Steve asked a question on his blog about some of the other language programs out there, and their strengths and weaknesses related to LingQ.

I spent the day playing around with Live Mocha. It is a very nice website…as it should be. The owners of the site got quite a bit of venture capital to get it going.

Lessons on the site use a drill method, and are very similar to appearance with Rosetta Stone, although not as polished. All vocabulary is given in the language being studied, but instantly available for translation. and all vocabulary can be downloaded onto reversible flashcards. The lessons are divided up in a similar fashion to those here, and offer a chance to speak and read the language, and to receive tutoring. I submitted both writing and speaking samples, and had several replies within a few minutes. All services are FREE, there is no charge to sign up.

I searched through the website and discovered a news release from the site administrators. Apparently, the site is in “beta testing” mode, and eventually, “premium services” will be fee based.

As for strengths vs. LingQ, having start-up funding has allowed Livemocha to offer their site for free, allowing for a much larger community, at least before they start charging!

Will their system help people learn their target languages? That remains to be seen, but having a large community and popularity will certainly help the process.

I heard, that Livemocha is pronounced like “livemokka”, but anyway… For Russian speaker, who does not know how it is pronounced, “livemocha” is not a very pleasing word. I came across with Livemocha before LingQ, but I only laughed for a while and continued to surf… Perhaps, some Russians take “Livemocha” seriously, but I can’t :slight_smile:

There is no question that the main factor in language learning success is putting in the time. You can learn with any system.

However, I think efficiency is important. We designed LingQ to be more efficient. However, most people are more familiar with traditional teaching methods. Live Mocha. Mango, Rosetta Stone are still traditional teaching methods. LingQ aspires to be a learning community, with a Krashen like insistence in input as the most important factor in learning. LingQ is quite different.


I agree with you.

Many language sites are “style over substance”…all flash…but no real impact.

Livemocha wins over LingQ in the fact that is more approachable for beginners. Beyond that I don’t think it is interesting even for intermediate learner. The flashcards is not an important factor for me, I only spend 5 min when i receive the words of the day e-mail and i don’t think it worth spending more time on this. The fact that you can communicate with other people easier is a good point.

I people want to learn, they probably will, regardless of the material (or method).

I think it’s great that you, Shon_t, have shared your experiences with Livemocha (and RS+Pimsleur in the other thread). No single method/material has it all (unless it’s a combination of several methods itself). There are so many aspects of languages and learning, and while system #1 is a good choice for skill X, system #2 might be great for skill Y.

I haven’t had a look at Livemocha yet, but may check it out someday.

Saw this in a tech blog. I thought it would be interesting to see where Livemocha says they are headed:

Live Mocha is still in its testing phase, and Nadkarni says that he expects it to remain so until early next year. At that point, several new features will be introduced. The site will support 25 languages in addition to the English, Hindi, Chinese, Spanish, French, and German it currently offers. It will also launch applications designed to run within the social networks Facebook and hi5. Nadkarni says he expects that connecting with hi5 in particular, which is known for its popularity in Latin America and other parts of the world, will help bring a larger international base of users to the site.

Nadkarni expects the site to make money through several channels. Although some content will always be free, he says, Live Mocha will add a subscription layer early next year that will cost $10 to $20 a month. It will also feature travel advertising and a tutor marketplace. Nadkarni says that he eventually hopes to add a closed network especially for high-school students, which could help them practice conversational skills while learning about the world.

Thanks for the info, Shon! It’s nice to know where they’re headed.

Well,I was giving Livemocha English lessons a try but I found it too basic.
The good thing there is that you can correct other members exercises but all exercises and materials are pre-made material,traditional,the members can’t contribute sending it.

OK, now I’ve been a member there for a couple of weeks. The positive thing is that the service is free (and that it’s a community where the members themselves correct exercises, audio samples and so on) . The negative is that some pictures+sentences are downright useless, especially in module 202 (the most advanced one, I think), mostly a lot of clock images suchs as “3.45” where the so-called “translation” could be as stupid as “It was 3.15 30 minutes ago”!

The Chinese sentences have (to my knowledge) NO clue regarding any “30 minutes” or “ago”, they simply say “It’s (already) 3.45”. One wonders if the Chinese sentences are the originals (in fact, the only ones that seem OK, for this particular module)…

The strength of Livemocha is the size of its learning community. Even for a beginner in Italian like myself, the lessons in Italian are very basic. However, it does give very good opportunities for communicating with many native Italian speakers who are learning English.

At LingQ we will continue to work on several fronts, improving the basic functionality and ease of use, expanding the ways that members can help each other and communicate with each other, and making everything easier to understand.

As we get more members we expect that the quality and range of our content and courses, and the opportunities for interaction between our members, will only get better and better.

I really appreciate hearing about what other programs offer, and we are always looking for ways to improve LingQ, although everything takes time.

I was playing around with Livemocha a few months back with the Hindi “course.” I was bored after about three and a half minutes. The positive thing is that the community is great, though! Besides that, there is not very much the I found useful or interesting on it.

Apparently they added an Arabic course and the Arabic speaking members can’t agree on the correct spelling because of dialectal differences!

