Case study

App for Language Learning with Personalized Vocabularies

We’ve developed an app for language learning that offers personalized vocabularies for schools, universities, and the enterprise sector

Key features

  • Build personalized vocabularies using courses from publishers

    Build personalized vocabularies using courses from publishers

  • Generate custom reports on learners’ progress and activities

    Generate custom reports on learners’ progress and activities

  • Synchronize vocabularies and progress across platforms

    Synchronize vocabularies and progress across platforms

Industry:
eLearning, EdTech
Headquarters:
Berlin
Market:
Germany
Team size:
11 engineers
Cooperation:
2012 – present
Technologies:

Cassandra / Hadoop / HTML / Java / JavaScript / JSON / Lucene / Objective-C / Scala / SQLite / Swift

Phase6 came with the challenge

Phase6 is a German provider of the number one app for language learning used as a blended learning solution for vocabulary acquisition in schools, universities, and enterprises.

Back in 2011, the company’s vocabulary trainer was only available as a desktop blended learning solution. But Phase6 had to meet the rising demand for mobile language learning experiences and enable users to learn not only on their home computers but on almost any tablet, smartphone, or desktop. To achieve this, they needed to build a scalable backend and implement a whole new language learning platform that would be able to operate several distributed mobile language learning apps accessible via web, desktop, and mobile.

To carry out this plan, Phase6 looked for a reliable eLearning software engineering partner with close cultural alignment in a destination that was easy to access. They preferred to work with a midsized company to make sure their project would get attention from senior management when needed.

Intellias offered a complete educational app development service model that covered deep expertise in platform development, DevOps and CI/CD practices, mobile app development, and UX design services in an easily accessible Eastern European nearshore location, allowing frequent visits and close collaboration in the same time zone.

App for Language Learning with Personalized Vocabularies

Intellias developed an app for language learning

The major goal of this project was to develop a complete educational platform to cover all infrastructure requirements for mobile and web language learning applications.

Intellias started from building a completely new architecture, allowing Phase6 to migrate from their legacy blended learning solution to a new modern cloud-based language learning platform that could meet the needs of mobile users.

Our mobile engineers built the backend for new iOS and Android applications using Swift and Java, respectively, while our UI/UX team designed a prototype with all sketches and wireframes to streamline the lean development process. After that, Phase6 needed to build a web application using HTML5 and JavaScript as a replacement for their legacy desktop product. The vocabulary acquisition solution we built for Phase6 provides extensive functionality to language learners and teachers at schools, universities, and corporations.

Vocabulary trainer application

The Phase6 app for learning new languages covers all courses and schoolbooks and can be used as a blended learning solution both in the classroom and at home — or anywhere students find time to learn. The Phase6 app for language learning equips learners with all vocabulary on their devices while they’re studying on their own. In a classroom environment, teachers can complement Phase6 mobile language learning apps by delivering additional materials, be sure students are ready to comprehend new words, and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Query-based vocabulary for autonomous learning

The Phase6 app for language learning uses scientific findings of the forgetting curve concept to enable learners to repeat only difficult vocabulary instead of all vocabulary at once or words they’re already good at. This methodology ensures a fast learning process and sustainable vocabulary acquisition. The Phase6 system can analyze learners’ progress and recommend specific vocabulary to cover knowledge gaps.

Learning progress and activity reports

Systematic language training progress is a guarantee of learner success. The Phase6 app provides comprehensive reporting functionality for teachers to track learner progress and suggest vocabulary to cover knowledge gaps. The app also combines various approaches and learning strategies specifically designed for different foreign languages. Students can regularly learn new vocabulary in small chunks instead of undertaking the inconvenient and difficult process of remembering an entire set of vocabulary at once.

Professional vocabulary acquisition

Phase6 has adapted its app’s functionality and language learning approaches to meet the specific professional vocabulary acquisition strategies of enterprises and businesses who strive to improve employees’ language skills. Corporate users can choose from job-relevant, industry-specific, company-specific, basic, and individualized vocabularies to ensure language competence at the workplace and in daily life. The app provides a gamification strategy encouraging learners to acquire English and German industry- and company-specific vocabularies.

Our team has been working closely with Phase6 engineers and the company’s top management throughout the project. The Phase6 CEO and CTO were involved in decision-making and communicated directly with Intellias C-level executives, and the project received just as much attention as our client expected.

One of the most prominent achievements of this project was the ability of the Phase6 and Intellias teams to work together cohesively on creating a product from scratch. Based on Phase6 business requirements, Intellias provided not only expertise in software consulting, development, and UX design but took care of proper documentation and testing routines.

Business outcome

Over the past few years, Phase6 experienced a significant increase in customer satisfaction and conversion rates among all mobile language learning apps. Both metrics are at an all-time high, allowing Phase6 to achieve steady revenue growth.

Today, the Phase6 vocabulary trainer is used by children, teenagers, and adults who prefer blended learning solutions that combine online media with traditional classroom methods. Thanks to their proven scientific approach, Phase6 has already helped millions of users improve their linguistic abilities by efficiently and sustainably developing their own vocabulary knowledge. Teachers at more than 7,000 educational institutions across Germany recommend Phase6 eLearning software.

The Phase6 app for language learning is unique among its competitors because it offers vocabulary collections for almost all courses and schoolbooks in the German market and is developed in close cooperation with Germany’s leading educational publishers as well as linguistic experts.

Phase6 users can learn exactly the vocabulary needed for their language classes, enriched with metadata and media. Phase6 successfully overcame the challenge of migrating from traditional desktop software to all-new native mobile and web applications as well as modernizing their business model. Additionally, establishing a reliable and flexible education platform for language learning allowed Phase6 to tailor their app’s functionality to the B2B sector, where customers adopt vocabulary acquisition to their specific needs.

Today, we have a good balance between shipping new features and performing constant refactoring, allowing Phase6 to stay on track with the latest technology trends in order to avoid technical debt and improve performance and scalability.

Over the years working with Intellias, we’ve found a talented team which works together so well, and it allows us to continuously ship new features and also have a very smooth and safe operation.

Andreas Kruse, CTO at Phase6

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Awards and recognition

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