Livemocha

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Livemocha
Livemocha logo.png
Web address www.Livemocha.com
Slogan Creating a world in which every human being is fluent in multiple languages.
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Social network service
Registration Required for some services
Available in American English, Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, Esperanto, Estonian, Persian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Mandarin Chinese, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Urdu
Owner Livemocha, inc.
Created by Shirish Nadkarni, Co-Founder; Krishnan Seshadrinathan, Co-Founder; Michael Schutzler, Current CEO
Launched 24 Sep 2007
Revenue undisclosed
Alexa rank negative increase 30,585 (June 2014)[1]
Current status official/paying

Livemocha is a commercial online language learning community, providing instructional materials in 38 languages and a platform for speakers to interact with and help each other learn new languages. According to the site, it has approximately 12 million registered members from 196 countries around the globe. It is free to join and use, however there is an option to pay for various benefits. Over 400,000 users visit the site daily.[2]

The company was founded in 2007 by Shirish Nadkarni and Krishnan Seshadrinathan. Nadkarni came up with the idea for a web-based approach to language learning while on a trip to Spain with his children — though they had studied Spanish in high school they were unable to engage in conversation with native speakers, but would log on to Facebook after returning to the hotel room. This led to the concept of utilizing the power of social networking sites for language learning, with an emphasis on active participation and exchange in order to hone practical skills and conversational fluency.[3] The name “Livemocha” was invented by the founders during a brainstorming session at a local café, and is meant to evoke the relaxed atmosphere of a coffee shop. On June 8, 2010, Michael Schutzler was announced as the new CEO.[4] Their headquarters is in Seattle, Washington.

The site has received attention from trade publications and national and international newspapers, including the New York Times[5][6] and the Financial Times.[7] Time magazine named Livemocha one of its 50 Best Websites in 2010.[8]

On April 2, 2013, Rosetta Stone announced that it had acquired Livemocha.[9] On January 8th, 2014, Livemocha closed access to its legacy website. [10]

Basic courses[edit]

Livemocha currently supports 38 languages: English, Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, Estonian, Farsi, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Mandarin Chinese, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Esperanto, which is the most recent addition.

The site can be viewed in 12 different languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.

Free basic courses are offered in all the above languages, consisting of roughly 30–50 hours of coursework. Several languages, like Lithuanian and Brazilian Portuguese, were first added to Livemocha through the process of “Member Translation”: members fluent in two or more languages may translate already available course materials into their native tongue and publish the results on the site, with other users rating and improving the translations. This process is still ongoing.

Active courses[edit]

More advanced courses—called “Active Courses”—are available in five languages: English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

These courses require a monthly or annual fee and are intended to achieve conversational fluency. Instead of signing up for one particular course, users can opt to purchase the “Gold Key” which grants unlimited access to premium or paid content. The active courses proceed through four levels of proficiency, and include reading, writing, speaking, and listening exercises.

Format change[edit]

As of 2013, the website layout and the format of the lessons has completely changed. Formerly, the basic lessons mostly consisted of a series of pictures with both written and spoken phrases illustrating the content. In this respect it was very similar to Rosetta Stone. A new format is available for trial by accessing the beta, which is offered on the website now. However, the old version of Livemocha is still up and running both for the Basic and Active lessons.

Peer feedback[edit]

Each reviewer earns 20 tokens for reviewing a user's submission. The reviewer can earn an extra 10 tokens for the first review of the passage or conversation. The writing is rated using three criteria: spelling, proficiency, and grammar. The speaking is rated using two criteria: pronunciation and proficiency. Each submission from a basic course for peer review costs 120 tokens.

Member reviews[edit]

Completed exercises from both basic and active courses can be sent out for review by other members (native or fluent speakers), who provide feedback and tips. Members can also pay for “Expert Reviews” from language teachers that have been certified by Livemocha for 120 tokens. The user may rate the quality of these reviews, and choose to work with a particular expert reviewer. Private instruction sessions, conducted via video chat with a selected tutor, are also available for purchase.

Members earn “Mochapoints” by completing exercises and reviewing other people’s submissions. These points are not to be confused with the tokens. The tokens are earned for rating other people's submissions, or from paying a set fee in real life currency for a certain number of tokens. Mochapoints are a way to keep track of your progress and to compare the amount of time you have put into the website compared to other users. You gain Mochapoints for entering submissions, grading other people's submissions, chating with other users, etc. They can not be spent for content access in the same way that the tokens can be.

