Tag Archives: livemocha


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: Global Language Communities, valued Interns and Biz and Livia Stone

Livemocha is strengthening its footprint in Latin America. Abril Educacao bought 5.9% of the Seattle-based startup and is planning to build a platform for the rising Brazilian middle class.

Babbel is going to expand its mobile offers by acquiring the application department of software company Aspirement in October. The premium language learning community also tripled its revenue in 2011 and is planning to expand to North America.

InternMatch raised a $500k funding round from renown investors, expands US wide and launched a new feature for companies called Community Pages. Those pages are showcases for company culture and help interns to get a first idea of what it will be like working for the company before even applying for an internship. Launch partners are major brands like Pixar, Aol, Wikimedia and others.

The Des Moines Area Community Colleges are planning to extend their offering by implementing WizIQ Classrooms in Fall. The platform will be used for everything from virtual office hours to synchronous lectures, lesson capture or outreach to prospective students.

Biz Stone and his wive Livia announced the first fundraiser for the Biz and Livia Stone Foundation. The goal of the non-profit is to support education and conservation efforts in the state of California.

In EDUKWEST #71 I talked with Josh Koppel, co-founder of ScrollMotion. ScrollMotion is a renown developer of digital books, magazines and applications and is behind the digital version of Esquire and the Oprah Winfrey magazine. Now, the company turned the HMH Algebra 1 textbook into an interactive application. The company has the potential to become a vital competitor for Kno and Inkling.

On Big Think I wrote about Language Learning Communities being the pubs of the global village and the Digital Backpack becoming more and more a reality.

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: authorSTREAM, Livemocha and Le Camping

As the boss is in Paris today to learn first hand how to get super rich and / or famous on YouTube, I guess it is up to me to share some interesting bits that landed in our inbox last week.

Today’s MRU is about the new authorStream which wants to take on Slideshare, the polished Livemocha navigation and some interesting edu startups that came out of LeCamping in Paris.
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KWestions for Michael Schutzler – the eBay of Language Learning

Sometimes there are slow news weeks and other times you can barely keep up with all what’s happening.

Well, the company of my interview partner for KWestions episode 11 definitely falls under the second one as they introduced a bunch of interesting new features to their language learning community. I always enjoy having a talk with Michael Schutzler, CEO of Livemocha, not only because of his experience as CEO, his extensive knowledge but also due to the fact that he is always open and accessible and shares insights other people prefer better not to share.

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Livemocha and eduFire: From Languages to Culture

I have always been a firm believer that language and culture are inseparable. If you start teaching or learning a language the culture will play a major role from day one. Often the culture of a certain part of the world is even the reason why we want to learn a new language.

This week Livemocha and eduFire added some nice features to their platforms, both very different from each other but both emphasizing the cultural aspects.

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Livemocha and goFLUENT announce Partnership for Corporate English

Another year, another partnership for Livemocha. The world’s leading language learning community, now over 8 million users, teams up with Europe’s leading provider of distance business English training goFLUENT.

So, finally we will see the integration of live lessons into a language learning community.

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Review:ed 2010 – July to September

The third quarter of 2010 started with the sale of eduFire to Camelback Education which led to various posts on the business model of live lessons itself and the question if those platforms and services ever take off.

Other big topics were the PR battle between Livemocha and Rosetta Stone around the launch of their new flagship products Active Courses and TOTALe, the rise of Udemy, the pivot of YongoPal and the growing necessity of tracking and recording learning in the new decade.

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Livemocha and The Seattle Experiment

This weekend Michael Schutzler did an experiment with Livemocha’s new Active Courses. He put them on the hottest ecommerce platform at the moment which is of course Groupon.

People in the Seattle area got 50% off the regular subscription price, hence $75 USD instead of $149.95 for a one year subscription. And apparently the courses sold like sliced bread, closing at 534 courses.

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R:ED September 12th to September 18th 2010

  1. YouTube Starts Testing New Live Streaming Platform
  2. Livemocha looks to crack Rosetta Stone with new language service
  3. Scribd Redesign Is An Attempt To Become A “Social Network For Reading”
  4. Barnes & Noble Projects $1B In Digital Revenue, 25% Market Share By 2013
  5. 5min Brings 200K How-To Videos To Dailymotion
  6. Coming Soon: Mind-Reading Cell Phones
  7. Lifeplayer, the MP3 Radio for the World’s Most Forgotten
  8. Foursquare Targets College Students with New Universities Program

KWestions for Michael Schutzler, CEO Livemocha

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.

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Apples & Pears: Big Launch Day for Rosetta Stone and Livemocha

Today is the big day for two education companies. Rosetta Stone launches its brand new version 4 TOTALe flagship product and Livemocha launches its new range of Active Courses in partnership with Harper Collins.

I love the smell of language immersion in the morning!

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#followfriday 09-10-2010 @Livemocha

And today’s #followfriday goes to Livemocha. I know, I know, I have been ranting about their Twitter strategy in several posts but that has changed quite a bit.

For a couple of weeks Livemocha is doing a great job with Twitter and hence they really deserve to be followed by anyone interested in language learning.

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Chat on Twitter about Language Learning with Rosetta Stone #RSchat

 Just before I was taping my EDUKWEST interview with Thomas Whitby, Co-Initiator of the famous #edchat on Twitter today, I learned that Rosetta Stone is planning to host a Twitter chat about language learning, called #RSchat.

The first one is scheduled this coming Friday at 1PM EST.

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review:ed Episode #5 with Shiv Rajendran

In this episode of review:ed I had the pleasure to talk with Shiv Rajendran, Director at LanguageLab.com who is a well- known guest on my various shows. We talked about Pearson & Ning, Babbel & Livemocha, India & the $35 USD laptop, eduFire & Camelback Education and asynchronous content, live lessons and social games in education.

Thank you to our sponsor VODBURNER which provides review:ed with great Skype Video Recording & Editing.

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Back to the Roots: Livemocha crowdsources Ideas for new Features

Livemocha has always been very effective in leveraging its giant user base. In a very short time the members of Livemocha translated the standard courses of the platform in 38 languages.

Of course there is the question if you can simply translate a course from one language to the other and how to track down mistakes efficiently but on the other hand: the courses are free and the community worked constantly on the issues.

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The new CEO of Livemocha goes Mobile and Looks Out for the Best Customer

Livemocha recently named Michael Schutzler as new CEO of the company with Co-Founder Shirish Nadkarni changing to the role of chairman and Chief Strategy Officer.

And Schutzler does not waste time as it seems.

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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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