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Busuu & LiveMocha: review of pros and cons

| 70 comments | Category: Tool and Resources

Over the last weeks, I have been attempting to learn German through various different interfaces. Some have been a huge improvement to how I learned previously, some can be helpful in particular ways, and some just aren’t for me at all.

This post shares a little of my experience using both Busuu and LiveMocha. The reason I’m reviewing them together is that I find both their advantages and their disadvantages to be very broadly similar, even if the actual systems are very different and present different types of interfaces. I’ll start with how I think these can be useful and then say where I feel they fall short.

Note that this article is just my opinion to explain why I wouldn’t generally recommend these popular sites. If you have gotten use out of the parts I personally criticise, then great!

Both site courses offered work by mainly using the flashcard system of showing you an image of the item or scene, and playing the sound of the word or sentence at the same time.

Free online courses

Now, I’m going to get into a little rant about the “courses” offered on these sites below, but at the end of the day they are free. No matter what setbacks they may have, you can’t really complain too much when it has a 0 price tag associated with it. The reason I will is simply because too many people might think these sites are better than what they are. To be totally honest, I’m surprised at how much Livemocha in particular was recommended to me after using it myself.

Although there are certain paid aspects of the courses, I simply cannot personally recommend these paid versions with a straight face because of how little the free versions managed to inspire me. But the free versions can be very useful when you are starting off.

The main reason I didn’t appreciate the courses offered on either site is because I was hoping to learn a language beyond the basics, since I’m already at more or less intermediate with my German. This means that I can’t really fairly review how useful these sites would be for absolute beginners but I can see how they would be a fun and useful tool to start off.

Either one can be a useful tool to become familiar with the sound of the language and to acquire some basic vocabulary, while also enjoying yourself thanks to the helpful images. If you are starting off, and want to use one, I’d recommend using Busuu for the first week that you sign up (after the first trial week you lose certain useful features unless you upgrade to a premium account) specifically if you are learning English, Spanish, German, French, Italian or (Brazilian) Portuguese. For any other language, use Livemocha.

Livemocha: The main advantage of Livemocha here is its wide selection of languages; an impressive 35! However, this list is not the misleading drop-down list you will see on the home page. Since you use the system to contact natives, you can do that for a larger range of languages (as in Busuu), but the actual courses are not offered in all of them – based on the standard template nature of how the system works (which is a point I criticise), I’m confident that the number will increase further though.

You can’t learn Irish through their courses for example, but you can select it as a language you are learning if you would like to try to practise with someone (whether you’d actually find them or not is another issue). The list is already impressive and interestingly enough; you can even learn Esperanto as one of the 35 languages through it for example. Unless you are learning a minority language you can be pretty confident that you’ll find a course for it.

In Livemocha, to get the best out of the system without paying, you have to contribute by providing corrections of text/audio in your native language given by others. You might need to do this for quite a bit before earning enough points to open up a new aspect of your courses etc.

Busuu: Although the list of languages is limited to only the 6 that I listed above, I find Busuu’s course itself to be better than the Livemocha one.

Firstly, vocabulary usually comes with the definite article, which in the languages listed is crucial for getting used to the noun gender. Livemocha does not do this except for inconsistent user submitted comments on the side. Although you don’t want to be bombarded with too much information when starting off, it’s important to get used to this idea of associating some article/gender with a noun even if you don’t necessarily remember it the first time.

Next, Busuu has integrated an excellent keyboard control system, so you can go through the course and replay the sounds without using your mouse. I personally prefer to do this – you can do it with the mouse instead too if you prefer.

Busuu also gives you the individual word you need to learn, followed by an example in context (with audio for your first week). Livemocha gives either a single word or a full sentence, not both.

For the first week, Busuu gives you free access to normally-paid content, such as audio in dialogues and in the sentence examples for the flashcards. After that first week you can still read these even if you can’t hear the audio. You also have access to the grammar course in the first week – I liked the way grammar points were presented in Busuu more than in LiveMocha.

Busuu also lets you go through a review of your lesson for free immediately, which Livemocha doesn’t in certain cases. With LM you either have to pay, or earn points. Luckily you can earn the points quick enough in LM, so this is just a minor annoyance. I found some serious disadvantages in the test/review in both that I mention below, and this makes the paid aspect of Busuu’s grammar course (after the first week) way less useful.

Help from natives

I don’t find the courses useful, but both of these systems offer fantastic opportunities to communicate with and get feedback from others. There are written exercises included within the courses for both of them and you will get corrections about text relevant to a specific topic. More independent learners would be better to use Lang 8, but it’s good to be encouraged to write something specific to a topic you need to practise, and you can always go off topic if you like. The feedback is hardly professional level, and it’s quite inconsistent, but it will be helpful in the early stages.

The best thing would be to get to know other users and to come to a mutual agreement about helping one another, preferably outside of the system, and with a user that you find to be particularly helpful. The fact that you can find such people eager to help you within the system is a huge plus.

On Livemocha you can also submit audio samples that you read, to have your pronunciation efficiency level rated, although the number of stars given to you depends as much on the other person’s personality as your actual level, so this becomes quite useless other than for encouragement unless the right people respond.

One criticism I have for LiveMocha is that it does not make these corrections available only to natives. I’ve set my level of Spanish and French, for example, to fluent and I was given more text to correct in French and Spanish than I was English (which of course is set to native). This means it’s important to be aware that your text may not actually be checked by natives. Then again, the level expected for these checks is so low that this may not be an issue, since any corrections advanced speakers can provide would be just as good as from a native for the basics.

The system requests that you be clear in your review, but because you would want to earn more points quickly you are encouraged to give a quick (perhaps sloppy) review to get to the next one faster. I earned the same points for a detailed response as I did for just saying “good work”. My own text in German was corrected very slowly – it took several days until I got a response, this was despite contributing by providing my own corrections, so it felt very unbalanced. This suggests that certain languages, although technically in the system, are still too infrequently represented to be able to provide consistent help. Once again, you are better just finding a native and collaborating outside of the system.

In Busuu I got a response much quicker. Once again, Busuu’s focus on particular languages works to its advantage if you are focused on one of these languages. It also depends hugely on the availability of actual speakers. I submitted a text in Spanish to test it out and got dozens of responses within a few minutes! It would make more sense that there are more Spanish speakers than German speakers in the system of course.

