Have you ever had an idea inspired by real-life events? That’s precisely what happened with BeeSpeaker, a language learning mobile app we created last year. It succeeded because the founder stumbled upon a market niche to fulfill. Customers in it had specific demands and expectations. All that was left was to build a product that would meet those needs. Let’s start from the beginning.
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Why do children learn so quickly?
Karol, the creator of BeeSpeaker, moved to Spain with his family a while ago. As expats who decided to stay in a foreign country for some part of their lives, they agreed that learning a local language is necessary. The kids had to continue their educational paths, so the son went to a Spanish school, and his younger sister started to attend pre-school. Soon, the family noticed an interesting phenomenon.
The boy started to speak almost fluent Spanish in a few months, even though he couldn’t yet read or write in this language. His dad, on the other hand, was struggling with this task. Learning grammar and remembering new words is much more problematic when we are older. Karol started to wonder how children learn new languages so quickly.
You probably heard already that we should start learning skills like languages, instruments, and many others as early as possible. Young minds create neural connections super-quickly, which means they don’t need so much time to master such abilities. That was probably one of the main elements that helped Karol’s son become Spanish-fluent within weeks. But it wasn’t the only factor that was crucial in that case.
Natural approach – learn languages like a kid
The way children learn languages (or any other skill, to be precise) is different from what we, adults, do. Instead of sitting with a notebook writing words and rules, they are surrounded by the language. Of course, the credit often goes to teachers who prepare the classroom to help their pupils absorb vocabulary and communicate effortlessly. They also reduce the stress that is often an integral part of language learning – in the natural approach method, the errors are corrected in a gentle, friendly manner.
Let’s take a closer look at this way of teaching. What are its main characteristics?
- The teacher is a native speaker, and the students don’t speak their mother tongues – only the foreign language they try to learn.
- In the beginning, the student listens to statements repeated by the teacher. The process slowly progresses to make the student answer simple questions with yes or no, build short sentences and engage in easy dialogues.
- Errors are not corrected at all or are corrected calmly. Instead of corrections, the teacher encourages the student to try again.
- The learning environment should be anxiety-free. The teacher aims to eliminate stress and make the learning process… natural.
- Grammar is not taught at all. The student’s understanding of grammar should be instinct-based and come from listening to how the teacher says particular constructions.
Think about that. Karol’s son went to a Spanish school, which means he was surrounded by teachers and kids that don’t speak his native language. He was listening to Spanish all day long and probably was a part of the ordinary learning process children his age have to undergo. Together with his young, flexible mind, it was a perfect formula to learn the language quickly. As Karol observed, he even adopted the local accent!
But how to adapt this whole concept to help adults learn how to speak a foreign language without barriers?
Enter BeeSpeaker – the native speaker in your pocket!
As a technical mind and experienced IT expert, Karol decided to approach the whole problem from a business perspective. He started by testing different methods of learning and researching language apps. His conclusion was simple – in most cases, the approach to teaching adults was focused on grammar. Moreover, he made a groundbreaking discovery. There was a market niche that was waiting for its perfect digital product. Most apps were centered around writing and reading, but there weren’t any dedicated to speaking. That’s when the idea for BeeSpeaker was born.
Testing and validating the idea as soon as possible was the main goal when Karol decided to pursue this project. He created the first basic prototype with one Flutter developer and immediately showed it to potential clients to determine their reactions. They were enthusiastic and showed that the demand indeed is out there. BeeSpeaker became a full-on software project with a dedicated team.
By the end of 2021, the app hit the stores and is still expanded to become a complete solution for language learners and their lectors.
How does BeeSpeaker work?
The product was created to emulate the actual learning process using the natural approach. It consists of pre-recorded lessons with native speakers that the users can watch to learn vocabulary and expressions. Then they can use them in exercises like answering questions and repeating phrases. The app allows the student to learn at their own pace and is gamified to keep the motivation levels high.
Thanks to voice-based technologies, this application can understand human speech and recognize if the person who speaks does it correctly. The main objective of the whole BeeSpeaker project is to “unlock one’s speech”, as for most people that learn foreign languages, speaking freely is the biggest challenge. They fear making mistakes and being judged by others. With voice recognition software, the platform provides a gentle, straightforward way of learning how to speak without such concerns.
How does it go exactly? The student picks a lesson from the list and listens to the teacher. Depending on the type of lesson, it can include different types of content. For example, when learning about the kitchen, the teacher shows and names various types of utensils several times to help the user remember what they are called. Some lessons are based on question-answer dialogs or full stories to exercise comprehension.
Each lesson has its progress bar, and the pupil’s task is to complete all of them. However, watching is not enough. The app will ask to repeat a word or a phrase. Moreover, it can also ask questions. The person who chooses BeeSpeaker to learn languages has to remember that it’s all about active participation in the learning process, not just listening to what the lector says. With diverse categories of lessons and four difficulty levels, the students can constantly progress and get better at the foreign language.
Technical aspects of BeeSpeaker
As we mentioned, the app started as a Flutter-based prototype done by just one developer. Then, itCraft became the party responsible for delivering the final solution. BeeSpeaker still is an app made with Flutter, available on Android and iOS. It also utilizes machine learning for voice recognition. We should also mention teachers who put significant effort into recording lessons and preparing learning materials.
Because the product was made to distinguish itself from market competitors, the team focused intensely on quality assurance. The concept was validated numerous times to make sure it met the users’ expectations. Many stages were done simultaneously to speed up the time-to-market. It took approximately nine months to put the app in stores, which is quite impressive for such an innovative product.
If you want to learn more about our work for BeeSpeaker, we recommend checking out the case study in our portfolio.
The app continues to grow. The team has ambitious plans to make it a true revolution regarding language learning software. One of the main goals is to make the platform not only a perfect tool for students but also a place for teachers to advertise their services and help their current pupils polish their speech. BeeSpeaker could be a place for lectors and their clients to meet. Every person would be able to find something for themselves, and the profits for both sides can be enormous.
Adding new lessons and improving the content is a priority. BeeSpeaker aspires to be a complete solution for language learning, with a focus on speech improvement and getting rid of blockages when talking. It’s definitely worth observing. Furthermore, if you are looking for support in your journey to being fluent in a particular language, you should give BeeSpeaker a try.
Find it here:
And if you are a creative business owner or founder who needs an IT partner to build your next revolutionary digital solution, let us know. We can help you create a product that will help you achieve your business objectives and conquer your niche of choice. Let’s talk so we can get to know you and your company better. We can promise to elevate your app idea and make it a reality.