Quality Control on Language Learning Websites | Miscellaneous / Off-topic | Forum

Quality Control on Language Learning Websites | Miscellaneous / Off-topic | Forum

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Quality Control on Language Learning Websites
February 18, 2012
07:12
Enigmagico
São Paulo / Brasil

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Forum Posts: 62
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February 3, 2012
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It may just be me, but I'm terribly concerned about something I experienced a while ago. I will not, by any means, give names – this is definitely not my point, although I certainly feel the involved part deserves to be named (I won't, tho).

 

As I wandered though several language learnign communities, I found one that sort got my attention – it seemed very professional-looking and had many cool free features and some more advanced ones were paid, which is fair enough – I was willing to pay if their methods suited me well (I'm not giving names – bear with me and I'll get to my point).

 

I subscribed, and I watched a demo video of theirs. It featured a part in Portuguese. At some point the speaking person commited a LUDICROUS grammar mistake, the kind of mistake one deos not expect from a professional presentation video from a company that actually sells language-related products.

 

I publicly mentioned that fact and soon enough the creator of said website, who claims to fluently speak a considerable number of languages e-mailed me, and asked what was so incredibly wrong in their material. Don't get me wrong here: I'm fluent in Spanish and English and I do get some stuff mis-said and mis-typed sometimes (I just make sure any professional material I publicly put out to sell my own business is all right, you know).

 

I answered and detailedly pointed out what was so wrong – even though it was obvious to anyone that has B1+ grade on this particular language.

 

His answer: "I've made that video in (X) languages and I'm sure there are more mistakes".

 

Well, my point is definitely not to publicly crucify the (ir)responsible person in question, but to know if anyone has had similar experiences. I've come across teaching books in English, Portuguese and Spanish that taught wrong grammar (some very wrong, infact – sad and especially in Portuguese back in my teaching days) and recently even one particular beginner's level book in German that had some spelling mistakes on a couple words that could easily mislead someone who never came across them into saying "their hovercrafts are full of eels".

 

What bothered me the most on the case study of that website which shall remain unnamed is that they actually sell their material and their CEO does not give a tad about it. It makes me wonder if all their material is proof-read or if someone that learns spanish on said website will end up "embarazado" for forgetting a person's name on their next trip to Peru or saying "a gente vamos pro Cristo Redentor" when in Rio. Maybe even worse.

 

One thing is to have a website that has a poor design and an interface that mixes English and Portuguese (cough, Livemocha, cough) sometimes but that's ok because their main thing, that is, teaching, is pretty well-done and their staff is concerned about errors (On their defense, theyhave answered all my emails and promised to look up on the mishaps I pointed out).

 

Making errors when learning is fine – it is desireable, as Benny himself points. Now, selling bad quality material and being OK with it is , to say the least, unethical and plain evil.

 

On a related topi,c I beg you guys to please avoid mentioning the website, should you know which one I'm talking about – and subtlely tipping it is not ok as well. I definitely do not intend on publicly flaming anyone (Heck, I don't even want to tip who this is).

"Credo Quia Absurdum Est"
http://www.Enigmagico.com.br
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Fluent: Brazillian Portuguese Spanish US English Learning: Fluent German Basic: Italian France Soon: Finnish Chinese
February 18, 2012
10:22
logie100
New Zealand

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June 25, 2011
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that sounds quite dodgy. Why don't you want to name the company though? If they are being unethical, don't you think you should let people know?

Native: English (New Zealand English) Advanced: Spanish (Latin American Spanish) High Beginner: German                         Indonesian
February 18, 2012
10:49
Randybvain
Cheltenham, UK

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August 2, 2011
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I think it's your customer right to get a good product and if it is not satisfactory you should receive your money back according to rules which should be mentioned on the website. That's one thing. The other is selling faulty product on purpose. I think it is illegal and subject to the court case; however the law depends on the country. Besides they may think that nobody would make such a big fuss and make them responsible.

