In Vinnova's call for proposals "Test beds to address society's challenges”, 20 new test bed projects in different phases are now being funded to stimulate the capacity to test the development projects cost-effectively, quickly and on a small scale in the public sector. One of the projects starting up is the "Test bed for AI-driven language learning”, which will be run by the City of Helsingborg's labour market administration in collaboration with AI Innovation of Sweden, Get AI, Lund Faculty of Engineering, Lund University and Lingio.
Sweden faces major challenges in integrating new immigrants, and one of the most important areas is to ensure that more people join the workforce.
One of the main obstacles for foreign-born people to gaining access to Swedish society and the labour market is knowledge of the Swedish language. For foreign-born women, the situation is even more difficult, as they are less active in society. This means that in many cases they miss out on important language development and thus risk increasing exclusion and an increased risk of isolation, health issues and dependency on government benefits.
A number of training initiatives are currently in progress throughout the country for the specific purpose of strengthening knowledge of the Swedish language, and the intention for the preparation project ”Test bed for AI-driven language learning" is to take the next step and see how better results can be achieved and language learning accelerated by creating training tools that are individually adapted. The project will have an additional focus on investigating how an AI-based teaching system can include the women who, for various reasons, do not participate in regular SFI teaching.
Henriikka Airaskorpi, Head of Operations for adult education, City of Helsingborg, sees numerous opportunities in the future solutions:
”Using AI as part of language training is a very exciting opportunity for those of us working in adult education. Our adult students want to be able to use the Swedish language outside of school and there is great potential in being able to develop AI solutions so that our students can talk regardless of the time and place.”
Isabelle Johansson, project manager at AI Innovation of Sweden adds:
“This is an application where the personal benefit of AI is very clear. This means that we have the opportunity to tailor the training to the individual's level of knowledge and requirements. This could, for example, take place with support systems that give feedback on the user's pronunciation or words requiring additional practice.“
The project will start in May and continue through to December. During this period, the focus will be on investigating and mapping the requirements. The test bed will then be constructed in a virtual environment and include a digital infrastructure where the city gathers data from relevant domains and platforms.