I would be interested in hearing from tutors who have had free discussions. Did any of those learners become regular learners?
I need no marketing in this way.
And no, in the case where I recognized it the member didn’t become a regular learner.
I only had one free lesson so far (one that I’m aware of, I don’t always check if I get the points with the new students) but he hasn’t signed up for another discussion.
So, LingQ wrote somewhere: “We do require tutors to provide this free conversation and it often leads to future paid conversations with these learners.” When and where LingQ wrote it, I’ve missed. Sorry if it is my fault.
Vera wrote: “I think it is okay if Mark and Steve wants offer free conversations. But I don’t want to offer it. It is an advertisement for LingQ not for me as Mark and Steve want to see it.”
I support Vera.
Steve wrote: “How big a problem has this been for tutors, in fact?”
I think not a big problem for most of us (at least me), that’s true. I could have imagined why LingQ would see it differently from Vera and me. Steve and Mark have been putting a lot of effort and money into making LingQ going, the effort by far exceeding that of any paid tutor (me) and volunteer (Vera) here. But LingQ is perhaps still not doing commercially well. And they possibly try this and that, vary things in the effort to attract new, potentially paying members. It is difficult to continue with the investment of the money into it all the time. Moreover, they may think, the volonteers use our LinqQ and thus benefit from our investment, and those tutors are paid for the tutoring,so… not a big deal.
However, I am afraid it is a potential mistake.The psychology of volonteering is misjudjed. People likeVera and others, who have already done for LingQ a lot, value that “thank you, Vera!” feeling. The feeling easily offended when instead of “thank you” you are “required to” .
Many tutors hang around here not (only) because of the tutors’ money. The feeling of the community, the great system, the personalty of Steve and others, etc. But when things are formulated as you are “required” - it sounds wrong. More so if it was decided about you without you knowing about it.
But let us all take it easy, It was, as I said, just an attempt to promote not that easy going LingQ to the new mebers.
Sorry for the many misspelles. I am on a new computer where the checkers and the dictionaries are not yet working. My Babylon, which I bought twice in the past, wants me to buy it again. Фиг вам! You are misjudging my thank-you feeling, Babylon!
What if several newcomers happen to choose the same tutor for their free conversation? (Imagine tutors having to provide many free conversations in the same day/week for which they normally would get points.)
A simple workaround could be to extend the sessions slightly - most (if not all?) conversations I have participated in have lasted ~30 minutes.
Thank you Ilya. Your post makes clear what I think.
By the way, I’m a paid tutor too, but I volunteer on a lot of other things surrounding LingQ. And I love to help if someone ask me in a polite way. What I really dislike is this “have to do” thing.
In my opinion it would be better to offer free members the possibility to buy the first points with the 50% discount (like paying members). The $10 for 15 minutes is expensive and it maybe detain people from trying a conversation. I think, if someone isn’t willing or not able to spend $5 for a try of a conversation he will never be able to pay or is never willing to pay.
@Jeff: That is what I usually do. I cannot remember that I ever stopped a conversation after 15 minutes.
First of all the cost of 15 minutes is five dollars, of which the tutor receives $3.75. These free lessons are quite infrequent from what we can tell. I have had no free learners. I would like to hear if anyone has had more than one. It is really not a significant issue.
We tried something that we hoped would increase the use of tutors, as well increase the likelihood of members understanding the system. It is tied to the “getting started” shelf where the final step is to talk to a tutor. We were quite confident that the burden on any one tutor, across 10 languages, would be very slight. This has proven to be the case, as the whole program has not been a success.
Many tutors talk longer than the designated length. That is entirely up to them. Vera, you are one of our strongest supporters and contributors, without doubt. You are perfectly justified in having her own views about the system and what you are prepared and not prepared to do. We respect that., and yet we will continue to try things that we think can help create more activity at LingQ.
Meanwhile this issue has become an obvious irritant so we are looking at solutions. Remember that everything requires changes to the system, so we cannot always easily change direction.
I tried to convince some students of mine to participate in conversations, offering them points from my own account (that was before the introduction of the free conversation). None of them dared although some of them frequently use skype, they just shied away from talking to a native speaker. I told them about the friendly members and tutors and my own experiences, but to no avail. There is a psychological barrier that is stronger than the reward of a free conversation. No idea what could be improved.
From my experience and seeing/hearing about that of others I feel that learners may be more confident if “real” teachers offer these free conversations, as well as experienced tutors of course (as indicated by the number of conversations hosted). The idea of “courses” may not have been bad, but people had to commit before knowing anything about the system and its benefits. Maybe a group of volunteer “teachers” could offer a limited number of structured “lessons” so that people who want to sign up or receive a free conversation know what to expect (e.g a lesson like “How do I use LingQ effectively”, “How to greet people in my new language”, “Easy small talk”, “Grammar basics - how to form a simple sentence”…). This doesn’t take away the psychological barrier. Maybe it just takes longer than creating 50 LingQs to get to like the system. Maybe the LingQs-limit has something to do with people’s reluctance to try out speaking… I know, there are so many issues. The discussion will be carried on.
Just so all of you who are tutoring know, we will now be paying for all Getting Started conversations. We have decided to no longer require the tutors to provide these conversations for free. You will get your points for these just like any other conversations.
Mark, Thank you very much for taking our discussions on the forum seriously, and your always great efforts to make LingQ the best place for learning languages.