Sunday, August 01, 2010

What about LiveMocha?

Reading this article in the New York Times about Livemocha, a social networking site crossed with online language tutoring, piqued my curiosity. I keep complaining that as Griffin's French improves, mine declines, since I'm not often around other French speakers after quitting my teaching job. I should look into this inexpensive service!

And now that I have posted about it on my blog, I guess I have to. Please hold me accountable!

Have any of you ever used Livemocha? Whaddya think?


  1. Sorry, this is going to be a long comment!

    I saw that article too. The NYT addresses some of the problems: that your reviewers may add mistakes or speak more casually than you want to or just plain be rude!

    I had been a livemocha junkie for awhile, going on several hours a day, making vocab flashcards, talking to people. I'm sort of on a livemocha hiatus right now.

    I love that Livemocha is free to connect with people, but the lessons are all built based on English lessons which are translated (often by other community members) into other languages. As a result, the lessons aren't always in a logical order for your language of choice, and there are grammatical mistakes in the lessons, which a brand new learner has trouble catching!

    That being said, if you use it primarily for the chat functions it is a good way to connect to people. The voice chat is really slow, and most people immediately ask you to switch over to google talk or skype.

    You do have to deal with the fact that some people will make incorrect corrections. Most of the people there are not real teachers and know nothing of how to teach you language, although they do provide authentic realistic conversations.

  2. I think it is a good thing though to talk to others who actively speak a language. As we all well know, the language in textbook form is not always the language that is spoken. So it might help a lot in that regard. I will definitely check it out.

  3. I have to say Livemocha is actually great for finding teachers who are diverse and can really bring some fun and color into a virtual classroom especially for kids. I actually run a language school that competes with Livemocha for students, but we focus on adult education primarily - it's shameful but I actually have found some great teachers through them and now have my daughter learning advanced English as she is only 5, and of course French for beginners with one them. Great thread by the way!

  4. I don't care for it. Not my style. It is free, though, so probably worth trying.

    I find that the quality is very low and for the language I'm learning, which is not in the Roman script, the support for the script is really bad.

    The only good thing is, as people have said, finding real native speakers to help you. Rosetta Stone is working on having the same thing, but of course they are far from free.

  5. Thanks everybody! I appreciate hearing about the good and the bad of this system. It seems like if I try it out, I should focus on the language exchange feature with a native speaker. If we're just chatting, it's less important for me to have teacherly feedback on my language use.

    Thanks also for de-lurking, Jenny, Robert, and Aamba!

    @Jenny--I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but the comment feature doesn't seem to be working correctly. I just wanted to say that the book on Islam art you reviewed sounds like a lovely tome. I really appreciate children's books that teach about art without being didatic.

    @Robert--Your online language tutoring looks very impressive. Too bad you focus on English for adults! :)

    @Aamba--I also enjoyed reading over your blog--what a great portrait of an adult who consciously chose to embrace another culture! Good luck with your language learning.

  6. The best aspect of LiveMocha is likely the ability to find other native speakers to talk to, and frankly there are websites that do a better job of that than LiveMocha, such as Mixxer:

    There are about a dozen more good ones out there, just Google "language exchange"


  7. I registered but have never been able to log in, no matter what computer I try from. And they've never answered my emails to try to help me with the issue. It's very frustrating!

  8. @Andrew--Thanks for the recommendation! I'll check out Mixxer as well, because the language exchange is what I really need.

    @Jeanne--How annoying! Bad business practice.