»» Final Thoughts about the Project

A language e-learning software application prototype which uses speech technology was developed by the partners in the Learning Partnership. This software appication uses speech synthesis in order to read out aloud sentences and phrases. The language learner then has to try to understand them correctly as well as to type them on the keyboard. This way his listening comprehension and his ortographic abilites are trained. The partner organizations believe that this prototype application shows that speech technology can be very useful and successful in language learning.

The results come from the objectives set at the beginning by this Learning Partnership :
A. To realize more efficient foreign language e-learning through speech technology.
B. To overcome psychological and de facto barriers regarding language learning with computers.
However, during the project it became obvious that the partner organizations are more interested in successfully creating something new – the language e-learning prototype with speech technology – and to evaluate this software properly with language teachers, language learners, experts, and software developers. The more theoretic aspects – specified in goal B – were not addressed so boldly. This is owed to the fact that the partner organizations believe that by going this way, permanent improvements in language teaching can be achieved.

According to people involved in the project, its validity is indisputable.
This validity was assessed primarily in terms of effective learning:

  • improvement in the skill of listening and in the spelling skills are undisputed.
  • real opportunity to improve speaking skills especially in terms of pronunciation, as the program offers graphics displaying and allowing users to listen to pronunciation of specific difficult points by asking the program to repeat only that part.

Secondly, but no less important for the purposes of implementation and disclosure of this new application, the use that may be done in terms of learner type was evaluated.
This learning method is based on the opportunity for using it at one own choice free from space and time limitations. Evaluating the project from this point of view, allows it to be used by many types of learners: young and professional people, that could use this technology to take advantage of the downtime on the various portable devices that the market offers, disadvantaged or handicapped people, people who can not invest much money or time in the project of learning another language, and last but certainly one of the most important, women at home, mothers with children, which must retrain in order to obtain a new job.

All this process was generated and it has as its objective the creation of a linguistic and cultural European permeability encouraging the creation of a multilingual and multicultural society.
Much could still be done to create a product that goes from time to time to meet users and specially women needs and to foster the motivation to a larger use.

It is possible to download an Information Leaflet for the Project to link: http://speech.iasio.org/document/leaflet.pdf

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