The Language Acquisition Research project was aimed at exploring effective learning methods to help West Germanic language speakers acquire a new tonal language and vice versa. Tone, the use of pitch in language to distinguish lexical or grammatical meaning, presents a unique challenge in language acquisition.
The project involved conducting a usability study on Memrise and Read, Write, Speak Thai, carrying out interviews, and administering surveys. The goal was to answer key questions such as the usefulness of the pronunciation model, the effectiveness of color coding tones, and the motivations and goals of language learners.
The research found that learning the pronunciation tool was useful but could be enhanced with a review by a native speaker. Users also expressed a desire to communicate with other users who were native in their target language. The most common techniques for language advancement were for participants to communicate with native speakers, listen to music, and watch movies.
Language acquisition, particularly for speakers of West Germanic languages learning tonal languages and vice versa, can be a challenging process. The project aimed to explore effective learning methods to help users acquire a new language and develop these insights into a new product.
However, several challenges were identified:
Understanding the usefulness of pronunciation tools: Users found the pronunciation tool useful, but there was a need to enhance it with native speaker reviews.
Encouraging communication with native speakers: Users expressed a desire to communicate with native speakers of their target language, but the platform lacked this feature.
Identifying effective learning techniques: While common techniques for language advancement were identified, such as communicating with native speakers and consuming media in the target language, there was a need to understand how these techniques could be incorporated into a digital product.
Understanding the role of relationships in language learning: The research found that users inspired by relationships were more proficient in their target language, but there was a need to explore this finding further.
The goal was to address these challenges and enhance the language learning experience for users
The key goal of this project was to explore effective learning methods to help users acquire a new language, with the aim of developing these insights into a new product. The focus was on West Germanic language speakers learning tonal languages and vice versa, as tone is used in language to distinguish lexical or grammatical meaning.
The research aimed to answer key questions such as:
Do users find the pronunciation model useful and if not, why?
Would users like to have the ability to communicate with competition?
Are color coding tones effective?
What keeps the language learner consistent in learning to proficiency?
Are there any common techniques used to learn a new language?
Has the language learner used any digital products that assisted them on their language learning journey?
What are the language learners' motivations and goals?
What is the primary use of that digital product? (podcast, interactive app, music or movies)
The objective was to use the findings from these research questions to inform the design and development of a new language learning product.
Project Definition and Planning: The key goal of the project was identified - to explore effective learning methods to help users acquire a new language for product development. The project timeline was set for 11 weeks.
Tool Selection: Tools for the project were chosen, including Photoshop, Google Forms, Keynote, and Mechanical Turk.
Methodologies and Key Questions: The research methodologies included usability testing of Memrise and Read, Write, Speak Thai, interviews, and surveys. Key questions were identified for each methodology, focusing on user preferences, motivations, and techniques for language learning.
Usability Testing: Usability testing was conducted on Memrise and Read, Write, Speak Thai. The focus was on understanding the usefulness of the pronunciation model, the desire for communication with competition, and the effectiveness of color coding tones.
Interviews: Interviews were conducted to understand what keeps language learners consistent, common techniques used to learn a new language, and the role of digital products in their language learning journey.
Surveys: Surveys were conducted to understand the motivations and goals of language learners and the primary use of digital products in their language learning process.
Data Analysis and Findings: The data collected from usability testing, interviews, and surveys were analyzed. Key findings were identified, including the usefulness of the pronunciation tool, the desire for communication with native speakers, the role of relationships in language proficiency, and the effectiveness of color coding for learning tones.
As a UX Researcher for the Language Acquisition project, my role was to conduct a usability study on Memrise and Read, Write, Speak Thai, carry out interviews, and administer surveys. The project spanned 11 weeks, during which I used tools like Photoshop, Keynote, and Mechanical Turk to facilitate the research process.
My responsibilities included:
Usability Study: I conducted a usability study on Memrise and Read, Write, Speak Thai to understand the effectiveness of these tools in language learning, particularly in learning tonal languages.
Interviews: I carried out interviews to understand what keeps language learners consistent in learning to proficiency and to identify common techniques used in language learning.
Survey: I administered a survey to understand the motivations and goals of language learners and to identify the primary use of digital products in their language learning journey.
Data Analysis and Recommendations: Based on the findings from the usability study, interviews, and survey, I made recommendations for creating a new product that incorporates effective learning methods for language acquisition.
Through these responsibilities, I contributed to the understanding of effective learning methods for language acquisition, informing the design and development of a new language learning product.
This comprehensive UX research study on language acquisition has yielded several significant findings and recommendations that could shape the future of digital language learning tools:
Gamification of Language Learning: The study found that users appreciated live feedback and clear instructions while learning a new language. They also expressed a desire to communicate with native speakers. Future efforts should focus on gamifying language learning, providing live feedback, and facilitating communication with native speakers.
Role of Relationships in Language Proficiency: The study found that users who were motivated by relationships (e.g., with native speakers) were more proficient in their target language. This suggests that digital language learning tools could benefit from incorporating social elements that allow users to form relationships with native speakers.
Importance of Pronunciation Tools: Users found pronunciation tools useful, but they suggested that these tools could be improved by allowing native speakers to review and provide feedback on their pronunciation. This indicates that pronunciation tools that incorporate feedback from native speakers could be a valuable feature in digital language learning tools.
Color Coding for Learning Tones: The study found that color coding could be an effective way to learn tones in a language. Future digital language learning tools could incorporate color coding to help users learn tones more easily.
Incorporation of Popular Media: The study raised the possibility of incorporating popular media, such as music and film clips, into the language learning process. This could be an area for further exploration in the development of digital language learning tools.
These outcomes provide a roadmap for the development of a more effective and engaging digital language learning tool. The next steps include creating a paper prototype and conducting a user usability test to further refine these findings and recommendations.
I hope you found this project insightful. I'm always looking for new opportunities to apply my UX research and design skills. If you're interested in collaborating or would like to discuss how I could contribute to your team or project, please don't hesitate to get in touch.