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EnglishCentral Opens New R&D Center in METU Technopark

Ankara, Turkey – February 18, 2019 – EnglishCentral, the leading provider of online English conversation solutions, today announced the grand opening of an R&D center in Ankara, Turkey. EnglishCentral joined President Erdoğan of Turkey as part of the grand opening of the METU Technopark, IT & Innovation Center, a newly designated high-tech R&D Center in central Ankara.

At the heart of the Center is Middle East Technical University (METU), the leading technical university in Turkey. As President Erdoğan articulated at the grand opening, “the idea of the Center is to form a close collaboration between the university and industry, powered by the world’s leading technology companies that bring an innovative spirit to the technopark”.

EnglishCentral is proud to be one of the founding tenants in the new technopark, along with other technology leaders such as Samsung, Tüpraş, the largest energy company in Turkey, and Onedio, the premier social media site in Turkey.

The EnglishCentral team, located in the technopark, now consists of 30 members, and will serve as one of the key R&D centers for EnglishCentral globally, focusing on machine learning and speech recognition, the two technologies behind our proprietary speech assessment system called IntelliSpeech℠.

“We have been incredibly impressed by the level of talent we’ve been able to hire at our tech center in Turkey,” said Alan Schwartz, CEO of EnglishCentral, Inc. “We are hiring top talent out of METU, Bilkent and other universities, and the team there is now working on our most challenging projects to serve our customers in Turkey as well as globally in Japan and other countries.

“Our plan is to use Turkey as our base to expand to both toward Europe and towards the Middle East”, said Kağan Cihangiroğlu, EnglishCentral’s General Manager for Turkey & the Middle East. “In addition to technical talent, we have teamed with up with a number of the leading universities in Turkey to develop English language learning curriculum that leverages our strengths in Speaking Assessment, and Adaptive Learning.”

For a tour of our new office in Metu Technopark, check out this video:

About EnglishCentral:
EnglishCentral is the most widely adopted online English language conversation platform in the world, changing the way students and professionals across the globe learn to speak English. Adopted by over 500 universities, schools and corporations in over 100 countries, the company delivers interactive, video-based language learning experiences for both self-study and one-on-one tutoring, providing one of the most widely adopted and complete platforms for practicing and mastering English conversation online. Its extensive library of videos lessons, proprietary IntelliSpeech℠ speech assessment technology, and pre-built course modules guarantee results for English as a Second Language (ESL) learners. EnglishCentral entered the Turkish market in 2011, and now has over 500,000 registered users in Turkey. In addition, EnglishCentral has established partnerships with many of the leading universities and companies in Turkey, including, Bahçeşehir University, TOBB University, Bilkent University, Bilgi University, Turkish Airlines, Şişecam, Turkish Ground Services, and many more.
EnglishCentral Contact:
Kağan Cihangiroğlu
General Manager for Turkey & the Middle East
Phone: +903122405045
Email: kagan.cihangiroglu@englishcentral.com

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Do you aspire to get above 80 on the TOEFL?  We now have a practice course meant to help you or your students reach that goal.

The course uses our unique Watch | Learn | Speak | Quiz  activities to build student skills in listening, speaking and vocabulary development.   You’ll get lots of tips on how to succeed in the test and practice actual past test material in video form.

Good luck!


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Teaching & Learning Vocabulary on EnglishCentral

High Frequency Word Lists

EnglishCentral offers a series of high frequency vocabulary lists to help identify gaps in students’ knowledge in Core Vocabulary.

  • Core Vocabulary is a set of 2800 words used most frequently in daily life.  It covers ~92% of the English learners would see in newspapers, magazines, books, TV and movies.  It is an updated version of what is commonly referred to as the General Service List (GSL) in the vocabulary field.
  • Academic Vocabulary is for learners looking to master words that appear frequently in academic texts and lectures. When learned together with the Core Vocabulary 2800, this list gives ~92% coverage of typical academic materials used in universities in English-speaking countries. It is an updated version of what is commonly referred to as the Academic World List (AWL) in the vocabulary field.
  • Business Vocabulary contains 1700 words for learners looking to master general business English situations.  When learned in combination with the Core Vocabulary of 2800 words, this list provides ~97% coverage of the English needed in most general business situations.
  • TOEIC Vocabulary contains 1200 words that appear most frequently in the texts and listening materials that appear on the TOEIC exam. When combined with Core Vocabulary 2800, this list provides ~99% coverage of words that appear on the TOEIC exam.  This figure applies to the recent changes to the TOEIC® Listening and Reading test updates, which first appeared in Japan and Korea in May 2016, will be implemented in public test administrations worldwide, beginning in April 2018.