In both systems, the biggest advantage by far and main reason I’d ultimately recommend either system is the conversation practise. Both systems provide interfaces for typing and speaking live with a native for free. Each one of these deserves attention within itself, so I’ll come back to both sites, as well as several other sites that focus specifically on this aspect, and compare all of them specifically for finding conversation partners. Although from trying to use both a little, I find Busuu’s way easier and more flexible and LiveMocha has very few options for finding natives of the language I would like so easily.

Then again, Busuu’s chatting system couldn’t recognise letters with accents over them (ü, é etc.) typed from my keyboard unless I copied and pasted from its own keyboard window. A disappointing aspect to a language-based system to say the least! This made it unenjoyable to use its interface for chatting, but it worked well for a spoken conversation. I didn’t like LiveMocha’s interface much either, so I would prefer to simply give the other person my MSN/Skype etc.

I was told in advance that the advantage of both systems was definitely this “community”, although I would never call either of them a community. You can find single natives to speak with, and get corrections, but there are no forums, public chatrooms, Livemocha makes it difficult to find people flexibly (at least Busuu has a search tool), and there are no dynamic profiles with walls etc. that quite a lot of other social networking sites have. I didn’t feel any community aspect of either site when using them.

The “courses”: nothing more than lazy translations of the same material

The reason I would find it very hard to ever recommend the courses offered at either site, for more than just a quick glance to get familiar with a language when starting, is because the entire material offered is nothing more than a lazy translation of exactly the same content. Even grammar points are precisely the same material!! This is a ridiculous simplification of how languages should be treated. A positive attitude and certain learning methods can indeed be pretty universally useful for all languages, but once you are dealing with the actual content you have to tailor it to learners of that particular language!

Both sites translate precisely the same material to every language as if they had the best sentences and vocabulary in the world that magically work to perfectly teach any language. This appears to be copying the format used by Rosetta Stone. LiveMocha even has “vastly superior to Rosetta Stone…” in a testimonial on its main page. Sorry to be the one to break this to you, but Rosetta Stone is not that great either. Comparing yourself to and emulating expensive rubbish just makes you free rubbish.

Feel free to correct me if you’ve somehow reached fluency just by flicking through flashcards (and please share your wizardry with me), but these are not courses. They can help a bit, and they are fun to use, and make you feel like you are making lots of progress, but I can’t imagine anyone having more than basic phrases after completing either site’s entire course material.

I’m discovering flashcards’ usefulness in other systems, but basing an entire learning system around them is a mistake in my view.

Busuu‘s system happens to me more aesthetically pleasing to me, so I was starting to like it a bit until I finished one module and got to the review. Wow. I am genuinely impressed with how useless its review was – in years of learning languages I have never come across such a worthless testing system! Questions would be totally irrelevant to the purpose of the module and test memory for useless information such as people’s names… who weren’t even mentioned in the dialogue (just indicated off the side). In the multiple choice tests, it would also ignore the point of what it was supposed to teach me and I could very easily cheat by using a basic word I recognised as in the image/selection, or by process of elimination, and prove in no way that I had properly learned anything from the lesson.

Livemocha‘s lesson reviews on the other hand, are tedious repetitions and, of course, based on translations not designed for that language. If I get a particular aspect of a lesson right a few times in a row, I would hope for the system to dynamically accept me as knowing it, but I’d still be tested on it again and again. It was barely passable as useful for German, and other users have told me that it’s a downright waste of time for other languages where that format really doesn’t help. I was scratching my head to understand how it could possibly be useful to me learning German to hear the phrases being pronounced to me in English (when they are already written anyway).

The system ignoring crucial grammar points is apparent when you see comments on particular flashcards from people pleading with those behind Livemocha to do an overhaul.

Important aspects of how the language works are not explained in any useful way other than going straight to examples. If you want to avoid explanations entirely, you are better at least exposing yourself to languages as they are naturally used, but there is no natural language to be found anywhere on either site (other than chats with natives, or in Busuu a page with a few Youtube videos). They are all single sentences or simplified dialogues made in a recording studio based on translated text from the standard template.

One part of the tests that I did like in both systems was the sentence construction where you click on certain words until you have a sentence. It was nice, but still quite pointless in terms of practicality of using the language, and sometimes it was very hard to imagine what sentence you would construct from a bunch of random words – this is not something you naturally do when speaking a language. As I said – the systems are enjoyable to use, and I appreciate this effort to make the learning process more fun. But these are still games and not necessarily helping you make any appreciable progress. I still think people will learn very slowly and make only a tiny improvement to their level when using these courses. These systems give the illusion of progress and I feel like a lot of people will be quite disappointed when the time comes to actually use the languages they would have invested a lot of time into learning.

Overall Busuu was the better of the two. Apart from the nicer and easier to use interface, the themed lessons with icon representations let you choose what you want to learn, whereas LiveMocha just labels non-grammar lessons as “vocabulary 1, 2 etc.”

Conclusions? After learning the basics only use the system to chat!

Both systems claim to teach you up to intermediate, but I would not call the level you would reach after using these courses as anything vaguely resembling intermediate, no matter how flexible the use of the word was.

In either system it was nice to have so many words spoken to me and associated with the image, so I do believe they can be useful for people starting to learn a language. But anything beyond that and you should really use the systems for nothing more than finding conversation partners. If you find someone patient enough to help you, you could learn quite a lot with their help. As I said before, I’ll come back to both websites to compare them to other systems specifically for this.

Sorry for not having too many positive things to say, but I had been referred to these sites so many times and perhaps had too high expectations of them so I’m quite frustratingly disappointed with how little use I can imagine someone getting out of them.

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I will continue my search to try to find free or cheap online useful learning materials, but for the moment if you want a free language course to study, separate to actually speaking/listening etc., I think the best thing you can do is go to your local library! :)

Hopefully this post will be useful to people curious to hear what I thought about the systems. Sorry to be so frank in most of this page, but I am ultimately looking at how a system can help you speak, and I think that the poor-man’s Rosetta Stone (or even the rich man’s one) is not the way to do it!! I’ll continue to share other resources that do help here on the blog and in the Language Hacking Guide. I am hoping to make it available on May 17th!

Let me know what you thought of this review in the comments! Make sure to stay on topic or your comment will be banished to oblivion! :) Feel free to point out any aspects that I missed, or share your tales of woe in using either system with us!

