A recent evaluation at UVM (Universidad del Valle de México) Toluca of Alelo Enskill® English, an AI-driven learning product, found that students improved their spoken English skills, and also became more self-confident and willing to communicate in English. This in turn improved classroom instruction, because learners came to class better prepared and more willing to engage in spoken language activities.
The director of the English language program at UVM Toluca, Erendira Yadira Carrera García, was one of earliest adopters of Enskill English. UVM integrated Enskill English into their beginner English course, to create a blended learning program. They have a class on conversation each week and then practice in the language lab and at home.
UVM teachers created a rubric for assessing student progress, consisting of speaking projects for the students to perform. They divided the students into sections. Then after two months, students had an exam and the teachers assessed the students’ progress. That was when the teachers observed significant differences between groups.
Enskill uses AI (artificial intelligence) in multiple ways to improve teaching and learning. Learners learn and practice communication skills with artificially intelligent avatars in simulations of real-world conversations with native English speakers. As Ms. Carrera explains, “They feel more comfortable looking at an avatar or a picture that is not a real human being. They feel under pressure when they have the teacher there paying attention to every single detail, and sometimes we as teachers correct immediately.”
Enskill’s natural language processing technology enables it to understand and respond to a variety of student utterances. Students can therefore practice conversations multiple times, and try saying different things. The teachers encouraged them to practice as many times as they preferred.
Enskill automatically assesses each student’s speaking performance, and then assigns additional personalized practice exercises. Ms. Carrera explains, “They have extra practice according to their needs. I think that is why it was so helpful, because it is focused on every student’s needs.”
Teachers report that Enskill helps their students become better prepared for class. One teacher, who is responsible for providing Enskill training to the other teachers, commented: “It makes my classes very very short and very very communicative. When I was kid I wish I had this kind of platform, because it helps in the confidence and also it helps in my classes in English.”