As far back as 2006, people have had the ability to take classes online via Coursera. Coursera allows university students to learn by watching a class teach from a student.
When Did Online Language Learning Technology Start
A new breed of digital teachers.
The viral startup AIERS is a step further down the path of artificial intelligence for language learning, which goes beyond reading, writing and speaking.
“We use deep neural networks to create a language learning game,” explains spokesperson Elyse Winstead. “The end goal is to allow students to rephrase sentences, develop vocabulary and define everyday phrases in any context.”
So far, nearly 2 million students from over 500 countries have taken part in AIERS, according to AIERS, which was founded in 2014.
“We build a new way of teaching that lets students read, write and speak like an expert,” says AIERS co-founder Anthony Gallaher. “We put together a platform that provides a personalized experience.”
WATCH MORE: Is the Rise of Online Learning Hurting Traditional Education?
“Our core values are which we refer to as ‘critical pedagogy,’ which is based on learning that is applied on the real world,” says AIERS founder Mark Rowe. “The underlying engine behind AIERS is teaching technology that employs teaching language that is responsive to students’ needs, followed by contextual descriptions of grammar and vocabulary to help students learn to speak well.”
Q: Before AIERS, how were students taught to learn languages?
AIERS offers a language learning platform by machine intelligence designed to “test” a new way of teaching languages.
“We apply artificial intelligence to language lessons that is built to best deliver effective courseware that needs to be taught by the teacher in the classroom,” says AIERS co-founder Tony Gallaher. “We focus our machine learning technology to achieve other important tasks such as translating text for context, converting movements to move step, word progression, and commentary; and we feed this to new ways of teaching the language where the instructor gets extra help.”
AIERS’ method of delivery is highly differentiated from traditional language learning classes by tailoring to the learner; these courses are fully integrated into a student’s homework schedule, and also include the ability to practise daily through a personalized exercise program. There is even flexibility on when the students take part in the lessons, with the capability to split the lessons up in different parts of the day depending on the student’s availability.
“In short, we listen to our students and tailor our curriculum to their needs to provide a lasting learning experience,” says AIERS co-founder Tony Gallaher.
Q: How does AIERS compare to other language learning platforms?
While AIERS does not measure the competency of individual student’s, the AIERS program uses its own professional and non-professional test, to measure students progress, as well as the exam to train these AIERS platforms. AIERS therefore works independently to offer students an integrated, customizable language learning experience.
AIERS was conceived of to address the need for a more personalized language learning experience.
“Many traditional language teaching methods focus on simply reading a class text to learn a particular skill. But this approach only works for a minority of students because this is the curriculum they’ve been taught in school and this information is backed up by teachers and standardized test,” says AIERS co-founder Mark Rowe. “Traditional methods tend to ignore students who have limited time or motivation to get through a particular text and instead focus on pupils with more time, or who can learn from a certain method of teaching, like memorization. AIERS aims to integrate different approaches by delivering a rich immersive experience that is different, uniquely tailored, personalized and open to individual student requirement.”
Q: What is the tech behind AIERS?
“Our AIERS uses computer vision with deep neural networks to create what we call a ‘Grammar engine’, which is an engine that animates passages, sentences, passages that are not easily translatable to users,” says AIERS co-founder Anthony Gallaher. “After that, it actually uses the AI algorithms developed by our team, to translate them into grammatically correct language. It then uses this learner language to teach the students to improve their language skills in the future. We are talking to our board to discuss how we can translate the model we have developed to other areas that is not publicly available.”
AIERS currently has 34 staff members, including researchers, designers, development engineers, and community and marketing specialists. AIERS is an entirely “for-profit” company, and is raising funds to bring its AI-driven language learning platform to more students.