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Success Story

Bertelsmann’s journey from onsite to face-to-face online language training

Bertelsmann is a global media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries. Its business units include RTL Group, Penguin Random House, Gruner+Jahr, BMG, Arvato. The company has 117,000 employees and generated revenues of €17.7 billion in 2018.

For its employees, professional communication in an international environment is a central training objective. Before its collaboration with Learnship started in 2009, Bertelsmann worked with a multitude of global and local providers in order to offer its employees in Germany a wide range of traditional classroom courses at different office locations. This meant high administrative costs for managing several providers, managing a decentralized training budget and manual reporting. In addition, different standards were applied and quality assurance across providers proved difficult. Therefore, Bertelsmann decided to source all new foreign language services through a Master Services Provider – Learnship.


Learnship was asked to provide language training in digital and analog formats – with a broad spectrum of languages, diverse content matching learners´ needs and the flexibility to learn everywhere and at all times.

Moreover, Bertelsmann was looking for a central training management platform, less administrative work, standardized quality, transparent performance management and centralized reporting.

Full-service solution for Bertelsmann

Learnship came up with a three-tiered, full-service solution under which Learnship provides language training courses in virtual and classic classroom formats, training management and the management of multiple training providers.

  • Virtual and traditional classroom training
  • 14 languages
  • Easy-to-use digital learning platform: Learnship’s Virtual Classroom
  • International rollout of virtual classroom training in 2017
  • Centralized, digital training management: TMS
  • Uniform standards
  • Centralized reporting

Online beats onsite training

Over time, more and more Bertelsmann employees in Germany decided to go for virtual classroom training – compared to onsite training. In other countries, Learnship’s Virtual Classroom was the learning format of choice for Bertelsmann’s employees anyway, since onsite training wasn’t available outside of Germany. In 2018, more than 64% of all participants across Bertelsmann group embarked on Virtual Classroom training. The flexibility of learning wherever employees are and whenever they have time, is a key aspect in this trend.

At the same time, participants are highly satisfied – attributing a 4.57 out of 5 stars rating to the courses.

In 2019, the customer relationship was further enhanced when Learnship took over central billing for all of Bertelsmann’s language training providers.

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