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  • http://www.streetsmartlanguagelearning.com/ Street-Smart Language Learning

    Your review of Livemocha doesn't fall too far from my own: “Livemocha review: Love the native speakers, the method not so much“.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    I actually linked to your article initially because of agreeing entirely with it ;) Didn't you see it?

  • http://www.streetsmartlanguagelearning.com/ Street-Smart Language Learning

    Haha, yeah, look at that! I guess I should improve my skimming skills when I'm rushing to get back to work.

    Thanks for the link!

  • holyrecklessness

    I've actually met a lot of cool people on sharedtalk.com – have you ever checked that out?

  • http://www.fluenteveryyear.com/ Randy

    I think you pretty much nailed it. I personally found Busuu's user experience a bit too buggy, and their post-trial period too limited, so I only refer to LiveMocha… but basically, I like the ability to hear pronunciations, and see words, and also to associate words with images as a mnemonic device. But you're absolutely correct in the fact that even following the “courses” to completion, you're not going to learn enough to be intermediate.

    Also, as you pointed out, the chat interfaces are awful, and they don't handle non-Latin characters well… which is a horrible indictment of any language-learning tool.

    As a bit of a change in direction, though, I've seen you review a few different tools now, and your opinions have been mostly negative. (Nothing wrong with honesty.) So if the tools that are available are not useful, what would be? If you could imagine your perfect learning tool, how would you describe it?

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    People have mentioned it to me – this article was about systems focused on the flashcard course system, but I'll write a separate post to discuss the advantages of sites like that specifically for finding conversation partners. Thanks for the reminder ;)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Sure, I can describe the perfect learning tool. It's called another human being. I use these tools all the time and they have been extremely useful in language learning :P

    In this experiment I'm trying out tools others have recommended to me and I have to be honest that I don't see them as fitting under my view of a “language hacking” tool – i.e. a means to learn a language quickly and efficiently. I've only written two posts to be critical because people don't seem to understand how they would work in a real spoken environment. I'm sick of the Rosetta Stoners telling me how much they've learned and then not be able to respond to basic conversations. Anyway, I'll be back to positivity mode for a while again now that I've gotten a couple of rants out of my system ;)

    When I review SRS it'll get a very shining promotion, since I'll be clear that it's a tool to be used in combination with others. Sites that claim to be the future of language learning or providing a “course” invite scrutiny.

    Busuu is buggier, but LiveMocha's content and interface is worse. For the sake of getting a little familiar with the language I'll recommend Busuu if it happens to be one of the 6 languages, and continue my search for other tools to recommend to people. For the moment I'll still recommend learners look for other people, in person or online, and that aspect of these sites is the only really useful part of them as far as I'm concerned. Flashcard courses like this tell basically tell people to embrace their introvertness – that's not going to help them when they finally come in contact with real people speaking the language.

    I'll talk about a bunch of websites to see how much German I was able to speak on them and how easy it was!

  • http://www.fluenteveryyear.com/ Randy

    Another human being. Touché. :)

    Don't worry, I'm not calling you negative. You can put a dress on a pig, but it's still a pig. I'm just wondering what you think would be better. Maybe you and I could build something and get rich! :)

    It sounds to me as if, in your opinion, the best online tool is the community, which was somewhat disappointing in LingQ and abyssmal in LiveMocha and Busuu. Obviously there's no community to speak of in Rosetta Stone.

    Have you ever tried out Fluenz? It's only available for a handful of languages, and no community that I know of, but I thought the learning method was much more useful. (Irritatingly slow at times, though.)

  • rachel

    Great review! I, too, tried Busuu and I like that it's a very well laid-out site, with lots of graphics and whatnot, but it's not all that useful for anyone who has more than an elementary knowledge of the language. I would even go as far as to say that it's tailored more to people that have never learned a second language (just my opinion). Still, though, I'm always glad to see people trying to learn other languages, and it's good for the basics. Haven't tried Livemocha, but I doubt that it would be much different. My favorite way to learn a language? Books, magazines and basically just a lot of motivation!

  • http://www.beckyances.net becky

    One thing about LiveMocha is I feel that the response time for getting your ‘homework’ graded depends on the language you are studying. For instance, I’m studying Mandarin Chinese and the second I signed up I was bombarded with friend requests and my writing is graded by multiple people within a few hours. Also, I had to turn the chat function off because I got so many requests from people who wanted to practice their english.

    But yeah, I agree with you and I have actually stopped using the site. I’m just not a fan of their lessons. It was okay for the first few, but then I got to the ‘The car is yellow” lesson. I know how to say that in Chinese, and it is not that difficult, yet the livemocha lesson had it in the most convoluted, confusing way. So that’s when I stopped using it.

  • ChicagoSeoul

    Enjoyed this review of Livemocha and Busuu as I did the review of Lingq. I tried Livemocha as it offered my language of study ‘Korean’, but found many of the points that you mentioned in the review and couldn’t keep at it with them.

  • internaciulo

    Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Now I'm going to try to learn brazilian portugese to be able to practice with my girlfriend

    Cheers :)

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Boa sorte!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    I can't imagine how bad a job that course would be for non European languages!!!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    That doesn't surprise me – for the half an hour I was grading audio to get points to continue my course, I heard a LOT of Chinese accents on the English!
    As I say, it's great for finding those people, but the lessons are very bad. I'd imagine this structure would work even more miserably for non-European languages…

  • Fer

    Well, i'm using LiveMocha just to get an idea of the language i'm studying and how it sounds. I don't think either that it can get you very far, but it's kinda ok if you are not using it as your only method to learn a language.

  • http://holyrecklessness.tumblr.com Cameron Rachal

    I know, but I thought that Lang 8 was similar to it (which you mentioned in the post). Maybe I'm confused? Anyhow, I know this suggestion won't help much right now, but spanishdict.com has helped me brush up on things the night before the test (mainly the video lessons that accompany each lesson). For the most part, the reviews are jokes too – similar to what you cited as cons for busuu and lm.

  • ryanlayman

    Hey Benny!

    Thanks for the great reviews! I`ve never worked with either LiveMocha or Busuu, since I was an AJATT cat learning Japanese and was pretty self-driven in that regard, but I have many friends who`ve worked with it.

    Good luck to you on your German! That one is next on my list, too. Since I have a job that requires me to be in place in Japan, I sadly can`t go for the moment, but I wish you good luck on your 3 months journey! Perhaps I`ll be seeing you for advice afterwards!
    Peace!