The Core Vocab Course is based on  New General Service List (NGSL)  developed by a team led  by Dr. Charles Browne from Meiji Gakuin University.  The origin of Core Vocab list is a 2-billion-word corpus developed by Cambridge University.  Dr. Browne and his team analyzed the Cambridge University corpus to determine the core high-frequency vocabulary words for students of English as a second language.

We recommend that students complete all words in all units of the Core Vocab. Vocabulary Lists are divided into quizzes of 20 words, which take approximately 3 minutes per quiz, depending on the student’s level.

We recommend teachers assign one Unit each week for 100 new words per week, or about 20-30 minutes of study time per week.   In a one year-program (28-week program), 100 words per week means about 3000 unique Words (Core Vocab, plus Academic Vocab or TOEIC)  can be covered in the full year.

Level Tests

We provide a Vocab Level Test as a diagnostic test of knowledge of the Core Vocab (NGSL) and Academic Vocab (NAWL) lists that is designed  to level students within those lists.

Our version of the NGSL level test is comprised of 140 items, 20 for each of five approximately 500-word bands of the Core Vocab and 20 for each of the two bands of the Academic Word List.   It supports both an English version and bilingual versions for Japanese,  Turkish, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish versions of the test.  We recommend the bilingual version if it is available in the students native language.   Try it out here:



We use a cumulative 90% correct threshold to determine the students “Vocab Level“, and then match students to one of 7 levels on EnglishCentral.   These seven levels can be mapped to CEFR, TOEIC or TOEFL, etc. scores as follows:

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Students however usually don’t master vocabulary — that is commit words to their long term memory or enable productive use of the word — with one exposure.  Rather, multiple exposures are necessary over time in what we call Time Interval Learning.

The MyWords application is where the Time Interval Learning takes place on EnglishCentral.  All words studied in Vocab Courses (such as Core Vocab, or Academic Vocab)  — whether correctly or incorrectly answered — are added to MyWords, so students can study them over time.

Words are automatically ordered by “Ready to Study” based on the time interval learning algorithm.

Students can focus exclusively on words they got wrong   from the assigned Course or from Learn Mode or Quiz Mode in Video Lessons.  These “incorrect” words are automatically added to MyWords.

Students can also focus on words they have Favorited  during their study of the vocab course or while doing Video Lessons.  Favorited words are  also automatically added to MyWords.

Vocab Mastery 

Students demonstrate “mastery” of a certain number  of words during the course of their study on EnglishCentral using the Time Interval Learning System.    Mastery requires 5 correct learns over different time intervals.  The 5 time intervals set by the system are: 1 day, 3 day, 10 days and 30 days, and finally . . . mastery =  !

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Teacher Tools: Setting Goals & Tracking Student Progress

Please use this post as a guide as you create your syllabus and use our teacher tools to set goals for students and track their progress through our reports:

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Students get “Learn Progress” for any word they successfully complete in learn mode or in a vocab quiz. This allows teachers to set word study goals that cover both the word typing cloze activity in Learning Mode as well as the definition matching quiz in Quiz Mode.

Because our hope is to help students retain knowledge of the words they are studying in their long-term memory, Time Interval Learning in MyWords will continue to drive how words are studied on EnglishCentral. Students can make progress on words only after the applicable time interval has elapsed.


Therefore, Time Interval Learning constraints prevents a student, for instance, from getting credit for studying the same word five times in one day. On the other hand, it does give students credit for learning the same word after the applicable time interval has lapsed. In this way, the system encourages review and multiple exposure to words.


Speak Progress

Speak Lines

In March 2017, we settled on Spoken Lines as the key metric for setting speaking goals and measuring student’s speaking progress.  We count only unique lines, so while students are encouraged to speak lines multiple times to improve their video speaking grade, only the final instance of the line will be counted towards their line goal. We recommend setting a goal of 50 lines per week (this is now the default), which is equivalent to approximately one hour of study time. You can, of course, increase or decrease the number of lines for the goal, depending on the needs of your students or your curriculum.

Speaking Grades

To assessing student’s speaking ability, rather than just quanity of student’s speaking output, we recommend teachers use Speaking Grades (A to F).    Teachers can see grades for a single video or across all final lines spoken by the student over any defined period of time.  Note, we count only the last attempt the student made on a line towards the calculated overall grade

GoLive Tutoring

Teachers that are using our Premium GoLive! Product that include 1:1 tutoring (“GoLive!) can now set goals for numbers of tutor sessions in the Teacher Tools.  Note this only applies to teachers who are using our Premium Product (see Plans for more details). For most teachers using our Academic Product, they will not see any setting for GoLive! in the goal setting interface.

Mobile Access

Student progress is now fully available on their Android or IOS mobile devices.    Students can see their progress on their “My Classes” home from the main menu on their apps.

