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Auralog's Speech-Enabled Language Learning Solution at Casino Group

Solution Overview

Industry & Country
Global Retailing & Distribution, France

Related Links

? Casino Group

? Auralog

? TeLL me More E-learning

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?.... Tell me More Online has really answered our needs, and learners find it entertaining and user-friendly ....?

?.... E-learning does not replace a language tutor... it is necessary to have a human assistance in order to progress ....?

Corinne Sestier
Language Tutor & E-learning Project Manager, Casino Group


This success story features how Casino, the leading French global retailing group, has implemented and deployed Auralog's speech technology-enabled language and learning solution - Tell me More Online - to optimise internal and external communication in an international environment.

Located in eleven countries, Casino employs 80,000 people and works with 166,000 collaborators throughout the world. Within a structure that owns and operates 7,100 supermarkets and cafeterias, foreign language knowledge and skills are critical success factors for effective communication.

France-based Auralog is a world leader in language learning software solutions and related services. Among its 150 staff, a team of 80 engineers and professional linguists from 20 different nationalities work in product development and in enhancing product content. Auralog was awarded the 2001 European IST Price for Tell me More.

The ability to speak a foreign language is essential not only for Casino Group expatriate staff who work with business partners from other countries, but also for employees in supermarkets near country borders or in tourist areas, who need to communicate in the native languages of their customers.

To respond to these needs, the Casino Group founded its own training centre, the Institut Pierre Guichard in 1996. The training centre is located at Casino headquarters, and provides a variety of language courses customised to the needs of staff working in various strategic and operational business areas. About 80 learners are currently enrolled in the language courses in English, Italian and Spanish, which are taught by four tutors.

Why Implement Language Learning Software?
Satisfying the needs of language learners who preferred to follow language courses at a distance was one of the main factors in the company's decision to identify and evaluate suitable computer-aided language learning (CALL) solutions. In addition, the Group President, Christian Couvreux, wanted to investigate how new technologies might improve language learning processes within the group while also reducing costs.

In that context, and in February 2000, Christian Couvreux assigned the responsibility of finding an e-learning solution which could be implemented into the group infrastructure to Corinne Sestier and Tania Vandera, tutors and project managers at the Institut Pierre Guichard.

Choosing The Right Solution
The Casino Group employees needed a learning programme they could adapt to their own scheduling needs, and which would allow them to learn from a distance. They also needed a customised programme according to their language level (starter, intermediate, advanced) and the appropriate general and/or specific domain coverage. Corinne Sestier and Tania Vandera subsequently identified and tested a range of e-learning solutions available on the market at that time by attending seminars and exhibitions related to human language technologies and tools. Meanwhile, they also noticed that there was a lack of experience and knowledge in e-learning solutions in France.

From the initial batch of e-learning tools they tested and compared, two tools were selected for testing by the users, who wanted to be actively involved in the selection process. Finally, Tell me More Online, developed by the French company Auralog, was selected as the best solution that satisfied the requirements of the Casino Group.

Implementation & Deployment
Tell me More Online was integrated within the Casino Group infrastructure in February 2002, and supports the following features and functions:

  • A tool for both language tutors and learners
    After a test the tutor can define the learner's level and learning objectives, and set up a personalised learning programme. Course tutors can access the results of the learner exercises, in order to perform regular and complete measurement, monitoring and follow-up of each individual learner performance. Users can organise their courses according to their own schedules, and the learner and the tutor can communicate via the Internet just by a mouse click.

  • Personalised lessons to answer the learners' professional needs
    Tell me More Online can evolve and be adapted to individual learner abilities, needs and skill levels. It provides various types of courses according to the learner's language knowledge and professional need - private, telephone or group lessons at starter, intermediary, advanced and business levels. Private courses can be accessed by fax, e-mail or the Internet. The telephone courses last about half an hour. As to the collective courses, every month learners groups gather to discuss news topics. Examples of exercises include crosswords, word definitions, and role-plays such as booking a hotel room. Another example is that of the CEO bodyguard, who has to help foreign guests visit Paris, which often requires the ability to speak a foreign language.

  • Improving pronunciation thanks to speech recognition technology
    Tell me More Online includes a speech technology component, which recognises what the learner says, assesses the pronunciation and corrects any mistakes thanks to the SETS technology (Spoken Error Tracking System). 3D animations allow users to visualise the articulation of words and suggest how to formulate them.

Auralog offers a high quality learning service enhanced up by the provision of customised language courses and regular follow-up from the tutors. In addition, Auralog provides great-quality customer service thanks "learn-to-learn" training support and regular product updates.

The high quality speech recognition components of Tell me More Online adds great value to the e-learning solution. "Tell me More Online has really answered our needs, and learners find it entertaining and user-friendly", says Corinne Sestier, Language Tutor and E-learning Project Manager at Casino. She also stresses that the solution is designed to assist tutors rather than replacing them, and highlights the importance of human interaction, feedback and monitoring in the learning process. "E-learning does not replace a language tutor... it is necessary to have a human assistance in order to progress" she says.

As a result of the high satisfaction rate of learners and trainers using Tell me More Online to give permanent and flexible access to language training for all employees, Casino is planning to supply supermarkets and cafeterias located in tourist areas and abroad with Auralog's language learning software. The company also plans to create a computer network and make a larger number of computers accessible to the employees.

Click here, for a version of this success story in French.

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