Tag Archives: busuu


How to learn English on the Internet

BulldogThis is a quick post for all the people on my Facebook fanpage who request that I help them learn English.

Most regular visitors of this blog know how to make the distinction between coverage and analysis of all the exciting things that happen in online education, writing my articles in English and actually teaching English online. That said, I have had the chance to talk with quite a few companies that aim to help learners improve on their English.

So, for everybody who keeps asking, here are some companies I think are interesting to you. Of course this does not represent all of the great startups out there but it’s a start. All of them offer at least part of their content for free, but keep in mind that education in general and learning languages in particular is an investment in your own future and career.

However, free only gets you so far. I’d therefore recommend to also have a look at paid solutions of you’re serious about studying online.

Mobile applications

Mobile learning can be a great way to “stuff” some learning time into your busy schedule, may it be on the way to work or during lunch break.


The startup allows you to study and share online flashcards, study guides and quizzes. With more than 2,000,000 flashcards added every week, the community is pretty active and you’ll not come to a dead end any time soon. You can study on the web or also download StudyBlue’s mobile app.

I made a quick search for “English” and the system came up with 15.9K cards. This search is, of course, very broad and ranges from American history, the Bill of Rights to studying English. If you search for “English language” you’ll still get 990 cards – all for free. I think, that’s a great basis and you might even want to contribute yourself and start by creating your own flashcards.

Link: studyblue.com


With Voxy you’ll have the best experience if you’re mother tongue is either Spanish or Portuguese and you want to learn English. The startup offers an interesting mobile approach to language learning and focuses on the personal or individualized experience which essentially means that you only get learning materials that fit your interests.

Voxy uses real content, no textbooks and have recently integrated Skype tutoring and learning English through music.

Link: voxy.com

Live lessons with teachers & tutors

Next on my list are some fellow Edupreneurs who offer their programs online using various outlets such as teaching platforms, Facebook or YouTube. I picked these two because the think outside the box which I like (needless to say..).

My ESL Friends

Created by George Machlan, My ESL Friends gets you in touch with some non traditional approaches to teaching English, off the beaten track. To get an idea, visit their Facebook fanpage at facebook.com/MyESLfriends

Besides, George also uses a virtual classroom to offer his Edupunk lessons. You can find the schedule for his different live online classes on his blog.

Link: myeslfriends.com/wordpress/edupunk-english

Fluency MC / Collolearn

I let Fluency MC aka Jason Levine speak for himself: it’s all the 3Rs – relax, repeat, remember. If you’re looking once again for an innovative and fun approach to learn English for free, you should join his popular Facebook fanpage at facebook.com/FluencyMC and subscribe to his YouTube channel collolearn that’s he’s been growing over the past two years.

Link: youtube.com/collolearn

Language Learning Communities

Back to something more traditional. The following companies have been around for the past five or six years which makes them to established players in the world of online learning. As they’re still around today somewhat proves that there must be something to the way they let you learn languages on the net.


busuu is an online learning community on the internet which lets you learn English and other languages for free. You might even find a partner for language exchange in the community.

If you’re looking for something mobile or professional with a curriculum busuu offers various paid solutions that have found quite some success in the internet community.

Link: busuu.com


To my knowledge one of the oldest language learning communities on the internet, at least the one I discovered early on. Since the days I tried it out in 2007 and 2008 a lot has changed, in the company’s structure, design-wise and about their offer.

I reckon, Livemocha offers the biggest variety of languages among the language learning communities that you can start learning for free. English is naturally the most popular by far. Similar to busuu Livemocha offers paid solution, e.g. if you want personal tutoring that comes with a pricetag.

Link: livemocha.com/pages/languages/learn-english


Unlike the two big language learning communities mentioned above, Palabea adjusted their offer and differentiates from the others by focusing on topics that you love and cultural discovery. If you search for “English” you’ll find lots of users that also want to practise and offer their native language in exchange.

I guess, if you’re not necessarily looking for a professional tutor but have achieved some level already, this might be a good way to practise your English.

Link: palabea.com


Voxopop was designed by my friend Dean Worth and is a voice-based e-learning tools that lets you explore or create talkgroups.

The talkgroups aim to improve students’ speaking skills. Teacher and students record quick voice messages to communicate or discuss a certain topic. Voxopop is used by people from around the world and entirely free to use.

Link: voxopop.com


As the name suggests, edutainment is a mix between education and entertainment. It’s getting more and more popular as you learn while you also have fun by watching movies, playing games and so on.

English Attack!

English Attack’s approach to help you learn English is entertainment based. You’ll learn through watching video, listening to music, play games and find new friends in the community. For instance, each day the startup releases a new video booster, free Photo Vocab or lets you play a free practice game.

There is lots available for free. However, if you want to have access to the entity of English Attack’s offer, you can activate your so called Booster Pass, their paid offer.

Link: english-attack.com

I hope, this gives you a number of tools at hand to learn or improve your English by studying online.
Depending on your preferences and personal taste you might prefer one method over another; I recommend you try my different suggestions out, explore further and get more recommendations from the people you will meet on the different services.

And that’s a wrap!

Picture via Wikimedia

Number of the Week

Number(s) of the Week: 9.95 and 1 million

Number of the WeekAs the anniversary of this blog is getting closer, I started looking through the archives as I do every year. Sometimes, I am really surprised to find posts I can’t remember to have written and a lot of them bring back memories, of course. What a ride!

One of the first startups I wrote about back in January 2009 was Livemocha. Back then, the language learning community just cracked the 1 million user mark and started to offer its first premium content. It was a travel course in Italian priced at $9.95

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Muhammad Ali taunting  Sonny Liston 1965

It’s on! How I am going to compete with Livemocha, busuu and Babbel

No, I haven’t lost my marbles! But at least now I got your attention, I think.

