What is the IDLTM?

Over the course of the last two weeks in Barcelona, I´ve been training on the IDLTM.  But, what is the IDLTM?  Other than being an extremely cumbersome acronym, that is.

[Disclaimer:  I´m about to explain what the course and certificate are.  While I do not directly profit from the success of the course, as one of the regular trainers on the course, I do have a vested interest in it being successful.  I was also one of the team that developed the curriculum, so I am quite personally attached to it, too.]

The International Diploma in Language Teaching Management is a course and qualification for managers of language teaching organisations.  The three organisations behind the course/certificate are Cambridge ESOL (like CELTA, DELTA etc), the University of Queensland, and the School for International Training (USA).  All three organisations are well known for their work in ELT and so the diploma itself is widely recognised, and very globally portable.  In addition the IDLTM is the sole  ELT management qualification recommended by NEAS (the Australian language teaching accreditation body).

Content and delivery

The course covers 8 modules: Managing Organisations; Human Resource Management; Managing Financial Resources; Marketing; Customer and Client Services; Project Management; Managing Change; and Academic Management, all of which are specifically tailored to the language teaching organisation context. [A full syllabus can found in this PDF document]

It is a blended learning course involving (usually) 2 weeks face to face at the beginning, in which typically all the 8 modules are begun.  Subsequently, in a 7-8 month period, the modules are extended and gone into in greater depth in an online format.  This is also the period in which the assessment takes place.  Assessment is by way of an assignment for each module, which are designed, as much as possible, to be practical tasks which are (it is hoped) of value to the person taking the course (and his/her organisation), as well as being an assessment tool for the diploma itself.  To give an example, the marketing assignment is to create a marketing plan for a new course, while the financial management assignment involves creating a fully costed proposal for some development of the organisation.

The course is designed to be at a post-graduate level, and indeed within the University of Queensland system, it can be applied towards their MA in Educational Leadership degree (it counts as 1/3 of that MA).


UCLES (as it was then – now Cambridge ESOL), developed a course in the early 90s called the Advanced Diploma in Language Teaching Management.  This was piloted in a number of countries and contexts.  Based on this original course, at the turn of the century, the three institutions which now “own” the diploma came together and decided to revise and redevelop the course and relaunch it as the IDLTM.  The first IDLTM course began in the USA on October 1st, 2001  (I vividly remember this date as I was the course coordinator and three weeks before the course was due to start, there was a fairly major world event, which we thought would force us to cancel the course as all the participants in that particular group came from outside the US, and not ony did some need visas, but all, of course, needed to fly in.  Fortunately, we pulled it off).  Since then there have been a number of courses run around the world – in Brattleboro (VT, USA), Brisbane, Brazil, and Barcelona.  There is no actual requirement that courses must be held in places beginning with B, just in case you wondered.  This year aside from the the Barcelona course I´m working on at the moment there was one which started in Brisbane in April, one which will be in Brisbane at the end of October and one which will be held in DaNang, Vietnam in November (see, I told you it didn’t have to be a place that starts with B)

The online segment of the course nowadays takes place on Moodle.  So, far the course has had an extremely good record of student retention, with fewer than 5% dropping out (which as I understand it for blended or online learning is a very good rate).

Why take it?

Other than the fact that you might get me as a tutor, you mean?   Well, obviously I’m biased, but I reckon it’s a great course for managers of language teaching organisations, many of whom have come into management positions through teaching and have had very little (if any) actual management training.  This course meets the needs of such people, and provides both a hands-on and an in-depth theoretical grounding in management principles and practices.  It offers a portable qualification and certification by three of the (arguably) biggest names in ELT.  However, I do need to point out that it is not the only course in existence.  I’ll write another post in the next few weeks listing some of the other qualifications, to provide a modicum of balance (though only a modicum, you understand).  I also hope some people who’ve taken the course come across this page and add their feedback on the course as comments so you know there are people who have real participant-eye experience of the course who can give a different view.

And finally…

The most important question of all. How the hell do you pronounce “IDLTM”? Assuming you don’t want to refer to it as The International Diploma in Language Teaching Management all the time that is, obviously. Well, opinions differ. There are some who pronounce a short I, with a schwa between the T and M. Something like Idyll-Tm. Others go for a longer I (Idle-Tm) though some dislike the whole “Idle” bit, while some participants have played fast and loose and gone with Ideal-Team. I’m an idle man, myself, but then if you’ve been following this blog and it’s very slow post-growth, you’ll probably have guessed that already.

5 Responses to “What is the IDLTM?”

  1. Natural disasters and the LTO manager « From Teacher to Manager Says:

    […] summer I taught a group of managers (taking the IDLTM), one of whom was the Director of Studies of a language school in Christchurch, New Zealand. […]

  2. Project Management week. Introduction « From Teacher to Manager Says:

    […] where I see the need most clearly is in my work as a trainer. When the IDLTM was created, for example, we wrote in 6 core modules and 2 “local” modules, which the […]

  3. Erin Kourelis Says:

    Are there updated links to the IDLTM? It sounds interesting.

  4. The haves and the have-nots | From Teacher to Manager Says:

    […] years ago, I encountered a participant on the IDLTM who had, shall we say, interesting views. She was the owner-director of a fairly successful […]

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