Want to improve your vocabulary? Here’s how to learn four new words every day

Given the number of mobile applications available to improve your vocabulary, lack of time can hardly be an excuse for not learning new words on the go. A series of apps called WaitSuite, developed by researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) can help you learn 57 new words in over two weeks during idle moments, like when you are waiting for an instant message or for your phone to connect to the Wi-Fi.
When using the system’s instant messaging app WaitChatter, users learned about four new words per day, or 57 words over just two weeks.
Building on micro-learning apps like Duolingo, WaitSuite aims to leverage moments when a person would not otherwise be doing anything but waiting for Wi-Fi to connect, emails to push through, instant messages to be received, an elevator to come, or content on your phone to load.
ElevatorLearner automatically detects when a person is near an elevator by sensing Bluetooth iBeacons, and then sends users a vocabulary word to translate. (Shutterstock)
“With stand-alone apps, it can be inconvenient to separately open them and do a learning task,” says lead researcher Carrie Cai.
“WaitSuite is embedded directly into your existing tasks, so that you can easily learn without leaving what you were already doing,” Cai added.
Meanwhile, ElevatorLearner automatically detects when a person is near an elevator by sensing Bluetooth iBeacons, and then sends users a vocabulary word to translate.
Though the team used WaitSuite to teach vocabulary, Cai noted that it could also be used for learning things like math, medical terms or legal jargon.
“This work is really interesting because it looks to help people make use of all the small bits of wasted time they have every day” said principal researcher Jaime Teevan at Microsoft.

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