The Future of Language Learning
Carsten Peters, Language Mining Company
I have been a language learner as long as I can remember. On average I spend 1-2 hours daily on learning languages. I do different activities, use all kinds of tools, and I switch languages to keep myself motivated. And I am a language teacher, so it is almost impossible to imagine a life without language language or coaching.
Just recently, I have become a Google for Education Certified Innovator. During a lunch break at the academy, I was asked to give my opinion on the future of language learning. My answer was spontaneous and it really made me second-guess the very reason for my existence.I said: In the future language learning will not be necessary anymore and my work will become irrelevant.
Wow! Did I just dismiss myself? Carsten, you are fired! No, not really. Let me explain.In the future (and it might not be too many years from now) I see an increase in bilingual people all over the world due to migration, exchange programs, and efficient second language teaching in our schools. In other words, more and more people will be able to chose a common language to communicate in. Working as an expat in a foreign country and using only English both at work and in your social relationships is already common practice.
On the other hand, technology will play an important role in communication. There will be (and there are already) devices that will translate oral conversations on the fly. Today, we might still be concerned about the accuracy and the misunderstandings resulting from the translations, however, the quality of both hardware and software will improve considerably. Hence, a common language will not be a necessity for efficient communication anymore.
Does that mean the end of language learning for good? No, definitely not. The focus will be on language acquisition in the early years of life, which will decrease the need for adult language learning. Immigration will still take place and therefore there will always be a need for learning a foreign language. What will probably disappear is language teaching as we know it today. Technology will play an important role. And augmented reality can provide an immense benefit on this behalf.