• The learner's guide to why you need to learn English in today’s world

    English has become, undeniably and indisputably, the language of the modern world. Spoken at a native level by hundreds of millions of people around the world and at varying levels of proficiency by billions more, it’s been variously described as a universal tongue, the world’s preeminent second language, and ‘hyper central’ – as in bringing together the global language system.

    In short, it’s the unrivalled lingua franca, which is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a shared language of communication used between people whose main languages are different. As the world becomes increasingly globalised and digitalised, English’s claim to these titles has only grown stronger.

    It’s the number one business language in the world, accounting for global commerce worth over a fifth of global GDP. In Asia, one of the world’s most culturally diverse regions and home to hundreds if not thousands of local languages and dialects, English has become the language of the regional marketplace. In fact, English is the official language of the ASEAN bloc of countries, which includes major economies like Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

    It’s little wonder then that proficiency in the language is regarded as an indispensable part of one’s professional skill set, capable of enhancing employability and unlocking a world of career growth opportunities, as well as paving the way for personal growth.

    Millions of people across Asia now recognise this fact and are taking the plunge to learn the language and fulfill their aim to become global citizens. However, the path forward is not always clear, and learners can benefit from all the guidance they can get in order to make the most of their quest for proper English language education.

    Several factors have contributed to the growing importance of the English language and the evolution of the instruction process in Asia. Starting from the top down, governments across the region are increasingly emphasising the value of English for inter-regional development while rapid globalisation and advances in technology are bringing major changes to the job market.

    This means that new graduates, as well as experienced professionals, need to be nimble and proactive in learning new skills to replace obsolete ones, notes Kayo Taguchi, ELT Portfolio Manager, Pearson Asia.

    One such skill is indeed the ability to communicate effectively in English. And research shows a positive relationship between investing in English-language education and the upward trajectory of an individual’s career graph, including in Asia.

    This trend is exemplified by the Philippines’ formidable business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. According to Monette Fetalvero, Manager, Career Consultants Network and BADA Education Philippines, business communication and English language skills have become synonymous in the country, thanks to the growth of the BPO industry. 

    Lorraine Loquisan, Chief Operations Officer, Enrich, agrees, noting that the industry – which is among the largest employers in the country and a major economic growth driver that has managed to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic better than most other sectors – has been a catalyst in transforming English language instruction in the country’s schools into a highly evolved system that assigns equal importance to read, write and speak to produce well-rounded, effective communicators who can make the most of these skills in a professional setting.

    BPOs in the Philippines employ over a million people and because a significant bulk of their client base is in English-speaking countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, these companies place a premium on employees with high English-language proficiency.



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  • Aspiring to all-round growth with English language proficiency

    Learning to communicate in English, or any foreign language for that matter, is by no means a requirement to lead a full life. But, most everyone aspires to improve their lives in some way, either by studying abroad or traveling the world or finding a good job and building a successful career.

    Knowing English makes it that much easier to fulfill these pursuits, especially in a world where nearly 2 billion people in over 100 countries now speak the language. As Jarrad Merlo, Director of Teaching and Learning, E2 Test Prep, puts it:

    “When you know another language, many worlds open up to you, including the worlds of the individuals you meet. And if you can speak English, all sorts of opportunities become available, not least employment, which is something you do for about a third of your life.”

    View English as an opportunity, not a barrier

    Undeniably, there are many advantages to learning English. For one, in the 21st century global workplace, which in all likelihood employs English as the de facto means of communication, the ability to speak the language can make all the difference – not just for landing a particular job, but to be successful at it.

    Merlo points out that non-native speakers who successfully master the language not only become hugely valuable to their employers but also allow themselves the opportunity to experience intellectual and personal growth.

    “The better your English language skills are, the more opportunities for growth exist. Also, not only do you get access to the world’s repository of knowledge through the internet, such as literature and scientific journals, but you get access to people,” he points out, urging non-native speakers to “see English as an opportunity and not a barrier.”

    Because, perseverance always pays off, as an oft-used adage goes. For instance, E2Language alone has helped over one million students from the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and other non-native English speaking nations around the world successfully pass their English language exams and find jobs abroad, according to Merlo.

