How we can use Artificial Intelligence in learning foreign languages? – Mrs. Alexandra Radu

Interview with Mihai Peca, trainer within the ECDL company

Author: Alexandra Radu

A.R: – In the current context, communication has become essential, and the importance of studying and knowing as many foreign languages as possible has already spoken.

Microlearning, Big Data, Adaptive Learning, Online and Blended Learning are some of the trends influencing the field of foreign language learning today. What do you think is the contribution of technology in the process of learning foreign languages, taking into account the evolution of new generations and the skills they consider essential?

 M.P: – Communication in foreign languages was, of course, especially in the context of world conflicts and natural disasters that humanity has faced, I’m only thinking of the last year, essential. Interpreters were needed everywhere: in Ukraine, in Greece, more recently in Turkey and Syria. It is obvious that, in this context, the market of foreign language courses will explode, or has already exploded. But, when we say foreign language courses, we no longer necessarily mean blackboard, chalk, pen, tests… The new generations need learning adapted to their needs, both from a technological and content point of view. If for my generation access to the Internet and video games was the revelation, now we are talking about Social Media and Artificial Intelligence. But let’s take them concretely, step by step.

The other day I asked the AI about how I can learn English in the shortest time. I received various suggestions, from language learning apps, to practicing language skills with the help of native speakers, on social networks. However, I was pleasantly surprised by two of the various suggestions offered by AI: consider taking an online or face-to-face English course and be patient! What this means? That Artificial Intelligence recognizes itself as a tool and not as a substitute for human teaching and learning capacities, this is the essence of the discussion.

A.R: – You want to say that young people must understand that they cannot completely give up traditional learning, but that tools and methodologies can be used to make it more engaging and “easier to digest””?

M.P: Yes, that’s what I mean. It is clear that the era of in-depth study of dusty and bulky textbooks and dictionaries is a thing of the past. The learning style of the new generations must be adapted to become more attractive, interactive, so that the learner remains involved and active in an endeavor that needs a lot of time resources. This is also helped by the fact that the teacher who teaches online has the online format of many books, dictionaries and other learning resources at his disposal instead of the old textbooks and dictionaries in physical format. Basically, learning can be accessed wherever you are, from your desktop or phone, and the pandemic has taught us this lesson in full.

A.R: – Artificial intelligence therefore comes at the service of human intelligence and not in competition with it?

M.P: – Absolute! Foreign language learning applications clearly demonstrate this. Artificial Intelligence is the basis of systems that help learners to be aware of which weak points they have to improve and which are the specific exercises most suitable for developing the skills they need. Basically, this type of system constantly generates new questions until you master a certain topic.


A.R: Concretely, how will Artificial Intelligence intervene in learning, in general and in learning foreign languages, in particular?

M.P: – In learning, in general, the experiential side is very important, as we all know. And if in chemistry or physics the experiments are done with substances in the laboratory, for foreign languages words are the raw material, and the laboratory is represented by the social and cultural environment in which they manifest. It’s just that it’s not always possible to learn any language in its natural environment, so that’s where technology comes in. Imagine what we can do with virtual reality or augmented reality. Practically, we will be able to create different cultural and geographical contexts, we will be able to access virtual conversation partners, we will be able to travel virtually from the classroom. And that very soon, through the courses offered by the Teseo Romania Association. For example, we will order a dinner on the Amalfi Coast, directly from the respective menu, conversing with a native. Yes, we are preparing many surprises! Immersive and Situational Rooms, which offer students the opportunity to virtually visit Pompeii or ask for directions on how to get to Trajan’s Column. Basically, one of the advantages that AI brings to learning is the ability to eliminate distractions by creating an immersive experience that keeps the learner engaged, helps them connect to the learning materials, and keep interest active.

A.R: – Therefore, we will not soon enter into competition with the AI, but we will use it to develop ourselves?

M.P: – Of course! There will come a time when Artificial and human Intelligence will be an integral part of us, and here I am talking about the possible connection of human intelligence to the cloud, for example, offering the possibility of directly downloading some information. Until then, however, there is no need for a competition between AI and the human factor, but for a collaboration, the application of innovative methods, as important as the old ones, and the detachment from certain aspects of the abandonment of certain traditional learning methods that do not are still effective today.


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