E2Language Achieves Deeper Student Connections With Zoom
E2Language developed Zoom solutions to fit its online language services, including Zoom Chat, live-streaming, and scheduling integrations.
Location: Australia (operating globally)
Challenges: Delivering affordable education to those who find in-person schooling cost-prohibitive, enabling continuity during COVID-19, finding a way to make remote learning as immersive and interactive as in person
Solutions: Zoom connected with E2L live teaching platform via API, Zoom Chat to enable classroom interaction and improve learning outcomes
Benefits: Ability to host classes of 500+ students in a highly personalised format, delivering affordable virtual education, dynamic features for engaging learning experiences
Using Zoom, we are able to simulate speaking exams no matter where our teachers are or where the students are. Quite often we will connect the two from opposite sides of the planet.
Jarrad MerloDirector of Teaching and Learning
As a Global EdTech company and leader in test preparation, E2Language recognises that students prefer to consume language learning materials in live-streamed Zoom classes, live-streamed YouTube videos, and through digital learning pathways that let them interact with content and teachers on their own terms.
Director of Teaching and Learning Jarrad Merlo helped start the business off the back of a conversation with a couple of academics. The chance encounter brought to the surface long held ideas that there was a more efficient way to learn and ultimately led to the development of an intelligent platform that personalises student learning.
“As soon as we had the platform and content in place, and launched a few YouTube videos, we saw an immediate appetite for what we were offering,” Merlo said.
E2Language has since signed up over 1.2 million students, and in the last 12 months alone their teachers delivered 12,000 one-to-one tutorials and 3,500 live group classes via Zoom to more than 250,000 eager students.
A ‘purpose-built platform’ for online language teaching
English language tests are full of challenges as English is a complex language with personalised nuances that can be easily overlooked in a crowded classroom. The costs associated with in-person schooling are also prohibitive for many students and migrants. And self-study with no personal guidance only gets them so far.
For most schools, virtual language learning only started to evolve during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Merlo refers to this mass shift to online as “quick and dirty,” meaning it primarily involved screen sharing PDFs.
“We recognise how radical the shift has been for bricks and mortar language schools and how much it has hurt them,” Merlo said.
Until the pandemic, language schools had largely ignored the online experience, and as a result, students and teachers have had to endure what the industry terms “emergency remote teaching.”
General purpose learning management systems have also delayed an interactive digital language learning experience. “You can’t lift and drop from a classroom into the online world ,” said Merlo. “Online language teaching requires a different mindset, skillset and content. Most importantly it requires a purpose-built platform and teaching tools like E2Language.
“We jumped the gun and custom-created a fully online model six years before there was a pandemic on the horizon and our students have benefited throughout these difficult times,” Merlo added. “If anything, Covid has validated our efforts and encouraged us to continue to further sharpen our online teaching and learning methods.”
Connecting students & teachers around the world
The company chose Zoom from the outset to enable a new test preparation paradigm.
[Zoom] was the most intuitive video communication technology by far. It works on the barest of internet connections, which is important to us because many of our students are living in areas where internet signals are poor.
Jarrad MerloDirector of Teaching and Learning, E2Language
When students arrive at E2Language’s virtual door they are preparing for high-stakes English language tests, for university entrance, migration, or employment. Zoom’s communication platform empowers students and teachers to interact with each other in groups or in one-to-ones, creating a highly personalised learning experience.
E2Language firmly believes that learning is a social activity. Seeing, hearing, and conversing with each other fast forwards students to their goals. The test preparation leader has connected live teaching to Zoom via out-of-the-box API. This ensures scheduling, starting and joining live classes is seamlessly done through the platform.
“The other day we gave an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) live speaking class that had 1,450 students. We had 500 interacting with us on Zoom and another 1,000 interacting on YouTube. Many of those viewers then came across the platform to sign up for a course,” said Merlo. “The Live Streaming feature in Zoom is a magical marketing tool.”
In the same IELTS class, the teacher allowed participants to speak over Zoom, giving corrective feedback on their performance.
It’s pretty cool that someone sitting in their bedroom in Pakistan, Nigeria, or Indonesia can have such an immersive and personalised experience with a teacher in Australia.
Jarrad MerloDirector of Teaching and Learning, E2Language
Live classes also field questions from students via Zoom Chat. Students have found it easy to use, using Chat to indicate their level of understanding as the session progresses and to celebrate their successes. In smaller classes, E2Language teachers also share writing tasks, active links, and links to homework via Zoom Chat.
Zoom’s annotation feature is important in highlighting segments of content for students’ focus, as the pointer, highlighter, boxing, and arrow all help to keep students engaged.
Another big advantage of integrating Zoom into the platform has been E2Language’s ability to leverage the best English teachers from around the world. “Using Zoom, we are able to simulate speaking exams no matter where our teachers are or where the students are. Quite often we will connect the two from opposite sides of the planet,” said Merlo.
Around 80 members of the E2Language team stay connected via Zoom, using the solution to coordinate internal efforts. “We have regular Zoom Meetings with the programming team in Indonesia, for example,” says Merlo.
The power of technology on education
E2Language believes in the power of technology to define a new, more efficient future for education. Schools will likely integrate it into classrooms, whether virtual or physical, to increase visibility of the learning journey of every student in front of them.
“Leveraging data and adaptive learning, we can serve students exactly what they need in the moment to satisfy a deficiency,” Merlo said.