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Sheridan innovates on language learning with Pearson Digital English AI-powered technology

May 12, 2021
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To help students develop their English-language skills, Sheridan has become the first postsecondary institution in Canada to offer Pearson Digital English – software that harnesses smart technology and artificial intelligence. As a pilot program, the 10-level language course is completely virtual and autonomous, allowing students to learn wherever and whenever they want, at their own pace.

Screen shot of the Pearson Digital English tool “Learning a new language is an ongoing process and students can benefit from supports beyond completion of an ESL program,” says Joan Sweeney Marsh, Sheridan’s Associate Vice Provost, Academic and Career Learning Resources. “Fortunately, with technological advancements, this can be facilitated in an increasingly intuitive and accessible way that supplements classroom instruction with a specialized online curriculum tailored to different learning needs.”

Pearson Digital English covers all four areas of language acquisition – listening, speaking, reading and writing – and provides students with a syllabus that is designed using learning objectives from the Global Scale of English (GSE).

The software is also highly personalized: an initial online assessment ensures students start with modules that are well-suited to their needs. All users are immersed in a broad range of virtual social scenarios, preparing them for the practical tasks of their personal life, studies and work. Throughout their learning journey, they receive extensive A.I.-powered pronunciation exercises with actionable feedback, which is a critical component of the learning experience. For students who require in-person support, the platform provides them with the ability to connect to Sheridan English and Writing tutors.

Students will be able to track their progress through Pearson Digital English on a personalized dashboard, which provides them with remedial activities based on the areas where they need to improve.

“We want our students who are interested in extending their language learning beyond the classroom to have the resources they need to get ahead in their studies and their careers,” says Sweeney Marsh. “With this tool, practicing English is fast, user-friendly and interactive.”

“We’re very pleased to partner with Pearson English and make use of their innovative English learning tool to help students excel,” says Jamie Goodfellow, Sheridan’s Learning Services Manager. “Learning a language requires a lot of practice, flexibility and interactivity. We’re excited to offer all of these things to students in one digital tool.”

For the pilot this spring, Pearson Digital English will be made available to Sheridan ESL students in Intermediate Level and students who have been enrolled in foundation communication courses. Access to the online course is also available upon referral via Tutoring Services.

“Pearson is thrilled to be partnering with Sheridan College as the first postsecondary institution to pilot Pearson Digital English in Canada,” says Troy Verriez, Pearson’s Executive Director, Strategic Partnerships. “This new tool has enhanced technology offering personalized support to those who want to learn the English language at their own pace. It includes an innovative AI engine that will allow students to practice their pronunciation in a bias-free environment, helping them continuously improve their speaking in both their social and professional life.”

Screen shot of the Pearson AI tool Level 1 Modules
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