Student research project - Educational technologies for learning foreign languages

Support ANU students’ ability to speak a foreign language intelligibly using educational technologies

Calling all Honours and Masters students!


ANU offers an outstanding variety of programs for Australia's next generation of language leaders. Close to 30 languages are taught by three schools/centres at ANU, and on campus and/or innovative online courses are offered from beginning to advanced levels. Students have the opportunity to interact one-on-one and in small groups with their lecturer. One problem we are looking to solve is the challenge of providing timely and detailed feedback in person to students on their pronunciation. We aim to investigate the potential of Educational Technologies to better support students’ learning of languages at The ANU.


Speech recognition technologies, such as Duolingo or ElsaSpeak, use second language acquisition modelling and speech recognition to predict errors and provide coaching and individualised feedback from a large corpus to improve pronunciation accuracy. By adapting an existing Arabic pronunciation application we aim to improve prosody and speech patterns of ANU students learning beginning Arabic.


The project methodology consists of applying Artificial Intelligence (AI), Computational Linguistics, Educational Technology (EduTech), Learning Apps, Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Software Design, Speech Recognition, and User-Computer Interface to existing technology to better meet the needs of individual ANU students studying a second language. Multi-modal aspects of combining linguistics, second language acquisition and visual content can be considered as part of the research process. The project is interdisciplinary and deliberately connected to authentic data and real-life applications. Both experimental and theoretical work, in other words, applied and fundamental research, go hand in hand with their emphasis depending on the student’s individual interests and expertise.


This project will appeal to students with excellent skills in experimentation, programming, and teamwork. The preference is on students who have finished/are taking the units of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning in The ANU or similar and have an interest in EduTech and linguistics.

Expression of Interest

Submit an expressional of interest by sending a CV, transcripts and 1-2 pages of research plan to Associate Professor Hanna Suominen by 8 February 2019.


Application closing date

8 February 2019
Eligible degree type(s): 

Updated:  1 June 2019/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing