Language Max

The idea behind Language Max was born out of my interest in adaptive learning and its potential to create transformative change in education in combination with my own challenges in acquiring new languages. As I researched where adaptive learning is in relation to language acquisition versus other disciplines I realized the market has not yet produced a true personalized learning product for language learning. At the same time, new breakthroughs are give hope that the AI needed to achieve effective personalized learning in this area is potentially very close. For this reason, I opted to create “Language Max” seeing it as a very plausible startup based on current cutting edge technology.

The project was a great opportunity to further my skill set as an entrepreneur, while simultaneously working on a topic that has personal significance to me. From the design of the concept to the creation of a concise and attractive one-minute video elevator pitch I felt as if I was challenging my own knowledge and skill set. 

I hope you enjoy the pitch and look forward to interacting in the discussion.

Language Max Venture Pitch

( Average Rating: 4 )

11 responses to “Language Max”

  1. Yannick Wong

    Hi Ryan,

    I think your elevator pitch is very well done and professionally presented. I think a little more emphasis can be given to how Language Max actually works and what the end-product would look like, but I do recognize the difficulty in explaining something that complicated in a very limited period of time.

    Your venture pitch follows a logical sequence and hits all the details that an investor would want to know about. I think you have done an exceptionally good job at highlighting the shortcomings of current commercial offerings in the “The Problem” section. Your solution section is also well-written, but I think it is better illustrated with a brief example of how the AI would actually work in this adaptive learning engine, as the concept is a little nebulous. A more tech-savvy investor would probably also question the feasibility of this kind of AI technology, which can either be very simple (hence meaningless) or incredibly complex (hence expensive or unachievable). It would take a lot of confidence for an investor to believe that Language Max’s implementation would both be technologically feasible AND not just an algorithmic gimmick with the word “AI” attached to it.

    Overall, your pitch is definitely well-researched, and the amount of knowledge you display is a reassuring factor that inspires confidence in you and your team.

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    1. RyanSilverthorne

      Dear Yanick,

      Thank you very much for your feedback.

      Describing how the technology works was definitely a challenge. However, the concept of an abstract path, an interleaved practice approach and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are not fictional by any means. These can literally be found in my references and were the driving force behind choosing this venture. Many companies are utilizing these to design the very same type of product I am talking about.

      Your point is well taken however, that an investor would want to know more. I struggled with whether I should explain more in light of the fact the pitch is meant to be somewhat brief.

      That said I think an appendix section may have been a good idea for me.

      Thank you again for your feedback

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  2. Neal Donegani

    Hi Ryan,
    Clear, professionally created elevator pitch. Website is easy to navigate, and clean.
    I teach French as a second language, and do struggle with creating a communicative context; especially when the students have very little background knowledge, and practice in the language. I have also taught French immersion, and prefer teaching the language this way, even though it can be more exhausting creating and delivering lessons. The reason why I like teaching FI over FSL is the communicative portion, where I can almost fluently communicate with the students, rather than constantly having to correct them or come up with ways for them to consciously recall the language, which you suggest is not as good as unconscious recall.
    Just curious about your comment about motivation vs affluence on the problem page. Is there a reason why you have approached this?
    I have been through several in class, face to face language learning programs for French as an adult, and I have to admit that the most effective for me was the “place based learning”. What I mean by this is that I learned the most, or was more engaged in the work when it was culturally based. I feel like Language Max has that feel with the experts that are engaged as teachers. However, this will mean that you will be paying a lot of money to hire these kinds of experts for Language Max.
    I’m glad that you continued off of our OER in that you are incorporating adaptive learning in your product. One aspect of adaptive learning that I appreciate is that it allows for students to make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes instead of just prodding them along to the next level. Instead it works with the mistakes, and I feel that Language Max would do this as well.
    I couldn’t tell if this is a real product or not until I read your reflection – you’re very convincing!
    With your passion for teaching, learning a language and the struggles you admit facing when doing so, I feel that this project was a good choice for you.
    Just a couple of suggestions. One would perhaps be more consistent with your banner headings. Most have a nice sized banner, whereas “The Problem” page, in particular does not. Another suggestion would be to add in text citations. I found the information that you provided very compelling; however, I feel that I wanted to know the source.
    Regardless, captivating elevator pitch, convincing venture pitch, and sensible product.

    ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. RyanSilverthorne

      Thank you for your feedback Neal,

      With regard to motivation and affluence, I was referring to my experience in language that the wealth of a nation is not a determining factor in how well students do in second languages. Often times I find it is the complete opposite in Asia as the English rates in countries like the Philippines and Vietnam are far better than in Korea or China. I theorize it has more to do with motivation, but I could certainly of expanded more on that.

      Thank you also for your comments on the aesthetics of the page. I have made some adjustments in light of this.

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  3. ben zaporozan

    Hi Ryan,

    Your pitch is definitely a good one. It’s an interesting one to me because it seems plausible, but I also understand that it is not really an entry-level type of adaptability that you are describing. I’ve been working with adaptive learning technologies in higher education publishing since 2013, and I haven’t seen anything in the education space that really hits the mark the way you are attempting to describe. The marketing campaigns generally suggest that a solution to the adaptive problem to solve is already out there, but internally we all know that there is work to be done.

