New Data Shows 77% of Beginners Can Improve Their English Proficiency with Voxy

We know that new English learners can use Voxy to improve their proficiency level in a matter of a few months. But how much time do learners really need to devote to their English course each week to see results?

According to our recent data, 77% of 0-Beginners—or learners who have have had little or no prior experience learning the language—will see their English proficiency improve by one level with about one hour of practice on the Voxy platform each week over four months. By contrast, learners who only put in 35 minutes were able to maintain their level but found it difficult to improve. And with just a little extra effort, learners who practiced for 66 minutes per week saw their proficiency improve by two full levels within four months.

Want to learn more about how Voxy can support your company’s beginner English goals? Click here to request a demo.

Beginners Improve English Proficiency in 3 Months with Voxy

You might be wondering: How long does it take to improve my proficiency level with Voxy?

Based on our current research findings, 79% of 0-Beginners—or learners who have little or no prior experience learning English—are able to improve their proficiency level after just three months of using Voxy.

Depending on your current level, we recommend studying between two and five hours per week. For beginners, do your best to fit in about two hours. For intermediate to advanced learners, we suggest spending at least four hours on the Voxy platform every week.

Need some advice on how to fit practicing into your busy schedule? Visit the Learner Support Center and check out this special video for tips from Voxy experts!

Are language learners more engaged on mobile?

Voxy’s Chief Education Officer, Katie Nielson, and Senior Research & Assessment Associate, Rebecca Jee, traveled to the 2015 Foreign Language Education & Technology conference (FLEAT) earlier this month to present Voxy’s latest research on mobile learning.

Their goal was to understand how the use of mobile devices affects the engagement of second language learners using Voxy. Do learners complete more activities on a mobile device than on the web application? Do they engage with the Voxy platform more frequently?

Nielson and Jee looked at Voxy learners who used just the web or mobile application and learners who used a combination of both. Let’s take a look at the data to see how learners are actually using Voxy.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

These results show that one platform isn’t necessarily better than the other in terms of engagement—learners who took advantage of both platforms were more likely to be engaged. What’s more is that learners who used both platforms used the web application more often than the mobile app. Future research will consider exactly what learners are doing with their mobile devices and how their mobile usage affects their proficiency improvement over time.

As technology advances and the use of mobile devices continues to grow rapidly worldwide, perhaps the learning capabilities on mobile will surpass those of the web. But these data show that mobile phones aren’t replacing computers just yet!

Voxy and CASL Announce Strategic Research Partnership

Voxy and the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL) have announced plans to launch a joint empirical study to measure the effects of different instructional approaches on learners with distinct cognitive profiles.

This strategic partnership represents an opportunity for breakthrough findings on how to effectively teach foreign languages, personalize language learning and identify individuals with a high potential for advanced language learning success.

CASL is a premier University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) that supports the needs of the DoD and continues to lead the language aptitude research that will help change the way technology is used for language learning.

“One of the most exciting aspects of the type of research that we conduct at CASL is the potential broad application of so much of our work,” said Michael May, Ph.D., CASL Executive Director. “This joint venture represents our first opportunity to concretely transfer the product of a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) into the public realm. This is the kind of far-reaching impact that sponsored research should seek to achieve and we are very excited to see the results of this partnership.”

In the seven-month study, in addition to using Voxy’s online English course, study participants will be given four assessments from CASL’s Hi-Level Language Aptitude Battery (Hi-LAB), including tests that measure working memory capacity and the ability to learn new information implicitly. The Hi-LAB assessments measure how the participants’ brains work when learning a foreign language. The results will help to identify what teaching methods will lead to the highest proficiency gains for individual learners.

Voxy will be the first private company to use Hi-LAB’s cognitive assessments as a way to tailor instruction based on brain activation during language learning. With its personalized language curriculum, the ability to reach hundreds of thousands of language learners around the world, and its cutting-edge technology platform, Voxy is uniquely positioned to test multiple instructional approaches for each learner.

“CASL has spent many years developing and validating the Hi-Level Language Aptitude Battery,” said Catherine J. Doughty, Ph.D., CASL Area Director of Second Language Acquisition. “The original impetus for our work was to be able to match language instruction to cognitive language aptitude to help adult learners attain very advanced levels much more efficiently and quickly. We are delighted to be partnering with Voxy to put the ideas into a real-world test bed.”

“We have admired CASL for many years, and the Center’s research in the field of second language acquisition (SLA) has always been a key input into the pedagogical principles underlying Voxy’s platform,” said Voxy CEO Paul Gollash. “We are thrilled to be formally partnering with this passionate team of SLA experts and cognitive scientists to help shape the future of personalized English learning.”

Voxy’s personalized courses currently adapt to meet learners’ needs based on performance, proficiency levels, interests, and language learning goals. The collaboration with CASL will allow Voxy to identify learners’ cognitive profiles, and subsequently determine which activity sequences are best suited to individual learners. When Voxy can add cognitive profiles to its personalization algorithm, it will be able to meet learners’ needs even more efficiently and effectively.

“Voxy’s mission is to build a maximally effective language learning platform based on the findings from rigorous empirical research,” said Katie Nielson, Ph.D., Voxy’s Chief Education Officer. “We are incredibly excited about the research CASL has been spearheading on cognitive aptitudes and its potential for differentiating instruction even further. Partnering with CASL will allow us to take our personalized approach to language learning to the next level.”

To read the full press release, please click here.

How Sentence Difficulty Affects Reading Comprehension

Reading proficiency is one of the most important ways Voxy measures language competency. But to make learning effective, it’s essential that the difficulty level of a text closely matches the reading proficiency levels of learners. As a result, Voxy needs to determine the difficulty level of a text as well as the difficulty level of sentences within it to provide the most effective learning experience possible.

While it’s well known among educators that a learner’s comprehension of sentences affects his or her ability to understand a full text, very little attention has been paid to the difficulty level of individual sentences. Voxy recently conducted an experiment to gain a better understanding of what makes a sentence difficult, comparing conventional measurements to more complex sentence features.

Voxy discovered that traditional non-syntactic features—elements like sentence length, total number of words, and the number of low frequency words and syllables which appear less often—may provide a more accurate assessment of difficulty than syntactic features, which are more complex. Syntactic features include who/what/why/where phrases, dependent clauses, and coordinate phrases that include words like “and,” “but,” and “so” to connect different parts of a sentence.

Click here to read the full report.