Intelligent assistants in language learning: friends or foes?

Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2019). Intelligent assistants in language learning: friends or foes? In: Proceedings of World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning 2019 (Glahn, Christian; Power, Rob and Tan, Esther eds.), IAmLearn: World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning, LearnTechLib, pp. 127–131.



We have entered the age of everyday encounters with artificial intelligence. Intelligent assistants (IAs) are increasingly available when educational activities are carried out using a portable or wearable device. These developments have special implications for language learners, many of whom now have access to immediate assistance, to artificial conversational partners, as well as to a large repertoire of smart tools and services to help them with specific challenges in communication and language learning. The rise of IAs can be seen against a backdrop of increasing opportunities for technology-supported and informal learning both inside and outside the classroom. This emerging learning landscape confronts language teachers with some difficult questions around adaptation of pedagogical methods and teachers’ changing roles, that need to be better understood. IAs might be used to support learning or they might be misused. Are they friends or foes? The paper discusses the significance of IAs available to many learners on their smartphones and looks towards a future when they will be available even more widely and when intelligent robots will be used; it considers some of the capabilities of IAs in relation to challenges in language learning as well as the concerns they raise. Finally, the mobile learning community is urged to direct more research efforts towards this complex topic.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions