Startup stories

Following on from our post on LangApp’s Vocabla platform earlier this month, we thought we’d get a few words from the company’s CEO to learn more about how the company operates.

Michal Dyrda is the CEO and founder of Vocabla. He is an entrepreneur with eight years experience in online business and management and focuses primarily on the educational field. He has worked for and/or founded well known and large web businesses in Poland such as ciufcia.pl, futbolowo.pl, dziecisawazne.pl, kiddystarter.com. He is father of three and husband of one 🙂
michal dyrda

1. Choose five words that best describe Vocabla: 

a. English
b. Vocabulary
c. Gamification
d. Technology
e. Startup

… these best describe what  Vocabla is as an app/ business, as well as our work here.

2. What was the opportunity you were responding to with Vocabla? What drove you to create it?

The Internet and the mobile revolution has changed the way people develop themselves, read, watch, and learn about anything. If you need high quality content to make progress in your professional life, there’s a high chance you can find it only in English.

At a certain point you might feel like:

 “I’ve been learning English long enough, I don’t need any more learning,

But it’s just not true, you always encounter some new words, that’s why you need to improve your English vocabulary every day.

The basic problem to solve was:

– there are always English words you read or hear that you don’t understand.

Someone will provide you with a translation so you can understand the sentence, but the very next moment you don’t even remember what the conversation, or that article you read, was about 🙂

 

That is why we wanted to let people translate, collect and (what is more important) memorize words, and by collecting those words allow them to expand their vocabulary according to their needs and interests.

3. How effective do you think the combination of language learning and gamification is? Why do you think learners respond to it?

Gamification is a concept that is crucial to the biggest problem of learning ever (not only language learning) – motivation.

Learning or memorizing words in foreign language can be a difficult and sometimes even boring process. Gamification makes people focus on different areas like competition, goals, challenges, awards, etc… and this can be the way you cheat your brain a little bit, to learn more effectively. We don’t know yet the real effects of this combination, but for sure it is huge trend in education right now.
4. Choose five words to best describe an EdTech startup’s role in ELT publishing:

a. future
b. responsibility
c. complementary
d. innovation
e. communication

Why did you choose those five?
Because I believe that ELT must be based on a modern model of life which is dominated by technology. EdTech startups need to feel the huge responsibility for this process of changing both the learning and teaching models.

In language learning the human element is essential, so EdTechs should be focused on the relationship between the educators-students and students-environment because the most important purpose in ELT is communication between people. Technology nowadays is a kind of meta-memory for our brain – this field is widely open for innovators and startups.
5. Vocabla is free for learners. What made you provide the platform for free?
Vocabla is a startup. Right now it is free because we want to find out what people really want and need and how they want to do it. Our goal is to build the best platform in the world, but to do so we need funding. Vocabla is and will be a commercial project.

6. What do you think is next for you and LangApp? Where do you think you’ll go next in terms of EdTech?
The most important question for now is: how to help people use words effectively?  We know how to collect words, and memorize them – now is time for using those words. So, we will focus on communication between people (users) – this is our next big challenge. We want to make people switch to English.
In terms of numbers, we want to reach 1m signed up users in the next couple of months.

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