Language learning is an integral skill in a globalized world since most companies nowadays value employees who speak one or more foreign languages. While plenty of language resources and tools are available, the engagement rate seems to be dropping as users often feel overwhelmed and lack the motivation to continue their studies.
Fortunately, there is hope at hand with artificial intelligence being integrated into language learning apps to fuel engagement. Nowadays, with the introduction of AI into the education industry most educational apps leverage language learning with it to transform the academic experience into something both interesting and productive.
This blog will look at the benefits of utilizing AI in language learning and current practices applied by several language learning apps.
Millions of people worldwide strive to learn a new language, but very few of them end up speaking it fluently. The reasons that people give up learning languages mid-way are several, but here are the most common ones:
Online apps make language learning more accessible, and with the help of AI, they can offer solutions to the abovementioned challenges and make the learning process more fun and productive.
The integration of AI tools in language learning apps has many benefits and makes the learning process more personalized and proactive. Some of the notable benefits include:
From leading players like Duolingo to up-and-coming startups, language learning apps are embracing artificial intelligence tools to provide users with a smooth and personalized learning experience. Let’s see how these companies utilize AI to boost learner engagement.
Duolingo is the most popular online language learning app in the world and has more than 300 million active users. It offers more than 100 courses in 38 languages and heavily relies on AI to deliver its personalized courses.
Duolingo has AI chatbots that you can text with to improve your skills. The algorithm is trained to understand the context and provide learners with real-time answers. Their latest integration also involves speech recognition in language learning that teaches the correct pronunciation of words. The learner uses the microphone to record their speech and sends it to the chatbot. The algorithm uses benchmarks like references from native speakers’ voices and points out the mistakes in pronunciation.
Another vivid example of the app’s using AI, namely machine learning and natural language processing tools, is the assessment test for identifying the learner’s language level. The AI technology automatically creates thousands of tests, including reading, writing, and speaking sections, grades them, and categorizes them into proficiency levels from A1 to C2.
Gamification is at the core of Duolingo’s language learning system. Once you begin a course, you’ll start a streak of collecting points. The app will send you daily reminders to log in to avoid losing your streak. The more consecutive days you log in, the more points you will accumulate that you can later use to unlock extra features like quizzes.
Babbel is a German language learning app and an e-learning platform that offers courses in 14 languages. The company has more than 20 million current active users and focuses on using real-life situations and review sessions to foster the language learning process.
Similar to Duolingo, Babbel also uses speech recognition technology to facilitate correct pronunciation and integrates personalized learning activities to engage users. Additionally, the app offers an online test for users to assess their listening and reading skills, and smart AI algorithms grade these tests.
Babbel also has a Review Manager tool that reminds you of words and phrases to repeat during the day. This AI algorithm is based on the spaced repetition method, which is a learning method that aims to move words from your short-term memory to your long-term memory through set time intervals of repetition and review.
The British language learning app Memrise offers courses in 23 languages and has more than 50 million users worldwide.
Its uniqueness lies in its real-time object recognition system. This tool allows users to take pictures of different objects and discover what they’re called in a particular language on the app. The users simply need to click on “Explore” mode and point their camera towards an object. Memrise’s AI algorithm will recognize it and identify the object’s name on the screen.
Memrise also pushes a personalized learning approach to the front with its chatbots. These bots are programmed to carry on real-life conversations with users who want to practice their skills. They can correct your grammar mistakes during conversations and offer new vocabulary that can be used within the scope of particular topics.
Busuu is a language learning app developed in Spain that offers courses in 12 different languages to over 100 million users worldwide. Busuu combines AI-powered language learning with one-to-one live tutoring to deliver a full-scale language learning experience to its users.
In 2016, Busuu partnered with Google Assistant on Google Home and started offering Spanish lessons through Google Assistant’s voice recognition system. Those who own a Google Assistant can activate it by saying “Talk to Busuu” and converse with the AI program as if it were a real Spanish teacher. The AI virtual assistant will guide you through key conversational topics, asking you to listen to audio flashcards and reply to questions.
Recently, Busuu also launched a VR app for learning Spanish on Oculus Gear and Oculus Go, as well as a comprehension test for Amazon’s Alexa platform. All you have to do is say, “Alexa, launch Busuu Quiz Bot,” and you will have access to more than 1,000 questions that test your vocabulary and speaking skills.
A slightly newer app, Rosetta Stone, helps users learn 30 languages by using augmented reality and real-time translation tools. The embedded machine learning technology allows you to identify real-world objects with a camera and translate them into multiple languages. Additionally, it utilizes the TruAccent speech engine, allowing users to start speaking with their first lesson and receive feedback on their pronunciation. Moreover, the app uses text, images, and sounds to teach learners new vocabulary and incorporates the spaced repetition technique.
AI-integrated language learning applications, such as Duolingo and Babbel, provide a more personalized experience for beginner language learners. These AI applications are also good at processing, managing, and communicating with large amounts of data in real-time. In this way, these apps can play a crucial role in a student’s education by helping overcome some of the barriers that they are likely to face when learning a second language.