Today, learning a new language is more and more accessible. With the emergence of the web and technologies, language learning has evolved. Indeed, the learner can rely on different platforms, applications… The question is then to know if by relying on technologies that use artificial intelligence, the user will learn efficiently language subtleties very specific to humans… That’s why, like Pipplet, we have an approach that combines human and technological expertise.
Learning a language
First of all, we will analyze the advantages of new technologies for learning a language. This explains the success and democratization of online language learning platforms. Indeed, there are a multitude of them: Babbel, Duolingo, Busuu, Qioz… We no longer count the applications that allow you to learn languages on the web, anytime, anywhere. In the e-learning sector, language learning works pretty well. In fact, we’ve gone from Software CD, face-to-face courses, to intuitive platforms, accessible applications… Not to mention the key support of video in language learning! It’s much easier and more fun this way!
Learning a language is a high mountain to climb. When learning a language, there are many steps to follow: reading, writing, understanding and speaking the foreign language. It’s a long and hard work! And in order to overcome the obstacles and learn effectively, each learner will have his or her own preferences. This is why technologies are evolving to overcome certain obstacles in this complex process and also to accelerate the accessibility of a new language.
For example, there is no longer any need to wait until the weekly class time to practice!
Learning a language with an application
Many learners now use dedicated applications.
For example, Duolingo, the industry leader, specializes in simple exercises, such as gap-filling texts or multiple choice questions. The goal is to assimilate the basic vocabulary of a foreign language, among all those offered.
Other applications will focus – like Busuu – on the conversational aspect of language learning. The platform thus encourages the creation of conversations between users on specific topics. As for Qioz, it plays the card of language learning through TV shows.
As you can see, technologies are not at all an obstacle to learning. In fact, it is quite the contrary! Indeed, technologies support learning and respond to the different needs and aspects around a language. There are as many learning paths, types of training, as there are so many users and preferences. By extension, there can therefore be as many web platforms, applications, as there are forms of learning. This is partly why online training is booming!
In fact, some learners will want to focus on oral expression – which is the case on Babbel, for example – while others will prefer the written form of Duolingo.
Moreover, it also depends on the level of the learner. Some people will simply need « refreshment, » while others will really be embarking on a new adventure. Whatever the learner’s objective is , the application reinforces and complements his or her language learning.
Technologies used in academic and professional fields to learn a language
Moreover, we note that in addition to individual language learning, more and more collective actors are also getting involved. Indeed, it is certainly no coincidence that the French “Grandes Ecoles” and universities have taken up the challenge. Today, French higher education institutions give their students direct access to MOOCs and online language learning platforms.
For example, Fun, Coursera or Tell Me More… This diversity of approaches and this increased popularity show the interest of the evolution of technologies around languages and language learning.
We are witnessing the same process in the workplace. More and more companies are calling on professionals to assess and support their employees in learning a foreign language or maintaining their level.
But is foreign language learning democratized as a result? Are these types of dematerialized learning really effective? Are they sufficient?
The limits of current applications
The major problem with these technologies is the often superficial nature of the learning that is ultimately carried out in this way. These applications thus allow a first initiation. However, as soon as the learner wishes to go deeper, to enter into the rules of grammar, conjugation and idiomatic expressions, this is still limited.
Even for our example of Busuu, which encourages exchanges and communication between users, this remains succinct because it is automated. There are no checks behind it. Thus, despite the progress of some platforms, artificial intelligence – AI – still has a whole world to exploit. Especially in terms of monitoring, customization and evaluation. Indeed, it remains a major challenge: to be able to recommend exercises and tests adapted to the learner’s level. To create a personalized, made-to-measure course… To check the student’s progress evolution and good learning success.
Learning a language in a dematerialized way
Indeed, according to specialized researchers, in the process of learning a language on the web, the AI revolution has yet to happen. The desired customization often stops at mechanisms of « spaced repetition ». That is to say, in order to optimize reviewing the language vocabulary and long-term memorization, the same word will be re-proposed at regular intervals according to the learner’s answers.
Linguistic applications – for foreign languages but also for learning French – such as Babbel and the Voltaire project use this process of « spaced repetition ». However, this process does not meet the learner’s need for adaptation or recommendation.
While some applications – such as Lingvist and Duolingo – do try to personalize their sequences of exercises based on level diagnostics, their progress in this area is still slow. They rely more on the strength of e-learning and the web than on the use of AI.
Moreover, according to Jean-Marc Labat, this is a real academic gamble. Indeed, as accessible solutions that meet the public’s requirements in terms of personalization are still awaited, it remains difficult for enthusiasts and learners. As he points out, we are facing a real challenge that « consists in leading technological developments and the production of linguistic content at the same time ».
Determining language tests
In order to meet these challenges, an optimal solution is to introduce language tests. This makes it possible to ensure a real follow-up, to put the learner in real conditions.
Thus, we present Pipplet. They provide a solution for assessing language knowledge for employees in companies, candidates in the context of recruitment… Thus, perfectly aware of the importance of certifications in terms of foreign language skills, Pipplet has developed a system that combines technology and human talent. This system precisely evaluates the level of each learner who takes their tests.
The aim of these tests is to first judge the basics of a learner’s competence in a foreign language. Secondly, to be able to improve the language skills of the learner. Thus, the online tests focus on real-life situations. At the end of the assessment, a recognized certification is delivered to the learner.
Evaluation and human expertise
Authôt joins Pipplet in the belief that technology must be combined with human skills to best meet the requirements of a foreign language. This is why we offer a proofreading and translation service coupled with our online automatic transcription application.
We work with a hundred professionals in the different languages offered – for both your audio and video files. They are native typists, editors or translators.
We therefore combine the best of new technologies and their evolutions with expert human evaluation and analysis.
In short, it is obvious that the evolution and various technological progress in foreign language learning is a real plus, that the opportunities in the sector are numerous. However, AI still has a long way to go! It is therefore still preferable today, in order to ensure a certain level and quality, to use human expertise on this subject. For any audiovisual translation project, please do not hesitate to contact us!
Authôt. You speak. We write.