Mobile learning significantly improves Thai students’ speaking and written english language skills, study shows

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Following 13 weeks of instruction conducted entirely on a smartphone, students from two Chiang Rai municipality schools across four age groups all showed significant improvements in English language abilities

Success of Qooco Kids English points to low cost, effective yet scalable mobile learning solution for Thailand’s language and education challenges

BANGKOK, February 20, 2017 – A study conducted by researchers from two US-based education institutions showed significant improvements in Thai students’ English language abilities, following a prolonged course using the Qooco Kids English mobile learning app.

The study measured the language abilities of 281 students from two Chiang Rai Municipality schools before and after they embarked on their mobile learning course, finding that students’ spoken and written English abilities improved significantly among 5 and grade 6 students, as well as Junior and senior high students, 192 grade 5 and 6 students from Chiang Rai Municipality School 7, and 89 students Junior and senior high students in Chiang Rai Municipality School 6, were chosen.

Each underwent a pre-test (called iTest) before they started their mobile learning course, which consisted of speaking, listening, reading, and writing (typing).

The course employed the Qooco Kids English app and was undertaken entirely on a smartphone over a 13-week semester. Students were required to use Qooco Kids English on a daily basis, working their way through the app’s 10 simulation-based lessons (each with various sub-components) at their own pace.

They were then given the same test at the end of the semester, with all students displaying significant improvements in post-test scores as compared to their pre-test results.

‘This study shows the clear value of mobile learning, and its effectiveness in teaching English language’ says David Topolewski, CEO of Qooco, adding ‘mobile learning is well suited to language learning, in that students can learn anytime, anywhere, allowing them to practice consistently and at a time and place of their choosing. Furthermore, our speech recognition technology has become so advanced that even slight changes in tone and pronunciation can be picked up, and guidance provided immediately. Our Online-to-Offline (O2O) teaching method (also called the Flipped Classroom) allows a seamless relationship between the classroom and after-school.’

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Despite being one of the oldest cities in Thailand, Chiang Rai has embraced what is arguably the future of education: mobile learning. The main factors behind Chiang Rai Municipality’s decision to employ Qooco’s mobile learning solutions – in addition to its educational effectiveness – were its ease, speed of implementation, and scalability.

The Qooco Kids English app typically takes no more than a few hours to install and set up, including teacher training, and is available on Android or iOS devices (95% of the phones used in the study were Android). Furthermore, Qooco Kids English can be scaled to as many schools as is needed, ensuring consistent quality and affordable education can be provided on a mass scale.

The success of the partnership between Qooco and Chiang Rai Municipality bodes well for Thailand as a whole. Thailand continues to struggle with the English language skills of its citizens, despite the need to compete with other nations in the ASEAN Community, where English is the official language of communication. This is in spite of numerous efforts to improve English language tuition through training more teachers and providing more traditional, classroom-based English language training.

However, Thai leaders are beginning to realise the power of mobile, and the fact that smartphone subscriptions are expected to exceed 50 million by the end of 2016, and is expected to hit 80 million by 2021, young Thais are more used to reading and learning from a screen than from a book. With mobile learning emerging as a solution that is able to scale quickly, effectively, and efficiently – at lower cost – more schools are beginning to embrace this teaching method.

The study was undertaken by Dr. Gary Glen Bitter, Professor Educational Technology Arizona State University USA, and Dr. Rusen Meylani Instructor of Mathematics and Engineering, Country Gardens Charter School USA, using two Chiang Rai Municipality schools that employed Qooco’s mobile learning solution, Qooco Kids English.

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