Becalos English Challenge

Voxy Joins the Becalos English Challenge!

Voxy is honored to be joining forces with Becalos, the largest organization in Mexico providing scholarships and internship placement to high school and college students as well as teachers. In 2015 alone, Becalos distributed 17,000 scholarships!

The first ever Becalos English Challenge, launching this month, will offer Voxy and other English learning products to students and teachers in Mexico for free, with special incentives for participants to improve their English skills over the next seven months. About 8,000 students are expected to participate in the English Challenge, spread across nine universities from a diverse range of geographical areas—including Acapulco, Mexico City, Merida and Iguala. The goal is to identify the most effective English learning solutions, particularly for students who don’t have easy access to language programs at their schools.

“I am excited to welcome Voxy as part of the Becalos English Challenge,” said Hugo Sancen, Complementary Programs Coordinator at Becalos. “We are proud to partner with a company that’s driving innovation in adaptive learning, fresh content development and increased student engagement. We strive to provide our students and teachers with the best possible resources to help them achieve their educational and professional goals, and Voxy’s approach to English learning is fully aligned with that vision.”

In order to receive a college degree in Mexico, you must fulfill certain English requirements, but not all students have the resources they need to meet the necessary criteria to graduate. Even though the president has advocated raising the level of English proficiency among students country-wide, many public schools struggle to offer English courses to all their students. This often leaves students and teachers in a position to fend for themselves, sometimes with scarce resources to enroll in classes on their own.

Voxy’s blended approach includes self-paced, adaptive lessons tailored to students’ specific goals and live instruction with native English speakers via video-conferencing—an ideal combination for students looking for the flexibility of a self-guided course as well as personalized feedback from trained instructors. Voxy’s solution can be delivered as a fully mobile experience, offers over 30,000 hours of content appropriate for learners of all proficiency levels and leverages patented technology to personalize courses based on the specific English needed to prepare students for their careers.

“We are thrilled to be part of this inspiring initiative,” said Paul Gollash, Voxy Founder and CEO.  “English proficiency is a huge driver of socio-economic advancement globally, and we applaud the efforts that Becalos is making to remove the barriers that prevent tomorrow’s leaders from accessing the high-quality instruction they need and deserve.”

Hugo Sancen, coordinator of complementary projects for Becalos Fundación Televisa; and Maria Hernandez, Becalos scholarship recipient and candidate for NASA program.

Hugo Sancen, Complementary Programs Coordinator at Becalos, and Maria Hernandez, Becalos scholarship recipient and candidate for NASA program.

Featured image from Becalos English Challenge launch event at Instituto Tecnologico Tlahuac 2 in Mexico City. Pictured from left to right: Hugo Sancen, Becalos Fundación Televisa; Laura Rojas, HSBC México; Imelda Vega, de tecnológico nacional de México; Gabriela Rojas, Bécalos Fundación Televisa; Miguel Laporta, HSBC México & Latin America; Manuel Ángel Uribe Vázquez, Instituto Tecnológico Tlahuac 2; Alicia Lebrija, Fundación Televisa; Omar Chaparro; Maria Hernandez; Lagtzu Lopez, HSBC México.

Becalos is a division of Televisa, the largest media company in Mexico. Photos courtesy of Becalos.

Voxy Releases Architecture, Communication and Design Units

New Units for Architecture, Communication and Design Professionals

We’re excited to announce that we have recently released three new units for students and professionals in creative fields: Architecture, Communication and Design.

The Architecture, Communication and Design units are available to Voxy learners of all proficiency levels, and adapt in difficulty based on individual needs. These units offer practice activities and lessons specifically geared toward the creative industries, and provide resources with targeted industry jargon while covering current news and trends.

Voxy offers several other career-focused units as well, including Hospitality, Medicine, Social Media, Manufacturing, Mining and Oil and Gas. Voxy also offers a Job Interviews unit to help learners who are preparing to enter the workforce or make a career change.

“One of the features that makes Voxy so effective is that we offer learners authentic content designed to prepare them to accomplish their real-world tasks,” said Voxy’s Chief Education Officer Dr. Katharine Nielson, PhD. “We’re excited to add more and more job-specific content to the Voxy platform, from audio-recorded exchanges between doctors and patients to lessons based on writing emails and other business tasks.”

Voxy’s patented approach to content production also allows Voxy to efficiently generate custom learning material for its institutional partners. This gives companies the opportunity to personalize what their employees are learning on the Voxy platform: Voxy can quickly transform any content—from training manuals to onboarding documents—into effective English lessons, helping learners master the English skills they need to deliver results and conduct business in a global economy.

Like all of Voxy’s learning material, the Architecture, Communication and Design units consist of lessons that adapt to each learner’s proficiency level in real time. Voxy uses content generated by and for native English speakers, so learners are always practicing English skills they can apply in the real world.

For more Voxy news, check out our most recent press releases here.

Happy New Year from Voxy!

2015 by the Numbers

As we look back on 2015, Voxy has a lot to be proud of. We’ve increased our total number of learners by 207% and have nearly tripled our total number of institutional partners.

