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Tokyo-based Language Cloud Brings Learning Management Online

language cloud

Readers may recall education startup Teamie, who won our Startup Arena event in Singapore this past February. They are just one example of many young companies out to change the way we learn through new internet technologies. And more recently, another Asia-based company has set out to offer its platform to help students and teachers in their learning management.

Language Cloud is a company based in Tokyo which lets you manage classes online, including things like assignments, announcements, calendars, and flashcards. The website has a very friendly interface for students, teachers, and administrators, with news feeds, profile pages, status updates, and areas for classes, calendars, and school announcements. Anyone who can use Facebook shouldn’t have any difficulty adjusting to this.

It was first launched in beta in April of 2012, and unlike other management systems, this one is especially designed for language education. In its first seven weeks, 50 different academic institutions have enrolled. Jonathan Andreano, the startup’s educational development coordinator, further explains:

We developed the application’s functionality to complement language teachers’ various teaching methods and to make it easier for students to process the feedback they receive. For example, Language Cloud includes audio recording, tracked changes on corrections, flashcards, language proficiency testing and analytics —- specialized features that are not available on general LMS platforms. This has helped us grow and develop a loyal customer base of language teachers and students.

The audio recording function seems especially useful for language users when practicing pronunciation. As I understand it, this function allows users to record up to 30 seconds of audio, but premium users can increase that time up to five minutes.

language cloud - audio player

Language Cloud interface

Language Cloud also plans to have an App Center where digital textbooks, practice tests, and e-learning apps can be purchased from third party providers, with the startup taking a 30 percent cut. That service will be coming in January of 2013, and if the service gains some traction among educational institutions, this revenue model could certainly hold a lot of potential. Other premium services include capabilities to create multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank material, as well as enhanced gradebook, assignment, calendars, and file storage.

The service was founded by brothers John and Billy Martyn, who readers may recognize from ABCLoop, an Open Network Lab startup which we featured last year. I’m told that this new startup is actually a ‘pivot’ of ABCLoop, and that moving forward all development and resources will be devoted towards Language Cloud [1].

Language Cloud is backed by Digital Garage and 500 Startups, and plans to expand internationally in the Spring of 2013. We understand there will be support for interfaces in more languages coming later on as well.

If you’d like a closer look at how the service works, check out their quick demo video below.

  1. We were initially told by Language Cloud that in the future, they may go back and develop ABCLoop. But they subsequently passed along a correction that saying currently there are no plans to further develop ABCLoop. The current version of the article has been updated accordingly.  ↩