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Language Learning in Digital Era: What makes Mobile language Learning Apps popular?

Have you ever tried to learn a new language? And did you succeed?

With globalization, in order to learn, work and communicate, people’s requirements for language are becoming more and more diverse, and people tend to learn a foreign language as an additional tool or skill.

There are some advice for learning a new languages as below:

The secrets of learning a new language by Lýdia Machová

To summarize the principals of learning a language in above video:

1.Enjoyment

2.Methods

3.System

4.Patience

There is a fun example of learning language by mobile apps: Lucas from Brazil learnt Russian by adding a hundred random Russian speakers on Skype as friends and then chatting with them by coping another’s reply.

Whether using language learning applications enable contribute learners to have systematic methods of learning and have the patience to enjoy the learning process?

Deris and Shukor surveyed thirty-three students at University Teknologi Malaysia on whether they could learn vocabulary using mobile apps. The results showed that the students had a high level of general acceptance, a positive attitude and an interest in learning style. We then opted for an ESL app that specializes in learning English words to use and interviewed these users. The final result reveals that learners decide to learn English words with the app because it saves their time looking at the dictionary.Their favorite vocabulary learning tool is the app’s vocabulary game. Because the fun environment of the game allows them to enjoy the learning process of language, and can also increase students ‘ interest in learning English words. (Deris & Shukor, 2019).

A few applications have already been popular, such as Duolingo.

What is the digital business model for these sort of apps?

The User-centered Experience And Customized services Business Module

A new but significant way of learning, which is called mobile-assisted language learning (MALL), has changed language  learners’ learning approach. It is a user-centered experience (Ibacache, 2019). In the process of learners’ experience, the personalized design and customized services enable students to engage in learning and be attracted by the learning content provided by mobile phones (Metafas & Politi, 2017).

There are many types of apps for language learning. Apps cover a wide range of skills, including vocabulary, grammar, reading, listening, speaking and writing, as well as translation, interpretation, listening comprehension skills and other advanced skills in different languages.

In terms of my experience about learning English, I take an example of a language app I am familiar – Shanbay Word,which is an English Word learning app provided by scallop website. The developer is China Nanjing bay education technology co., LTD.

In the Shanbay Word app, it has a huge number of word banks. Particularly for the test word bank, it matches the Chinese exam-oriented education constitution, and suitable for the students who aim to achieve the highest scores in the shortest time. The Word bank includes the Test of English as a Foreign Language(TOEFL), The International English Language Testing System(IELTS), Graduate Management Admissions Test(GMAT), Scholastic Aptitude Test(SAT), Business English, computer science English and so on.

 In Shanbay Word app, there is a function called AI intelligence word. It adjusts the composition of daily learning according to scientific algorithms. Students can choose one of two learning order: first review the old words, then study the new ones; second, new and old words mixed learning. Students can customize their learning patterns according to their individual learning requirements and habits, which is an innovation in traditional rote learning. During the process of memorizing words, the vocabulary app will automatically pronounce in addition to the text content. When students learn a word, they learn the form, meaning, application and pronunciation of the word. Moreover, the automatic pronunciation of words and example sentences can attract students’ attention and make them more engaged. 

After students finish their daily study plan, the app will also provide word tests to test the learning effect and consolidate the words they have learned. The most popular game among students is also shown in the Shanbay Word app. The game, called word master, is a competition with other users. It aims to help users memorize words through gamification and improve their vocabulary in word fighting. This makes the boring memorizing words exciting and interesting, which greatly improves the students’ interest in learning.

 Nowadays, how to use the enjoyable and systematic method to learn language with the help with language learning app is the point that app developers value. This not only helps people learn language, but also makes them stick to the app, which could enhance customer stickiness.

If you gave up by thinking it’s too difficult to learn a new language. Then, using mobile language learning applications to give another try, maybe you will just find out one enjoyable system method to be a polyglot.

Reference

Deris, F. D., & Shukor, N. S. A. (2019). Vocabulary learning through mobile apps: A phenomenological inquiry of student acceptance and desired apps features. International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM), 13(07), 129-140.

Duolingo. (2020). Learn a language for free. [online] Available at: https://www.duolingo.com/courses [Accessed 3 Mar. 2020].

