Why Aprendo


Having the 21st century Princeton student in mind and considering the significant amount of technical and pedagogical challenges that we faced when using traditional textbooks, we created Aprendo, a custom-made digital textbook that provides effective ways to support students’ acquisition of the language, while being exposed to the type of content knowledge that enhances their critical thinking and creativity. As an interactive and flexible online language-learning platform, Aprendo was specially tailored for Princeton University students enrolled in beginner and intermediate Spanish classes (SPA 101-SPA 107).

The learning materials developed in Aprendo promote a learner-centered approach with an emphasis on discourse analysis, intercultural competence, social interaction, critical thinking skills, and the development of learner autonomy. Also, having a digital format:

  • Is ideal for delivering multimedia content.
  • Allows us to implement a flipped-classroom model.
  • Maximizes student-centered learning, self-monitoring and correction.
  • Creates the opportunity to modify, improve, and adjust course materials.
  • Promotes interactive teaching and learning.

For more information about the methodological implications of Aprendo, view this document.

To learn more about Aprendo and the recent debate about the college textbook market, read this Daily Princetonian article here.


Project Staff

Adriana Merino

Adriana Merino holds a Ph.D. in Foreign Languages and Linguistics (UNED, Spain), and a Master’s degree in Linguistics with a specialization in Discourse Analysis (UNC, Argentina) Before joining the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Princeton University she taught and coordinated various Spanish courses, and developed ELT/ Spanish language programs and instructional materials. Her teaching experience also includes Applied Linguistics, Methodology, Discourse Analysis, and training courses for teachers. Her research interests involve (interlanguage) pragmatics; intercultural competence development in study abroad experiences; L2 oral interaction and comprehension; and the use of ICT resources to enhance learning. She has authored a teacher’s resource manual, and a number of articles on language teaching, discourse analysis, and pragmatics. As member of the Aprendo project, Adriana has created several materials for the SPA 101, SPA 102, and SPA 103 sites. She is currently the SPA 101-102 Coordinator. Contact: amerino@princeton.edu

Iria González-Becerra

Iria González Becerra received an EdD from King’s College London. She joined the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Princeton in Fall 2019 after working as Spanish coordinator at Imperial College London for ten years. At Imperial, she was involved in the development of language courses and teaching materials for undergraduate and postgraduate students from STEM backgrounds. Iria’s main interest lies in the design of teaching materials for specific purposes and in the application of technology to the classroom. She has also conducted research in language learning motivation, learner investment and perceptions of value. For her doctoral thesis, she developed a qualitative context-sensitive model to represent the value of foreign language learning for STEM students, highlighting the discursive tensions that impact learners’ perseverance and proposing value as analytical tool to expand the study of motivation and complement the notion of investment. She is currently the SPA 103 Coordinator. Contact: iriag@princeton.edu

Iris Hauser

Iris Hauser studied Applied Linguistics at the Universidad de las Americas in (Puebla) Mexico and Georgia State University. Before joining Princeton in 2020, she was the Assistant Director of the Spanish Language Program, Language Course Coordinator and Lecturer at The University of Kansas for 7 years. She previously taught at Georgia State University and at Universidad Popular Autónoma de Puebla and Tecnológico de Villahermosa, Mexico. Her current research interests and work are focused on inclusive teaching practices and the efficacy and best practices of technology integration in Spanish language classrooms. She is currently the SPA 107 Coordinator. Contact: ihauser@princeton.edu

Catalina Méndez Vallejo

Catalina Méndez Vallejo received a dual PhD in Linguistics and Hispanic Linguistics from Indiana University in 2009. While she specializes in syntax, she has also conducted research on the effects of prosody in requests and Spanish word order, sociolinguistic variation in Spanish future tenses, and socio-pragmatic change in discourse markers and forms of address.  She is currently working on the semantic and pragmatic features of the Focalizing Ser structure in Spanish. As Aprendo project coordinator, Catalina has worked in the SPA 101-107 course sequence and has created several materials for the SPA 101, SPA 102, and SPA 103 sites. Contact: dvallejo@princeton.edu

Ben Johnston

Ben Johnston works with faculty and students across the University to facilitate the integration of digital platforms and implementation of technology tools into coursework. Formerly Manager of the Humanities Resource Center and Humanities Computing Specialist in the Center for Digital Humanities, Ben has filled many roles at Princeton in support of technology and education during his 10 years at the University. Prior to Princeton, Ben worked at Bryn Mawr College and at Columbia University. He holds an undergraduate degree from Earlham College and a Master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. As Senior Educational Technologist, Ben has developed the Aprendo sites and provides technical support for faculty and students. Contact: benj@princeton.edu

People who made significant contributions to the project


Monserrat Bores – Participation in audio recordings for listening exercises (2017-2018).

Andie Faber – Kansas State University. Creation of materials and coordination of SPA 103 (2018-2019).

Anais Holgado-Lage – Princeton University. Design of the platform, creation of materials and coordination of SPA 107 (2015-2020). 

Paloma Moscardó-Vallés – Princeton University. Participation in audio recordings for listening exercises (2018).

Le Anne Spino-Seijas – University of Rhode Island. Creation of materials and coordination of SPA 103 (2016-2018).

Brandon Waybright – George Fox University. Website design (2016).

Sylvia Zetterstrand – Project coordination and creation of materials for SPA 107 (2015-2018).


Princeton University McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning

Daniel Claro – Technical support for audio recordings used in listening exercises (2017).
Janet Temos – Technical support, website reviewer (2016-2018).


Princeton University Broadcasting Center

Dave Hopkins – Technical support for video recordings used in audiovisual exercises (2018).
Daniel Quiyu – Technical support for audio and video recordings used in audiovisual exercises (2018).


Princeton University Spanish and Portuguese Graduate Students

Mauricio Acuña – Participation in audio recordings used in listening exercises (2017).
Luisa Barraza Caballero – Content editor (2017).
Verónica Carchedi – Content editor (2018).
Berta del Río Alcalá – Content editor (2018).
Miguel Domínguez – Participation in audio recordings used in listening exercises (2017).
Charles Hankin – Content editor (2017).
Juan Diego Pérez – Content editor (2017).

Ingrid Brioso Rieumont – Participation in audio recordings used in listening exercises (2017).


Princeton University Undergraduate Students

Raphaella Hull – ’16. Website reviewer (2016).
Chitra Kumar – ’19. Website reviewer (2016).
John Marshall – ’20. Website reviewer (2016).
Kelly McCabe – ’18. Website reviewer (2016).
Edgar Preciado – ’18. Website reviewer (2016).
Daniel Shepard – ’19. Website reviewer (2016).
Danielle Victoriano – ’19. Website reviewer (2016).



Special thanks to the Office of the Dean of the College for awarding us the 250th Anniversary Fund for Innovation in Undergraduate Education, and to the Department of Spanish and Portuguese for their trust and continuous support.