Our Origin Story
Image the scene… It’s the late noughties, the primary iPhone has not too long ago been launched and Beyoncé’s ‘Single Women’ is on repeat on the radio. In the meantime, 3 scientists – Ben, Ed and Greg – meet at Oxford College. With a shared love of language studying, a deep understanding of neuroscience and a knack for cool reminiscence strategies, they embark on an epic journey. Following commencement, Ben strikes to China to use his theories on second language acquisition, Ed turns into US Reminiscence Champion, and Greg begins his PhD in neuroscience at Princeton.
Maintaining with the story? Okay, now let’s fast-forward to 2010. The buddies reunite in London to mix their separate analysis, and find yourself creating what’s now one of the fashionable language studying platforms on the earth. You guessed it: we’re speaking about Memrise!
So what was the key recipe that made Memrise so fashionable? Effectively, from day one, Ben, Ed and Greg held the robust perception that learning languages from textbooks and inside lecture rooms wasn’t serving to individuals use a language in actual life. And if you happen to can’t use a language in actual life, you must ask your self ‘what’s the purpose?’. In spite of everything, we’d be prepared to wager that each learner’s core aim is to have the ability to talk successfully, whereas having enjoyable alongside the way in which.
Ben, Ed and Greg additionally needed to problem the false perceptions that language studying is boring, inflexible and tough if you happen to’re naturally “unhealthy” at it (btw, there’s no such factor as being “unhealthy” at languages – phew!).
What the three mates all agreed upon was that full immersion is the way you actually purchase a brand new language. Why? As a result of immersion means attending to know the true language of native audio system, in addition to the idioms, pure rhythms, emotional tones, physique language, and cultural habits that come as a part of the entire bundle. In different phrases, studying a language isn’t nearly memorizing phrases. And so, the Study, Immerse Talk methodology was born.
The three legs of the Memrise stool
We’re not going to let you know that utilizing an app at house is healthier than going in-country and studying a language by talking it to individuals (irrespective of how good the app may be!). However, for many people, packing our baggage and transferring to a rustic that speaks that language you wish to be taught simply isn’t lifelike. So our 3 founders had to determine the following neatest thing: making real-life language immersion accessible 24/7, within the palm of your hand.
We’ve spent over a decade going deep into the examine of *why* language immersion works so properly, which has given us our underlying method to instructing a language. This method will be represented as a three-legged stool. Bear with us. The stool has a strong seat – a platform that helps you in your studying journey – and three legs to help it:
First, we train you vocabulary that you just’re really going to make use of. It’s so simple as that. Subsequent, we present you that language in real-life contexts, by way of immersive movies. Lastly, you employ what you’ve discovered to follow conversing confidently.
Every of those legs is essential. With out considered one of them the stool would topple. Language programs are inclined to deal with simply the Study leg, whereas language companions focus primarily on the Talk leg. However your studying journey is simply absolutely supported when utilizing all three of those strong legs. As we speak, our platform, and due to this fact our studying journey, is specified by 3 sections: one to symbolize every of those 3 legs. However that doesn’t imply that our Study, Immerse, Talk methodology is a brand new factor.
We have at all times been about immersion
Again in 2016, for instance, the Memrise workforce set off on a throughout Europe. With a vivid blue, double-decker ‘MemBus’ as their house, the group traveled 12,000 miles throughout 10 international locations to create the world’s first video dictionary! They recorded hundreds upon hundreds of movies of locals saying phrases of their native language, with their distinctive pronunciation and physique language. When the workforce returned, these movies have been added to Memrise, offering learners with hundreds of immersive classes to make them really feel as if they have been within the nation too.
Why are we telling you in regards to the MemBus 7 years on? As a result of we wish to spotlight how essential immersive studying has at all times been, and at all times shall be, to the Memrise mission. Our product and our model might have modified lots through the years, however our perception within the effectiveness of immersion as a studying instrument has stayed the identical.
In fact, all of this immersive studying can be for nothing with out the ultimate step of the Memrise methodology: Talk. We’ve heard ‘follow makes excellent’ one million occasions, however, within the case of language studying, it truly is true. With out follow, it’s inconceivable to enhance. Ever questioned why a good friend got here again from a brief backpacking journey in Mexico talking fairly respectable Spanish? It’s as a result of they’d limitless alternatives to follow over these few weeks. Even our co-founder Ben studied French for 8 years at college however freezes up when he has to talk it.
So, at Memrise, how might we probably re-produce the expertise of speaking ‘within the wild’? This was undoubtedly the toughest a part of our 3-step pedagogy to deliver to life in our product. After many iterations, and with the assistance of some fairly cool new tech (hello GPT-3), our workforce constructed the world’s first AI-powered Language Associate, known as MemBot, which sits within the Talk tab of our product. And we’re tremendous happy with it.
MemBot offers our learners fully accessible language follow. They’ll work on their spoken language expertise anytime, anyplace, on-demand by way of a collection of thrilling conversations created by our gifted workforce. From one second to the following, MemBot can play the function of a pleasant barista, a job interview panelist, or a good friend organizing a shock occasion. On prime of this, MemBot is definitely confirmed to considerably decrease the stress that many individuals expertise when practising with a human language tutor. Fairly cool, huh?
The place we at the moment are
In order that’s the story of how Memrise grew from an thought between 3 college mates, to a platform with its very personal AI chatbot, loved by over 65 million learners the world over (that’s like the entire inhabitants of France, by the way in which).
We’re within the midst of a really thrilling second at Memrise, with our Study, Immerse, Talk methodology underpinning all the things. Our platform does precisely what we’ve at all times believed it will do, and we will’t look ahead to extra of you to affix us on the journey!