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WeSpeke partners with CNN for ELT app project

Language learning technology company WeSpeke has entered into a content licensing partnership with CNN to create pedagogically-structured app-based lessons based on the news company’s stories.

WeSpeke has entered into a content licencing agreement to transform CNN News pieces into English lessons. Photo: WeSpekeWeSpeke has entered into a content licencing agreement to transform CNN News pieces into English lessons. Photo: WeSpeke

The app is only available for English tuition, but additional languages are planned for the future

The partnership, which uses artificial intelligence, natural language processing and machine learning technology developed by WeSpeke, will see CNN’s content broken down and restructured into English language lessons on the en.news app.

“We look forward to today’s news becoming tomorrow’s English lessons”

Mike Elchik, co-founder of WeSpeke, said the content licensing agreement filled a need for the company, which was seeking to develop content to accompany its matchmaking, social language learning app.

“One of the challenges of building out that platform was how to get content on the platform,” he said.

“The traditional way everyone thinks of is hiring writer and editors, a very costly solution that does not scale. What we decided to do is to look at using [language technologies] in order to drive the development of the content on the platform.”

Elchik said the agreement with CNN followed a similar arrangement with the Wall Street Journal, in which news articles, videos and podcasts were broken down deconstructed for users to read the news while learning English.

“It takes the source… and deconstructs that source into parts of language. Now you have an article that was intended to be news, and we have deconstructed it into a bucket of parts of language, which are nouns, and verbs, and adjectives and everything.”

The partnership also helps to fulfil CNN’s desire to increase its international market share, according to Elchik.

“CNN, in their own strategy, wanted to continue to grow their international audience. They wanted to target new demographic and of course, they wanted to generate revenue,” he said.

Greg Beitchman, vice president content sales and partnerships of CNN International Commercials’ said there were pleased to distribute their content on en.news.

“The high-quality and engaging nature of our news content makes it the ideal English-language learning aid as part of WeSpeke’s innovative offering,” he said.

“Through this content licensing partnership, we look forward to today’s news becoming tomorrow’s English lessons.”

en.news is currently only available for users wanting to learn English, but additional languages are planned for the future.

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