0.1 What is DiLL?

2 minutes


DiLL: The Digital Interactive Learning Lab is an all-software solution that re-imagines the traditional language lab using only headsets and networked Macintosh computers in a classroom setting.

How DiLL Works

DiLL consists of student, teacher, and server components. Each student and the teacher is equipped with a Mac with DiLL and a headset with microphone.

Using the teacher software, instructors can group students in conversation—like a telephone operator—monitor and record students, share web resources, and conduct synchronized speaking assessments.

DiLL Software Components:
DiLL Client
(student software)
Lab Controller
(teacher software)
DiLL Server
(file repository)

Students use the DiLL Client to:

  • Listen to audio and make recordings
  • Self-practice
  • Interact with the teacher and fellow classmates

Teachers use the Controller to:

  • Manage the classroom
  • See and/or hear what students are working on
  • Communicate with students
  • Pair or group students in conversation
  • Assign lessons and administer exams


  • Automatically saves and organizes student work
  • Serves as an organized central repository of lesson material
  • Accessible with a web browser at school or at home
DiLL Architecture

The student and teacher programs facilitate activities in a live classroom environment while the server works behind the scenes to host lessons and student recordings for review outside of class.

Common Questions:

  1. What is the history behind DiLL?

    DiLL began as an academic project at Northwestern University in 2004 in response to the complexity and proprietary hardware requirements of existing digital language lab solutions.

    With consultation from faculty and staff, a small team of instructional specialists at the Multimedia Learning Center decided to build their own — a lab that was easy to use, easy to deploy, and flexible enough to accommodate all the languages taught at Northwestern.

    In 2012, due to growing interest from schools, DiLL was spun-off from Northwestern and exclusively licensed to Swift Education Systems, an education technology startup founded by a team of Northwestern alums.

  2. Can I use DiLL on my PC?

    DiLL is currently compatible with the Macintosh platform and we're actively working on extending that compatibility to iOS. We don't have immediate plans to develop DiLL for Windows.

  3. How many schools use DiLL?

    As of fall 2015, DiLL is used by over 100 schools across 8 countries.