It used to be the case that learning a new language meant sitting in a classroom, with a stuffy teacher making you repeat phrases and ending up with a not -so-wide vocabulary of ‘my name is’, ‘how much is this cauliflower?’ and ‘where is the disco?’. Although you might find the need for these phrases in some niche situations, they aren’t exactly useful when it comes to communicating and conversing with the locals in a real life setting.
Smartphone apps have been the next generation of language learning, where you can listen and repeat words, and even speak phrases into the app in English, for it to be read out in the appropriate translation. Whilst this technology has really helped to advance learning a language with ease of access and interactivity, the same principle of learning textbook words and phrases still doesn’t allow for the discussions you might face when talking or replying in general conversation to an actual person.
Learning In VR
Mondly is a new virtual reality language teaching app, which improves the learning experience by placing people into situations in which they need to actually use the language. By wearing the virtual reality headset, you are transported to the country of the language you are learning. If learning Spanish, for example, you might start by being inside a virtual taxi taking a ride through Madrid. Gone are the days of pointing to an address and hoping the cab driver understands you, this app replicates the real life conversations you would have talking to the driver. By responding to the driver’s conversation and questions, the app gives instant feedback on your pronunciation and suggests different phrases to enrich and expand on your response in a text bubble that appears in the corner of your vision. You can then go through more scenarios, such as checking in at a hotel reception or ordering a meal with a waiter in a restaurant, all common situations you would come across on holiday.
Better Than The Old Way?
Instead of the traditional way of learning language, where you learn a set of words and phrases and hope your pronunciation will be understood when you go on holiday, or even worse, rely on the local people to talk to you in English, virtual reality language teaching allows you to practice the real life conversations that you will be faced with on your travels, resulting in more fluent, authentic speech, with the content being actually useful to you.
For those only wanting to learn a few words and phrases to get by on your 7 day holiday, the mobile apps which help you to learn common words and phrases are an ideal and convenient way to pick up some of the local lingo, but for those who want to become fluent conversationalists in one of the 28 languages supported by Mondly, this immersive experience may be the way to become fluent in a language so that you can hold your own in any real life setting.