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  • A breakdown of computer-based testing and its algorithmic objectivity


    Our familiarity with artificial intelligence (AI) and the role of algorithms in our lives is increasing, but the intrigue remains around the validity and fairness of how machines are scoring online assessments—are they accurate, are they fair? The key to the success of AI and computer-based tests is to build the infrastructure from the ground up, according to Dr Rose Clesham, Director of Academic Standards & Measurement (English Assessment) at Pearson.  The systems that Pearson’s English language tests are built on are highly sophisticated algorithms, and those algorithms are turning computer information back into a form of human scores, notes Dr Clesham.  
    “When we train our engines, the human scorers give pieces of work – lots and lots of pieces of work – and they score them in a human way and provide a human score, and that then is used to train or to start the journey of training our systems.” 
    LISTEN: Episode 8 — The fairness of algorithms 
    Let’s dive into some of the key points that unpack computer-based testing and its role in modern assessment. 

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  • Data and its impact on the modern classroom


    As demand for English language learning grows in popularity across Asia, innovations in learning technologies are changing how educators are approaching the challenge of equipping learners with the English skills (and knowledge) required to succeed personally and professionally – in everyday life, in academia and in professional settings.  
    The rise of technology-assisted study – or in other words, pedagogy that is underpinned by technology – allows teachers to obtain and analyse student performance data in near real-time and it allows educators to use the gained learnings to tailor the learning experience to meet individual requirements, and it is having a profound effect on modern English language teaching (ELT). 
    Additionally, as a by-product of technology-driven pedagogy, educators can now leverage education data to provide invaluable insights for learners to help them shape their learning journey, for teachers to understand their cohort’s strengths and weaknesses, and for education leaders to get a clear view on their courseware infrastructure in order to make timely decisions on optimising the wider teaching and learning framework provided at their institution. This current shift is fundamentally presenting data-driven decision-making opportunities in education that simply weren’t possible in previous years. 
    And there are several variables that have allowed for a more data-driven approach to the modern classroom: an increase in training, coupled with the emergence of new technologies, and the implementation of new common standards, to name a few.  

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  • Breaking down PTE Academic, section by section


    With the ever-increasing importance of English as a global language, the governments of Vietnam and Thailand have policies in place to boost the English language proficiency of their populations.

    And as the Thai and Vietnamese populations embark on their English language learning journey, they will inevitably encounter the checkpoint of needing to test and prove their English skills to understand their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Enter the Pearson Test of English, otherwise known as PTE.  

    It’s a globally recognised, computer-based English language test that measures language ability – it is the fastest and most reliable way of proving English language proficiency

    Launched in 2009, PTE was created in response to the demand for a more accurate, objective, secure and relevant test of English skill. PTE is accepted by academic institutions and governments across the globe and is the market-leading high stakes English test. 

    PTE stands out in the market due to its speed, flexibility, fairness and accuracy – being a computer-based test, PTE eliminates the biases of human scoring and ensures that marking is devoid of human error. 

    Students who want to study or migrate abroad are required to demonstrate their English skills, and like any tests your students may take, it requires adequate preparation. Students are exposed to excerpts from lectures, graphs and charts, and will hear a vast range of accents in the test, which reflects exposure to the types of accents encountered in everyday life.  


    YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN: PODCAST: Episode 4 — Going global with PTE Academic (ไทย  |  Tiếng Việt)


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  • Building multidimensional courses for future workforces


    As economies in Asia-Pacific continue to flourish and develop, countries like Thailand and Vietnam find themselves in need of a larger cohort of competent, qualified professionals. According to global recruiter ManpowerGroup, Thailand lacks enough skilled workers to meet growing demand in the sales, information technology, engineering, business administration, accounting and manufacturing sectors.  

    Through its alignment with the expanding knowledge economy, Pearson is primed to offer educators and policymakers in the region the right tools to innovate their pedagogy and, for their learners, the skills required to thrive in today’s world.  

    The key is developing its Global Scale of English and professional qualifications: Pearson “really understands what the needs of the learner are, particularly in terms of the progression in their careers,” says Phil Myers, Pearson’s Head of International Product.   

    “It's incumbent on us to be absolutely clear in terms of what that progression and opportunity are, what the skills, knowledge and understanding are, and to make sure that we're really embedded with the employers in understanding what the elements of that progression route, so that we can make sure the courses are fully purposed.” 

    Tapping industry experts for insights  

    Pearson works with a pool of pedagogic and industry experts who are trained to understand course design and be responsive to their own research on a continuous basis. Alongside this specialist input, “a key priority for us is working in partnership with employers,” Phil says. Employers are, almost by definition, crucial to how vocational courses are structured, given that the skills learned are dictated by what they are looking for.   

