Congratulations to eJOY for making it into the TOP 3 at STARTUP WORLD CUP VIETNAM REGIONAL, TechFest 2019. YellowBlocks was proud to be the sponsor for the top 10 and top 3 best startups in the final round.
eJOY was founded in 2017 when one of their co-founders found it painful for him to learn English. He wished it to be fun and inspiring so that he can learn English effortlessly and effectively. While seeking for a fun and joyful way to learn English, he found out a method that works. Not only that, he believes it’s the best way and fast way to master a language. Website: www.ejoy-english.com
Let’s have a deep dive about their project through the article below.
Bạn có thể đọc bài viết này bằng tiếng Việt.
“An average Vietnamese is more than capable of mastering English. The key is that they have to be interested and immersed in the language enough to make it happen. Our team understands that more than anyone else because we have experienced it ourselves,” says eJOY Learning’s CEO Diep Bui.
eJOY Learning is an English learning app that made a hit at TechFest Vietnam 2019. We sit down with Bui to learn how her startup has acquired a whopping number of users in such a competitive market.
## English education is one of the liveliest yet most competitive markets in Vietnam right now. What makes you confident entering it?
We hardly entered the game to win profit. We simply wanted to carve out something that fits the needs of Vietnamese people perfectly.
Is there any way to make English fun? How can we help users fall in love with learning? Those questions inspired our first coding lines.
We soon found out almost everyone around us was pondering the same questions. And our friends, fortunately, loved the solutions we came up with.
We’re confident that if we can provide solutions, the market will sort itself out. We will be busy enough not to worry about competition.
## English seems to be a tough challenge for most Vietnamese people. Why do you think that is?
An average Vietnamese is more than capable of mastering English – providing he or she is in love with it enough, as well as having the resources to. English, as with any challenges in our life, also comes with relative opportunities.
Will Vietnamese have more difficulty acquiring English than Singaporeans? Most likely yes, because English is the second language in Singapore, and their citizens are exposed to it daily.
Will Vietnamese have more difficulty learning English than Chinese people? Most likely no, because English content is required to be thoroughly localized in China.
The goal is to be more like the Singaporeans, and learn from how the Chinese overcome their obstacles.
Many Vietnamese people are taught to view English as a singular subject, separated from their daily experience. Students are made to memorize structures as if they are solving math.
But a language is supposed to be practiced outside of the classroom. If a student isn’t familiar with that context, how can he or she perform well when asked to speak to an actual foreigner?
When it comes to learning a language, familiarity of context is everything. It makes you confident and actually starts speaking. It empowers sellers at street vendors to communicate with their foreign customers without having taken standard English lessons.
When we were babies learning Vietnamese, familiarity of context was the first thing we acquired through baby talk, bedtime stories and television – even before learning the alphabet. Why aren’t English taught that way?
## How is your product, the eJOY app, different from the others in the market?
Our learning experience is designed to be multiplatform. We have apps on Android and iOS, on the web and Google Extensions. We’re aiming for Apple Watch, Amazon, YouTube, Netflix, Coursera, and KhanAcademy as well.
You can learn wherever you are. And you learn well only in the way that you like.
We help users discover English as they go about their daily life, and not the other way around like conventional learning experiences.
We make games that train users in all the four skills, which are listening, speaking, reading, and writing, based on the very vocabulary that they come across online.
## Not many learning apps have stood the test of time. How do you know that yours will?
We define our success as user loyalty. We’ve had users who came to us with very limited English, and we still heard from them a year late saying they were finally conversing with confidence.
Everyday we receive hundreds of requests for us to be present on a certain platform or setting so they could further experience the app. Those are what make me confident. As long as there are people who need us, we will always be there for them.
## As a leader, how do you inspire your staff to go far with you?
I don’t exactly try to inspire them. I do try to be versatile and flexible. I let them do what they’re most passionate about.
I guess they are similar to me in a way that they perform best doing what they love. I love empowering them, for example, so I spend a lot of time understanding what makes them tick and how I can support them.
I think that is what leading really boils down to.
## What’s your perspective on the English learning market?
According to Research & Market, the global English learning market made 3.2 billion USD in 2018. It is growing at 15.2% year-on-year, and expected to reach 11.5 billion USD in 2027.
This very market is growing twice as fast as the e-learning market itself, as English remains the most popular language with more than a billion learners in the world.
Now, imagine that coupled with tech disruptions. It’s safe to say an ever-innovating age of English learning has been birthed. Learners are now benefiting from the vast choices of spectacular solutions.
In the future, with rising globalization, all those innovations are likely to spill over to many other languages. Even in Vietnam alone, young people are out to learn several languages at a time to maintain their edge in the job market. That is an extremely exciting scenario, and we’re getting ready for it.
## eJOY Learning recently made the top 3 in TechFest. How did you feel about it?
It was very fulfilling to say the least. We had gained so much more than a credential.
We had the chance to talk to multiple startups and learned from them. We were blown away by what they have come up with. We also felt a great sense of community.
That aside, we rubbed elbows with potential investors and mentors. They enlightened us with so much knowledge, perspective, and wisdom.
We also took home a lot of questions from the event, such as how to make our products friendly to business owners who would like to learn English but can only afford a limited amount of time in their hectic schedules.
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