Klik2Learn - A Journey 2 Basic Skills
The Klik2Learn team are language specialists, focusing on technology that can transform language learning. Through their existing work with their online ‘Journey 2 English’ digital course for intermediate learners of English, the team discovered a gap in the market – a tool to help those with no English skills at all to learn basic English, the development of which has been supported by a Ufi VocTech Seed grant.
Working with Glasgow Women’s library, City College Glasgow, Derby College, and Morley College London among others, Klik2Learn’s team have developed a mobile app to enable learners to grasp English phonemes, the alphabet, numbers, handwriting skills, and digital skills through animation, graphics, audio and games.
Throughout the project, the team’s challenge has been to create a product which is easily accessible and enjoyable for learners who may have no knowledge of the English alphabet or understanding of spoken English, so instructions on how to get to the next step in the app have to be via animations for example.
A number of key decisions had to be made about how best to design the sequence of the learning: e.g. which of the four language skills should be focused on first, how to fit 44 sounds into 26 letters and how to present differences between sounds and spelling. Klik2Learn needed to create examples which could translate easily into illustrations that were instantly recognisable and culturally universal.
In the above graphic, the numbered circles are activities - each of which is worth a certain number of coins. After each 10 activities, learners get a chance to spend their money in the shop (the icon at the bottom of the screen.) This allows learners to buy an item for their suitcase which is shown with a numerical value. If they don't have enough coins, they can't buy it so need to repeat some activities or games. If they have more than they need, the system calculates the balance. The suitcase section on the right shows what they've already got - in colour - and what they still need to buy - greyed out.
Learners at this stage, especially those unfamiliar with the roman script, have a huge amount of information to absorb. They need to repeat the learning many times in order for it to become internalised. Many hours of discussion centred round keeping a balance between the need for repetition and learner motivation.
The concept of the journey underpins the overall reward system. Every activity a learner completes earns them coins. Learners embark on a world tour that takes them round all the major English speaking countries. Before they start however, they need to earn coins to buy items for their suitcase and get the all important plane ticket for the first destination.
Testing key learning outcomes at various points is achieved through a series of short, focused games where learners can gain more coins and get extra content based on their scores.
All of this has had to be achieved without using words or audio, so Klik2learn’s Creative Director was kept very busy devising animations and iconography, and the development team had to ensure that the user experience was stripped back and totally intuitive.
The new application has been through its first phase of testing with learners, and Klik2Learn have been delighted with the way news is spreading. They’ve been contacted by a variety of employers, councils and the prison service, all keen to learn more about the program and when it will be available commercially.
Ufi funds projects that use technology in innovotive ways to change how adults access the skills needed for work. Find out more about our projects and grant funding at ufi.co.uk or by staying in touch with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.