    For this reason, Pearson has cultivated strong industry relationships to enhance the way its courses and qualifications are crafted, says Phil. “I think that partnership approach to designing courses is absolutely essential and it means that we can work very deeply with an employer and really make sure that employer needs are being met in course design.”  

    Jason Gregory, Pearson’s International Director, UK BTEC & Apprenticeships, agrees with that approach and underscores the role of education experts in bringing vocational training to the classroom and online. “We take all the information from the employer and interpret it and convert it into a course. That's an important part of what Pearson does with its partnership with employers.” 

    Practical, hands-on and career oriented  

    One of the main factors that sets Pearson’s qualifications apart is the emphasis on preparing learners for the world of work. As Phil explains, when designing coursework, the creators draw on their understanding of occupational standards from a range of international jurisdictions to better evaluate where best practices happen.   

    “We can help, advise and support employability from understanding that best practice and bringing best practice to bear in our courses. That's something which gives us a real advantage and they [learners] like that it’s available to them. It’s one of our core strengths,” he notes. 

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  • Enhancing the learning journey, one data point at a time


    While the idea of using ‘big data’ can seem daunting, it is increasingly asserting itself in the classroom as one of the best ways for teachers and their students to get the most out of course materials, and to customise the learning process like never before. This is especially so in the fast-growing knowledge economies of Thailand and Vietnam, where students are “success-driven and have the goal of better professional opportunities,” Kayo Taguchi, Pearson Asia’s ELT Portfolio Manager, said on a recent episode of Pearson’s Art of Learning podcast.   

    The two countries’ governments and educational institutions are also highly receptive to technology-assisted study, especially in the field of English Language Teaching (ELT). This allows the collection of pedagogical data on each individual student – while considering the genuine privacy concerns that surround the collection of personal data in any field – through an ongoing teach-and-test environment. This, in turn, produces learners who are highly motivated and open to constantly evolving teaching methodologies.  

    By combining Pearson’s unique offerings, such as Global Scale of English, educators can use technology to create a holistic program that connects infrastructure, instruction and assessment, innovates the way they teach, and provides a measurable impact on student learning and success.  

    Building on a tried and tested approach  

    Numerous studies have pointed to the efficacy of providing both learners and educators with data that can be collated and analysed to enable individualised learning.  

    According to a study on using big data to enhance learning, data can produce intelligence that can be useful for self-regulating learners and for teachers to adapt instructional designs. Further, advances in data analytics technology allow information to be marked and evaluated in real-time, giving educators the opportunity to customise the experience for each student – and ensure that the learning process is smooth and effective by tracking development and success rates.  

    Pearson has pioneered an efficient and holistic approach that prioritises:   

    • identification of issues
    • constant monitoring through testing
    • sharing of the data, while ensuring privacy, to identify and further refine a learner’s progress  

    Enabling access to granular, actionable intelligence

    The data provided by tests help educators to understand students’ strengths and weaknesses, and other behaviour patterns. This is because tests present the data in ways that teachers can immediately put to use by adjusting their teaching styles, classroom environments and approach to individuals.  

    Experts typically categorise measuring student learning into two buckets: Summative assessments, which include a range of graded activities such as tests, provide a shared and consistent understanding of students’ achievements. Formative assessments include day-to-day classroom practices that help teachers and pupils understand what has and has not been learnt, and implement actions to address this on an ongoing basis. 

    “What has evolved is the concept of why you are testing and what purpose is the test serving,” says Stuart Connor, Pearson Asia’s Qualifications & Assessment Director. “The best assessments help teachers focus their testing, manage mixed ability classes, and identify and correct student mistakes more easily.”  

    There are a number of factors that have allowed this more data-driven approach to the classroom – an increase in training, coupled with the advent of new technologies which allow educators and administrators to move seamlessly between resources and tests, and the implementation of common standards.   

    This allows them to connect the dots between “assessment-of-learning” and “assessment-for-learning” – essentially the difference between learning for the purpose of testing, and testing for the purposes of improving the learning process.  

    For instance, tools such as in-classroom online polls enable teachers to gauge in real time students' engagement levels and their grasp of the concepts being taught. And as remote learning applications have taken off in the age of the coronavirus, these apps are incorporating such polling features to allow instructors to continue gathering data on student performance despite the lack of physical interactions.   

