Aid to Perfect Language Skills Springs to Life

A Co. Armagh business Bethleen Ltd has developed an online tool to help people learn a new language or perfect their language skills. The project received assistance from Invest Northern Ireland through its Innovation Voucher scheme.

Business owner Bernadette Harwood worked in partnership the University of Ulster’s language department to create a series of online interactive Irish language exercises.

Its testing site has received positive feedback following trials by almost 700 people from schools and language learning centres across 14 countries. Bethleen is currently using a second Innovation Voucher to continue its work with the university to develop new scenarios, topics and vocabulary.

Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation and Technology Solutions said: “Using our Innovation Voucher, Bernadette was able to access support from the University of Ulster to bring her idea to life.

“Bethleen’s product has a unique framework that can be quickly modified to allow training in any or a combination of languages. The second Innovation Voucher will give the company the opportunity to refine its product for market.”

Bernadette Harwood explained: “My vision is to offer an engaging, interactive online learning environment where individuals can enhance their language skills for personal pleasure or to help gain a language qualification.

“While I have a background in education and IT, the support from language specialists at the University of Ulster enabled me to develop content for interactive exercises. Technical assistance from Invest NI has also been a massive help in making this project a reality and we hope to continue this relationship as our business develops.”

Bernadette plans to adapt her idea to include other languages such as French, Spanish and German. The product will also be available on and off line and on desktop, mobile and tablets.