Day 3 – Language on-the-go

The problem my app addresses comes from personal experience — when I lived overseas, and was attempting to learn the local language, I would often learn new words through conversation with people (and make note of them in  my phone). However, these words were often not *everyday* words, and I would quickly forget them because I might not hear or have the chance to use them for weeks. My mLearning idea is for an app that helps us to learn and remember new words, and it has a primarily Cognitivist approach.

Why mobile?

It’s important that this tool would be mobile, because the idea is that people would learn new words that they identify as particularly useful or interesting, and could immediately enter them in the app. The app would provide examples of the word in context and questions to help the person identify the correct usage of the word. Over the next several days after the learner adds the word, the app would send alerts with questions and new examples of the word in context so that the learner can continue to practice it. Ideally, if the app was really smart, it would create examples that use previous vocab as well, and would allow people to build their vocabulary that way, in a game-like interface. Learners could also add their own examples, which could be specific to local usage or slang, to expand the database.

Similar solutions?

I haven’t seen any similar solutions, but would be curious to know if there are. Most of the language apps I’ve seen are quite contained in that they don’t push things out to the learner or allow them to store their own info.

Key challenges

This kind of app would be developed for one platform only (smart phone) and would require intensive development, I think. It would also be important to evaluate whether this tools is best delivered to a specific first language market — for example, is this a tool for English speakers to learn Spanish, or is it a tool for everyone to learn Spanish? (I would hope that it could work for all first-language markets.) One area I’m unsure of is pricing. If this is a for-profit tool, what would the pricing look like in order to recoup the development costs and then make a profit? I think this tool would be a good fit for people who are not absolute beginners, but this narrows the market and also makes marketing more challenging.

When I start evaluating this, the “what about…” questions just keep coming! It’s reinforcing (as this course already has) how complex the process of developing new tools and ventures can be.

Posted in: Week 11: Mobiles