Distance learning and remote teaching have increased reliance on tech making it a reality, and able to traverse borders with less regard for physical geo-locations.

Learning Language Online is now seamless with AI-backed Language Apps

There are numerous restrictions that prevent online learning from being ubiquitous such as internet accessibility, access to learning platforms, adequate attention for learners individually, and language barriers. Video-based learning could be enough for urban pupils, but for rural areas, connectivity becomes low, less reliable, and interrupted lessons.

For international students, pursuing higher education or probably taking vocational courses, a lack in fluency in English or any other intermediary languages can play a significant role in limiting proper online learning. Learning a new language is the objective for work or to further studies, but the bigger question is how technology can bridge the language learning divide.

Advances in AI, making use of machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) have proven adept for voice recognition and identifying speech patterns in recent years. And with an enormous amount of virtual learners accessing e-learning via mobile devices, language learning apps backed by artificial intelligence (AI) would expectedly be default medium.

E-leaning via AI Language App

In 2019, Google launched a new Android language app in India called Bolo, speaks in Hindi that is used by a majority of Indian population. The advantage is that it works completely offline, making it ideal to use in rural areas with low bandwidth, and comes with a friendly voice assistant, Diya, guiding kids to read by repeating the phrases she reads aloud.

If a kid finds a word difficult to pronounce, Diya’s artificial intelligence recognises that and helps the kid with the pronunciation in Hindi, a helpful feature for kids whose native language is not English. Google launched a pilot program with almost 1,000 kids in India, and the result found that 64% of children have improved in their literacy skills after using ‘Bolo’.

In a parent survey, 92%of parents notified a remarkable improvement in their kids’ reading ability. The success of pilot has led Google releasing its AI language apps around India, now known as Read Along.

Google is also offering an AI-powered language app for non-native speakers who want to enhance their fluency in English. Of the nearly 1.5 billion English speakers worldwide, the World Economic Forum estimates more than one billion are non-native or learning English as a second language.

Adapted from an article by Puja Das, first published on October 31, 2020