|Genre||Educational; language course; mobile learning|
|Running time||Lesson shows – 8 to 17 minutes (average)|
|Language(s)||English; Standard Mandarin|
|Air dates||October 2005 to present date|
|No. of episodes||3074 shows (as of November 18, 2013)|
ChinesePod is a web-based Chinese language-learning service composed of three key components: audio lessons, mobile and online review tools, and live speaking practice with Mandarin Chinese teachers. The service was founded in October 2005 in Shanghai, by Hank Horkoff, Ken Carroll, and Steve Williams.
ChinesePod Mandarin lessons, study tools and teacher services are designed for learners of every level. The company mission is "to make language learning easier for adult students by taking advantage of modern pedagogical principles and the latest web and mobile technologies." Learners can access content via mobile phone, mobile apps, RSS feed, and directly on ChinesePod.com.
Since 2005, ChinesePod has published over 2600 self-contained audio lessons, each from between ten and twenty minutes long. Lesson content is divided into six difficulty levels, from 'Newbie' to 'Advanced Media', and learners choose their own courses through the lessons, depending on their interests and needs.
The Chinese host is complemented by an English speaker who helps to explain the content of the lesson. Founder Ken Carroll appears in the earlier Newbie and Elementary lessons. He was quickly replaced by John Pasden who was the main English host between 2007 and 2013. John left ChinesePod in January 2014. The original Chinese host was Jenny Zhu. Li Dilu joined ChinesePod in late 2010 and is now the main host of Chinese content on the website, with Vera Zhang becoming ever more involved.
Connie Cheng appeared with various co-hosts in all lessons of the "Qingwen" series until late 2013. This series focuses on specific aspects of the language, including grammar. Together, the hosts break down the lesson dialogs, each of which is recorded by native Chinese speakers at the company’s studios in Shanghai.
Accompanying every lesson is a range of review tools, including flashcards, comprehension exercises, tests, 'expansion' sentences, grammar notes and interactive character writing practice.
ChinesePod was previously based on a 'freemium' business model similar to English as a Second Language Podcast; in 2011 it became necessary to purchase a package in order to access the lesson material.
Before September 2008, all levels of audio lessons were available free. They were irrevocably released under a Creative Commons license, and may be legally redistributed by anyone, though they are no longer freely downloadable from ChinesePod channels.
ChinesePod was acquired by Bigfoot Ventures in January 2012.
In January 2014, long-term staff members John Pasden, Connie Cheng and Lu Jiaojie all left ChinesePod.