Yes, I agree, live mocha is fancy and boring. But seemingly people lack structure in LingQ, mainly in the beginning. Courses were intended to offer such structure, but they are not for free and not as fancy as live mocha ones, so this is an unfair competition.
I stopped my French last year because I was finding it too difficult and demotivating to go on without some more structured explanations. Now, I returned to French using both LingQ’s texts and a traditional book. I feel much more motivated, since I’m not feeling lost anymore. Also, I can see that I’m able to finish this book in about 3 or 4 months, although it is supposed to last one year and a half in one of the most famous French courses in Brazil!!!
I wonder if LingQ shouldn’t have some more structured material like this for beginners. I’m always thinking about how this material should be and I hope some day I can publish some ideas in LingQ library. Maybe I can get some of them during my own French studies with this book of mine.

Hi Ana, I experienced the same with french like you. I bought two books with audio CD’s. I typed the text of the dialogues and imported text and audio in my LingQ. This helps me a lot.
For German I create a beginner course starting with very easy dialogues like dialogues in beginner books. The level steadily increasing a bit. I hope it helps students. And I saw that there is interest in such material. I thought about adding some explanations to some lessons about grammar and structure (only on a easy level), but to explain such Basics in English seems to difficult and time consuming for me.
I think LingQ is especially helpful for user with some knowledge of the language. But to start from crash with LingQ wasn’t easy for me. But combining a beginner book with LingQ is ideal! Maybe the best recommendation is to start a beginner course with another resource, and then switch to LingQ.

I don’t know, I’ve found the ‘Who is She’ series very helpful and very beginner. I also bought a beginner book but really have just used the dialogues and uploaded them onto Lingq (along with Assimil French) and I couldn’t think of any better way now. I listen to each about 15 times before moving onto the next, I create lingqs and I listen. I read the lessons in the beginner book sparingly and slowly the language is coming alive and it’s only been 3 weeks since I started.

I’m a ways away from speaking and I haven’t payed much attention to verb conjugation but it’s only the beginning. I wish there was more interesting beginner content with some sort of narration in a genre I’m more interested in and some sort of story… but that’s my only small complaint, I think the lingq system works great even for beginners.

I am learning Japanese from scratch on LingQ. Yes, I do have one Japanese beginner book in Russian, but I only review it from time to time - especially the section about verb forms :slight_smile: - like Steve always suggests. And it seems to me, that I am quite successful in my learning. But it is due to Japanese tutors’ efforts, I suppose. Because I used very easy content, created by them.

Yes, Vera, I guess a beginner book with LingQ is an ideal combination. I’m studying the grammar points too and taking a brief look at the proposed exercises. Only if I feel I’m going to benefit from doing them, I get my pencil and do it. But the book is very focused on texts and dialogues, and it has a lot of audios, so I’m finding it very useful.
In fact, this book is intended to turn the student into a low-intermediate level and for me it is enough, since I think that after you achieve a low-intermediate level, LingQ alone is indeed the best thing to do. But, before that, well, I have doubts…

Chris, I did the “who is she” for French, and other beginner content either, and I think they are fine. But at some point, I started to feel lost, because I couldn’t understand some things I knew were very basic. Also, I think there is a gap between this very basic content and intermediate ones.

I think beginner content is too boring, but I don’t think anyone can escape the annoyance of dealing with boring artificial content in the very beginning. But in a traditional book, even when the text is a little bit boring (and they try very hard to make them less boring), you know there is something specific being reinforced there. So I think that a good beginner book, studied the right way, can make you go to authentic content sooner, because they deliver quickly the basics. At LingQ, you’re always struggling to mine the basics which is randomly spread among the texts.
Right now, for example, I’m studying intermediate texts in parallel with the book content. But I’m feeling much more free to pay attention only to new words and expressions in them, since I know that the grammar details are going to be properly worked on in the book.

The only thing to pay attention with traditional books is that you don’t need spend a year and a half in a 150-pages book, like they propose. This is probably the most demotivating part of such courses, people should go much more faster to feel they are making real progress and keep the motivation high.

maybe there is more appropriate beginner content for Japanese at LingQ, I don’t know. Anyway, there is the issue of personal characteristics. Maybe some people like you and Steve, don’t mind being a little lost about the details. I couldn’t cope with this very well… I think it is great that some people can do this, in fact I am a little envious of you.
But the point I was trying to make is that it seems that most people out there feel like me and Vera, since they prefer that boring thing called Live Mocha instead of the much more lively LingQ. I’m a big fan of LingQ, and I’m always thinking about how to make those people come here and use LingQ to learn quickly and for real. And I feel that the lack of structure at the beginner level is a great obstacle preventing this to happen.

I appreciate all this comment about how to attract and keep the beginner. It is certainly an issue at LingQ. usually beginner content has explanations of some kind in the learner’s language. That why it is best for the learner to buy a small beginner book with explanations in his or her language. However, there may be more things we can do.

Certainly the efforts of Vera, Irene, Emma and others to create explicit instructional texts for different languages is welcome. In a way LingQ is just a platform which can accommodate any comment. Notes and explanations can be put into the “comments on this lesson” Forum. We plan to change where this Forum appears, so that it show up below the text which it refers to. That will make it easier to show translations and notes directly below the text which will help beginners.

Meanwhile all suggestions are welcome. We need more beginner learners.