“Mark Warschauer, the director of UC Irvine’s Digital Learning Lab who founded the journal Language Learning and Technology in 1997, says studies show that effective language learning involves a combination of structured instruction and immersive practice.

He credits his own Spanish-language skills to time working at a warehouse with mostly Spanish speakers and travels to Mexico and Guatemala.

“It’s the opportunity for immersive practice, which is the most challenging to deliver,” he says. “We already know one of the best ways to learn language is to study abroad, but technology can provide simulated opportunities at a lower cost and a greater reach to more people.”

As an academic, Warschauer once…”