Learning fluent English is an aspiration for a large chunk of India’s middle-class population, and Hello English is making the process easier, fun, and simpler than you can imagine.
Call it a “colonial hangover” or a desire to become “global” – learning the English language is a huge aspirational goal for many people, especially in the Indian subcontinent.
In a country that still sees “English medium schools” as the pinnacle of primary school education across large swathes, more and more people are willing to invest time, money, and effort into learning the English language.
Recognising this need, and the potential offered by the burgeoning smartphone revolution in India, CultureAlley co-founders Nishant and Pranshu Patni launched Hello English in October 2014. CultureAlley is a startup founded by Nishant and Pranshu in December 2012 and runs under the aegis of Jaipur-based Intap Labs Pvt Ltd.
Since its launch in October 2014, Hello English has steadily expanded its user base to over 15 million (as of January 2017) and has become one of the most popular English learning apps.
One of the key differentiators for Hello English has been an intuitive interface and teaching strategy in a variety of local languages, which gives users the option to steadily improve their English skills via the comfort of their native language.
Supporting 14 Indian languages (including oft-overlooked ones like Haryanvi and Bhojpuri) as well as a handful of others, Hello English makes the English learning experience simple, easy, and comfortable, irrespective of how fluent you are in English when starting out.
So how does the app work?
Firing up Hello English for the first time brings up a language selection screen. As discussed earlier, the app currently supports 25 languages – 14 Indian languages (Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Oriya, Assamese, Bhojpuri, and Haryanvi), as well as 11 others (Urdu, Arabic, Bangladeshi Bengali, Chinese, French, Indonesian, Malay, Nepali, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish).
Once you choose your language, you have to create a profile, that lets Hello English give you customised lessons that cater best to your needs, including age/profession, the reason for learning English, etc.
The app also asks you to choose your current fluency with English – whether you’re a complete beginner, or already have some basic knowledge.
If you choose to go with the latter option, the app gives you a quick quiz to check your degree of fluency and comfort with the language and assigns your lessons accordingly.
Once the set up is done, you can start your English lessons right away.
Hello English offers 475 lessons across 19 phases, ranging from basic steps like introducing yourself to forming complex sentences and understanding English grammar.
Each lesson is accompanied by audio cues in your chosen language that guide users through the learning. Correct completion of a lesson/activity on the platform gives you coins, which are used to unlock additional lessons and features as you progress.
Apart from the basic lessons, the app offers additional services like a range of practice options to test your developing English skills…
… a bilingual dictionary with over 10,000 words…
… and a forum where you can post questions and interact with other users for queries and discussions.
Selecting the options menu on the left-hand side also lets you access settings, such as customising your personal profile, changing your app language, seeing how many coins you’ve collected, audio settings, etc.
Hello English runs on a freemium model – the basic lesson plans and services are all free, but users can avail of premium services like resume management, additional certification courses, live video interactions with professional teachers, and more for varying fees.
So just how good is Hello English?
The easy-to-use interface and patient approach to teaching adopted on Hello English make it an extremely simple and comfortable app to use.
Even users completely new to the English language will be able to get a good grasp quite rapidly. While this is possibly not a complete replacement for mainstream English education, the wide variety of topics covered and the ability to learn at your own pace definitely make this a first-choice app for anyone looking to learn English.
Hello English has gathered a bunch of awards along the way, a testament to its popularity and usefulness. If you know somebody who wants to learn English but is unsure of how to go about it, tell them about Hello English. Whether school going student or retired grandparent, Hello English has a learning service for everyone!