Voxy and CASL Announce Research Partnership to Find Effective Ways of Tailoring Language Instruction to Match Cognitive Profiles

Jul 21, 2015, 08:30 ET from Voxy

NEW YORK, July 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Voxy, a leading online English learning solution, and the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL) have announced plans to launch a joint empirical study to measure the effects of different instructional approaches on learners with distinct cognitive profiles.

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This strategic partnership represents an opportunity for breakthrough findings on how to effectively teach foreign languages, personalize language learning, and identify individuals with a high potential for advanced language learning success.

CASL is a premier University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) that supports the needs of the DoD and continues to lead the language aptitude research that will help change the way technology is used for language learning.

"One of the most exciting aspects of the type of research that we conduct at CASL is the potential broad application of so much of our work," said Michael May, Ph.D., CASL Executive Director. "This joint venture represents our first opportunity to concretely transfer the product of a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) into the public realm. This is the kind of far-reaching impact that sponsored research should seek to achieve and we are very excited to see the results of this partnership."

In the seven-month study, in addition to using Voxy's online English course, study participants will be given four assessments from CASL's Hi-Level Language Aptitude Battery (Hi-LAB), including tests that measure working memory capacity and the ability to learn new information implicitly. The Hi-LAB assessments measure how the participants' brains work when learning a foreign language. The results will help to identify what teaching methods will lead to the highest proficiency gains for individual learners.

Voxy will be the first private company to use Hi-LAB's cognitive assessments as a way to tailor instruction based on brain activation during language learning. With its personalized language curriculum, the ability to reach hundreds of thousands of language learners around the world, and its cutting-edge technology platform, Voxy is uniquely positioned to test multiple instructional approaches for each learner.

"CASL has spent many years developing and validating the Hi-Level Language Aptitude Battery," said Catherine J. Doughty, Ph.D., CASL Area Director of Second Language Acquisition. "The original impetus for our work was to be able to match language instruction to cognitive language aptitude to help adult learners attain very advanced levels much more efficiently and quickly. We are delighted to be partnering with Voxy to put the ideas into a real-world test bed."

"We have admired CASL for many years, and the Center's research in the field of second language acquisition (SLA) has always been a key input into the pedagogical principles underlying Voxy's platform," said Voxy CEO Paul Gollash. "We are thrilled to be formally partnering with this passionate team of SLA experts and cognitive scientists to help shape the future of personalized English learning."

Voxy's personalized courses currently adapt to meet learners' needs based on performance, proficiency levels, interests and language learning goals. The collaboration with CASL will allow Voxy to identify learners' cognitive profiles, and subsequently determine which activity sequences are best suited to individual learners. When Voxy can add cognitive profiles to its personalization algorithm, it will be able to meet learners' needs even more efficiently and effectively.

"Voxy's mission is to build a maximally effective language learning platform based on the findings from rigorous empirical research," said Katie Nielson, Ph.D., Voxy's Chief Education Officer. "We are incredibly excited about the research CASL has been spearheading on cognitive aptitudes and its potential for differentiating instruction even further. Partnering with CASL will allow us to take our personalized approach to language learning to the next level."

To learn more about Hi-LAB, please visit http://www.casl.umd.edu/hilab.

The University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL) conducts innovative, academically rigorous research in language and cognition that supports national security. CASL research is interdisciplinary and collaborative, bringing together people from the government, academia, and the private sector. CASL research is both strategic and tactical, so that it not only advances areas of knowledge, but also directly serves the critical needs of the nation. For more information, visit www.casl.umd.edu.

About Voxy:
Voxy is a leading web and mobile-based English learning platform that provides personalized language instruction to major educational institutions, corporations and governments in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Voxy's proven approach draws on more than 30 years of academic research on second language acquisition. Every online course combines adaptive learning technology and authentic, real-world content to support learners' unique needs in real time. Voxy launched in 2010 as one of the most disruptive technology startups of the year, and has since been used by millions of learners around the world. It has been recognized for its innovative approach by major media outlets including the New York Times, Forbes, CNN, Veja and Fast Company, and is backed by leading education and technology investors including Rethink Education, ff Venture, Contour Venture Partners and Pearson PLC. Voxy is headquartered in New York City and has an office in Sao Paulo. To learn more, visit voxy.com or email press@voxy.com.

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