  • http://www.streetsmartlanguagelearning.com/ Street-Smart Language Learning

    So I finally got the chance to read your review… carefully…

    A few quick additional points…

    I was using German on Lang-8, and got to the point where I was getting almost immediate answers, so I think response speed can be improved over time.

    I wonder if Livemocha is on the same trajectory as Rosetta Stone. My impression of Rosetta Stone's history is that they came up with something new and kind of clever that no one had done before, so it kind of took off. The formula worked to make money, irrespective of how effective it was. Now, rather than doing a lot to modify the formula, they're simply hammering out the advertising. The fact that mistakes that I pointed out in my review more than a year ago were still outstanding as of several months back (the last time I checked) suggests to me that Livemocha is not going to be able to turn the ship quickly.

    Although they have a lot of users, I wonder how many users are active users. I basically stopped using Livemocha completely for about six months. When I went back, there was almost no activity from the friends I had gotten previously. Now I have about 2,000 friends on there (I have no idea why, but every time I return to the site I've got an inbox full of friend requests), and I've never seen more than 20 online at one time, and typically the number's 5-10.

  • http://www.busuu.com Bernhard_busuu.com

    Dear Benny,

    thanks a lot for your very detailed review – I am absolutely impressed by how much time and effort you have put into analyzing busuu.com – congrats!

    Second, I am also pleased to know that you recommend busuu.com against other products available on the market but obviously that´s not our objective…;-)

    That´s why I would like to comment on your criticism in detail:

    - Missing grammar explanations for each language:
    As you pointed out, it´s relatively “simple” to add on new languages to our system. So we could have added 10 new ones already but we didn’t. We stayed with a smaller number in order to have a better quality control in the content (of course there might be some mistakes but we are continuously improving them and that´s easier with 6 languages than with 18). Additionally, we have recently entered into a content partnership with PONS (second biggest publisher in Germany) in which we now provide detailed grammar explanations for all our German & Spanish speaking users. As you are an English native speaker you cannot see them on the web but we are currently working hard on offering exactly the same service for the rest of our community.

    - System based only on flash-cards
    I honestly don’t really agree on that as we offer a wide variety of learning activities (vocabulary, dialogue, writing exercise, reviews, video-chat, video-units, pdfs, podcasts etc..). Of course they are all related (by intention) with the learning content but I believe we offer a much richer learning experience (including direct interaction with native speakers!) than most of the language learning products out there.

    - Uselessness of the review
    Of course, if you would like to trick the review system you probably always can (like checking the back-side of a traditional flashcard) but probably this doesn’t make too much sense when you want to learn a new language. We test you on reading comprehension, listening comprehension, writing skills, knowledge of syntax etc. But I will note down your suggestion and see whether we can come up with more varieties of testing. If you have any concrete suggestions, please let me know!

    In general, I personally believe that each of us has to find his/her most effective way to learn a language (which you seem to be doing anyhow). Some people will prefer a book, some a personal teacher, some just a personal conversation with a native speaker in a pub. busuu.com is just one of the possibilities out there – but don’t forget that we started only 2 years ago with an idea. So we still have a long way to go and MANY ideas of how to improve our product.. But I can definitely tell you that we receive LOTS of very positive feedback from our users so for some language learners it seems to be very helpful – just check out our facebook fanpage (which might be more convincing than my comment! ;-) to see the great spirit of our community: http://www.facebook.com/busuucom

    Again, thanks for your great review which for sure is very helpful for many language learners out there – rest assured that we will continuously improve our product and I wish you the best of luck for your further search for the best learning tool for yourself…but make sure to check out busuu.com again within some months! ;-)

    Liebe Grüsse

    Bernhard
    Co-Founder of busuu.com

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Hi Bernhard. Thanks a million for your very useful comment! It's great to see how you are taking this as constructive cricitism, and the fact that the site is only 2 years old is even more impressive considering the vast amount available on it!

    I'm sure you realise why I had to be so honest in this review to be truly balanced. I'll check busuu out again if more languages are added to it (unfortunately, I already speak the languages currently in the system, and as I said, I'd rather use the system just for beginner stages).
    Just to answer some of your points:

    * “Uselessness of the review”. I'm afraid I have to err on the side of cynicism here and tell you that if there is an easier way through a test a lot of people will take it. You would actually have to work HARD to not use these shortcuts. If I'm being asked a grammar question and there are 3 images but the word Polizei is in the question, then I will immediately click the picture of the policeman regardless of what the question is. I also found that the system used way too many partial cognates like that and I didn't feel like I could learn much vocabulary. Using simple words like that at the level I was set to (B2) does little to help anyone but absolute beginners.
    This is another issue with using one template that I still say is a huge mistake. My suggestion is to have a teacher for each language completely redesign the course and tests for that language. You are wasting the students time by having them go through a course not designed for their language. That's why I had to be so frank in that part of the review.

    * “System based only on flash cards”. You are right of course that there are other options available, but I consider the video-chat and corrections from natives separate to the actual course. The social aspect of the system is my favourite part, but others are not. The dialogue, exercises etc. are once again lazy translations of the same material. I didn't mention PDFs because I was focusing on the free version in this review, although I downloaded a PDF to test it out and didn't find it too helpful. It was just a list of what I could see by flicking through the lesson manually. Useful for a review if I really needed to do it quicker, but no new information. Nevertheless, this is just a personal peeve and others would perhaps appreciate that.

    * “Missing grammar explanations”. The quality is definitely superior to Livemocha – I didn't find any actual mistakes, which is important of course, but I think exactly the same material for all languages is not the way to go at all. There are basic aspects of German I didn't see covered for no reason other than the fact that they don't exist in other languages.

    If there are additional features for non-English speakers, unfortunately I can't review them as most readers of my blog are native English speakers (or of other languages that wouldn't be supported by your system like Dutch).

    It's great to hear that you are focused on making your own product better rather than comparing yourself to others (as I said, that is a very annoying feature of LiveMocha. LingQ also compares itself to Rosetta Stone in its intro – your site does nothing like that and that is a huge plus).

    Thanks again for taking the time to comment here – very much appreciated!

