English App Leapfrogs Students to Fluency with an Artificial Intelligent Tutor!
Just-launched LillyPad features a conversational AI English tutor named Lilly!
Entrepreneurs Chris MacDonald and Genady Knizhnik have created a game-changing English Learning Platform, LillyPad.ai, featuring a conversational Artificial Intelligent Tutor named Lilly!
The company has been in Beta testing for several months and has just officially launched for both desktop and mobile devices.
LillyPad is the world’s first application to allow English learners the opportunity to read in four interactive ways while relying on Lilly to inform them when they mispronounce words. The users can correct themselves as well as look up the meaning, listen to, or translate any word into their native language. Moreover, Lilly acts as a personal English tutor who helps students to master their English language skills through a conversation.
LillyPad offers free digital books, news, blogs, speeches, Ted Talks, and other media, which all can be stored in the learner’s personal library.
The conversational learning activities help students to improve their foundational skills as well as to design, write, speak and practice their own English phrases or utilize hundreds of pre-made English conversations. LillyPad utilizes proven guided reading and learning methodologies, spaced repetition, and long-term memory retention strategies.
Prior to creating LillyPad, MacDonald and Knizhnik identified what they believe to be an essential market gap in the English Second Language digital learning industry – an intermediate/advanced self-learning tool. Most language apps address foundational skills such as spelling, pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, etc. Once basic skills are mastered, students then move towards classroom and live tutoring options. Moreover, most of the applications utilize predefined content (i.e. words, phrases, paragraphs) that might not be of interest or relevant to every student.
LillyPad tackles these shortcomings by providing an A.I. guided interactive reading aloud while allowing students to import and use any digital content of interest during their learning journey. “The reason we chose to focus on reading is that it is the most academically studied and recommended path towards language fluency and proficiency,” said Knizhnik.
MacDonald says that “LillyPad is a complimentary service to the leaders in the space, and is positioned as the “Next Chapter” in English Learning. In other words, after a user has acquired basic language skills, intermediate and advanced learners now have a valuable self-learning tool at their disposal. LillyPad was designed to support and accelerate students’ progress throughout the remainder of the fluency funnel”.
In addition to the student-focused offering, the company caters to ESL teachers and English tutors through the “Lotus Suite” which provides the opportunity to manage a group of students, assign personalized reading material, test their knowledge, and track individual progress.
“Our goal was to foster an innovative English learning platform into existence, something different, something better. LillyPad has the potential to make a positive impact on millions of lives. 1.5 billion people are learning English around the world – the numbers speak for themselves – English proficiency is clearly recognized as a key component to improving your life” said MacDonald, who splits his time between Europe and Canada.
Knizhnik added that before the recent official launch, LillyPad has served a few thousand Beta members from 79 countries and that many of them spent between 30 to 50 minutes per session.
MacDonald and Knizhnik first met in 2008 as MBA students at Ivey Business School at Western University in London, Ontario. They’ve been friends since, and LillyPad is their first business partnership. They’ve bootstrapped the company over the first few years, and Knizhnik said they are now turning toward external funding.
“As our focus shifts towards growth, we are certainly open to discussions with the right investor,” said Knizhnik, the technical co-founder with a background in software engineering, business development, and sales. He also has previous experience as an entrepreneur.
MacDonald has owned numerous businesses, including Tempur-Pedic Canada. He sold all his companies in 2010 after the birth of his daughter so “I could watch her grow up.” MacDonald said he can’t wait to see how LillyPad continues to evolve and is very confident in their team’s ability to deliver exceptional value for their members.
“Genady and I are at a place where we wanted to contribute and give back,” he said. “I’ve been pretty lucky as I’ve never looked at any of the businesses as work, and the majority of businesses I have chosen to be involved in have improved the quality of life. LillyPad is no different. It is designed to put our members in the position to maximize their hopes, dreams, and opportunities,” said MacDonald.
For more information, visit www.LillyPad.ai
Bethany MacDonald has contributed articles LillyPad.ai since 2020. As their Blog Lead, she specialises in informative pieces on culture, education, and language learning