Ibacache, K. (2019). Use of Language-Learning Apps as a Tool for Foreign Language Acquisition by Academic Libraries Employees. Information Technology and Libraries

Ltd, E. (2020). 10 Best Apps for English Language Learners – Educational App Store. [online] Educational App Store. Available at: https://www.educationalappstore.com/best-apps/5-best-apps-for-english-language-learners [Accessed 6 Mar. 2020].

Machová, L. (2020). The secrets of learning a new language. [online] Ted.com. Available at: https://www.ted.com/talks/lydia_machova_the_secrets_of_learning_a_new_language#t-186566 [Accessed 6 Mar. 2020].

Metafas, D., & Politi, A. (2017). Mobile-assisted learning: Designing class project assistant, a research-based educational app for project based learning. In 2017 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON) (pp. 667-675). IEEE.

Shanbay.com. (2020). 扇贝,知道你在改变. [online] Available at: https://www.shanbay.com/ [Accessed 5 Mar. 2020].

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Language Learning in Digital Era: What makes Mobile language Learning Apps popular?》有3个想法

  1. To be honest, I personally use Duolingo to learn Italian. This App helps me enlarge my vocabulary, improve my grammar understanding and practice my listening. I really love it as I can learn language in my “Scattered time. When I am waiting for a bus, I will remember a few new Italian word instead of listening to music. Duolingo also provide me with some test once I finish the daily study plan. Compared to traditional face-to-face class teaching, App tries to help the students use the language. I find what I learn from the APP can be better applied in the real word, especially when it comes to communication with native speakers. I do find some similarity between Duolingo and Shanbay Word app, and Shanbay Word app are better in the aspect of establishing the “study community”, where the users can communicate with other language learner. However, the language is not only about memorizing the words, but how to use the words. In my opinion, a successful language app should help users practice all of four essential parts of language learning: writing, listening, speaking and reading. If the app is target people aged over 20, who already have an abundant vocabulary, Shanbay Word app cannot only offer very limited resources. App with single function is hard to survive in the market full of competitions.

  2. Before commenting on my point of view, I have to commend the author’s ability to think with the times. As we all know, with the demand for educational informationization, computer network education will become a leading form of education. Online learning will also become the development trend of the learning era. Teachers and students can complete the teaching, discussion, review, test and other learning links with the school through the online learning system, which is amazing! This way of learning was unimaginable ten years ago. Besides, I would like to add that this app online learning mode, compared with the traditional foreign language training courses or foreign teachers’ 1-to-1 learning mode, has great advantages in price. Most importantly, this mobile way of learning a foreign language means that students can learn a foreign language anytime, anywhere. Students can learn foreign languages in bed, on the subway, in the canteen, and on the plane through the language app, completely free of space restrictions! Even the language learning app is combined with artificial intelligence, which gives a stronger spark! The user’s learning is also assisted by scientific teaching, which is very enjoyable! Nowadays, how to use numbering and systematic methods to learn a language with the help of language learning applications is the focus of application development. This can not only help people learn the language, but also enable them to stick to the application so that they can acquire or retain more customers. This is the benefit of artificial intelligence, we need to use it better!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bamboo has explored an unexpected area, but the market for language learning has indeed developed very quickly, and his digital business model has also taken shape very quickly. As international students, we may all have lived around the language learning app all the time while studying IELTS.
    Under the globalization trend, multilingual skills are the basic academic skills that comprehensive talents need to possess, which will provide a guarantee for the market of language learning apps. In addition, in the field of children’s enlightenment, taking Shanbay as an example, Shanbaycan completely explore children’s enlightenment as a new field and attract more parents to teach language through online teaching through the digital business model. Obviously, in the concept of Chinese parents, letting children learn more about skills from an early age is what they want, and what Shanbay may need to do is to implement innovative teaching in this field.
    As a user, check-in is a highlight of Shanbay, but many times people just use this one to fake the learning process, they are not seriously studying, which makes many young people not stay on this language learning app for a long time. Therefore, I think that because the technology can’t guarantee the student’s study focus, it is also a problem that the language learning app needs to overcome during the development process.

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