We’re especially excited about what our learners have accomplished: In 2015, learners spent 769,248 hours learning on the Voxy platform—32,052 days-worth—and completed a whopping 16,255,694 activities. Now that’s a lot of English learning!

We want to extend a big Voxy thank you to everyone who shared in our success over the last year—we can’t wait to see what we can achieve together in 2016.

Voxy Patents Innovative Approach to Second Language Learning

Voxy Patents Innovative Approach to Second Language Learning

Voxy is proud to announce that it has received a patent for its innovative method of identifying the most appropriate keywords in a text-based resource for second language learning.

“We are thrilled to have patented our unique approach to materials creation,” said Katie Nielson, Voxy’s Chief Education Officer. “By combining our efficient, customized keyword extraction process with the review of expert humans, we can offer learners truly innovative, adaptive and personalized learning experiences.”

Voxy’s pedagogical approach to English language learning is based on decades of empirically-tested academic research, including data that show that language learners are more likely to succeed when they learn from materials that are relevant to their goals and personal interests, and aligned to their current proficiency levels.

Learning activities and materials for second language learners have traditionally been prepared manually by a teacher, textbook author or curriculum planner, then reproduced en masse. The problem with this model is that the same static materials have to serve many people, and do not address the unique needs of individual learners. Furthermore, this traditional model is extremely resource-intensive, which makes updating learning materials costly and virtually impossible to accomplish in a timely manner.

Voxy is the first and only language learning platform to address this issue by building a tool that allows curriculum developers to quickly transform authentic English-language materials into effective learning objects by automatizing the identification of the keywords that will allow a learner to better understand the meaning of a text. While keyword extraction is not a new technique, earlier approaches have been known to disregard certain words that may actually be very useful for a second language learner.

This approach is extremely beneficial for creating custom content for institutional partners, since it allows for more efficient creation of learning materials. For example, Voxy can take a business’s proprietary English-language content—such as employee training manuals or annual reports—and turn it into language learning materials for non-native English speakers. It also allows Voxy to continuously update its content library, which means learners are always studying with up-to-date resources.

Voxy’s method includes a particular focus on words that are most relevant to non-native English speakers, and collocations—common phrases or word pairings—that research has shown are important for understanding English. Once these keywords and collocations are identified using text summarization and natural language processing algorithms, the output of the algorithms is checked and approved by the curriculum development team and Voxy creates learning activities that support the specific needs of ESL students.

Voxy is also the only platform with a proprietary algorithm that considers the difficulty level and subject of each resource along with other data points, which enables Voxy to deliver learning materials that dynamically adapt to a learner’s specific needs in real time. When learners study with relevant materials tailored to their personal needs and unique challenges as a second language learner, they are much more likely to see real-world results.

From left to right: Nichole Wallace, Paul Gollash, Michael Preston, Jake Schwartz, Jonathan Harber, Stephanie Dua.

Solving the Problem of Adult Literacy

I recently had the opportunity to participate in an event focused on adult literacy here in the United States and around the world. The XPRIZE for Adult Literacy, an award program sponsored by the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, is a competition designed to bring the brightest and most creative minds in education and technology together to transform the lives of low-literate adults. “What we need,” said former First Lady Barbara Bush, “is a recipe for big ideas, bold solutions and team building.”  I was thrilled to be a part of this event, and feel confident that the passionate and dedicated educators that this organization brings together are poised to have a huge impact on this significant societal problem.

Literacy is the biggest equalizer we know. —Barbara Bush

In the United States, more than 26 million adults have low literacy skills, and less than 2% of those adults have access to literacy programs. For the adult participants in programs funded by the Barbara Bush Foundation, there are often major hurdles to overcome—these individuals have an average annual income of $10,000-12,000, and typically read at less than a fifth-grade level. The issue of adult literacy is closely tied to English proficiency, not only for people living in English-speaking countries like the United States, but also for the two billion people worldwide who need to learn English for economic advancement. In New York alone, 23% of New Yorkers have limited English proficiency and about 1.6 million people don’t speak English at all.

Low literacy levels—and the need for language acquisition in general—is such a massive problem that needs tackling. English in particular is the global language of commerce, the language of the Internet and often a key driver of socio-economic advancement. When I started Voxy five years ago, I set out to create a product that would help billions of people around the world learn English more effectively and therefore give them better opportunities in tomorrow’s global job market. Today, Voxy uses cutting-edge technology and empirically-tested academic research to improve the way people learn English: We’ve lowered the cost of getting authentic, up-to-date English content, provided instruction to remote areas of the world and capitalized on the power of mobile learning to reach people who didn’t previously have access to high-quality online learning.

I’m extremely proud of what Voxy has accomplished so far, and also excited for a future where Voxy’s powerful platform can be used to support those who need to become literate in their first or second language.

To hear from the other very talented presenters on how they’re working to increase adult literacy, check out the video by clicking here.

Interested in competing to win the $7-million prize? Register your team at

Paul Gollash is the Founder and CEO of Voxy.

Paul Gollash is the Founder and CEO of Voxy.