    The “game changer” is that by using technology, teachers and students are able to “do something with the results,” says Kayo. “We’re able to answer the question: ‘What steps should I take next, what should I do?’” This can be explicit, she says, pointing to a specific skill, or more subtle, such as a change in teaching style. “Learning becomes a bit more focused when you link the courseware and assessment together.”   

    Educators are also acquiring the ability to impart training, gather data and analyse performance remotely, something that is increasingly becoming important. “We're having to completely change our teaching methodologies due to the coronavirus pandemic, as we move at unprecedented speeds towards remote and online learning,” says Stuart.  

    Monitoring success at all levels  

    The gathering and assessment of data happens at multiple levels. “Data analytics become very important to drive quality,” says Stuart. “From a learner’s perspective…just to see where you are, how you’re performing, against the KPIs, the goals you set yourself – how much additional work you’d need to do and what specific activities you’d need to carry out to reach your goals, to be able to click a button and see that, in number form or in graphs, is really impactful.”  

    Similarly, it allows teachers to understand whether they’re on track compared with their lesson or semester planning. At a macro level, a department head can see how different classes are performing, giving more control and ability to measure quality and drive improvements, ensuring no individual, class or even educator falls behind.   

    “For an institution, if they’re looking to make an investment in technology, in resources or assessments, this tells them if there’s a return on that investment because they can measure how well their learners are improving their English, so the data is extremely powerful,” says Stuart.  

    Harnessing data for the power of learning, to make sure that every student is given the chance to capitalise on their strengths and have their limitations acknowledged and addressed, is a key development in the way teachers teach, and can have lasting impact on how ELT classrooms are designed and implemented. 


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  • Online vs. blended learning: which is better?


    In the times before technology, traditional teaching methods were heavily reliant on print-based material, as classwork was done from a student book and in turn homework was completed in a workbook.

    It's a proven approach, and fundamentally the anatomy of the classroom hasn’t changed all that much. What’s different now, however, is the prevalence of technology and its place in the world of education. As technology advances around us, so does the way we teach and learn.

    Cassette tapes were leveraged as an education tool in the 1970s and 80s, and we then transitioned to the computing advancements of the 1990s, which made way for more sophisticated use of laptops in the classroom setting.

    As such, we saw the possibilities of online teaching methods emerge as a new teaching approach that could complement face-to-face learning.

    While the technology at the time was limited, it signified a landmark moment in teaching. Educators realised that teaching and learning can be done outside of the classroom and holds vast benefits for learners.

    In the context of English language teaching, there are a number of variables that are changing the way learning is done, and they are as follows: learner appetite for on-demand access to information is as high as ever; competition for attention is fierce; and of course, the evolution of technology is as rapid as ever.

    Ultimately, the way we learn is not linear and everyone has their own learning journey, so the challenge for teachers crafting their approach for modern English language learners remains – what is the best approach?

    Enter online learning and blending learning. Brick and click, tailored learning, digital learning, and so on. We often hear of these terms, but it’s not always clear on how this looks, feels, and functions in practice.

    Let’s dive into the online learning approach

    What is online learning? This approach is essentially a learning environment that exists online. Learners can practice at their own rate, do their homework in their own time, and self-direct their learning.

    Kayo Taguchi is Pearson Asia's English language teaching (ELT) portfolio manager, and she says that the most beneficial aspect to the online teaching approach is the higher volume of data to tap in to, and so that means being able to track progress, analyse the numbers behind learner patterns, and in turn apply learnings. 

    “Teachers are creating online classroom environments, where they're doing interactive activities such as: polling, breakout rooms and other team-based activities all online. What this is presenting is an opportunity for students to transition to do their homework outside of the classroom, and even go that step further to do additional study in their own time because the online environment makes it possible.”

    While the online learning approach allows students to get creative with their approach to doing homework and extracurricular study, there are challenges associated with the online-only approach.

    For Kayo, this approach is reliant on access to technology, a sound internet connection, and disciplined learners.

    “There's the technology side of things when we’re learning and teaching online, for example, when people are accidentally on mute, or if learners don’t have computers, or their internet isn’t holding up, or they're looking at other things on their phone – that kind of general challenge is present.”

    And for teachers, there’s the administrative considerations of getting the classroom online and some level of platform upskilling to understand how to get the most out of the online classroom environment.

    Kayo says that with a little bit of training and a clear plan in place, the online teaching approach can be very effective.

    “For example, if learners have missed a class then teachers can provide a recording of the online experience or a PDF that provides an overview of the lesson. And during unprecedented times like we have experienced with COVID-19, you can access courses from anywhere, and you don’t need the physical classroom.”