  • http://corcaighist.blogspot.com Corcaighist

    Off topic but I thought you would like this. An input method with an emphasis on conversation. Welsh language podcasts from: http://www.saysomethinginwelsh.com I have only been doing them for an hour and a half (3 lessons) and I can say a huge amount in Welsh and it doesn't even feel like I have made a great effort. The lessons are fun and free so anyone who is interested in learning Welsh should check them out!

  • ielanguages

    I agree these online flashcard sites will only teach you basic vocab and not get you to an intermediate level. I like the flashcards and audio and do learn something at least, but it's not extensive enough because it doesn't teach you how to form sentences or respond appropriately. I don't know if any website can do that without individual help from a native speaker though.

    Another thing I don't like about these sites is the similarity between languages, like you mentioned. I noticed in French they were using generic words found in the dictionary, but no words that people actually use (like cultural stuff or slang) so even if you learn those generic words, you can communicate, but you certainly can't understand everyday conversations. But I guess that's harder to incorporate since it depends on the country that speaks the language, and slang varies even more from region to region.

    Just as an example, I use the word PACSée all the time because my boyfriend & I are civil unionized (no idea how to say that in English) and not married and France has a special status for that called PACS and so the adjectives are PACSé and PACSée. I must use this word when renewing my residency card every year because that's why I get to stay in France legally, so it's obviously very important but I've only seen it once in any French language materials (U of Texas' français intéractif site, besides my own site of course).

    This is why I'm working on expanding my realia resources because I really believe that people need to start with authentic use of the language first to see it in its entirety and natural environment, if that makes any sense. I just get so sick of fake dialogs and generic words that no one really uses and I wonder why teachers/publishers don't just take REAL language and teach from that instead of making up unnecessary and useless, yet simpler, “language”.

    They need to offer real dialogs, interviews, movie scenes, whatever, and break down the sentences to learn the words and grammar. Yet most materials start with lists of words and grammar rules and just expect the students to magically create perfectly correct sentences. I've always found that method to be completely backwards.

  • http://itscheese.com Kent

    I tried out livemocha a few months ago. I found many of the same frustrations. I'm a pretty-close-fluent speaker of Italian, but Livemocha wasn't able to take me to the next level. Out of curiosity, I tried the Korean lessons. I was dissappointed to find out that they were exactly the same as the Italian lessons. I would think that Korean and Italian should be treated very differently. The Korean lessons had no explanation of the Korean writing system, which was probably the most frustrating part of all of it.

    I did enjoy having my writing corrected by Italian natives, however. I found I was making more mistakes than I had realized. And most of the corrections were useful. For me, this was the strength of Livemocha.

  • http://Livinintransit.com Jen

    Have you ever evaluated any of the apple products? They seem to be basic and relatively cheap but helpful to beginners. Some of your feedback would go a long way. You seem to have a knack for language learning.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      I used an iPhone for a year, but didn’t quite like it. I’m not much of an Apple fan and prefer to help promote Linux and Android based systems ;)

  • Cainntear

    I thought it was worthing putting in my tuppence-worth about Livemocha.

    I started Catalan 101 last Saturday. Today I completed Catalan 202. I went back to the first written exercise in Catalan 101… and I couldn't remember how to do.

    Livemocha is pretty insubstantial — the concepts presented don't stick because there simply isn't enough reinforcement.

  • http://twitter.com/sponkit_celeb mishedew

    i love live mocha because it is easy to use except the site should also provide certificate after completing an online course. I haven’t tried the other site, i should check it too..

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the language hacker

      Glad you like the site! How is busuu going for you so far?

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Yes, it’s a very bad course, but access to the speakers is excellent. It’s the only reason I’d recommend the site.

  • http://twitter.com/magnoliasouth MagnoliaSouth

    This is really a great post! One thing though, LiveMocha is moving to paid subscribers only. I originally signed up for Spanish and quickly got bored. Lately, my interest in language has been reignited and I thought I would try German for a change. When I went to LM I was unable to sign up for free German. I was instead directed to a lame 3-day free trial period. Hacked off, I fired off an email and this is what I got in response, “We are switching our focus from Basic to Active coursework, in order to provide a high quality learning experience… Since we are focusing on Active as the future of our coursework, we have begun restructuring our free course content, in order to more accurately offer it as supplementary practice material. Some of this content will not be available during this period of transition.” What is interesting is that there is no mention at all how long the “period of transition” is and so in 3-days I’ll be left without anything at all. It sounds very underhanded in my opinion.

    I decided to give Busuu a go. However when I post written assignments, all answers are (like LM) in German. LM would translate those answers into something I could understand. Busuu does not. Also Busuu has no support whatsoever. The Help page is pretty much useless on explaining how to work some of its features. It also has paid subscribers and there is no easy to way to get a clear list of free features. I saw it briefly when I signed up, never to see it again.

    Either way, I think both sites are pretty much useless for me now.

    What is your opinion on an open-source type learning community? Do you think a site could be properly organized enough in order to teach languages to each other? It would require bilingual users, but honestly if I spoke another language fluently I would be more than willing to help. Your point about native speakers is well taken and natives could easily double check curriculum.

    I don’t know what the answer is. Disappointment is my main problem right at the moment.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      An open-source community would be great, but the problem is that it would have to pick a method. Busuu and Livemocha model themselves around Rosetta Stone. This isn’t because of effectiveness for learners, but because *it’s a good money-making model*.
      It’s possible, but there’d need to be more agreement on an interface that would actually help the user. And in my opinion the best “open-source” interface is getting off the computer and speaking to a human being.

      PEOPLE won’t disappoint you. The only websites you need are social networking sites (meetup.com couchsurfing.org etc.) to arrange to meet a native.

    • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

      An open-source community would be great, but the problem is that it would have to pick a method. Busuu and Livemocha model themselves around Rosetta Stone. This isn’t because of effectiveness for learners, but because *it’s a good money-making model*.
      It’s possible, but there’d need to be more agreement on an interface that would actually help the user. And in my opinion the best “open-source” interface is getting off the computer and speaking to a human being.

      PEOPLE won’t disappoint you. The only websites you need are social networking sites (meetup.com couchsurfing.org etc.) to arrange to meet a native.

