I’ve been a consistent LingQ user for two years now. I’m a developer by background and do software product strategy for a living.
While I would have a lot of feature-level and capability-oriented thoughts on the LingQ platform’s continued innovation, what I think would be the most important thing to do wouldn’t actually require much or even any new code.
Yes, generative AI is transformational in its impact to language acquisition. You need to graft in the power of AI directly into the user experience. Yet, I’d rank it thematically #2 for you.
I’d suggest the most powerful thing you could do right now is tie-ups with language content creators, the entrepreneurial innovators who have figured out how to create sufficiently profitable side-gig and full-time endeavors in creating high-quality comprehensible input at beginning and intermediate levels. In French, it’s such as Alice Ayel, Easy French, Hello French with Elisabeth, innerFrench, Français Authentique, French Mornings with Elisa, Français avec Nelly, French School TV, Français avec Fred, Français avec Pierre, Ma Prof de Français, Wandering French, and more. I’ve seen a similar maturing “market” of language acquisition content in other languages as well.
Rather than a neutral approach to the content, you’d benefit from collaboration. Many of these Youtubers collaborate with each other. Here’s an example between Hugo of innerFrench and Geneviève of Ma Prof de Français ( French QUEBEC vs FRANCE // French Quebec expressions vs France expressions w/@maprofdefrancais - YouTube ). I know, for instance, Steve even did a collaborative video with Hugo of innerFrench ( Interview in French With Hugo From InnerFrench - YouTube ).
There are many collaborative things you could do that mutually benefit. I’ll offer three examples. First, you could do videos with all of them, promoted by them on their channels and on LingQ here as well. You could have them introduce LingQ to their audience. Could be a review, could be an interview with a student describing what tools they’ve used, etc. Second, you could highlight their content in various ways in your platform. For instance, I think there should be an innerFrench “course” where all Hugo’s content is easy to access. Perhaps Hugo would benefit from knowing who’s signed up. Even better, perhaps Hugo would benefit from interacting with them on LingQ too. Obviously, care would need to be given to help their revenue model. As it sits right now, many are going to third-party online learning and other content management software platforms to offer premium content and services for their more dedicated subscribers where perhaps those interactions would be better served on LingQ. Third, you could do novel things such as have the Youtubers sponsor level milestones. Once someone reaches a level, they might be in the perfect audience for a Youtuber’s content.
LingQ works as if it’s struggled to get out of its origins and background as a language learner’s tool that leverages content with lack of concern or interaction with the content creators. They matter too. I would suggest this is why the LingQ Tutor capabilities haven’t been as successful as envisioned. Personally, at this point, I think the influencers would be more important than the tutors into a business more like a two-sided platform where the platform’s role benefits synergistically both the sides–the learners and the creators/influencers/tutors. (Perhaps a tie-up with iTalki or similar would be more powerful than the built-in features.)
This is why network-building is more important than AI’s potential because in this context, one thinks about how generative AI benefits not just the language learner but also the comprehensible input creators, the social media influencers, and the professional and community online teachers and tutors, and a language acquisition platform’s role in that more holistic context.
LingQ’s successor (whether LingQ or other) may bring those pieces together. Personally, I think a low-cost, low-risk place to start is to explore collaboration with the leading intermediate-level content creators in the primary languages. From what I see, you already share certain important cultural ethos and language acquisition philosophy and once you get incentives aligned there’s potential for shared success in an environment where language acquisition methods are continuing to evolve quickly.