    So, what about the blended learning approach?

    As the name suggests, blended learning is a mix between two methods that is as follows: traditional, face-to-face learning and online learning. If we visualise it in the context of a Venn diagram, it looks like this:

    • Region A denotes online learning
    • Region B denotes face-to-face learning
    • The union of A and B denotes blended learning 
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  • The professional advantage: How BTEC is giving Thai students an edge at KMITL


    In Thailand, the high-end manufacturing sector is booming. Aided in part by the government’s support, there is real enthusiasm for specialised engineering learning, and many young Thais are looking for careers in what is becoming an increasingly competitive field.

    In response, the country’s higher-education institutions, such as King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), are catering to this increase in interest.

    With many younger, aspiring engineers focused on advanced fields like nanotechnology, undergraduates in the STEM disciplines are looking for additional courses to give them much-needed practical knowledge, and ultimately, an edge in the job market.

    In schools like KMITL, this heightened interest in specialised education has led to an increased adoption of high-quality, practical qualifications like BTEC.

    These courses, which are highly experience-based and geared towards the skills that make graduates attractive to employers, allow students who value hands-on experience and practical learning to get tangible qualifications that can really make a difference when entering the workforce.

    What is BTEC?

    For over 30 years BTEC qualifications have offered an engaging alternative to more academic, traditional learning models.

    Based on real-life work skills and knowledge, these qualifications are more attractive to students who have a career path in mind and want the relevant experience related to their chosen field – in STEM, health, sport, business, IT, the creative industries, and more. Because the courses are focused on “learning by doing,” BTEC students work on assignments set in real-life scenarios and can put their learning into practice straight away.

    Employers benefit just as much, secure in the knowledge that new graduates from BTEC programs have the relevant skills – and experience – to hit the ground running. It’s a proven strategy – according to global data, some 90% of BTEC students are employed full-time after graduating.

    The courses have developed as a way to unify English with technical and vocational qualifications, giving educators a framework around which to experiment and innovate in the way they teach, and offering their students the range of skills needed to thrive in today’s competitive job market.

    KMITL – a Thai educational innovator

    KMITL, a research and educational institution in Bangkok, has a heavy STEM focus and its reputation for imparting high-quality vocational training makes it an ideal partner to pilot BTEC Higher Nationals, internationally recognized vocational qualifications equivalent to the first two years of a university degree. KMITL has long been an innovator in Thai education, including awarding the country’s first doctoral degree in electrical engineering, and is associated with the Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network (SEED-NET).

    While BTEC programs have been known at the high-school level in Thailand for some time, KMITL is pioneering its application for tertiary-level learners through new courses in Manufacturing Engineering and Management & Leadership.

    The KMITL selection process for inclusion in its BTEC program is exacting, with only nine successful applicants for every 100, according to Dr. Chatrpol Pakasiri, a BTEC instructor at the institution. Students studying science, technology or engineering bachelor’s degrees are encouraged to apply.

    Why BTEC?

    Dr. Chatrpol has been teaching at KMITL for six years and helms the institution’s BTEC course on the principles of electrical engineering.

    He says that while the BTEC curriculum is similar in many ways to the coursework he previously taught, his students benefit greatly from the practical experience, noting that those in his program directly “learn about manufacturing,” which will help them find jobs after graduation.

    He adds that the new methodology, with a greater focus on self-starting and engaging learning, allows his students to “take responsibility for themselves,” which is a quality highly attractive to potential employers. He says that the course is ideal for motivated students who are prepared to work hard and many of his BTEC students are so involved in the course and value the practical aspects so highly, a simple passing grade isn’t enough for them: they are aiming, instead, to graduate with distinction.

    He adds that the course is a hugely valuable additional qualification, which can be taken concurrently with their undergraduate degree courses. “It’s like having a second degree – usually if you want to have two degrees, it’s difficult to do so in different fields. Either [the students] would have to go back and get another bachelor’s degree and spend more time doing it – so in that respect it’s very good.”

    Road to success

    As the higher-level BTEC qualifications are relatively new to Thailand’s universities, their benefits are – for now – somewhat unfamiliar to the hiring departments of the country’s manufacturing and engineering industries.

    But Dr. Chatrpol sees the qualification as having a bright future in Thailand. He is confident that as class after class of BTEC students graduate and enter the workforce, their worth will come to be known and valued by employers. “Awareness of BTEC will improve as students start to graduate and get their certificates. Then industry will get to know their capabilities,” he says.

