This webinar discussed the challenges that language learners and language teachers face, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how avatars can help overcome them. We focused particularly on teaching spoken interaction skills—speaking and listening. According to a survey of language teachers, speaking skills are by far the most important language skills, with listening skills the second most important. Teaching these skills is time-consuming for teachers, because it requires them to organize speaking activities, monitor student performance, and provide feedback to each student. This is difficult with large classes, and the shift to remote learning due to COVID-19 has made it even harder.
Alelo’s Enskill® asynchronous learning platform helps students and teachers overcome these difficulties. Students practice communication skills in realistic conversations with avatars, in a safe environment without fear of making mistakes. Enskill automatically assesses students’ fluency and ability to perform communicative functions, and provides feedback to the students. It then assigns practice exercises to each student focusing on the grammar and vocabulary that they need to improve on. Teachers who use Enskill with their classes report that their students come to class better prepared and make rapid progress toward fluency.
Alelo has been extending Enskill during the pandemic to provide more support for teachers, and to encourage students to continue to practice until they achieve mastery. A teacher dashboard lets teachers track how each student is spending time on the platform and how their performance is improving over time. This makes it easy for teachers to identify which students are having difficulties and which are ready to progress to more challenging tasks. Students can view their own progress toward mastery as well.
Alelo provides professional development materials for teachers. Teachers can view recordings of past webinars as well as tutorial videos. Alelo provides teacher guides, curriculum scope and sequences, and other resources to help teachers integrate Enskill into their classes. Teacher guides illustrate how to combine in-class learning activities with asynchronous online activities to achieve the best learning outcomes.
Students around the world are using Enskill English to improve their English communication skills. A new Enskill Spanish product is now available. Avatar-based learning can be applied effectively to other subjects as well. Avatars can ask and answer questions about the subject, to promote inquiry-based learning and encourage deeper student understanding.
Alelo is offering free trials for English language teaching and technical assistance to teachers to help them get started using Enskill in their classes.