What is the best approach to make online consistent language learning sustainable?
HI! Thanks for your question on online language learning. The short version is that after extensively searching through industry reports, trusted media sites, user forums and review sites, I've determined the information you requested is not publicly available because most of the statistics related to your question are either behind a pay wall, published by the language app themselves, which are biased and therefore unreliable sources, or too old to be accurate for now. However, what I was able to gather was information as to what a language learn app needs in order to retain customers and increase growth. Below you will find a deep dive of my findings.
I first tried looking for statistics related to the percent of people who return to a language app after they downloaded it and who report being successful in learning with the app. However, I was unable to find these numbers from independent, unbiased sources. Searching for "% of people who use language learning" also hit a dead end, and I was forced to expand my search to 2014-2017 to find anything. Even so, many of the sources I found still compared online learning with classroom learning. I also researched 'online learning app retention', 'online learning app statistic/survey', 'language learning statistic/survey/market/', 'online language vs tutor', 'language app survey', 'how to keep customers engaged', etc. to minimal results.
While I was unable to find a direct answer to your question, I was able to find some information which I think will be helpful in your project.
In the case of online vs traditional learning, online learning gives people more flexibility in their schedules, while also increasing the need for self-motivation and decreasing face-to-face interactions. This lack of "face time" between instructors and students can be detrimental to grades, especially if the student was already struggling with the subject matter. What online courses do offer is a more cost-efficient option and the ability for students to revisit the subject matter at their own pace, making it "effective for retention".
A 2015 study on the "effectiveness of online language learning" took stock on how effective certain tools used in online learning were. The results were that students found emails and discussion boards as highly effective, whereas they preferred to use reference books, videos, and animations as a "learning aid rather than a primary tool." This was due to the preference of being able to interact with a tutor. Furthermore, 34% of those surveyed preferred traditional classroom learning due to accessibility to a tutor. However, because it was from 2015, it is hard to determine whether the results would have been the same were they from this year.
HELPFUL FINDINGS CONT'D: WHAT MAKES A GOOD ONLINE LANGUAGE LEARNING APP
Online language learning apps have been growing in popularity. In 2015, 70 million people signed up for the app Duolingo. Since then 30% of those who sign up for the app become long-term users. The language app busuu has 65 million registered users, with an average growth rate of 25,000 more users a day. Even with the seeming popularity of language learning apps, a major problem they have is distinguishing themselves from other apps; there are 350 online language learning apps in the market. The best ways for the apps to do this and to retain customers is with "customer captivity", in using things such as user habit, searching costs and switching costs. Another way these apps keep users is through the way they help enforce what you've learned. Language learning apps like Duolingo help people learn a language through reinforcing words you have already learned and reminding you to practice every day. It also aims to provide language learning to poorer communities. The app busuu uses "interactive courses coupled with a social network of native speakers" to helps users learn, and the language app Tandem acts as a platform for professional language tutors, helping people all over the world learn a language via video chat.
Other ways that a language app can be effective is by diversifying the way the language is taught based on skill level, as well as having exercises be in short spurts of 10 to 15 minutes. Making learning more fun by using games also encourages users to keep using the app. Examples of this are allowing users to compete with friends, have streaks by logging in daily, and earning points. Giving users the opportunity to listen to the language while practicing also helps with learning. The effectiveness of learning a language through an app also comes from the app user as well: studying daily, avoiding binge studying, using short study sessions over a long period, and reviewing past materials are the best ways to retain a learned language.
In understanding what types of information are and are not publicly available on online language learning, other possible searches may include searching "online vs teacher" or exploring the blended education model.
To wrap it up, after searching extensively through industry reports, trusted media sites, user forums, and review sites, a direct answer to your question isn't publicly available because the statistics from unbiased sources are behind a pay wall. However, I learned what goes into making an online language learning app that has long-term users. If you’d like to continue research on any of the other topics I’ve outlined above, just let us know!
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