Mobile Language App Improves Oral Proficiency
Studies done on a Spanish
language learning mobile app revealed that students who had used the app for 12
weeks show improvements in the knowledge of the language and the ability to
communicate. Shawn Loewen, Professor in the Department of Linguistics and
Germanic at Michigan State University said that oral skills had improved in
students who had used the app and learning gains in terms of oral proficiency,
grammar and vocabulary were correlated with the amount of time students
investing in using the app. Among the report's findings, 59% of participants
improved oral proficiency by at least one sublevel on the American Council on
the Teaching of Foreign Languages proficiency scale. The proportion of learners
who improved rose even higher among those who spent more time using the app.
For those who studied at least six hours, 69% increased at least one sublevel,
improving to 75% for those who studied for at least 15 hours.
In the study, which is
published in Foreign Language Annals, 85 undergraduate students at MSU used
Babbel for 12 weeks to learn Spanish. At the beginning of the study, the
students took a pre-test to assess their existing oral proficiency, vocabulary
and grammar in Spanish. After 12 weeks, the 54 students who completed all study
requirements took the same test again to see how much knowledge they had
"Despite the fact that millions globally are already using language learning apps, there is a lack of published research on their impact on speaking skills,” Loewen said. “There are virtually no other studies that have investigated mobile language learning apps in a quasi-experimental way. Therefore, this robust and methodologically rigorous study makes an important contribution to the field."