Which are the Top English/Language Learning Apps? and Trends in Installed Language Learning Apps 2021

Which are the Top English/Language Learning Apps? and Trends in Installed Language Learning Apps 2021

HelloTalk, FluentU, Rosetta Stone, Hello English, and Speaking Pal’s Learn English Speak English are some top language or English-learning platforms covered in this report, which are focused on speaking skills, and whose countries of launch and head offices are in the Latin American, Central American, and Asian (China, India, Indonesia, etc) regions. We determined that these are among the top apps for spoken English based on multiple mentions across various platforms, including Pronunciation Pro,Educational App Store, FluentU, Tutor Vidya, Android Authority, and Hongkiat.

Some trends in installed language learning apps for 2020 include the increasing adoption of AI in language learning, mobile learning, and gamification.

COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

(1) HelloTalk

  • As provided in our early findings, a link to the web page can be found here.
  • HelloTalk is a language exchange platform primarily focused on conversational English that links users to native speakers, allowing them to practice their speaking skills in real-time. The app includes additional in-built features to assist with grammar and spelling, including translation, pronunciation, transliteration, and correction tools.
  • The app also maintains a teaching platform where professional language teachers can connect with potential students and provide one-to-many language classes.
  • Headquartered and launched in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China in 2012, HelloTalk boasts over 20 million subscribers and more than 150 supported languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Thai, Hindi, and Arabic. However, the app’s geographical coverage is not limited to its country of launch, as it enjoys an international presence, with the language of its website available in various languages, such as those mentioned above.
  • Although there’s no publicly available information on any awards received by HelloTalk, the company received early-stage financing in 2018 from Seven Sea Partners, which recognized its language platform potential.
  • The app’s key features include the following:
  • A search feature to find native-speaking language partners around the world, who can be selected on the basis of proximity, country, city, or other criteria.
  • Voice to text and text to voice conversion capabilities to enhance the practice and recognition of spoken words.
  • Transliteration of words across various alphabets.
  • Language translation between the primary and foreign language (English).
  • Voice over IP (VoIP) allowing free calls between language partners.
  • Grammar correction, including syntax and pronunciation.
  • Bookmark functionalities to save various data points for future reference, for instance, grammar corrections, foreign language words and sentences, audio files, and pictures.
  • A video of HelloTalk’s features overview can be found here. Below are some screenshots of the app:
  • Profile View:
Which are the Top English/Language Learning Apps? and Trends in Installed Language Learning Apps 2021
  • Moment Sharing View:
Which are the Top English/Language Learning Apps? and Trends in Installed Language Learning Apps 2021
  • Chat view:
Which are the Top English/Language Learning Apps? and Trends in Installed Language Learning Apps 2021

(2) Elsa Speak

  • Although headquartered in San Francisco, US, ELSA Speak is an English-speaking app developed by Vu Van, a US-based Vietnamese, for the Vietnamese market. The company also maintains an office in Vietnam. During its launch in 2016, the language learning app had 30-35% Vietnamese users, with the rest spread across Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Middle East, and Europe.
  • A link to ELSA Speak’s web page can be found here.
  • ELSA Speak is primarily for English-speaking tutelage. As indicated on its website, the app supports the following languages: Vietnamese, Indonesian, Japanese, English, and Portuguese.
  • ELSA Speak currently boasts more than 7 million users spread across over 101 countries.
  • The app’s key features include the following:
    • A world-class expert-written speech test that assigns speaking proficiency scores and provides a detailed report on the user’s pronunciation strengths and weaknesses.
    • An AI-powered speech coach with bite-sized lessons to help users sound like a native speaker.
    • A pack of over 1,600 lessons covering all English sounds and over 40 topics, including travel tips and job interviews.
    • ELSA’s English Dictionary, including words and their pronunciation, as well as a comparison of the user’s voice to that of a native speaker.
    • Speaking challenges and fun language games that cover core English skills such as pronunciation, intonation, word stress, conversation, rhythm, and listening.
    • Instant feedback on spoken phrases, including a comparison of the user’s voice to that of a native speaker, instructions on correction, and videos showing how to produce any challenging sounds.
  • Elsa Speak has received the following awards/recognition:
  • Honorable Mention in the AI and Data category of Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards
  • Top100 Influencers in State of EdTech Report by EdTech Digest 2020
  • Grand Winner at SXSW Edu Launch 2016
  • Gold Winner for “The Best Digital Learning App” by Reimagine Education 2016
  • #1 Education App on ProductHunt 2016
    • Multiple recognitions, including from Forbes, VentureBeat, TechCrunch, Mashable, Yahoo, Salma Hayek, and others.
  • Below are some screenshots of the app:
    • Overview:
  • Assessment:
  • Topics:

(3) FluentU

  • A link to the app’s web page can be found here.
  • FluentU was founded in 2012 by Alan Park and is headquartered in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.
  • The app provides audiovisual learning solutions, including English videos or real-world events, such as popular talk shows, news, and funny YouTube clips, giving users hands-on speaking experiences. Therefore, the app is best suited for intermediate and advanced learners.
  • FluentU supports English, Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Korean, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese.
  • There’s no publicly available information on any awards received by FluentU. The platform has also not disclosed its subscriber count. However, it has more than 100,000 downloads on Google Play.
  • An in-depth review of FluentU’s functionalities can be found here. The app’s key features include the following:
    • A collection of real authentic videos, including movie trailers, English music videos, and business English videos.
    • Video subtitles offered in English, including English translations, in-context definitions, and clear examples.
    • Quiz sections to help users master video content.
    • A hover-in-context dictionary.
    • Video loop capabilities.
  • Below are some screenshots of the app:
    • Overview:
  • Videos:

(4) Rosetta Stone

  • A link to the web page can be found here.
  • Rosetta Stone was founded in 1992 and maintains offices in the following countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Egypt, Jersey, Lebanon, Mexico, Singapore, Korea (Republic of), and the United Arab Emirates.
  • The app leverages various technologies, including software, online services, and audio practice tools to develop, market, and support a suite of language-learning, brain fitness, and literacy solutions, such as audio practice products, web-based software subscriptions, online and professional services, mobile applications, and perpetual software products.
  • Rosetta Stone supports 24 languages, including Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, English (American or British), Filipino (Tagalog), French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish (Latin American or Spain), Swedish, Turkish, and Vietnamese.
  • The company’s consumer language business had 516,000 subscribers as of the second quarter of 2019.
  • The app’s key features include the following:
    • A personalized language learning plan based on the user’s motivation.
    • Instant pronunciation feedback to help users perfect their diction.
    • Offline capabilities, including downloading lessons to work on them afterward.
    • A suite of exercises using the Extended Learning features.
    • Sync capabilities to help track progress across various devices.
  • Below are some screenshots of the app:
  • The following are some recent awards received by the platform:
    • 2019 PC Mag Editors’ Choice
    • 2019 Tabby Awards Winner
    • 2019 Best Mobile App Awards: Best Designed App and Best Overall App

(5) Hello English

  • A link to the web page can be found here.
  • Hello English markets itself as “Asia’s largest online English learning platform” for spoken English, grammar, and vocabulary building, “loved by over 50 Million users and top enterprises.”
  • Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, the app leverages artificial intelligence (AI), voice, technology, and interactive modules to offer personalized English-learning solutions.
  • Hello English also uses fun games and audio to assist learners familiarize with the language basics before introducing more complex aspects of the lessons, therefore, helping learners understand common phrases while building up their knowledge of other speech components.
  • The app supports over 23 languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, Urdu, Punjabi, Malayalam, Oriya, Assamese, Nepali, Bangladeshi, Indonesian, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese, Malay, Turkish and Thai.
  • The app’s key features include the following:
    • A free English-speaking course with over 475 interactive lessons, which can also be accessed offline.
    • Speaking, reading, and writing games that provide immediate feedback with tips for better grammar.
    • An inbuilt dictionary with over 10,000 words can be accessed in the app. Users can look up words and learn their meanings and pronunciations.
    • A voice recognition software allowing users to practice daily conversations, hence, improving spoken skills.
    • A homework feature with lessons, including games and conversations, which are completed periodically for better results.
  • Some awards received by Hello English include the following:
    • Best 2017 mobile app by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI).
    • Google’s Editor’s Choice 2017 and 2018 in Play Store Apps.
    • India’s Most Innovative App in 2014 and 2016, awarded by IMAI.
    • Google’s 2016 best app, based on engagement and popularity.