  • http://twitter.com/magnoliasouth MagnoliaSouth

    This is really a great post! One thing though, LiveMocha is moving to paid subscribers only. I originally signed up for Spanish and quickly got bored. Lately, my interest in language has been reignited and I thought I would try German for a change. When I went to LM I was unable to sign up for free German. I was instead directed to a lame 3-day free trial period. Hacked off, I fired off an email and this is what I got in response, “We are switching our focus from Basic to Active coursework, in order to provide a high quality learning experience… Since we are focusing on Active as the future of our coursework, we have begun restructuring our free course content, in order to more accurately offer it as supplementary practice material. Some of this content will not be available during this period of transition.” What is interesting is that there is no mention at all how long the “period of transition” is and so in 3-days I’ll be left without anything at all. It sounds very underhanded in my opinion.

    I decided to give Busuu a go. However when I post written assignments, all answers are (like LM) in German. LM would translate those answers into something I could understand. Busuu does not. Also Busuu has no support whatsoever. The Help page is pretty much useless on explaining how to work some of its features. It also has paid subscribers and there is no easy to way to get a clear list of free features. I saw it briefly when I signed up, never to see it again.

    Either way, I think both sites are pretty much useless for me now.

    What is your opinion on an open-source type learning community? Do you think a site could be properly organized enough in order to teach languages to each other? It would require bilingual users, but honestly if I spoke another language fluently I would be more than willing to help. Your point about native speakers is well taken and natives could easily double check curriculum.

    I don’t know what the answer is. Disappointment is my main problem right at the moment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elena.truskova Elena Truskova

    Hello!

    This post is really interesting. Actually, I`ve read about ten entries so far since I discovered your blog two days ago and I found here many things to think about. Thanks :)

    Maybe my opinion will be interesting for you as a case study. I see you like to compare opinions and explore patterns so here is my case.

    I was a complete newbie when I started to study Spanish in october with a group and native teacher from Latin America in one of the language schools for adults in my city. I went to Cuba before that and fell in love with a language and inner spanish passion for life. So I returned and payed for that course A1. Soon I understood that two days a week are not enough and words are vanishing even if I do homework (which was too simple: copypast from the workbook).

    I wanted to watch movies with subtitles and read books or articles as I do for revising my English (and to have fun, for sure!) but I couldn`t because it was too hard in spanish. All that verbs in different forms and poor vocab.

    So I started to explore web and iPhone apps and succeeded. I need to say I do not afraid to pay for resources I like because I can show my appreciation to the owners. So I can tell things as a paid user in most cases.

    What I`ve tried:

    1. Livemocha turned out to be a huge database without any usability. Also I found frightening that you have to record your voice to complete stages because I didn`t want to do it. So I decided to stop using it. It`s sad I already made payment before I figured that out. But I wrote big letter with “I think these things are uncomfortable” list to their support so I do not regret spending money: at least I understood weak sides. And they said thanks.

    2. Busuu.com is a great language game, I agree with you. It has cute iPhone application with sound and it`s cheaper to pay for an entire course through it: then you do not have to make monthly payments. Some features are still disabled (recording voice) but I was not depressed.
    I made A1 and A2 successfully. The course itself is not rich but I was writing after each part and I spoke with natives through chat, that helped me to survive between my offline lectures. Not sure if I want to take B1 stage.

    3. Also I discovered awesome free podcasts notesinspanish.com. The guy is from England and the girl is from Madrid. They do awesome podcasts together. They helped my listening a lot! Also the great things are that one can download mp3 files or listen to them in iTunes for free. Payments are only for full transcripts. I do not need them for my Beginner level but I think to order them for Intermediate one.

    4. Lingq seemed to me to be very poor in interface to pay for it but suddenly I discovered its unique features and started to pay. It is worth. I like live spanish podcasts there and I like exporting texts and youtube clips with a transcript to learn without paper or electronic dictionary.
    And also flashcards in the iPhone app help me to get up in the morning and to make my brain work. It`s a little boring but I feel that it really helps. I had many difficulties with payments there, the system is not perfect so I was waiting many times and writing to support which was helpful.

    5. There is also non-free website lomastv.com which for some reason puts free videos as a podcast to iTunes. They have english and spanish subtitles and are awesome. Maybe I`ll try to pay for web version to taste it after watch all free videos.
    I saw another one video-site, lingus.tv, which is free, but I think actors there are overacting. It`s not fun on lingus.tv, it`s pathetic…

    6. Also there is similar russian site, lingualeo.ru, but they have only english to learn. No spanish. So I`m watching tv-series in english similar to lingq but in a better interface.

    That`s all for now I guess. I saw other things but didn`t have a lot of emotions there.

    Actually, I have a question for you :)
    What do you think is better for brain: to learn one language at a time or two or three together still are o.k.?
    I remember having troubles at school switching between english and french… but now I revise english and learn spanish together and feel nice. Not sure what will happen if I`ll start another one still.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks! :) As I said here the main advantage is the speaking social networking aspect of it. Sadly I can’t say much of the rest is so good!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    Thanks. Glad you agree.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    See my review of Rosetta Stone. It discusses in great detail why a system that Livemocha is based on is terrible. It’s a fun learning environment but doesn’t prepare you at all for the real world.

    All of your comments just confirm that you aren’t prepared for the real world. These strange systems are just shielding you in an ideal world. That’s not helping you.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    I’ve already reviewed Pimsleur too ;) Check it out: http://fi3m.com/pimsleur

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    I’ve already reviewed Pimsleur too ;) Check it out: http://fi3m.com/pimsleur

  • http://twitter.com/nennies Sanne Verheijen

    Thank you very much for the frank review!

    I tried LiveMocha for a while because I’m learning Arabic. I started with the basics even though I already have a basic grasp, but it’s my vocab that’s really limited and flashcards can be quite useful at that point.

    The main things that really put me off, though, were blatant grammatical and spelling errors in the courses and exercises themselves. I understand the method is not great to begin with, particularly the exact same grammar points really don’t apply to more exotic languages, but when I realized the content is also just plain wrong at times my trust just went out the window. 

    The aspect of meeting people to practice with is superb, and I wanted to use it to overcome my fear of speaking and practicing with other people, but what kinda put me off there is that the vast majority of my contact with native or fluent speakers consisted of their flirtatious advances rather than actual help. but I guess that’s more an issue of rooting out the serious learners and teachers. 

    I did have a great time helping other people with Dutch, though and I did enjoy putting a lot of effort in my corrections and my chats with others despite receiving the same reward as for a “well done” remark. I enjoyed the opportunity to help different people :) I did love that aspect of it either way.

