There’s an app for almost everything now...
You can chat with your friends, convert currencies or check when the next bus is arriving. So what about learning a language? We have our very own language learning app called WSE English and we ask the question:
Can an app really help you improve your English?
We think so but let’s be realistic. We shouldn’t expect to become fluent in a language just by completing a few exercises on our phone but that said, it’s a great place to start, especially for low level learners. If you know someone who is thinking about studying abroad or travelling to an English speaking destination, tell them about WSE English. It’s available in 10 different languages so even those with no knowledge of English can make a start.
It’s also a great way to supplement face to face language learning and we advise all of our students here at Wimbledon School of English to download the app. Even if it is stuff you think you know already, it can’t hurt to go over things again, and the beauty of having a language learning app on your phone is that you can do all of this on the go! If you’re sat on a train, waiting at the airport or just bored at home, you can work on improving your English language skills.
Q&A with WSE English developer
To learn a bit more about WSE English, we spoke to Jonathan Bygrave who designed the app. Jonathan has over 25 years experience in teaching, technology and educational publishing and was an English language teacher at Wimbledon School of English from 1995 to 1997!
WSE: So, Jonathan, how would you describe WSE English in 3 words
JB: Video-rich. Interactive. Free! (is that 4 words?)
WSE: What are the main features of WSE English?
JB: New lessons are unlocked on the WSE English app every week, so there's always a good reason to go back to it. The lessons are video-driven, interactive and often funny. They give you a chance to actually speak English - you'll have to try it to see how it works.
WSE: How is it different to other language learning apps?
JB: There are hundreds of language learning apps but almost all of them use text and photos. What makes WSE English different is the video-driven, interactive lessons that are just for language learners. The course on your app will change frequently, at the moment it’s phrases for making friends at A2/B1 level, but soon it might be business English or help with improving your IELTS score. As time goes on more and more courses will be added so watch this space!
WSE: What’s your favourite feature?
JB: The game called “Beat the Clock”. You have to listen to someone talking to you and choose the correct response. If you don't finish the conversation in time then you fail - but you can always have another go!
WSE: We love the “your turn” section at the end of the module. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
JB: That was Ingrid Freebairn's idea. She's one of the most experienced authors in English language learning and she created the first two courses. She was very insistent that students should have a chance to speak in the app. I thought it wasn't possible but she proved me wrong.
WSE: Lots of our students are already quite high level, is there a way they can skip some of the more basic stuff?
If they stick around for a while we'll soon have some lessons that are at the right level for them. In fact, it would be great to know what sort of lessons they would like: grammar? academic English? how to give presentations? The possibilities are endless and we will keep building new courses in response to what students want. Just let us know - use the Contact feature on the app.
WSE: This all sounds marvellous! How can we get our hands on the app?
JB: Download it for free here:
WSE English is completely free and you don’t have to be studying at Wimbledon School of English to download it. If you’re interested in learning more about apps, check out our guide to the top 10 apps for international students living in London.