Thursday, March 16, 2023

ChatGPT4 hits Duolingo. Game changer in language learning

I have been writing for years about how Duolingo points the way forward in personalised learning using AI. Duolingo has been using sophisticated algorithms for spaced practice, based on ‘half-life forgetting for some time. This is what is behind the increased efficacy of the product, fine-grained personalisation, around, not learning, but identifying how fast you forget. An interesting inversion.


Fascinating to see that ChatGPT-4 is now marketed as a learning tool, and the first launch was integrated with Duolingo to give free-flowing, immersive conversations. This is a game changer in language learning as this new stuff is on a new level. 


ChatGPT4 provides two new levels of functionality.


1. Explain My Answer

When you get something wrong n learning a second language, as you frequently do, it can be frustrating knowing what you got wrong. Duolingo now gives you an explanation 'elaborate' of what was wrong and can also gives 'examples' to point you in the right direction, a bit like having a 24/7 native speaker or tutor to help you learn. See image.


2. Roleplay

Here you can chat with someone 24/7, a native speaker who knows your level of competence. That person is AI. It uses human written scenarios as its basis but as it is generative AI, every conversation is, essentially, unique to you. This gives you much needed practice and immersion, always a problem when learning a second language. Once completed, each roleplay session gives you a report to suggest improvements.


We are at the start of a new era of online, fremium learning products in every subject that will revolutionise learning. These products will match and eventually exceed learning in school. Who can deny that language teaching is an area of catastrophic failure. Most spend years at school trying to learn a language and can barely order a cup of coffee at the end.



The whole idea of AI as a useful teacher is here. Honestly it's astounding. They have provided a Socratic approach to an algebra problem that is totally on point. Most people learn in the absence of a teacher or lecturer. They need constant scaffolding, someone to help them move forward, with feedback. This changes our whole relationship with what we need to know, and how we get to know it. Its reasoning ability is also off the scale.

We now have human teachers, human learners but also AI teachers and AI that learns. It used to be a diad, it is now a tetrad - that is the basis of the new pedAIgogy.

Personalised, tutor-led learning, in any subject, anywhere, at any time for anyone. That has suddenly become real.Personalised, tutor-led learning, in any subject, anywhere, at any time for anyone. That has suddenly become real.

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