    Ik heb je site net ontdekt via een vriendin, en ik vind het helemaal fantastisch! Heel erg bedankt, als ik in Amsterdam was geweest had ik je graag ontmoet toen je daar was.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny the Irish polyglot

    No, I think AVOIDING both will help you. That’s the point of the review! Use them for finding language partners and then don’t use the courses at all. Your classes will be much more beneficial.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Glad you appreciated it!

  • Anonymous

     I thoroughly enjoyed reading your review. I had similar experiences recently using busuu, which I quit yesterday! I’ve had enough French to recognize when someone hasn’t their own grammar together and was shocked to discover francophones who couldn’t spell and who were confused about their own rules of grammar, or in disagreement with one another. Not a good place to go to really learn a language. As for the opportunity to practice with a native speaker, I agree that you have to find the “right” person. I wondered, why am I so popular here in busuu land! It seems learning English is the main reason most are at busuu. and there just aren’t enough of us native speakers for everyone. And I, too, didn’t give their exercises the quick “Good job!” I really put some time and effort into trying to explain English grammar, (which I’m no expert in either) into language understandable to someone from a different culture. It could be a Russian one day and a French or Turk the next. I agree busuu’s teaching methods are not geared for each individual language, but are more of a one shoe fits all approach. I also was dismayed to see the way assignments were worded, replete with run-on sentences and comma splices. I realized then why those trying to learn English were writing constantly in this manner. Yes, I would love to know who is the wizard who could learn a language at this sorry site. I’m not keen on using Skype for myself. I don’t want videos with strangers. I just want the audio practice of speaking French with natives, so I don’t know what my next step will be. Thanks for your well-written article – a joy to read!

  • Anonymous

     I thoroughly enjoyed reading your review. I had similar experiences recently using busuu, which I quit yesterday! I’ve had enough French to recognize when someone hasn’t their own grammar together and was shocked to discover francophones who couldn’t spell and who were confused about their own rules of grammar, or in disagreement with one another. Not a good place to go to really learn a language. As for the opportunity to practice with a native speaker, I agree that you have to find the “right” person. I wondered, why am I so popular here in busuu land! It seems learning English is the main reason most are at busuu. and there just aren’t enough of us native speakers for everyone. And I, too, didn’t give their exercises the quick “Good job!” I really put some time and effort into trying to explain English grammar, (which I’m no expert in either) into language understandable to someone from a different culture. It could be a Russian one day and a French or Turk the next. I agree busuu’s teaching methods are not geared for each individual language, but are more of a one shoe fits all approach. I also was dismayed to see the way assignments were worded, replete with run-on sentences and comma splices. I realized then why those trying to learn English were writing constantly in this manner. Yes, I would love to know who is the wizard who could learn a language at this sorry site. I’m not keen on using Skype for myself. I don’t want videos with strangers. I just want the audio practice of speaking French with natives, so I don’t know what my next step will be. Thanks for your well-written article – a joy to read!

  • http://twitter.com/NoEndToNonsense michael call

    Benny Lewis! Thank you for the informative reviews of mocha, busuu and the reference to Lang-8.  They have all been brought to my attention when my wife and I decided to learn German.

    We haven’t started yet, but I decided to try to make a blog about learning german, which I will leave at the end of this post.

    I’m definitely making a link to this review and then spend the next few months scanning your site.  And seeing as the last response to the comments here, I think was 08/18/2011 12:31 PM,  I’m not expecting a response, but expect to see more of me!

  • Ebeard

    I have a real problem writing in Italian on Busuu,so I feel that I opt     to skip that exercise.I also get crazy with the little boxes dropping down with people wanting help.I don’t get a lot of time and I just struggle to get through.Anyone got these issues? or is it just me?

  • Luís Vieira

    You want to learn in context using YouTube videos, OpenCourseWare, music, reading the latest news articles with hovering, side by side translations, fun exercises? (and plenty more…)
    try http://www.instreamia.com

  • Kjeanp

    Found this interesting….particularly since I recommended Livemocha to someone today. But when was learning Spanish on Livemocha, I paid for a tutor because I found the reviews to be so inconsistent. I submitted exercises very late at night to try to avoid young people.  And I also was listening to another program on CD and using books. We are going to Mexico soon, and I will find out if I have increased confidence speaking Spanish after being on Livemocha.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    I’ll write a review about it soon enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/positivechad Chad Yoder

    I actually really like Busuu. Of course, just like you had mentioned I am just starting out learning french so I am in the group that can get the most from the lessons. I have been taking time out about once every 5 – 7 lessons to watch a film in my language of study on netflix  to prevent busuu from turning me into a writer of the language instead of a speaker which is what is happening. I also spend a lot of time chatting up ladies on the chat feature (which is extra motivation to learn), and I read a small book with phrases and a dictionary in the back to supplement missing vocabulary when in the chatroom. Is there anything else I can add to my daily intake of french to cut down on the time it’ll take to learn. Besides moving to France for three months. X)

    By the way, outstanding job with mandarin! I showed some friends of mine with fruitfly attention spans some of the mandarin videos and they watched them start to finish. Truly impressive! I can’t wait to see what’s next.

    • patber12

      I am using a site called “Howto Sayin?” which is helpful for translating phrases. Sometimes they are incorrect, but then friends from busuu help out!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Angela-Horn/774642805 Angela Horn

    Great – a really helpful review which has saved me a lot of time. I so wish that other reviewers were as clear – and I’m looking forward to reading more on your blog to see what you DO recommend!

  • Donald

    You are so right. I have used both LM and Busuu, Rosetta Stone, too. I agree with you to the letter. The problems with natives is that they don’t speak their mother tongue that well either. Some of their “corrections” are just awful, as if they didn’t learn grammar at school.

  • Jefferson Leandro

    I agree with your text. Your critics just means one thing: There’s no magic tool/trick to learn a foreign language. Only you can build your own way to learn any language. The only way to learn how to speak another language is just, speaking and being corrected by natives. Of course, these web-based tools will definitely help, if you have zero knowledge of the target language, but it won’t help too much after one month of study. If you really want to learn a language you should put yourself into work and find foreign friends over the web, in your city, etc. In the end, we see that learning another language don’t differ too much from from how we have learnt our mother language !