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EnglishCentral Course Catalog for 2019

Here is the EnglishCentral 2019 Course Catalog. In 2019, we have fully integrated high frequency vocabulary study into all of our core courses. We have also updated two new series for the K-12 market: Boost & Top Kids.

You can download the current catalog here

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New Search Feature Now Available

We are pleased to announce an improved version of our search feature.

Here are some of the benefits:

1. Increased performance and speed. Our new search is powered by Amazon’s ElasticSearch and is 5 times faster than its previous version.

2. More accurate search results. Our new search yields more accurate search results. For example, inflections of search terms are now included in the video search results (ex: bikes and biking for the word bike.) Word search results also show the closest match plus all inflected forms of the word.

3. Favoriting words from search results. You can now add new words to My Words directly from word search results by favoriting them.


4. Add videos and courses directly from search results. Teachers can now build their class curriculum directly from the search results page by “adding to class” with one click. Before, teachers could only add videos and courses to class pages by clicking the “add to class” button on Browse, video detail page, or course detail page.


Search Roadmap

Here is our roadmap for further enhancements to our search feature.

1. Teacher Tools

The new search feature will be added to the Curriculum tab so teachers can add videos and courses directly from that page.

2. iOS and Android apps

We are also going to add search to our IOS and Android apps. Our plan is to provide the same enhanced features described above for the Web, implemented natively in both apps.

3. Others?

Please add your own suggestions and comments below, or contact us regarding how to improve Search functionality on EnglishCentral.

Happy Learning,
The EnglishCentral Team

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What’s new on EnglishCentral for 2018

EnglishCentral is showcasing 3 new products and services for the 2018 School Year:

  • Custom Course Creation.  We have worked with a number of universities to build custom web and mobile courses to map to their school’s existing curriculum.  This means schools can adopt EnglishCentral for their current classes, without changing their textbook or other materials.  Contact us for a Case Study by Prof. Michael Holsworth on how Kyoto Sangyo University implemented an EnglishCentral custom course with over 6,000 students in its general English program. 
  • Special Purpose Content.   Many schools have asked us for career- specific,  or English for Special Purposes (ESP),  curriculum for their schools.   In response, EnglishCentral has partnered with a number of leading publishers to bring the best ESP content to the EnglishCentral platform,  including:
    • Courses for Aviation, Hospitality, Medical English, from Cambridge University, here;
    • A practical Business Communication Course, from Compass Media, here;
    • 40 courses based on the industry leading Career Path Series from Express Publishing, here.
  • New Vocabulary Courses.   EnglishCentral has completed a major upgrade of its vocabulary learning platform, with new lists developed by Dr. Charles Browne, of Meiji Gakuin University.  These new lists are based on a 2-billion-word corpus from Cambridge University and include lists developed specifically for core vocabulary, Academic Vocabulary, TOEIC Vocabulary and Spoken English Vocabulary.   Learn More here.

The EnglishCentral Team

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New Courses for K-12 Market on EnglishCentral


EnglishCentral has partnered with Seed Learning, an industry leader in language learning products and services, to develop a new suite of products for the Young Learner (K-12) Market. These courses were developed specifically to cater the needs of those who are just starting to learn the language and include variations in topics such as phonics, reading and comprehension, world history, presentation skills and a lot more. They cover CEFR Levels A1 to B2.

Test drive these new courses here:

Top Kids

Top Kids is a six-level course for young English language learners. This engaging and instructive course incorporates a systematic double-strand approach to introduce vocabulary and grammar within thematic units graded over six levels. The double-strand approach in building vocabulary and grammar skills of learners is key to the course. English language learners need to acquire vocabulary in order to comprehend English and participate in classroom discussions, and as well, it is key to reading comprehension. In addition, grammar is central to the teaching and learning of languages as it is the foundation of a language.

Top Kids prepares young learners to be able to understand and communicate well in English on a variety of subjects.

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Top Phonics

Top Phonics is an easy-to-use five-level phonics series developed for young learners of English. Starting in Top Phonics 1, students will learn to recognize and say the letters of the English alphabet. By the end of Top Phonics 5, students will be able to read and write common English words and phrases. The five levels of Top Phonics provide a guided, step-by-step presentation of single-letter sounds and vowel and consonant combinations. Top Phonics allows learners to develop their English skills in an engaging, systematic, and effective manner.

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Easy Fun Facts

Easy Fun Facts is a three-level series designed for elementary students of English who are being taught comprehension skills in the reading-to-learn stage. Easy Fun Facts exclusively focuses on nonfiction texts to equip students for future study of academic material in English. The series also utilizes a four-strand approach that sets a foundation for students to practice receptive and productive skills alongside focused language study and fluency practice.

