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Video immersion and the great Membus world tour

Following the success of speed mode, difficult words mode and audio mode, the prototyping team in our east London labs have been working hard on a new learn mode to take language learning to the next level: video immersion mode.

The idea is simple: for every word you learn, test you from videos of native speakers using that word in context, in real sentences, and at just the level of difficulty so that you should understand all the other words in the sentence.

It’s complex to build: it’s tricky to get videos playing seamlessly on any device and adapt to the connection speed. It’s hard to create tens of thousands of sample sentences for thousands of words at just the right difficulty level for each learner. It’s fiddly to integrate these samples sentences and tests into courses that have already been created on Memrise so that everyone can benefit. It’s a lot of work to make sure there are clear grammar explanations available for every sentence.

But the biggest challenge of all? Collecting the videos.

Our testing and prototyping has shown us that the real power of the video immersion mode lies in the variety and vivacity of the people in the videos. We can’t create this mode by filming a few actors in an anaemic studio. We need real people, in the real world. To make the mode work we need thousands of funny, engaging, delightful videos of thousands of real people.

Getting those videos is our biggest challenge. But we’ve worked out how we’re going to do it. Without further ado, we’re proud, excited and delighted to announce…. The Membus language learning video world tour!

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