  • disqus_J62WbkGzG4

    I started using LiveMocha because it was the only place I could find to learn Slovak interactively. I would have no problem paying for a program, so its not the free part that attracted me. Even the two major universities (Penn State and Kansas State) I’ve attended did not offer Slovak language courses (some cultural classes were offered, but only at the graduate level). Do you have any recommendations on programs for less popular languages?

  • Eduardo Hernández

    Hola amigo, suelo usar Livemocha y tienes mucha razón pero el secreto no es usarlos 200 años sino vivir la lengua en si, usarla todos los dias, equivocarte y seguir adelante, estos cursos te dan ciertas herramientas basicas que tu luego debes hacer crecer por medio de investigación, en mi caso chatear todos los dias y luego hablar. Un articulo muy bueno y cierto, pero no deberiamos “matarlos” así y bueno la realidad es que es el empeño que le pongas, he conocido gente que va a otros paises a aprender el idioma y son menos habiles que algunos que no han salido, todo depende de la persona y de los metodos también, pero un 70 % más de la primera que de la segunda, es mi humilde opinión, gracias y un fuerte abrazo.

  • Digitalsoju

    As someone who’s learned another language and knows what it takes, Busuu really sucks. I’ll be making a video review on exactly why.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ben.huffman.336 Ben Huffman

    Hi, Benny. I’m an old English teacher and have been a reviewer on Livemocha for over a year now. I really enjoyed (and appreciated) your thoughful review. I thought you made some very good points. Encouraging non-native speakers to give reviews in hopes of racking up points seems, to me at least, to be more hurt than help for those struggling to learn. That’s one of the biggest drawbacks in the system that I see. Thanks for your insight. Ben Huffman, Barryton, Michigan

  • http://www.facebook.com/anum.cara.3 Anum Cara

    I realize that this might be a bit of a cross post here but duolingo is far better than busuu and livemocha.

    At duolingo you get GRAMMAR!

    Its METHODICAL!

    Also, I prefer learning via cross translation, listening, and NOT through being thrown into a language which only makes me feel intellectually hysterical.

    Regards,

    Alexis

  • penBell123@gmail.com

    Thank you for your work on this. However, I’m still unsure of how to SPEAK French several days a week with a native speaker (Langue d’Oil or Parisian accent). :) I am (was, thanks to insufficient practice) a fluent speaker and will need to regain that fluency historical, geographical and sociological expressions (even l’argot of the moment ) by January. It would be great to write like Moliere but my focus now is to speak absolutely clearly and with the correct expressions. This could only be done by Skype I suppose. What do you recommend?

  • Terra Magnum Imperium

    Tried them both, Live Mocha now offers higher level German Courses and other languages.
    Busuu sucked because the sound did not work most of time and I received no help or feedback on how to fix this problem, I glad I did not waste $99 dollars on their crappy software…

    • Bernhard Niesner

      Hi, thanks for your message. Here the sound in our German course works without any problem so maybe it’s related to your browser settings. Please send an email to team@busuu.com and we make sure to help you solve this problem!

      Thanks,
      Bernhard from busuu

    • Bernhard Niesner

      Hi, thanks for your message. Here we don’t have problems with the sound of our German course so probably it’s related to your flash settings in your browser. Please send an email to team@busuu.com and we will make sure that you can listen to the audio.

      Thanks,
      Bernhard from busuu

    • busuu

      Hi there, we are sorry to hear that you did not receive the support you expected. Please email us on pr@busuu.com and we will look into your query and sort it out for you. Best regards, the busuu team

  • Chris Rod

    I’m currently using Busuu for portuguese. I’ve never used a learning site for languages and so far I like it, I do find that other people are helping me much more, just helping by correcting and then making friends is helping me go much faster and make it easier.
    I was considering buying the “premium” membership, but after reading this post and comments I think I will wait. I’m getting enough with what’s available and different site including my nephew also learning the same language makes it a full workout.
    I think it’s amazing how eager to help are other users, I’m really glad I found this website to help me learn.
    And thanks for your review.

  • Kjerstan Kjellstan

    Benny-

    Thank you for this review, I’m glad I did not decide to continue on with busuu.
    I am wondering, I take language classes with actual native-speaking human beings once a week and I am looking for a website/tool to help supplement those lessons so I can learn faster. Do you have any recommendations? I was thinking about Babble, do you have any experience with that site?

    Thanks,
    K.J.

  • Marian Wynn

    Since it has been 4 years since the last comment, I don’t expect a response. I wanted to let you know that our public library used Live Mocha for the past two years through a program that we paid an annual fee and then offered the learning program for free to our patrons. Rosetta Stone had a similar program for libraries but abruptly terminated the program in 2008. Rural libraries such as ours were left with little to no recourse.

    I found Live Mocha by accident when it was still free. I was able to start a dialog when they decided to charge for their services. I explained what Rosetta had done to libraries and what it meant to us when we lost this program. Within a year, Live Mocha had a program for libraries that was affordable to our tiny community. We currently have 110 students signed up out of a town population less than 5000.

    Unfortunately, Rosetta Stone purchased Live Mocha in 2013. Rosetta representatives are vague about what our costs will be when our contract with Live Mocha runs out in May 2014. I received and email from Rosetta stating that “Our pricing structure for the new Rosetta Stone offering is still in flux, unfortunately, so we don’t have anything concrete as of today that will give you an idea of what our pricing will look like when your contract with us ends in May 2014. But, if you decide to switch over to the Rosetta Stone product, there are no charges whatsoever for doing so.

    I’ve attached the Order Sheet that will complete the switch-over and details the new product rather than the Livemocha one.”

    That’s it. No link to see what kind of platform will be offered. No information regarding cost. Plus the fact of Rosetta’s past abandonment of libraries – I am pretty sure that by the end of May 2014, our library will lose another program for our patrons.

    In the off chance that you see this comment, could you recommend a way for people (especially) in rural areas to learn a language for free or at least affordably? Not the $700 per language per level that rosetta charges. At least Live Mocha was $99 or $98 per year.

    Thanks ~ even if no one reads this.

  • Jim Porter

    What is your main gripe about virtual language learning as a whole? I mean, is there something in common they are all missing?

  • Kelsey Kelley

    I first used LiveMocha for re-learning French but after a while I just didn’t feel like I was going anywhere with it. I recently started learning Japanese on the same site and I definitely don’t find it helpful and it seems to have grammatical errors. I have started looking for other sites to use but I would really like to find one site that I could practice grammar and vocabulary on.