(6) SpeakingPal’s Learn English, Speak English

  • A link to the web page can be found here.
  • Speaking pal is an app that uses voice recognition to assess the learner’s pronunciation and provide instant feedback, as well as offering a full curriculum, including quizzes and progress/comprehension-tracking.
  • Speaking Pal was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Israel. Eyal Eshed is one of the app’s co-founders and is the current CEO. EDULAB Group, which is based in China and headquartered in Tokyo, obtained a majority stake at the company, becoming the largest shareholder and, hence, paving the way for increased market penetration in Asia.
  • SpeakingPal supports 14 languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Hindu, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Turkish, Russian, Arabic, Indonesian, Hebrew, Portuguese and Romanian. The most recent user statistics available for SpeakingPal (2016) indicate that the app had a 4.5 million subscriber count in 180 countries.
  • The app’s key features include the following:
    • A personalized curriculum for each user, with a clear cut path for advancing through levels.
    • Quizzes that cover comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar.
    • A color-coded voice recognition software that allows users to focus on red-colored words and work on them.
    • Progress-tracking functionalities that let users keep tabs with the number of lessons covered.
    • A suite of video lessons.
    • Listening functionalities and multi-answer dialogs that allow users to take control of the direction of the conversation.
  • SpeakingPal has been a winner in the following awards:
    • SXSW Launch EDU (US)
    • The Learning Award (UK)
    • The International E-Learning Award (Global)
    • The SmartContent Award (S. Korea)
    • The Sony MultiScreen UX Award (Global)
    • The Qualcomm App Challenge Award (Global)
  • Below are some screenshots of the app:

(7) Memrise

  • Although Memrise’s headquarters are in the UK, the platform offers language-learning solutions to users in more than 189 countries. Founded in 2010, the app boasts 50 million users.
  • A link to the platform’s web page can be found here.
  • The app refrains from giving grammar lessons at the onset of learning a new language, instead offering non-computerized naturally-voiced audio and video clips from real locals to help users learn and gain the confidence to speak.
  • Memrise supports the following languages: French, Spanish, German, Japanese (Kanji), Italian, Chinese, Portuguese, Korean, Russian, Mexican Spanish, Arabic, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Turkish, Danish, Icelandic, Slovenian, Mongolian, and English.
  • The app’s key features include the following:
    • A collection of new words to learn.
    • Grammar (available on selected language pairs)
    • Classic and speed review capabilities
    • Functionalities for mastering difficult words
    • Learning with locals (available on selected courses)
    • Pronunciation (available on selected courses)
    • Offline mode for accessing the app’s functionalities consistently.
  • Below is a screenshot of the app:
  • Memrise has been recognized by CNET as the best app for learning to speak casually in a new language in 2020.

(8) Busuu

  • Although Busuu is headquartered in the UK, the platform supports 12 languages in both its desktop and mobile app, with more than 100 million learners globally.
  • Busuu was founded in 2008 and supports the following languages: English, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Turkish, and Polish.
  • The app offers an online community that enables users to learn directly from native speakers, with the following key features:
    • An integrated video-chat application
    • Speaking and pronunciation exercises
    • Writing solutions
    • Comprehension capabilities
    • Vocabulary mastering
    • Listening skills
    • Various learning and grammar units.
  • Below is a screenshot of the app:
  • The following are some instances of recognition received by Busuu:
    • Google Play — Editor’s Choice
    • Editor rating: Excellent by PC Mag
    • 22 hours on Busuu are recognized as equivalent to one college semester

