Woodpecker Learning allows language learners to immerse themselves in video, text, and audio content designed for native speakers.
We help teachers build lesson plans designed around the latest and most interesting content. Our products enable language learners to move away from textbooks and dive into content designed for native speakers. We allow international students and foreign professionals to fully understand their course materials. Finally, we want everyone with an interest in a foreign language and culture to be able to immerse themselves in its media and entertainment.
We offer access to a vast amount of free content combined with functionality for language learners to understand it. This makes our product a great resource for teachers and their students. In the future we will offer even more tools and content within the app, all designed to help learners improve even faster.
We named our company after the Woodpecker, since it is persistent, as a language learner must be, tapping away at tree trunks, just as our users tap on a screen to learn, until they achieve their goal.
Co-Founder and CEO
After working in Auckland, Jakarta, Singapore and Hong Kong, Peter moved to Taipei where he worked in an office where nearly everyone spoke good English but many documents were only in Chinese. With languages, you are only good at what you practice, and in this environment, his reading of Chinese characters improved much faster than his spoken Mandarin.
To improve his listening ability, he was told to watch movies and TV, but that didn’t really help because the dialogue was too fast, and pausing and replaying content was cumbersome. It was frustrating that there was no technical solution for subtitles in the same way that there was for other types of text documents. Peter decided that if he needed this kind of help for his language studies then so did millions of others.
Co-Founder and Head of Engineering
Gijs is a native speaker of Dutch and fluent in English, German and Mandarin. His interest in Chinese started when he was in Taipei in 2007 for a six-month internship at an engineering company. When he got back to Europe he started studying Chinese in Germany. While studying for his Master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence, he decided to write his final thesis in Taiwan, so as to study engineering and Chinese at the same time.
The experience gained while learning three second languages convinced him of the benefits to language learners of being able to engage with content designed for native speakers. In this project he knew he could combine his background in electronics and software engineering with his experience in language learning and in May 2015 Woodpecker Learning was born.