On May 6th, the Beijing Edtech Community hosted its second meetup at Yuanfen~Flow in 798, currently the country’s hippest art district. Sponsored by the Pearson Future Technologies team, the gathering hosted 35 entrepreneurs, company executives, investors, and teachers to discuss how technology is changing English learning, by far one of the hottest education business in China (and in much of the world.) Here are some of the highlights from the panel discussion:
Jiajia Huang (Founder, 51Talk): Online technologies are promising but are still lacking in engagement and providing a rigorous learning experience. There’s still much work to find the sweet point between the two in designing the product and service.
Annie Dai (Director, 17Zuoye): Web-based language services can be great for developing reading skills, and doing so in a way that’s adaptive, personalized, and with well-defined assessments and standards.
Samuel Chen (IT Director, Wall Street English China): Online tools can provide value-added services, such as assessments and multimedia materials, that serve as teasers to attract learners to attend physical tutoring locations to learn English face-to-face (which is still a large market in China).
George Guo (Regional Operations Director--North of Wall Street English China): There is high demand on language learning with more specific goals--in most cases, learners just needs language skills for their working scenarios. This is another interpretation of personalized learning.
Minghua Piao (Manager of English Learning Service, Pearson Education China): Using online technology to do automatic assessment and providing feedback to users in real time is extremely important.
While they all shared ways in which technology can help deliver more effective English learning, the feedback from the audience was largely unanimous: offline learning cannot be fully replaced, especially for a skill like language learning, which requires people to study and interact with one another in order for any significant learning impact.
Are you in town? Stay tuned for future meetups here.