The Exchange is working well for writing correction. It is still in the early stages of its evolution, and we will work to make it better with everyone’s help. It is really encouraging to see writing correction requests posted there and then corrected by two or three or four or more people. I am sure this is helpful not only for the person posting the writing for correction, but also for other learners. I really recommend that people look at the Exchange page and use it more.
On the other hand, in many languages we are not seeing many discussions between learners. I think it is a vicious circle, with willing tutors posting discussion times, and very few people signing up. It is understandable that these tutors eventually get discouraged and stop posting discussion times. I am an active user of our tutors, most recently for Russian. I think the quality of our tutors is excellent.
Yukiko, an experienced teacher of Japanese, and one of our long time members, recently posted some discussions in Japanese. She asked me how she could interest Japanese learners here at LingQ. Here is what I answered.
" To notify interested learners who might want to sign up for your discussions, you should find all the people studying Japanese and follow them. At the Exchange page you can either look at the most active learners or click on Advanced Search and search for all the people who have indicated that they are learning Japanese. Many will then follow you. When you post a discussion you can share this with your followers."
There is no question that once we are past a certain stage in our discovery of a language, we need to speak a lot. I would be interested in hearing any suggestions on how we can generate more activity on our Speak page.
Let me first say that the system is great.
I would recommend perhaps putting ‘Speak’ on it’s own button next to ‘Learn’ and ‘Exhange’. (Not a bad ring to that: Learn, Exchange, Speak)
The speak link is a little hidden at the minute.
I think seeing as the Exchange is in its infancy, the number of people using it will evolve naturally somewhat over time. I definitely agree Steve that it is good for other learners as one can see the public corrections and possibly import that text as a lesson. This at the beginner/intermediate level is likely to include topics and vocabulary that we all, as learners, would like to know, with the advanced text likely branching out into areas we are less interested in.
I think perhaps with Japanese the problem is the number of people studying it and the time involved. The majority of the posters on the forum tend to be native English speakers or Europeans from what I’ve seen. I’m not sure if that’s indicative of the users as a whole, but if it is, then these users may be studying languages closer to their own, or if they are studying Asian languages, may take longer to reach a level they feel comfortable writing and speaking in.
I personally have not used the Exchange yet as I prefer to reach a higher level of competency before starting to use it, rather than submit text or have conversations where I’m talking about where I live and how many siblings I have, but I will definitely use it once I’ve reached that level.
I think it’s just a case of more publicity to let the users know how to use it and over time the situation will improve. Perhaps having a promotional period where points are made cheaper would entice more people to buy them and subsequently use them up.
As far as I am concerned, I usually get so involved with the lessons I create/read at Lingq that I tend not to use the Exchange page. Maybe it is so because I am still in a early stage of learning Chinese (the language I use here), so I don´t feel ready to interact in this language. However, I guess I would interact more if it were easier to check for online native-speakers and online people who are learning the same language as me.
Same here. I have been so busy reading and listening to German for the past 10 months that I haven’t bothered to speak. Signing up for that first conversation is a hurdle, and I keep putting it off.
Thanks for the feedback. Yes we use Skype. What usually happens to me is that I have a conversation for 15 or 30 minutes in Russia, for example. The discussions are lively and interesting. In languages where I am not very strong like Korean or Romanian or Czech when I started out, the tutor tries very hard to maintain the conversation and keep me talking. When the conversation is over I receive a report of the conversation. This will usually consist of a list of the words and particularly phrases that I had trouble with, and some general comments. I then import this conversation report as a lesson to study, creating LingQs as I go.
I registered here about one year ago but have only started to use the site actively two or three weeks ago. So I’m still a newbie and am not totally familiar with the exchange system yet. However, I’ve already had two conversations which were great and the reports are really very helpful. I’ve also got the impression that there’s a great community here. But I find the subscription options a bit strange. For me as a user the premium plus option isn’t very attractive as I save just 1$. However, I understand that it makes sense for Steve and his staff in order to avoid losses and maintaining the site surely isn’t that cheap, either.
Well, I’d like a real exchange system. That means that it shouldn’t be possible to exchange points for money but points should only be used to pay for services from other members like conversations, corrections, recordings, transcriptions. A premium plus option could then include a higher number of points but at the same time it should be made easier for members to collect points, perhaps in combination with the activity score. Such a system may be less attractive for profit-orientated teachers but perhaps that’s not what the site is about, anyway. And perhaps the premium option could include a small number of points, too to encourage people to choose it. I mean, 10 $ a month is really not much, considering the great content of the libraries but there’s this mentality that everything on the internet should be free, so I imagine people are often unwilling to pay for something unless they get “a real value” for it. There may be people who just want to listen to the audios and therefore the free account is enough for them but they may be encouraged to upgrade if that means that apart from being able to create unlimited LingQ’s and import unlimited lessons, they may use the services of a tutor.
Thanks for the feedback. We have had feedback from others as well on the pricing of our packages. This is very interesting input for us.
Points that are earned by tutoring or on the exchange can be used free of any commission for other services on the site. We very much want to encourage this kind of interaction between our members. However, there are some excellent tutors who earn more points then they want to use on the site. We feel that it is fair that they have an opportunity to convert these points into cash. Only when these points are converted into cash does LingQ take a commission, 25%.
However we will be looking at different options that we feel might increase interaction between our members. All ideas are welcome. Bear in mind, however, that we move slowly.
I understand your point about tutors who earn more points that they can or want to use and therefore need the opportunity to cash their points. It seems to be difficult to find a solution which suits everyone. Perhaps two different kind of points, one kind just for exchange and one kind that can be cashed? Well, I’m not even sure if that’s technically possible.
To be honest, I have no idea why I have never used the exchange features here. When I discovered using LingQ, I was already doing lessons with the tutors over at italki.com (as ‘nuriayasmin70’ will remember) so I just continued with that. I just found the way of doing things over there to be easier, which is probably mostly because I used it first. One thing I don’t like about the discussions here is the length. In order to sign up for a discussion, I need to find a free time and then once I have signed up, I need to make sure it stays free. I don’t think it is worth doing this for only 15 minutes of talking. I always preferred lining up several hours in one go. I started taking lessons online after 3-4 months of German, and even then, I didn’t want to do anything shorter than an hour. I don’t know what other people think.
I’ve never payed for more than one fifteen minute slot at a time, and all of my lessons have been 30 minutes. It’s really up to the tutor the length.
Maybe Lingq should just make the slots 30 minutes long. The five dollars it will cost for a lesson then will just about equal the average price I see on italki.
Thirty minutes doesn’t really turn me on either, but this is just my preference.
I usually either do 30 minutes or one hour. Nothing, however, prevents me from signing up for 90 minutes 120 minutes or longer, as long as these time slots are being offered consecutively.
In that case, I probably misunderstood how it works.
@ColinJohnstone: Sure, I remember :-).
When I speak a language quite well already, 15 minutes pass by very quickly but when I’m still quite a beginner, an intensive conversation for 15 or 30 minutes can be quite exhausting. Well, and I really like the conversation report here and the possibility to import it to my lessons. I also like to work with various tutors because I think it’s good for my listening comprehension.
I’m a paying member of Lingq but don’t use the exchange for speaking. I pay because I want to support Lingq, find the site useful and don’t have the mentality that everything should be free.
However, I find good teachers on italki or equivalent sites for maybe ten dollars per hour. The pricing structure, unless I’ve misunderstood is significantly higher on Lingq, and so less attractive to me.