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How are apps revolutionising language learning?

By Rob

Ever felt like taking up a new hobby? Ever wanted to skate, paint or perhaps learn a new language?

The problem that we all face is time. When you leave home for work at 8 am every day and don’t get home until 7pm, how can you possibly find time to fit these things in? And let’s face it, who really feels like heading out for an evening of activities after a long hard day at work?

However, things have changed. These days we are surrounded by ever advancing technology, available to us on the smartphones in our pockets. Here’s how we can take advantage of that to pursue our dreams.

OK, so maybe an app can’t teach you to skateboard (do tell us if we are wrong!), but there is one thing that you most certainly CAN do – learn a new language.

You no longer have to fret about being late for evening classes. You no longer have to lug heavy textbooks with you everywhere. Now that you can learn a language with an app, you can do it anywhere and anytime. All you need are a spare few minutes.
We’re spending more time on our smartphones than ever at the moment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re using that time efficiently. We spend hours checking social media, the news, and playing games.

Just imagine what would happen if instead, you spent just some of that time learning some Italian, picking up some Portuguese, or diving into Japanese?

Ben Whately, COO of Memrise explains that our phones can open up a window of learning opportunities to potentially billions of people worldwide:

“We can create networks of other people who are learning, and networks of native speakers. These can be used for motivational systems as in games, but also for judging the quality of language output in social game experiences.”

Our aim at Memrise is to make learning a new language completely achievable for everyone.. By learning with Memrise, you’ll feel like everyone is learning with you. We have scoreboards that let you compare your progress with your friends, and an adorable, motivational learning mascot in Ziggy, who’ll evolve as you do and gain more linguistic superpowers.


Modern technology has been extremely successful in enabling those who traditionally have felt less comfortable about going out into the world

Do you remember Pokemon Go?

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The Nintendo game brought to our phones using augmented reality has been praised by many people from the autism and neuro-atypical community. From relieving anxiety to helping people have conversations and feel confident about leaving the house.

This is one of the incredible benefits of technology today. Technology is revolutionising the world, and in particular, the way in which we learn languages.

With powerful mobile devices and networks streaming high-quality media, it’s now possible to access highly engaging visual content at the tap of a screen. Technology is bringing learning languages alive in a way that is not possible in the classroom.

Memrise’s algorithm, its big data analysis, and predictive statistical modelling allows Memrise to help learners understand at what point in time what they have learned is beginning to fade and how to reinforce those memories most effectively. This is infinitely more efficient than traditional forms of learning.

“Training perceptual skills such as listening. When learning to recognise right vs wrong pronunciation, the key is to give you input at a level that you can just distinguish the right and wrong. Tech lets us give you huge numbers of samples, and tune the difficulty to just the right level. A human teacher can’t give you that quantity of input, and can’t tune it as subtly”, says Ben Whately.

So next time you reach for your phone on your train journey to work… why not take advantage of the amazing technology and learn a language?

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