Why did we make Capeesh?
Once upon a time, there were two game designers living in Hamar, outside the Norwegian capital Oslo. One of them was Norwegian and the other one was British. The Brit liked Norway a lot. He liked the fjords and mountains, the cold winters and the long summer nights, and he liked the Norwegians. He liked it so much he decided to stay and wanted to learn Norwegian, but he didn’t like going to Norwegian classes. He found them tedious, repetitive, and not a lot of fun. That is why together with his Norwegian friend they decided to make a game out of it. Along the way, they met many good helpers, all with their own unique skills, and together they formed Capeesh – the smart and relevant language learning app. And they lived happily ever after.
Why is learning a language so difficult?
Learning a language is hard work, and can be tedious, difficult and challenging in a number of different ways and for different reasons. As the Brit, we all have uncountable experiences where we struggle to learn, even though we know we ought to, simply because we don’t find it engaging, rewarding or fun enough.
The key to learning – motivation
One of the gold standards in modern pedagogy is motivation, no matter in what form. Students who are motivated for learning will perform much better than their unmotivated peers. It really is common sense and is of course still backed up by countless research. Remember those awful classes, the boring subjects and the teachers that really didn’t like you, or vice versa? You probably remember them, right? But do you remember what they were trying to teach you? Probably not, because you weren’t motivated.
How do you get motivated?
Classic learning theory tells us that motivation can come from many sources and have many reasons: External, internal, from curiosity, from basic human psychology or for because it’s fun. No matter the reason, there is one thing that everyone agrees on: There are tons of research that supports the idea that making learning relevant is vital for motivation. Anyone who has ever gone to school knows this all too well, and the sentence: “When am I going to make use of this in the real world?” might just be one of the most asked questions in education today. Teachers sigh and ridicule this sentence, we have all heard it and probably uttered it as well. It is however actually a very good question. Motivation all comes down to relevance.
Motivation through relevance and game design
Capeesh is built around two major concepts that sets us apart from other language learning apps: Game design and relevance. In another post, our brilliant designer Frits Olsen talks about how emotional design can help you learn a language, and why we are using computer game theory and mechanics in the design of Capeesh.
The other major concept is relevance. Capeesh is an app that teaches you language relevant to your work, your hobbies, and interests – exactly the language that you want to learn. Because we know that making language learning relevant is the key to making it motivating. And motivation is the key to learning.
How does it work?
Capeesh uses innovative AI to create smart language learning courses from any digital source or material. What this means is that you can take any digital text and run it through the Capeesh admin panel algorithm, and the app will produce a tailored vocabulary-based series of lessons with example sentences from the source text. The more text you put into it, the better the lessons become, but Capeesh works well with tiny samples as well, making it relevant for both beginners, intermediate and advanced language learners. It doesn’t even matter what your initial language level is. The algorithm chooses vocabulary and grammar based on CEFR, and ensures that if you load the app with academic texts with academic words and grammar, the vocabulary and example sentences that come out will still be automatically tailored to your language level. In addition to this, Capeesh offers translations into a variety of languages in its app. It doesn’t matter if your English is not up to speed. If you want to learn a language, for example Norwegian, through Arabic or Thai, then go ahead!
Learn the relevant way
We believe that focusing on relevance is the key to learning anything. Learning languages should focus on tailored vocabulary to each individual learner, to enable learners to talk about the things that are important for them, in the language they need, to the people around them. With Capeesh, you decide the topics, making your language learning relevant, motivating and successful.
And what happened to the Brit? He still lives in Norway, practicing Norwegian with his girlfriend and the rest of us at Capeesh.