    All of the North American higher education publisher offerings with adaptive learning (even the ones with AI), all start with a linear, personalized learning path in the manner that you described with content knowledge maps for pre- and post-requisite knowledge (like Knewton, which was sold for parts to Wiley in 2019 for under $17 after years of massive venture capital was invested on unrealized adaptive delivery). You might be able to jump in and out of topics depending on how well you master learning objectives (or don’t), but they are no more than pre-established content connections. Only a larger quantity of content seems to make the recommendation engine perform similarly to the way you would like Language Max to work. The adaptive learning engines use simple (sort of) types of machine learning using slightly customized versions of Item Response Theory, and the ones that go a little deeper into AI with predictive recommendations tend to be more successful when they add a Confidence-Based-Learning Component to the learning process.

    That scenario does work well for intro-level non-language courses (1st – 2nd year university), but by 3rd year the publishers tend not to offer enough content to make adaptability affordable, and systems that allow educators to write their own content and pull in OER are very simplistic types of adaptability.

    So how can this work for language acquisition? Pearson has dabbled with this too, but adaptivity for language is more difficult by far than other topics. Math can be highly complex, but there is at least a solutions path that’s less relative than sentence construction. Much more predictable outcomes and pre-requisite knowledge. NLP and AI use still requires a heavy lift to map text, image, audio, video, etc. content to metadata before a learner starts to record any entries in the system.

    Your pitch is interesting to think about, and I’m glad that you didn’t get to far into the feasibility of the solution. I deliberately avoided this in my offering too, hoping that the concept would be more interesting to comment on than technical opportunity. Well done.

    ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. RyanSilverthorne

      Dear Ben,

      Thank you for your comments. Given your background, I definitely appreciate you taking the time to look this over.

      I cannot argue with your depth of knowledge about the industry but I wonder if you have read any of Philp Kerr’s articles on the subject of adaptive learning (can be found in my references)? These formed the basis for Language Max as it describes what is currently in development which will potentially change adaptive learning in language dramatically. There are also companies such as Adaptemy specifically pursuing the very same goal.

      While I’m not a programmer I do see there is great potential in these technologies based purely on the logic of design I have read. It is true “we all know that work needs to be done” but I think you might be surprised how in reach this could be.

      With regard to university, I would simply say that the focus is not on instructors writing their own content but rather choosing their own objectives. You are very correct that with language this is more difficult, which necessitates the type of technology that I previously described.

      You raise some good points for sure, that would be a challenge to this venture. Yet, based on what I have read from industry experts I’m not sure it is as far-fetched as you may believe.

      You are correct that I did not get too far into the technical components. I did think about doing this as research is there. However, unpacking it all in a venture pitch didn’t seem like the right move. There is no doubt that an investor would want his tech people interacting with mine. Lucky my fictional roommate from undergrad, Brian, will be there to talk to his/her fictional IT team 🙂

      Thank you for your feedback. It was very thought-provoking and it touched on areas where I admittedly am not as strong in knowledge that I would like to be.

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  4. adrian wheeler


    This is an excellent pitch. You have clearly identified the problem you wish to solve, the solution you propose and the market within which you will have to compete. Both your elevator and venture pitches were convincing and your arguments were well researched and sound. If this were a real-world venture I would want to see the app before investing as true adaptive learning is extremely difficult to achieve, however if you pulled it off I would 100% invest. For the purpose of this project I’m giving you a well deserved 5/5. Very well done!

    ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )
    1. RyanSilverthorne

      Thank you Adrian for your review.

      I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to see the app as we would be talking about a very big investment.

      I’m by no means an expert in this area but I would love to see a product like this emerge in the near future. And, I don’t think we are that far off.

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  5. AmandaKong

    Language Max is a good idea. Language learning has replaced textbook learning and unique learning needs are important to consider.

    Elevator Pitch
    – One-minute pitch; concise.
    – I like the “why invest?” part.

    Venture Pitch
    – Website was clean and easy to follow.
    – Market analysis was adequate.

    I like this. Thanks for sharing, Ryan.

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  6. Erica Hargreave

    Hi Ryan,

    You’ve done a great job here of laying out an easy to follow and visually appealing pitch for Language Max. Theres a clear problem and you’ve presented a clear solution with Language Max. As a potential investor I am interested, but I want to learn more first. A few questions that went through my head as I went through the pitch were as follows: What are each of your competitors strengths and weaknesses? How are you applying those to what you are crafting with Language Max? What is your business model (revenue streams)? How do you plan to market Language Max, as while this is a marketplace with potential, there is also a fair bit of competition.

    Great job, Ryan.

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  7. ryan valley

    Wow Ryan! This is excellent, it is well researched and clearly articulated. I found the website to be well put together and easy on the eyes. The only things I am wondering about are what is your specific ask of investors and the marketing plan? Regardless, In my opinion though those conversations could be had after, 5/5.

    ( 0 upvotes and 0 downvotes )

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