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Fun Facts

Fun Facts is a three-level series designed for elementary students of English who are seeking to develop their comprehension skills in the reading-to-learn stage. Fun Facts exclusively focuses on nonfiction texts to prepare students for future study of academic material in English. The series also utilizes a four-strand approach that sets a foundation for students to practice receptive and productive skills alongside focused language study and fluency practice.

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Easy Fun Reading

Easy Fun Reading is a three-level series designed for emergent students of English who are beginning to move from the learning-to-read stage into the reading-to-learn stage. Easy Fun Reading is designed to set a foundation in reading in order to prepare students for future study of academic material in English. The series also utilizes a four-strand approach that provides the framework for students to practice receptive and productive skills alongside focused language study and fluency practice.

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Fun Reading

Fun Reading is a three-level series designed for elementary students of English who are moving from the learning-to-read stage into the reading-to-learn stage. Fun Reading incorporates short and simple fiction and non-fiction texts to support students in developing fundamental readings skills required for future study of academic material in English. Strict vocabulary control of all passages and activities allows students to gradually accumulate new vocabulary while practicing learned items from previous units.

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Speaking for Speeches

Speaking for Speeches: Skills for Presentations is an interactive, accessible three-level series specifically designed to develop the public speaking skills of English language learners at the high-beginning to intermediate level. Students will build the essential confidence they need as a speaker through creating their own interesting and fun presentations. This series will prepare students for any kind of speaking from casual descriptions of personal experiences to more formal, research-based presentations. Central to each lesson is an original presentation organized, written, and delivered by a student presenter. With its modern approach, the series helps students acquire practical speech communication skills in a positive, structured environment that they can use throughout their lives.

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The courses are available and localized into Japanese, Turkish, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese and include the following features:

  • Videos with Interactive Captioning. Over 320 interactive video lessons, with bilingual transcripts and in-context definitions;
  • Vocabulary Training.  Vocabulary learning based on a set of topic and course specific words and phrases, including quizzes;
  • Speaking Practice.  Interactive speaking practice allowing for productive use of such vocabulary in context.
  • GoLive! An option for live 1:1 tutoring, each with a lesson plan (see sample)

For a full view of the Seed Learning Materials, see this catalog.

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Medical English from Cambridge University Press


Good Practice

Good Practice is an online course – based on the leading medical English text from Cambridge University Press –  for doctors and medical students who need to communicate with patients in English.

Good Practice focuses on the language and communication skills that doctors need to make consultations more effective, through a focus on five elements of good communication:

  • verbal communication
  • active listening
  • voice management
  • non-verbal communication
  • cultural awareness
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Go to course

The course teaches learners how to handle a range of situations sensitively and covers such topics as:

  • patient history
  • breaking bad news
  • examining a patient
  • describing treatment options
  • different types of patients, from children to the elderly

With reference to numerous medical communication experts, and through exposure to authentic clinical scenarios, the course demonstrates the impact of good communication on the doctor-patient relationship and enables students to become confident and effective practitioners in English.

Features of the course include:

  • Videos with Interactive Captioning. Over 40 interactive video lessons, with bilingual transcripts and in-context definitions;
  • Vocabulary Training.  Vocabulary learning based on a set of 300 key medical-related words and phrases, including fill in the blank activities and quizzes;
  • Speaking Practice.  Interactive speaking practice allowing for productive use of such vocabulary in context.
  • GoLive! An option for live 1:1 tutoring, each with a lesson plan (see sample)
Developed by authors Marie McCullagh and Ros Wright for English users of CEFR level B2-C1, Good Practice has won the BESIG David Riley Award for Innovation in Business English in 2008 and was also shortlisted for the 2008 British Council Innovation Awards.


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Turn your School’s Existing Curriculum into an EnglishCentral Custom Course

EnglishCentral can adapt your existing curriculum to blend with the EnglishCentral platform, giving your students speaking and vocabulary practice from their mobile devices as well as from the web. This means you can adopt EnglishCentral for your current classes, without changing your textbook or other materials.



To do this, we create custom courses for you from our library of over 14,000 videos lessons.  Each lesson is enabled with close activities, vocabulary quizzes, and interactive speaking practice using our IntelliSpeechTM speech assessment system.   These custom courses map to the level and scope and sequence of your current curriculum.  Courses also have custom wordlists students can study in our quiz app on web or on mobile.

Contact us for a Case Study on how Kyoto Sangyo adopted EnglishCentral custom curriculum for web and mobile, mapped to existing curriculum.   This Cash Study covers how EnglishCentral was implemented as part of a general English program at Kyoto Sangyo University. Currently, over 6000 students are using EnglishCentral as part of the English Communication program offered to first and second year students from a variety of faculties. Topics discussed  include:  the reasoning behind the selection of EnglishCentral, initial piloting process, content selection and textbook pairing, student preparation, teacher training, and finally successes and challenges of the overall process.