School, University, vocational education and training, Lifelong learning

Learning languages through play

Learning languages – in my school days that meant tedious vocabulary learning and grammar exercises. The Viennese EdTech company Vision Education shows us that learning a new language can be done differently.

With the LearnMatch app, vocabulary is learned on the fly. The focus is on playful interaction. In competition with others, one is also gripped by ambition. Users can match each other. Whoever can correctly match more vocabulary words within two halves wins. A self-test shows: I was able to quickly recall my French knowledge from school with the app (= learning success!). But above all, the app has addictive potential. Matching yourself with others is fun and various learning elements, such as arranging individual syllables into a word or matching the correct German word to its French equivalent, add variety to learning.

Language training for caring professions, the construction industry and models.

LearnMatch is aimed at children and adults who want to learn a language. For companies, Vision Education offers solutions with “Learnmatch Business”. For various industries – such as care professions, building cleaning and construction – courses are offered in the professions app that include industry-specific vocabulary. There is a great need for such offers, because there are many sectors with a largely foreign-language staff, such as 24-hour care or building cleaning, and a very specific vocabulary. The building cleaning guild and the construction guild as well as about a dozen customers from the care sector already count on “LearnMatch Business” – or phase6 Berufe, as the app is called in German-speaking countries – for their staff training.

Didactics meets fun & games

The original didactic basis of the app comes from phase6, the sister company in Germany and leading German vocabulary trainer in the school sector. Phase6 builds on learning psychology findings and didactically established methods, including the systematic repetition of vocabulary. Vocabulary that is less well mastered is presented more often in order to improve the learning result. Vision Education thus combines scientific findings with playful learning and interaction.

 

We asked Alfred Hofer

The managing director answered our questions about “LearnMatch”, the EdTech scene in Austria and the educational landscape in Austria.

How do you see the launch of Edtech Austria? 

It’s a good step and really about time. I know the English startup and EdTech infrastructure reasonably well for an Austrian – after all, we were voted among the top 5 startups at the EdTechX Global Award in London in summer 2020. The UK is enviable in this respect, especially in terms of funding opportunities, global orientation and the overall framework conditions for EdTech companies. I would say that this has an enormous role model effect in the industry.

The EdTech sector has developed very well in Austria in recent years. There are great companies, offers and initiatives. There are really good and extremely committed teams here, some of which are market leaders with their companies in segments far beyond Austria. EdTech Austria will strengthen and support the current dynamic development of the sector very well. E-learning is also a very often used keyword at the moment – in times like these.

What does it take for the EdTech sector in Austria to develop well?  

It needs better legal framework conditions for start-ups and, of course, ideally also easier access to alternative forms of financing or to venture capital in general. Few EdTechs are profitable and of course dependent on access to financing. Unfortunately, large investments are still largely dependent on foreign investors, even though the situation has improved massively in recent years.

But this is not specific to EdTech, it applies to all start-ups. For our sector, I would like to see public awareness that e-learning is here to stay. “It is here to stay”. Corona has already given a major push to this awareness and taken it to a new level. Home office and e-learning will become a matter of course in the future and will take on a completely different status.

What is your vision for the educational landscape in Austria? 

That digital learning is here to stay. It is now important to anchor e-learning also in the school sector. Unfortunately, the education system usually does not quite keep up with the speed at which these technologies are developing. But basically, the Austrian education system should not be imaginable without e-learning in the medium term.

The personal responsibility of the children and the teachers must be further strengthened and the scope for creativity expanded – to organise myself, to arrange my day, when and where I learn and that I am responsible for my own learning results. Only in this way can self-initiative work. These are also essential “skills” for later professional practice, which have been somewhat neglected so far. The playful element should also continue to play a major motivational role.

In the communications team of ITG – Innovation Service for Salzburg, Maria brings innovative, digital companies and business models on stage. She is convinced that EdTech makes our education system better and is happy to help integrate EdTech into our educational landscape.

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