The future of English Language Learning

The future of language learning:

Recent developments in machine learning and the innumerable projects on applications of machine learning such as the Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana and Google Now make us ponder and wonder on the future of language learning. Google has just thrown open its AI engine TensorFlow and we can expect a flood of machine learning applications to facilitate human communication. Automatic translation is continuously improving.
We assess language acquisition in terms of levels, such as the 9 IELTS Band scores or the 6 levels of CEFR or other alternative scales.
But the critical question is how fast can one move from one level to the next higher one. This is clearly not a sudden ‘quantum’ jump represented by what in Mathematics is called a Heaviside step function or ‘theta’ function which is a discontinuous function whose value is zero for negative argument and one for positive argument.
The learning curve is a S shaped sigmoid curve, represented by three parameters a,b and c, where a represents the asymptotic value, b the displacement and c the rate. More details are given in resource no.5 below.
The challenge is to use Josh Kaufmann’s approach of following a steeper learning curve, by actually measuring the learning curve, and use mobile Apps such as Duolingo, immersive learning experiences on Oculus Rift or tools of learning analytics to personalise the learning curve to desired levels.

Another aspect of interest is the anticipation of the future of human language.
For the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a pictograph: , officially called the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji. There were other strong contenders from a range of fields, but was chosen as the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.
Ad blocker and dark web were two of the short listed terms directly connected to information technology.
We can therefore imagine a future ‘constructed’ language spanning both human and computer communication and adoption of terms from other languages, a re-birth of ‘esperanto for the 4th Industrial Revolution’ promoting unforeseen efficiency in a human intelligent machines ecosystem. Esperanto is still a language in the CEFR system.
It is clear that we are at very interesting times, where we can draw analogies to the past, but the way forward is like a journey into outer space.

Resources for further exploration and better understanding:

1. Language Technology : a first overview :

2. The coming merge of human and machine intelligence :

3. Esperanto : the 32nd language conforming to CEFR :

4. Time to learn a new language:

5. All about learning curves :

6: Learn Immersive teaches languages in virtual reality :

7: Learning a foreign language in a virtual environment :

8: Apple’s Siri versus Microsoft’s Cortana on an iPhone :

9: A post on rapid skill acquisition, summarising Josh Kaufmann’s first 3 chapters :

The first 20 hours — how to learn anything | Josh Kaufman – YouTube › watch

About mmpant

Prof. M.M.Pant has a Ph.D in Computational Physics, along with a Professional Law Degree, and has been a practitioner in the fields of Law, IT enabled education and IT implementation. Drawing upon his experience in world class international institutions and having taught in various modes of Face-to-Face, Distance Learning and Technology Enhanced Training, Prof. Pant is now exploring the nature of institutions which will be successors to the IITs, which represented the 1960s, IIMs, which represented the 1970 and Open Universities which were the rage of 1980s & 90s. He believes that the convergence between various media and technologies would fundamentally alter the way learning would be created, packaged, and delivered to learners. His current activities are all directed toward actual implementation of these new age educational initiatives that transform education in the post Internet post WTO era.. Prof. Pant, has been a Former Pro-Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and has been on the faculty of IIT – Kanpur (the premier Engineering institution in India), MLNR Engineering College and Faculty & Visiting Professor - University of Western Ontario-Canada. He has been visiting scientist to research centers in Italy, England, Germany & Sweden and has delivered international lectures with about 80 papers published. During his association of almost 15 years with the IGNOU, Prof. Pant has served as the Director Computing and has been the Member of All Bodies (i.e. School boards, Academic council, Planning board, Finance committee and the Board of management). With his interest in Law, backed with practice of Law in a High Court, and his basic training in Science and IT, Prof. Pant has been particularly interested in the Cyber Law, Patent & trade mark issues, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues etc. and has been involved with many activities, conferences on “Law & IT” Prof. Pant is presently; • Advisor to Media Lab Asia - Chairman of working group on ICT for Education, chairman of PRSG handling projects on ICT for education. • Lead Consultant for an ADB funded project for ICT in Basic Education in Uzbekistan • Member of the drafting Group for India’s National Policy on ICT in education • Chairman of the group creating books for class 11 and 12 students on ‘Computers and Communication Technology’ appointed by the NCERT • Preparing a ‘Theme Paper” for the NCTE in the area of ICT and Teacher Training • Advisor and mentor to several leading Indian and Multi-national Companies in the area of education. Prof. Pant has in the recent past been ; • Member – Board of Management – I I T, Delhi for 6 years (two consecutive terms) • One-man committee to create the Project Report & Legislation for Delhi IT-enabled Open University • Advisor to the Delhi Government on Asian Network of Major Cities Project (ANMC-21) distance learning project in association with Tokyo Metropolitan Government. • Chairman Board of Studies, All India Management Association With his mission to create and implement new business opportunities in the area of e-learning & learning facilitation, Prof. Pant has promoted Planet EDU Pvt. Ltd., as its Founder & Chairman, along with a team of highly experienced and skilled professionals from Education & Training, Operations, IT and Finance.
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