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learndirect announces global immersive online language product for learning English

May 27, 2015 |

May 2015 - learndirect, the UK’s largest provider of technology-assisted learning and skills, is today announcing an innovative product for consumers to learn English as a foreign language.

Called learndirect English™, the downloadable software will enable learners to develop all their language skills through an enjoyable learning experience of real-life situations which revolve around them and other characters living in the virtual world of Velawoods™.

The learners will be in control of how much time they want to spend learning each day with a choice of whether they learn through the evolving storyline in Velawoods, practice their skills on their own, in their virtual apartment using a range of interactive tools, or with other online learners across the world.

Learners will also have their very own virtual teacher to guide them through the course, highlighting and explaining the main language points and rules.

Supported by complex analytics, continuous feedback is provided throughout the learning experience. For example, state-of-the-art speech analysis and artificial intelligence technologies, powered by Carnegie Speech, provide detailed feedback on pronunciation.

A fully interactive feedback report is available to learners at all times and a Certificate of Completion is provided at the end of each course and level which is successfully completed.  The underlying pedagogy and learning approach of the product, together with in-course assessments, have been developed by working closely with both Cambridge University Press and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

Hani Malouf, the Project Director of learndirect English, said: “This product is a unique and truly engaging way for anyone, anywhere to develop all their English skills – listening, reading, writing, speaking, grammar and vocabulary – for work, study or travel as well as prepare for internationally recognised qualifications. It’s carefully structured and supported so users can learn on their own without the need for a real teacher.

“Our product is built to be flexible so learners can use it on their PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet and have a go whenever they have a spare 15 minutes.  They’ll be able to see how they are improving as the product provides a personalised feedback report telling them how they are doing on different skills and letting them know when they are ready for the end-of-course and end-of-level tests.”

learndirect English also includes several additional features to support learning including: a virtual notebook with all the new vocabulary, grammar rules and phrases the user will learn as they progress; a scrapbook containing additional resources, personalised to the learner’s level; and dictionaries, such as the number one learner dictionary from Cambridge University Press, to check the meaning of words and to hear how they sound in both US and UK pronunciations.

Ken Hills, learndirect’s Chairman, added: “There will be something for everyone, whether they’re a complete beginner or have more advanced English skills, and we expect millions of learners from around the world to get involved in this new way of learning online and enjoy this fantastic immersive world we have created.

“We’re launching with the Beginner level in July and Elementary in September, with other levels following quickly after. Learners in Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries will be able to download a trial version from June.’’

For more information on the product feature or to read the pedagogical white paper visit learndirectEnglish.com

Also, to request a sneak peak trial version please contact us on learndirect.English@learndirect.com


· learndirect English content is endorsed by Cambridge University Press and is based on a tried and tested learning methodology and syllabus that is easy to learn and aligned to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), the international standard for defining language ability.

· Cambridge English Language Assessment created and validated the placement and end-of-level tests and vetted all other in-course assessments. The end-of-level tests have been specially created by Cambridge English Language Assessment for learndirect English and are linked to Cambridge English’s internationally recognised qualifications.

· In-course speech analysis is powered by Carnegie Speech, a global leader in assessing spoken language skills. The state-of-the-art speech analysis and artificial intelligence technologies are licensed from Carnegie Mellon University.


learndirect is the UK’s largest provider of technology-assisted learning, skills and Apprenticeships.

It has worked with more than 75,000 organisations – large and small, public and private – to help them develop the skilled staff they need to thrive.

With a vision to inspire people to realise their potential, learndirect has already helped more than

5 million people transform their lives with new skills.

20,000 people log on and learn with learndirect every day, with a learner satisfaction percentage consistently in the upper 90s.

learndirect is the long-term established operator of the Home Office ‘Life in the UK’ e-assessment and has delivered around 1.6m tests since 2005. For the next four years it is the sole provider of the computer based testing framework for delivery of UK Government e-assessment requirements, including from September 2016 the Driving Standards Agency theory test, the largest e-assessment contract in the world


Cambridge University Press

Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Dedicated to excellence, its purpose is to further the University's objective of advancing knowledge, education, learning, and research.

Its extensive peer-reviewed publishing lists comprise 60,000 titles covering academic research, professional development, over 350 research journals, school-level education and English language teaching.

All of our ELT publishing is research-led, using materials such as the Cambridge English Corpus and English Profile. This gives Cambridge a unique insight into how the English language is really used.

Playing a leading role in today’s international market place, Cambridge University Press has more than 50 offices around the globe, and it distributes its products to nearly every country in the world.


Cambridge English Language Assessment

Cambridge English Language Assessment is part of the University of Cambridge. We develop and produce the most valuable range of qualifications for learners and teachers of English in the world. Over 5 million people take Cambridge English exams each year in more than 130 countries. Around the world over 20,000 universities, employers, government ministries and other organisations rely on our exams and qualifications as proof of English language ability. Cambridge English exams are backed by the work of the largest dedicated research team of any English language test provider.

Cambridge English Language Assessment – a not-for-profit organisation.


Carnegie Speech

A global leader in the development of adaptive spoken language training software, Carnegie Speech prepares enterprises and individuals to speak and understand new languages through personalized, immediate and pinpointed language analysis and instruction. Incorporating the linguistic expertise and technical innovations developed through decades of research at Carnegie Mellon University's Language Technologies Institute, Carnegie Speech maximizes the effectiveness of spoken language instruction while minimizing training time and expense. From spoken language training to facilitate commerce and enhance education, to mission-critical communications to improve safety and security, Carnegie Speech products are used by Business, Aviation, Government, Education and Health Care enterprises that depend on effective spoken language communications. Carnegie Speech is based in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.