(9) TalkEnglish

  • TalkEnglish was founded in 2004 by Steve Kim to “help people all over the world become fluent English speakers.”
  • A link to the web page can be found here.
  • The platform supports over 21 languages including Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Swedish, Vietnamese, and English.
  • The platform’s key features include:
    • Click, listen, and repeat functionalities
    • Record and playback tools
    • Interactive conversation practice lessons
    • Hundreds of real-life scenario videos such as movies, sports, shopping, college life, pets, working, and many more.
    • Book mark lessons to manage favorite lessons feature s
    • Share feature s
    • Lesson Search
  • There’s no publicly available information on any awards received by TalkEnglish. The platform has also not disclosed its subscriber count. Below is a screenshot of the app‘s basic speaking lesson.

(10) Babbel

  • Although Babbel is headquartered in Berlin, Germany, the platform supports 13 languages for users globally, with a subscriber count of 10 million.
  • A link to the web page can be found here.
  • Babbel was founded in 2007 and has been ranked as the world’s #1 innovative company in education, with 73% of its users indicating that “they’d be able to have a short, simple conversation in their new language within five hours of using Babbel.”
  • The app supports the following languages: Indonesian, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, and Turkish.
  • Some key features of the app include the following:
    • Courses tailored to users’ native languages
    • Grammar and vocabulary training
    • Audio examples and dialogues recorded with real native speakers, not automated computers, to help users speak correctly and confidently.
    • Cognitive research and communicative didactic to optimize new vocabulary and grammar usage.
    • Offline mode for accessing the app’s functionalities consistently
  • Below is a screenshot of the app:

TRENDS

1. Emerging Apps

  • According to a 2020 first-quarter analysis of language-learning app installations by Sensor Tower, Duolingo remains the most-downloaded language-learning app globally in 2020, as well as 2017, 2018, and 2019.
  • The app, which has 300 million subscribers and supports 37 languages, witnessed a 108% increase in new sign-ups between March 9 and March 30, 2020, due to the pandemic’s impact.
  • The illustrations below show the most-installed apps on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store between 2017 and 2020. Babbel, Hello English, and Memrise are examples of emerging language-learning apps featured in the analysis between 2017 and 2018.

screenshot

  • In the US, Babbel and Rosetta Stone’s downloads and category rankings experienced the most growth, according to App Tweak, with the keyword volume for ‘Babbel’ growing faster than other brand names.
  • The graph below illustrates the category rankings for Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone in the Play Store and App Store.

screenshot

2. Adoption of AI in Language Learning

  • Some key players in the language-learning application landscape are integrating artificial intelligence (AI) with learning programs to offers personalized solutions to users, as well as reduce the time taken to learn a language.
  • These include bots guiding learners on their learning paths, predicting learner behavior, offering voice solutions for searching content, and helping kids and people with special needs to learn new skills.
  • The key driver behind this trend is the recent advancements in AI, which have added to the online language learning experience benefits, such as customized learning materials, easy registration, flexibility, live chats and forums, self-paced learning, and immediate feedback on quizzes and tests.
  • Examples of companies at the forefront of this trend are Ocelot and Duolingo. Ocelot introduced an English-learning AI tool in October 2019, which uses bilingual chat bots to provide learning services in English and Spanish for users at colleges and universities.
  • Duolingo has also introduced virtual characters to its language-learning solution, as well as AI-powered chat bots for support in language learning. These are expected to make the language-learning experience more interactive.

3. Mobile learning and Gamification

  • Mobile technologies are evolving into study assistants, helping users memorize and recite material by connecting them with online assistants, forcing them to ask questions and receive feedback.
  • On the other hand, educative gamification is entertaining and insightful, with key vendors increasing their integration into the language-learning experience, allowing players to earn rewards when they solve language tasks.
  • The key driver behind this trend is the fact that “even people not passionate about languages start playing games because, with the labyrinths, wars, and competitions they offer, they are delightfully addictive.”
  • An example of an expert opinion on this trend is a senior analyst at Technavio, a market research company, quoted by Businesswire: “Mobile learning and gamification in language learning and the integration of learning analytics will further boost market growth during the forecast period (2020–2024).”

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