The following provides a nice article of how people are learning language on the web.
From a learning standpoint, here are some research-based reasons that these interfaces might be good in helping people learn a language:
- Most of the learners are motivated to learn a language.
- Learners have to engage in retrieval practice, which research shows is a strong support for remembering, and also to test understanding.
- Learners get feedback on their retrieval-practice efforts.
- Learners are probably spacing repetitions over time.
- Learners in their practice are engaged in situations that are contextually similar to the way they might utilize a language--by actually engaging in a conversation.
- Because they provide a way for learners to overcome the fear of initially speaking to others in a foreign language, learners may be more willing to practice for real, which of course will aid their learning.