Everybody makes mistakes but this doesn't make them bad. The character of a man is told from how he is dealing with the mistakes. In your case they cross the line. They should take responsibility and correct the mistakes or wait for more complaints from cheated customers.

Native: Polski | Fluent: English Cymraeg  Français | Elementary and beginner: LATĪNVM Русский
I learned also a bit: Ελληνική γλώσσα Словѣньскъ Gaeilge I would like to learn: Català Deutsch Lietuvių 官话 Kaszëbsczi jãzëk
Polska strona języka walijskiego

The Minstrel's Glade

February 18, 2012
17:20
NKellyEmerald
Dublin, Ireland

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Forum Posts: 231
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July 22, 2011
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I don't see the problem with mentioning the website, really... It would hopefully save some more cheated customers from being 'embarazado' in their language learning... If the website rectifies their mistakes you can always take them off the hook by mentioning their corrections on this thread.

Native:   Gaeilge,  English Studies:  Polish On Hold:  Spanish Next:  Italian
Is cainteoir dúchais Gaeilge mé. Same with English. Zacząłem uczyć się polskiego, y ahora, he dejado aprender el castellano.
February 18, 2012
18:27
Enigmagico
São Paulo / Brasil

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February 3, 2012
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logie100 said:

that sounds quite dodgy. Why don't you want to name the company though? If they are being unethical, don't you think you should let people know?

Nah, I ain't dodging – The thing is that I don't want to start a flame war of any kind, or at least open up a channel for people to bash the site, which most certainly will have their own members blaming it on the forum. I really don't feel like it.

"Credo Quia Absurdum Est"
http://www.Enigmagico.com.br
-
Fluent: Brazillian Portuguese Spanish US English Learning: Fluent German Basic: Italian France Soon: Finnish Chinese
February 19, 2012
01:04
Kevinpost
Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

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July 15, 2011
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Although I don't know which site you are talking about thanks for bringing this to our attention Fábio. The internet is a great place for entrepreneurs but also a great place for scam artists and mediocre products; therefore, just because someone says they are an expert or in this case 'fluent' in a language doesn't make it credible. Sorry for stating the obvious :P

Speaks:    
Learning to fluency:  
There will definitely be more that follow!
February 19, 2012
02:38
NKellyEmerald
Dublin, Ireland

Experienced Language Hacker
Forum Posts: 231
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July 22, 2011
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Enigmagico said:

Nah, I ain't dodging – The thing is that I don't want to start a flame war of any kind, or at least open up a channel for people to bash the site, which most certainly will have their own members blaming it on the forum. I really don't feel like it.

I think he means the website sounds 'dodgy' (dodgy=slang for suspicious). :) Your reason makes sense though, I never thought of that. :)

Native:   Gaeilge,  English Studies:  Polish On Hold:  Spanish Next:  Italian
Is cainteoir dúchais Gaeilge mé. Same with English. Zacząłem uczyć się polskiego, y ahora, he dejado aprender el castellano.
February 19, 2012
03:16
Enigmagico
São Paulo / Brasil

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Forum Posts: 62
Member Since:
February 3, 2012
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NKellyEmerald said:

Enigmagico said:

Nah, I ain't dodging – The thing is that I don't want to start a flame war of any kind, or at least open up a channel for people to bash the site, which most certainly will have their own members blaming it on the forum. I really don't feel like it.

I think he means the website sounds 'dodgy' (dodgy=slang for suspicious). :) Your reason makes sense though, I never thought of that. :)

Yeah, I got it, lol. The thing is, I though he meant that  was being dodgy about the subject.

 

What I intend the most is to avoid the start of a nonsenseful spree of hate, while still raising a little awareness against websites that promise to *ding ding, magic word * sell *ding ding * miraculous methods by self-entitled experts that are only interested in money and not at all on the social, humane aspect of leanguage learning.

"Credo Quia Absurdum Est"
http://www.Enigmagico.com.br
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