In the Spotlight: busuu.com The Language Learning Community

busuu_com_logo

Website: www.busuu.com
Online since: May 2008
Offer: Language Learning Platform with Community. Free and Paid Premium Services.

Today busuu.com  – The Language Learning Community launched its brand new version with lots of new features and a new interface to make your learning experience on busuu.com  easier and more enjoyable.

Bernhard Niesner & Adrian Hilti Founders of busuu.com

Bernhard Niesner & Adrian Hilti Founders of busuu.com

So lets have a detailed look on this Madrid, Spain based start-up.
busuu.com was founded by Bernhard Niesner and Adrian Hilti in 2008. Both were strategy consultants before founding their own company.

The name “Busuu” comes from a language in Cameroon which is, concerning to a ethnological study in the 1980ies, spoken by only 8 people.
But not only the choice of this name shows the great dedication of the founders to languages. busuu.com is the only language learning website where you can learn the “Silbo Gomero”. This ancient language of the island of Gomera is only “spoken” through whisteling.
busuu.com wants to help this language from vanishing by offering the possibility to learn this unique language with learning material on the site itself and promoting the Silbo Gomero with this video on YouTube:

Moreover busuu.com was partner of the UNESCO in the International Year of Languages 2008.

As you can see, lots of dedication to languages behind this start-up. But what are they offering?

On the first view, busuu.com is a language learning community like livemocha.com, palabea.net or italki.com.

busuu.com offers you like livemocha.com the possibility to learn on your own with provided content. After today’s relaunch you also have  the possibility to buy premium content including:

  • Audio for more than 3,000 key phrases
  • Listening comprehension exercises
  • Printable PDFs for more than 150 units
  • Access to more than 35 Grammar Units
  • Audio Podcasts for more than 150 units

The prices are from 7,99 Euro to 12,99 Euro per month, depending on the duration you chose (1 to 6 months available).

You can learn English, Spanish, French and German on busuu.com. The center of the site is the animated language garden, a really unique feature. A tree is the symbol for your progress in the language(s) you learn on busuu.com. It grows as your knowledge grows. But beware! If you make a mistake in the exercise, nasty bugs will come and eat parts of your tree!

As you can see, a quite nice feature to motivate you during the learning process. But wait, there is more! If you have successfully completed 5 lessons, you will receive an animated gift for your garden. Maybe it’s a sheep, or an UFO or something else. And if you manage to complete 25 sections you will even receive a certificate from busuu.com!

With today’s new version, busuu.com also

  • simplified their interface
  • added courses from level A1 to B2 according to the CEFR
  • added a ranking widget, where you can see your personal progress compared to your fellow community members
Courses

Courses

Personally, I like the new courses section. It’s much  easier to follow a course when you want to learn a language. The approach of following a way and reaching goals (a bit like a table top game) is motivating and keeps you up on the track. When you see that the next gift is only two lessons away, you might want to achieve that, too.

The control mechanism of the nasty bugs is great, too. This way you are forced to do the lessons correctly and not just click them through to get the gift.

Another useful feature: The vocabulary flash cards are not only accompanied by sound and pictures, they also show the vocab “embeded” in a useful sentence.

Conclusion: All in all a great website to learn one of the major european languages, or the Silbo Gomero, of course.

The design and approach are really unique and motivate the child or the gamer in you. The community seems to be nice and helpful, too.

I congratulate Bernhard and Adrian to their great project and dedication and wish them all the best. I will definitely keep an eye on this site and keep you updated on my blog.

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  • http://www.clarityx.com/features.shtml Clarityx

    Can I use this info on my blog using the direct link to your blog? Thanks in advance

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Sure, you are welcome.

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    I hope we all learn something new each and everyday. It is what helps to improve who we are.

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    Great video! I learned a lot from this article.

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    helo