Today, I took the chance for a quick but very insightful interview with Michael Schutzler, CEO of Livemocha on the launch of the new Active Course line and his experiences being the CEO of the world’s largest language learning community.
The idea of the Active Course line is in the title: you need to get active to learn a language meaning talk to native speakers which has always been a key feature of Livemocha. In fact, Livemocha is planning to release Active Courses for all the languages they are offering on the platform today, which is a total of 38 starting with Arabic, Mandarin, Portuguese and Japanese.
We then talked about his motivation to join Livemocha as CEO in June 2010 and how he sees the online education market in general and in combination with the academic world. Michael Schutzler does not see Livemocha as a replacement for classic language learning or teachers but as a tool for more effective learning that supports learners and teachers alike.
In a next step Livemocha will add more features for teachers as Michael Schutzler sees them as the other half of the equation with students who want to learn and / or support other learners on the other side.
Livemocha has identified three types of language learners on the platform. The casual learner with no intention of really learning hard but with the desire to get social in an other language. The second type is the pragmatic learner who learns for a specific objective like learning Spanish in a certain time frame to go to Spain on vacation. Those two types make 90% of all language learners. The third type needs to become fluent in a language for studies or relocating in an other country and has the need to learn with a teacher.
This is something Livemocha wants to target next and there will be live lessons with teachers on the platform, something I have been waiting for a long time now. And of course, we will also see a Livemocha mobile application, very soon.