As you know, I have pursued a side project in German language learning since April 2008 called Deutsch Happen. On the basis of a more or less regular schedule I have produced different kinds of video lessons to test out teaching ideas and to support learners of German as a foreign language who might have no access to paid solutions.

For the past couple of months I have been experimenting with some strategies on how to grow my audience on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and the results are good enough to take this to the next step: I am building a MVP.

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Monday RoundUp

MRU – Facebook as Study Tool, Amazon Student App, Funding and Second Life

As you know, this blog here has become my personal sandbox again and all the news in education 2.0 are now over at EDUKWEST. In case you did not know, now you know ;).

For all of you who check back regularly on KirstenWinkler.com for your dose of education 2.0 related updates, I thought I will post a weekly “Monday Roundup” with links of what has been going on over at EDUKWEST.

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busuu in Numbers: 3 Years 2.5 Million & 7 Days

The language learning community busuu turned three today. Time really flies, so happy birthday to Bernhard, Adrian and the team at busuu!

As a side note to the event busuu shared that over 2.5 million people now have signed up to learn a language with the service. All in all, busuu seems to be on a role at the moment, getting some nice coverage in the press, for example yesterday on the Washington Post blog.

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Babbel and busuu expand their Offers, Livemocha nears 10 million Members

As there have been a couple of smaller updates and news around the three language learning communities recently, I thought I might as well combine them in one blog post to give you a quick overview on the current state of affairs.

So, here we go.
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Monday Roundup: busuu, Myngle and WizIQ

In today’s MRU we will take a look at busuu’s newest funding round, Marina Tognetti of Myngle sharing some rare insights in a video interview, WizIQ changing its logo and Bo.lt which lets you copy and edit any website you like.
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52% of Online Language Learners Consider Classic Offline Learning as More Efficient

First of all I would like to thank Bernhard Niesner and Adrian Hilti of busuu as well as the team at IE Business School who took the time and made the effort to set up a survey and then shared its results with the public.

Data is still a scarce resource in education 2.0 and getting some from one of the most successful startups is really valuable. So, let’s take a closer look on the outcome.

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Monday Roundup: 2tor, Busuu, Tofugu TV and Sifteo

In today’s MRU we take a look at the whooping $32 million funding for 2tor, the new recording feature of Busuu, the first episode of Tofugu TV and the future of building blocks developed by a company called Sifteo.

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Monday Roundup: Babbel, Busuu, Skype and GoToMeeting

As there is always more happening than I can cover in single blog posts, I will try to write a short roundup on interesting stories and events that did not make it into an own blog post but that are too important to not be shared with you.

Today we have Babbel, Busuu and the Skype / GoToMeeting partnership.

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Busuu Partners with The Guardian and MacMillan

Competition is good, especially for the customers. Today, Busuu, now 1.5 million users strong, announced a new partnership with The Guardian and MacMillan, two well established brands and as British as five o’clock tea and scones (in the Savoy, of course).

To quote from another recent press release in that space, the partnership “catapults” Busuu in the intermediate level and above learning sector.

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Review:ed 2010 – October to December

This is the last part of my review 2010.

Video calling reached critical mass, live streaming comes to Facebook but is live still relevant in a world of on demand and self paced services?

Will the Internet get back to paid content and why is it so difficult to get reactions from readers?

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Busuu got smarter with the MyBusuu Study Guide

Busuu launched a new interesting feature for their premium subscribers last week, called the MyBusuu Study Guide. This feature is developed in partnership with the Salzburg Research Institute and lets students set their personal study goals and track the progress over time.

Also, the tests at the end of each section got a refresh and will now adapt the questions to the mistakes the learner had made during the sections.

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Review:ed 2010 – January to March

As 2010 was such a fast paced year, I thought it would be nice to go back in the archives and take a look back at the most interesting events.

So, let’s start our little trip down memory lane with the months of January, February and March 2010.

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The Europas – Edu Finalists are out

Mike Butcher just published the list of finalists for the Europas on November 19th in swinging London. As you know, education has its own category but there are also placements in other categories.

So here is the list of edu startups for this year’s Europas.

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Busuu announces Partnership with Collins

Busuu just announced a new strategic partnership with the publisher Harper Collins. Native English speaking premium users of Busuu will now have access to grammar guides for Spanish, French, German and Italian.

This is basically an extension of the existing deal with the publisher PONS which is providing grammar guides for the native German, Spanish, French and Italian speakers of the community.

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Growing Guerrilla Style – Busuu is the second 7 Digit Community

Busuu tweeted recently that their community has officially reached more than 1 million members. This is a very impressive number itself but what I find even more interesting is that Busuu had tweeted exactly one month before to have reached the milestone of 800.000 users.

That is a growth of 200.000 users in 30 days, over 6600 users per day in one single month.

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Blackberries on the iPhone – Busuu launches its Mobile Applications

Busuu is now the second language learning community to have its own iPhone applications that connect seamlessly with your online learning profile on the platform.

And if you watched my interview with Michael Schutzler of Livemocha the other day, you know that it will only take a little more time until this Seattle based community will launch their own.

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From Busuu with Love: Language Learning Community adds Russian

Busuu, the language learning community, just launched its seventh language: Russian.

This not only enables the already signed up community members to learn a new language but, maybe even more important, it opens Busuu a whole new market for its service as the entire platforms is from now on also available in a localized Russian version.

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Babbel now Knows What You are Saying – Introduces Voice Recognition

And Babbel did it again. After taking the lead on mobile devices with the iPhone application attached to its platform Babbel now introduced voice recognition or the missing link that separated the company from Rosetta Stone.

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