Language learning and social networks[edit]

Livemocha calls itself the largest language learning community in the world. In many ways it operates like a social networking site, and the basic ethos of the system is peer-to-peer: registered members can engage in synchronous and asynchronous communication, make a personal profile, connect with a circle of friends, upload content (there is a page dedicated to cultural exchange), contribute translations and help expand the base of available languages, and review other members’ work, such as recorded dialogues from lessons. It has been referred to as “the Facebook of foreign languages,”[11][12] and its potential impact on conventional language teaching compared to that of Wikipedia on the traditional encyclopedia.[13] One reviewer of the site observed, “With its unparalleled ability to connect people throughout the world, [the Internet] is changing the way that many people learn languages. There is still no way to avoid the hard slog through vocabulary lists and grammar rules, but the books, tapes and even CDs of yesteryear are being replaced by e-mail, video chats and social networks.”[5]

The main advantages of this new web-based educational approach are argued to include: easy and convenient access to native speakers (“learn from a native speaker without leaving home”);[6] exposure to how people actually speak the language, including slang, colloquialisms and everyday conversation; increased motivation and confidence through social contacts; and, the creation of a massive pool of expertise on a wide variety of languages. Criticisms tend to focus on the weak points of crowd-sourcing: there is no way to prevent sloppy or inadequate feedback, and the quality of translated content can be uneven.[14]

The topic of the impact of the Internet on language study is starting to elicit scholarly study, though it is often noted that there is a lack of empirical data to thoroughly evaluate the new methodologies. In one of the most comprehensive assessments to date, Meei-Ling Liaw writes: “Livemocha, with its carefully designed learning materials and integration of Web 2.0 technologies into learning activities, creates an interactive, authentic, and meaningful language learning environment that many traditional language instruction contexts cannot provide. Despite some of the specific concerns discussed in relation to Livemocha, the social networking aspect of the system undoubtedly plays a key role in making the learning interesting and attractive to its users worldwide.”[14]

Partnership in Brazil[edit]

In September 2011, Livemocha announced a partnership with the Brazilian education company Abril Educação, part of the media conglomerate Grupo Abril, which purchased a 5.9% stake in the company. Abril Educação will promote Livemocha to consumers and organizations throughout Brazil, with the aim of catering to the rising demand for language education and helping the country prepare to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.[15][16] In January 2011, Livemocha announced an agreement with Telefônica Brasil to offer its Internet customers discounted pricing on Livemocha’s English courses.[17]

Public libraries[edit]

Access to Livemocha’s courses is available for free through a number of public libraries in the US that subscribe to the site, including the Seattle Public Library.[18]

Finance[edit]

Livemocha is a privately held company. In 2011, it raised 5 million dollars in venture capital.[19] In previous years it raised 14 million dollars from investors August Capital and Maveron.[20][21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Livemocha.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-06-08. 
  2. ^ "Livemocha statistics". Wolfram Alpha. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Schmidt, Clint (Spring 2010). "Livemocha and the Power of Social Language Learning". IH Journal of Education and Development (28). 
  4. ^ Huang, Gregory T. (June 8, 2010). "Schutzler Joins Livemocha as New CEO". www.seattlepi.com: Hearst Newspapers. Retrieved April 2, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Wayner, Peter (July 28, 2010). "Learning a Language from an Expert, on the Web". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Eisenberg, Anne (February 17, 2008). "Learning from a Native Speaker, Without Leaving Home". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  7. ^ Hoare, Stephen (March 14, 2011). "Communication: Students Appreciate Polyglot Approach". Financial Times. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "50 Best Websites 2010". Time Magazine. August 25, 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  9. ^ . BusinessWire http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130402005459/en/Rosetta-Stone-Acquires-Online-Language-Company-Livemocha. Retrieved 2 April 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ {internal email}
  11. ^ Myers, Aaron G. (February 21, 2011). "Best Language Learning Resources: Livemocha". The Everyday Language Learner. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  12. ^ Posgate, Natalie (November 9, 2011). "Learn a new language through social media, the Web, or mobile apps". The Daily Campus. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Livemocha Review". TopTenREVIEWS. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Liaw, Meei-Ling (February 2011). "Review of Livemocha". Language Learning & Technology 15 (1). Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Gill, Martha (September 9, 2011). "Brazil: Learning Inglês by Internet". Financial Times. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  16. ^ Winkler, Kirsten (September 5, 2011). "Abril Educacao buys 5.9% of Livemocha—Building English Learning Platform for Brazil’s Middle Class". Edukwest. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  17. ^ Cook, John. "Livemocha inks marketing pact with Telefonica Brazil". TechFlash. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  18. ^ Cook, John. "Livemocha opens door on language learning at Seattle Public Library". GeekWire. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  19. ^ Lamm, Greg. "LiveMocha raises $5M". TechFlash. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  20. ^ "Livemocha Secures $6 Million in Venture Capital Series A Funding Led by Maveron: Funding to Accelerate Popular Language Learning Site’s Functionality and Growth", http://www.livemocha.com/pages/pr/01152008, January 15, 2008. Accessed 18 April 2008.
  21. ^ "Livemocha Bags Another $8 Million From August Capital, Maveron", http://techcrunch.com/2009/12/22/livemocha-series-b-funding/

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]