U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, Kelly Degnan, exploring a VR memory palace for learning English

TBILISI, GEORGIA, March 13, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ — A Cambridge-based startup is revolutionizing English language learning for Georgian speakers with its new and innovative ELT Tiger Essential English program.

Combining both old and contemporary technologies, start-up company Linguisticator has developed the new program, which uses a virtual reality “memory palace” to help adult learners retain and recall information. When using the new virtual reality program, students can literally walk around inside the English language in virtual reality, remembering the content in the same way they would remember a trip through a new city.

Created in collaboration with the US Embassy and American Corners in Georgia, ELT Tiger Essential English includes a video course voiced in Georgian, classroom instruction by local teachers, and the use of Munx VR software to create its virtual reality memory palaces.

Specifically designed as a tool for speakers of Georgian, the 11-week program has already seen impressive results, and several hundred students have now successfully completed the basic level of the program. Following its success, Linguisticator has since received a new grant from the US Department of State to build upon this initial basic program and create a more advanced program for adult learners.

The results so far have been incredibly impressive. According to published statistics, it usually takes around 170-210 hours of instruction to reach an A2 level in English for complete beginners. However, beginners who completed the 50-hour ELT Tiger course tested at an A2 level, while those with some prior experience tested at a B1 level on the British Council’s independent Aptis test.

“Using a video-based program allows us to ensure high-quality instruction delivered to all students across Georgia,” says Dr. Aaron Ralby, Linguisticator’s founder. “It also means that students can engage with the lessons on their own, so that class time can be devoted to practice, questions, engagement, and retention. When it comes to retention and recall, that’s where the memory palace shines.”

The memory palace allows learners to retain large amounts of information by tapping into our innate capacity for spatial learning as human beings. It is a tool and technique that was used by medieval monks to compose and memorize large and complex amounts of information, such as learning the entire Bible by heart. Munx VR software now makes this technique easily accessible – without years of training – resulting in an effective learning experience. “It really does make English learning a walk in the ‘virtual reality’ park,” says Ralby.

The project is an updated version of an earlier program first developed for the UK Ministry of Defence for use in Libya with the Libyan military. Originally designed to be delivered in person, it was only by chance that the pilot of the ELT Tiger course had to be delivered remotely during the pandemic, with the virtual memory palace shared via the software’s desktop application.

“Although launching the course remotely wasn’t the initial idea of the program, online delivery was clearly a huge success,” says Dr. Ralby.

“Doing so has opened the door to delivering the program both in-person and online, throughout even the most remote areas of Georgia. We want to make it as accessible as possible, and we’re taking every step to do just that. The English language is a gateway to opportunity; our goal with this program is to open that gateway for the people of Georgia.”

Georgian teacher Tatia Mosiashvili who first voiced the video course and continues to deliver the program, also says:

“I’ll never get tired of telling people how effective mnemonics are at remembering words and phrases. Because program participants are adults, they have limited time, but this method allows them to remember a large number of words in a short period of time. And the best part is that they remember the material long term.”

A spokesperson for the US Embassy in Georgia said of the program:

“Embassy Tbilisi’s Public Diplomacy Section is proud to be working with our network of American Corners and Linguisticator to develop a nationwide program to teach basic English to adults. The innovative course design and use of virtual reality memory palaces have not only kept students engaged, but also produced impressive results. We are very proud of the success of the program in the first three cities. It’s very exciting to see how committed many Georgians are to advancing their skills and achieving personal and professional goals, and how successful they can be with the right support.”

Overall, Dr. Aaron Ralby says it is the flexibility and potential development of the program that is the most exciting aspect.

“The team of organizers and teachers in Georgia have done an outstanding job at helping us to implement such an innovative project, and we can’t wait to develop the program further with more advanced courses and more cohorts across the country.”

About Linguisticator

Based in Cambridge, UK, Linguisticator develops language and memory training programs. The company takes a rigorous, systematic approach, and specializes in first mapping out the details of a language, then providing the means to master that complexity through a virtual memory palace. The company’s own memory palace software, Munx VR, was successfully funded via a Kickstarter campaign in 2016, and a version is available for free on Steam. The company is currently expanding the number of languages it offers, as well as continuing development of English programs for speakers of other languages.

Dr. Aaron Ralby
Linguisticator
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