Russian startup helps users learn European languages in just one minute a day

Easy Ten app employs an algorithm that helps the user determine thematic interests and create an individualized learning trajectory. Source: Alamy/Legion Media

Easy Ten app employs an algorithm that helps the user determine thematic interests and create an individualized learning trajectory. Source: Alamy/Legion Media

The Easy Ten Russian startup helps people learn any major European language in a short period of time.

According to Facebook statistics there are more than two million Anglophones in Brazil that would like to learn Portuguese. In Mexico there are almost 2.5 million Anglophones that would like to learn Spanish. In the U.S. there are more than 1.6 million Spanish speakers that need English and almost three million people that would like to learn Russian.

The Easy Ten Russian startup, whose application has been downloaded from the App Store 700,000 times (650,000 of these were in Russia), intends to enter the world market in spring 2015.

"We intend to become the only entry point for those wishing to learn foreign languages, as well as an instrument that could help teachers find new students and teach the ones they already have," says the company's founder Dmitri Zaryuta.

In Zaryuta's words, in comparison to other educational applications available on the market, Easy Ten's unique feature is the simplicity of its interface, as well as the clarity of its study process. Moreover, in using a single method for all languages, which is based on learning separate words, it allows one users to add new languages relatively quickly.

Currently, the application contains seven languages: Russian, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German and French. It also has several interface languages including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish, which at present are not available for learning.

Altogether there are currently 70 language pairs. For example, a Chinese speaker can learn Portuguese, a German speaker can learn French and everyone can learn Russian.

Easy Ten's founder says that since launching the first version of the application some users have been able to learn more than 6,000 words. This is why Zaryuta believes that the potential for users is limitless. "Our dictionaries are at the same level for all languages, which is why there are no differences," he says.

Repetition, gamification and selection

The method of memorizing words in the application consists of four components: repetition, presenting the material in small portions, game models and the possibility to select what you want to learn.

Zaryuta says that to learn a word it must be repeated a certain number of times: "The intervals must be as long as possible in order to minimize the frequency of repetitions and create the effect of emptiness, but they must also be rather short so that the user will not completely forget the word."

Interval repetition minimizes forgetting and saves time, since the application optimizes this process. The first two repetitions take place in the course of the first day. The third is on the second day and the fourth is on the fourth day. The fifth is on the eighth day and the seventh repetition is introduced on the 30th day.

The presentation of the material in small portions (from one to 20 words per day) is based on a statistic computed by flurry.com, an authoritative service that analyzes mobile applications. According to this statistic, users of educational applications can add vocabulary in as little as 56 seconds per day.

The gamification process has the user competing with themselves: they take exams that test their knowledge of words and either receive or lose points. After each "circle" they are given a choice: either to go ahead or to beat their own record. With each exam the application suggests new tests, increases the user's involvement and exercises all aspects of their memory.

As for personalization, the user is provided with choices regarding the theme, course and selection of words from the teacher. Alternatively, the application can also make its own recommendations.

Easy Ten employs an algorithm that helps the user determine thematic interests and create an individualized learning trajectory.

"The application takes into consideration the content region that each unique student uses,” says Zaryuta. “For example does the user want vocabulary related to domestic animals, cars or Elvis Presley? No one has ever produced such a mobile gadget."

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