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including hands-on report and interview with Kerstin Rohlf-Wachs, Head of the German as a foreign language department at VHS Main-Taunus-Kreis

“KiK”: online course for qualified nursing staff

Web-based language course for immigrants who want to gain recognition of their professional qualifications in Germany

Starting position/challenge

Due to the shortage of skilled workers in Germany, more and more qualified nurses are being recruited from abroad to work in German hospitals and nursing homes. Many of them are initially employed as nursing assistants, since their foreign vocational qualifications are not, or have not yet been recognised. Moreover, they often lack sufficient German language skills to be able to work as qualified nurses. Due to shift work and a high workload, however, it is often a great challenge for this target group to participate in regular courses to improve their professional language skills. In order to close this gap, a time and location-independent online language course was developed as part of the Hessian IQ project “Kommunikation im Krankenhaus” (Communication in the Hospital) by the implementing educational organisation Volkshochschule MainTaunus-Kreis.


After professional research in relevant teaching publications on nursing and on the teaching of the German language for nursing staff, after the exchange with teachers as well as sitting in on specialised classes, subject-based lessons were identified and didactically prepared. The online learning modules are focused on the professional requirements within the hospital routine. The modules also focus on the training contents of the preparatory courses for the knowledge test, which is required for the recognition of foreign credentials of qualified nurses. Moreover, the modules include the linguistic requirements of “telc Deutsch B1B2 Pflege”, the subject-specific examination for nursing staff in elderly care and nursing.

The course is divided into 27 subject-based lessons and covers professional situations, e.g. nursing anamnesis, counselling or prophylaxis. The multimedia presentation offers the students varied access to many different teaching materials through audio texts, reading texts, pictures, videos, links to specialist books, dictionaries and web pages. Most of the tasks are self-correcting, but the course also includes interactive exercises and the opportunity to exchange with other students in forums and chats. The online course is not a purely self-learning course; it can be offered as an accompanying tool or in addition to attending conventional courses, whereby it can be flexibly used in different teaching and learning environments. The online course was technically implemented via “moodle”, an opensource learning platform. In the future, the course will also be provided on the Network IQ learning platform ILIAS.


The goal is to improve verbal and written communication skills in the workplace to increase the chances for a qualified position. Migrants can thus be integrated professionally more easily and faster, and the quality of care in hospitals and nursing homes can be guaranteed. Since March 2016, the educational organisation VHS Main-Taunus-Kreis has been using the online course to accompany adaptation and preparatory courses in the areas of health care and nursing.


Addressees for transfer:

Qualified health and nursing staff with foreign vocational qualifications as well as nursing and language schools.

Tool “KiK”:

The online course “KiK – Kommunikation im Krankenhaus” (Communication in the Hospital) enables flexible, time and location-independent language learning for qualified nursing staff from abroad. The course teaches specific work-related German language skills at the B1-B2 level and prepares the participants for a professional occupation in a hospital. Professional situations are dealt with in three modules. The multimedia online course offers the students varied access to many different teaching materials through audio texts, reading texts, pictures, and videos.


Online course “KiK – Kommunikation im Krankenhaus” (Communication in the Hospital)

Implementing organisation:

Volkshochschule Main-Taunus-Kreis

Project contact:

Kerstin Rohlf-Wachs, Pfarrgasse 38, 65719 Hofheim, Tel.: +49 (0) 6192/99 01 27, rohlf-wachs(at)