The proposed project intends to develop a language learning application for healthcare workers. Currently, there is a near total absence of language software products designed for the healthcare workforce. Doctors, nurses as well as medical interpreters who wish to improve their foreign language skills have to rely on phrase books or improvised means, while professionals in other fields such as finance can choose from a number of sophisticated software titles catering to their needs. The envisioned product will fill an existing void in the marketplace for healthcare-specific language study software, and can play a positive role in improving quality of care for patients with limited English proficiency (LEP). In addition to versions based on learning specific foreign languages such as Spanish or Chinese, an English-focused version can be developed to assist foreign-born doctors and nurses to improve their communication skills in the English language. The primary objective of Phase I is to develop and evaluate a prototype of the envisioned software in one language (Portuguese).
Specific aims i nclude: (1) design a three-hour introductory lesson based on a proprietary methodology that emulates the experience of studying with a private tutor; (2) develop a prototype of the software that incorporates the introductory lesson, a post-lesson comprehension test, and qualitative survey questionnaire. A sample population of 60 individuals will be recruited to study the introductory lesson using the prototype; the results will be analyzed both quantitatively (based on participants' progress in learning Portuguese as measured by the post-lesson test) and qualitatively (via survey questionnaire and focus group) to determine the software's feasibility. ? ?