Research at Busuu
At Busuu our mission is to break down language barriers. In pursuit of this goal, we are committed to discovering and applying the most relevant research to language learning. In addition to conducting our own research with our 90-million-strong community we regularly commission and facilitate academic research with world-renowned institutions such as University College London and City University New York.
Our in-house data science and language experts are committed to excellence in research. Our research experts have previously conducted research at Masters and Doctorate level, and are now applying those skills to analysing data in order to constantly improve Busuu’s design and methodology. Busuu is also part of the second cohort of companies to take part in EDUCATE, a program run by University College London’s Institute of Education to equip education technology companies to conduct high-quality research in order to develop better products.
Academic research partnerships
Language learning via an app is a relatively new development; in order to give our learners confidence that Busuu is the right method for learning a language, we commissioned our own independent research into the efficacy of Busuu for learning a language and for developing spoken fluency.
We regularly work with world-renowned researchers at institutions such as the UK’s Open University, to help advance academic understanding in fields such as second language acquisition, mobile language learning and social approaches to language learning.
Research-informed course design
Busuu’s team of language experts have studied at institutions such as University College London, Oxford University and Universidad de Salamanca. Busuu’s methodology and course design are driven by the latest research in applied linguistics, cognitive neuroscience and behavioural psychology. Our data science team apply cutting edge findings from the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimise our course design.
The Busuu efficacy study
Busuu commissioned independent researchers at City University New York, using a recognised methodology and standardised tests, to investigate the efficacy of Busuu for learning a language. Results from a sample of Busuu students who studied Spanish for 8 weeks using just Busuu, indicated that just 22 hours on Busuu was equivalent to studying a semester at college, and that learners could measurably improve their speaking skills as well as reading and listening comprehension. To date, Busuu remains the only language learning app to have demonstrated an improvement in learners’ speaking skills from app-based study.
Mobile language learning
Busuu worked with a senior lecturer at The Open University to conduct a large-scale survey of students using the Busuu app. The purpose of the research was to find out more about students’ attitudes to app-based study and to the different features of Busuu. Over 4,000 learners of English and Spanish answered the survey, making this one of the largest ever studies conducted into mobile language learning apps. Among the findings were that 82% agreed or strongly agreed that Busuu had helped them develop their knowledge of the language they were learning.
Motivation and language learning
As part of University College London’s Institute of Education program, EDUCATE, Busuu is engaged in an ongoing study into motivation and second language acquisition. New learners on the Busuu app take part in surveys designed to uncover what motivates them to begin learning using an app, and to investigate whether there are similar characteristics between the most motivated students. The aim of the study is to learn more about students who learn languages via self-study apps and to uncover information which may help improve course design. Busuu is conducting the research internally, with support and advice from senior researchers at UCL.
We are always interested in hearing from researchers conducting relevant research into language learning. If you have some research you’d like to share with us, or are interested in talking to us about a research partnership, please get in touch with our research team.