Although this is the end of the thesis course, it is still the beginning of LanguageBug. As a result, it is challenging to evaluate the outcomes of this project at this moment. The fully working prototype was just released, and it would be necessary to conduct many user tests before making any conclusive statement.
Therefore, I here draw personal conclusions based on my experience presenting this project at the ECT Design Expo - Spring 2016.
Prototyping an actual learning technology was one of my primary goals since the beginning of the thesis course. With the help of committee members, I manage to develop a fully working prototype and display it at the expo. People who visited my booth were not only informed about my project, they were also able to use it, and even learn a few sentences in Portuguese using it.
Simple and limited
Most people who visited my booth received the prototype with empathy and engagement. However, this prototype was very limited at the same time. Lacking some social component and looking like an automated slide presentation, learners seem to lose interest and engagement after only a few seconds. This highlights a need to implement more interaction so that users would remain engaged.
It got them speaking
Even at this early stage, LanguageBug has efficiently addressed the goal of making learners speak. All visitors who tried the prototype managed to speak at least a few sentences in Portuguese. It is unclear how they would react if they were using the app by themselves. Still, this highlights that a speak-first approach may be an efficient way to address the problem of foreign language anxiety.
Finally, most of the people with whom I interacted (booth visitors, user testers, and those who saw me presenting) seemed convinced that the speak-first approach could be effective. Even more importantly, they seemed interested in learning and discussing further. Therefore, the goal of engaging people in metacognitive conversations about language learning was also accomplished.