    Dr. Chatrpol says that KMITL plans to introduce additional BTEC courses into its current rotation across hospitality management, management and leadership, and business. He hopes that expanding the course options will further establish his institution as a BTEC leader in Thailand and attract top talent from across the Southeast Asian nation and beyond. 

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  • How data and analytics are changing the way we learn the English language

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    As demand for English language learning continues to grow in popularity across Asia, innovations in learning technologies are changing how educators in the region are approaching the challenge of equipping non-native speakers with the proficiency required to succeed in academia and the professional world.   

    The increased functionality of tech-assisted study, which allows teachers to collect and analyse student performance in near real-time and use that data to customise the learning experience, is having a profound effect on how teachers and students are approaching English language teaching (ELT), and some of the region’s most enthusiastic language learners are benefiting.  

    Emerging economies such as Vietnam and Thailand have an especially “huge demand and appetite for language learning,” driven largely by the recognition that being able to comprehend and converse in another language, particularly English, is a powerful driver for, primarily, career advancement, says Stuart Connor, Pearson Asia’s Qualifications & Assessment Director.  

    The governments of both countries are recognising this demand and are shaping their English language and vocational curriculums to give their citizens the helping hand they need to prosper in the global economy. They are “acutely aware of how important English is going to be to future prosperity, to driving a growing economy, and to attracting more foreign direct investment,” says Stuart.  

    Of course, preparing learners of English for a successful future call for the right course materials, learning environments and qualifications. This includes setting high benchmarks for success, such as using materials based on international ESL (English as a Second Language) standards and aiming for a level of B1, or intermediate, level as measured in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), according to Stuart.   

    Deep dive into data

    As commendable as these ambitious targets are, the following questions remain:

    • At what level are students starting their language-learning journey?
    • Is there enough time to get students to the level expected by the time they graduate?
    • Are teachers sufficiently qualified or skilled to be able to teach the skills that need teaching?
    • Do teachers have the resources they need to be able to drive improvements?  

    To that end, gathering and analysing learning and proficiency data is increasingly becoming part of an educator’s toolbox. Each student has their own needs, and it's important to have individual learning pathways, points out Kayo Taguchi, Pearson Asia’s ELT Portfolio Manager. Knowing exactly what a learner’s true level is, and having clear goals for progress over a specific period of time, are key to managing their language development.   

    “Everyone learns at a different pace. In the same class, you could have slow learners as well as fast learners,” says Kayo. “Each of them has different strengths and challenges and these need to be addressed.”   

    This is made possible by the continuous collection and analysis of data, which can identify strengths and weaknesses at a granular level. When this information is fed back into the learning process, it helps to create a feedback loop that enables the creation of a unique, customised and effective learning experience for the student. As Stuart notes, “The feedback cycle of teach, learn, assess – it's just ongoing.”  

    Having that level of insight, Kayo says, is key to keeping students enthusiastic and inspired to continue learning. “Being able to identify an individual’s strengths and challenges will help educators build student motivation,” she says, adding that tech-assisted learning environments can be invaluable to the process.  

    The future of language learning  

    So, how does technology assist educators in the quest to teach better? “Pearson uses a range of tools, including artificial intelligence, to gather and analyse data on the learning process in order to decipher patterns and create portraits of a classroom and its individual students at scale and at speed,” according to Stuart.   

    Pearson’s data-driven analytics abilities mean that it can capture highly specific details, and present the information quickly and in a way that teachers can understand. They can then use that knowledge to make better decisions around how they teach, and how they focus and curate each learner’s approach.   

    For instance, Pearson uses machine learning to rapidly and accurately score tests and break down each student’s performance by skill, even speaking skills. And if a learner has a specific weakness say, at a certain level of speaking in a certain context, there will be feedback and recommendations as to which particular sections of the courseware can effectively address this particular gap in their skill level, all powered by technology, all without human intervention.  

    Educators are also acquiring the ability to impart training, gather data and analyse performance remotely, something that is increasingly becoming important. “We're having to completely change our teaching methodologies due to the coronavirus pandemic, as we move at unprecedented speeds towards remote and online learning,” says Stuart.   

    Pearson is adapting to the new ground realities of an increasingly digital world by integrating assessments into courseware that can be accessed digitally through the company’s learning platforms.  

    Ultimately, it’s clear that however the world may look when we return to a “new normal”, the influence of technology and data on pedagogy is real and here to stay.   

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