Research at EF

As the world leader in international education, we're paving new roads for learning – using technology, education and design.


We're not dogmatic about technology. It's a vital component of what we do, but we use it to support our goals for learning, rather than pursue it for its own sake. So we're always looking ahead – to see how it can help us transform education.


The EF research network enables scholars at the University of Cambridge, Harvard University, Peking University and the University of São Paulo to access rich sources of data from language learning, teaching, and testing to more deeply understand the science of language acquisition and share the results with the field at large.


With a logo from Paul Rand and office furniture from Vitra, it should be immediately evident to any design professional that EF cares deeply about design.

But design for us extends beyond graphics into experiences. To really create a world-changing service we need to be the best in visual design, interaction design and experience design, that magical intersection point of everything we do.


EF EdTech

Located in Shanghai, London and Boston, our teams of software engineers, designers, linguists, and film-makers are working to transform learning as we know it.

Today EF serves millions of students but tomorrow we’re aiming for hundreds of millions.

Originally inspired by a joint research project between EF and Apple into the future of language learning, our mission for more than a decade has been to use technology to create a fundamentally better way to learn a language.

We are working at the forefront of technology, creating ground-breaking work in speech recognition, virtual collaboration, and adaptive learning. And we’re hiring the best and brightest to keep us ahead of the game.

Find out more about EF EdTech

What we do

EF EdTech is the global research and development unit of EF Education First, building the most advanced learning systems used by millions of people around the world.

  • Learning Systems for adults

  • Learning Systems for kids & teens

  • Learning Systems for companies & governments

  • Learning Systems for schools & teachers

  • Testing Services

Latest projects from EF EdTech


The EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) is the world’s largest ranking of countries/regions by adult English skills.

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EF SET is the world’s first free online standardized English test. In less than 50 minutes, users get a detailed analysis of their reading and listening skills.

Results are calculated immediately and shared only with the user.

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The EF Research Network

The EF Research Network consists of top universities that are working with EF to fundamentally improve the way students learn languages.

The network covers a broad range of disciplines from linguistics, pedagogy, educational technology, and language assessment to cultural immersion.

Together, we are committed to research and innovation that will shape the future of language learning, cutting-edge teaching, and cross-cultural understanding.

With the University of Cambridge's Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, researchers are developing the EF-Cambridge Open Language Database, and also exploring first-language effects on second-language acquisition.

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Since 2011, researchers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education have investigated second language acquisition and cultural fluency development in students with funding and data collection support from EF Education First.

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In collaboration with Peking University’s School of Foreign Languages, EF is exploring effective English teaching techniques for millions of Chinese learners, and testing innovative language assessments with university and high school students.

Some of the latest research projects with the University of São Paulo include exploring translation and big data to better understand language learning, and analyzing the patterns of error formation in Brazilian learners of English.

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EF and the University of Tokyo have established a joint program for brain research on second language acquisition.

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