activities. The mentioned approach is beneficial in this case since it involves the systemization of unwanted outcomes, which adds to the objectivity of findings.
Luko, S. N. (2014). Risk assessment techniques. Quality Engineering, 26(3), 379-382.
O’Dowd, R. (2015). The competences of the telecollaborative teacher. The Language Learning Journal, 43(2), 194-207.
SETON. (2016). 5 steps to risk assessment. Web.
Williams, T. (2017). The nature of risk in complex projects. Project Management Journal, 48(4), 55-66.