Research group

Please contact us if you have any questions about the research project.

You will find an e-mail address to every researcher here below.

Raili Hildén

Associate Professor, active 2019–2023

My role is the leader of the consortium, and I am also in charge of the pedagogical and language assessment related components of the endeavor. My duties further include maintaining contacts with important collaborators like language teachers´ associations, National agency of education and The Finnish Matriculation Examination Board. 

Expertise: language pedagogy, language teaching, language assessment, teacher study, teacher education, oral language skills, social impact of assessments, learner autonomy

Mikko Kurimo

Professor, active 2019–2023

My research interests include machine learning in speech and language technology such as speech recognition, synthesis, retrieval, translation, and assessment of language skills. My role in DigiTala is to lead speech technology research and connect with the other related projects in my research group at Aalto. In the field of speech and language processing, Aalto’s research results have been widely utilized via our open source tools and data, e.g., Morfessor, VariKN, TheanoLM, AaltoASR, DSPCon, WebCon, Finnish Parliament speech corpus, and Lahjoita puhetta.

Expertise: speech recognition, speech and language processing, language technology, machine learning

Mikko Kuronen

Senior Lecturer, Docent, active 2019–2023

In the project, I contribute to the phonetic analyses of the Swedish data and study the underlying phonetic components which are relevant in spoken L2 assessment. I will also contribute to the training of teachers to do rating of learners’ speaking performances.

Expertise: Swedish language, phonetics, phonology, pronunciation assessment, listener ratings

Anna von Zansen

Post-doctoral Researcher, active 2019–2023

My work focuses on the pedagogic part of the research project. I'm working with the teachers and students of upper secondary schools as we research and pilot new task types for assessing speaking. 

Expertise: foreign languages, language teaching, language assessment, language tests, the Finnish Matriculation Examination

Maria Kautonen

University lecturer, active 2020–2021

My work in the project focuses on the phonological analyses of L2 Swedish and studying which features of L2 Swedish are connected with specific CEFR ratings.

Expertise: Swedish language, assessment, phonetics, phonology, CEFR scales, listener ratings

Ari Huhta

Professor, active 2020–2023

My research interests include assessments that support learning (e.g., diagnostic and formative assessment), self-assessment and feedback, assessing and rating writing, computer-based assessment, and combining second language acquisition research and language testing perspectives in research.


Aku Rouhe

Doctoral Candidate

My role in this project is about implementing automatic speech recognition. Also, I transmit and combine information between the first and the ongoing phase in DigiTala project.

Expertise: speech recognition, automatic speech recognition, speech modeling

Ragheb Al-Ghezi

Doctoral Candidate, active 2019–2023

My role is to devise and adapt approaches of L2 speaking proficiency assessment by automatically evaluating L2 learners' pronunciation, lexical and grammatical skills using state-of-the-art NLP techniques.

Expertise: natural language processing, automatic speech recognition, second language assessment, CEFR scale

Ekaterina Voskoboinik

Doctoral Candidate, active 2019–2023

Heini Kallio

Post-doctoral researcher, active 2021–2023

I investigate how acoustic measures of L2 speech can be of use in predicting oral proficiency.

Expertise: speech science, acoustic analysis, phonetics, L2 prosody

Yaroslav Getman

Doctoral Candidate, active 2020–2023

My work in the project is related to the development of automatic speech recognition and automatic assessment of language skills.

Expertise: automatic speech recognition, natural language processing

Liisa Lotta Tarvainen-Li

Technical assistant, active 2023

My job as a technical assistant consists of a data collection process, gathering evaluations over the recorded data and other administrative tasks. In addition, I am helping in preparing academic papers and in organising seminars.

Expertise: language learning, language education, foreign languages

Konsta Lehtovuori

Research assistant, active 2023

I will work as a research assistant in spring 2023. My main task is to analyze the teacher survey using both quantitative and qualitative research methods. I am also assisting with other tasks concerning the project.

Expertise: foreign languages, German language, teaching and learning

Maikki Heijala

Research assistant, active 2022 and 2023 

I assist in the collection, structuring and editing of materials in the project. In addition, I assist in various administrative tasks. I was part of the programming team that implemented Moodle's Digitala tool. 

Expertise: teaching and learning, Finnish language, computer science