April 5, 2024

PLATO: The first language learning program (1960)

by Mateusz Wiącek

PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations) is often considered a pioneer in the field of computer-based education. It was a computer-based learning system developed at the University of Illinois in the 1960s. While not specifically a dedicated language learning program, PLATO included language instruction modules in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Latin.

  • It was primarily used in educational settings, including universities and educational institutions.
  • It included different kinds of exercises, drills, and interactive activities. 
  • It featured interactive interfaces with immediate feedback.

PLATO continued to be used and developed for several decades, and PLATO-based systems and software continued to evolve and find applications in different contexts.

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