Logic Behind the italki Language Challenge (and how to ensure your success!).

October 16th, 2015 | Posted by Ivan in feature | Language Challenge - (Comments Off on Logic Behind the italki Language Challenge (and how to ensure your success!).)

The October Language Challenge is just about to start. This time, we are asking our learners to take 6 hours of language classes in the space of two weeks. As opposed to the longer, higher-commitment challenges we have conducted before. We are terming this a “sprint” to help you jump start your language learning habits.

In the same way that it’s difficult to stay with a gym membership, stick to a diet, or live up to one’s New Year’s commitments, it can be difficult to study a language after that initial excitement of learning wears off, and consistent work needs to be done.

What is the logic behind the challenge? 

The model behind the language challenges for italki is to encourage planning behavior that gives our learners a sense of traction. As an example, we looked at some innovative gyms and work-out oriented apps which charge a user more for skipping a workout (unlike traditional gyms with long-term commitments who are interested in user failure). We adopted a similar model, where the up-front cost of the challenge encourages a student to stick to their commitment. The purchases from the users who do not complete the challenge subsidize the rewards for those that do. (Of course, we would love for everyone to complete the challenge, and in the past few years the completion percentage has been climbing higher with each language challenge event).

What’s m0re, the idea of getting a prize and the sunk cost back for completing the challenge is another good motivator to put in the extra effort. Ultimately, having a reward at the end of the challenge works better to create a perspective shift in a learner: once the going gets tough, the competitive spirit and desire for the reward is a much better motivator than the feeling of “Oh well, I guess I’ve lost my ITC”.

Why is this challenge so short? 

We are always experimenting with a better motivate to improve the language-learning process. In the same way that long-term gym commitments actually work to discourage the user, a longer challenge may seem difficult and daunting.

This “sprint” format is designed to encourage forward planning in the short-term, and get our learners to try the optimal model for using italki (users who schedule on average 3 hours with a teacher per week tend to stick to the learning process longer, and get better faster). 2 hours per week is not quite enough, and 4 can be overwhelming and discouraging in and of itself.

By making this a simple 6 hours/2 weeks challenge, we are hoping to let our challengers see the benefit of the optimal model, and give them the opportunity to feel how quickly they can improve using this format.

What’s the secret to successfully finishing the challenge?

The most important piece of finishing the challenge is following a plan. That means the best way to schedule your sessions is all at once, in one go, to create a roadmap of your classes for yourself.

In this “sprint” format challenge, it is a lot easier to plan out all the classes and make teaching requests ahead of time. If you want to avoid the crunch-time rush or stress of finding teachers, plan all 6 of your lessons distributed evenly over the duration of the challenge.

First of all, you will have a lot more control over when and with whom you will be having your sessions.

Secondly, making a commitment to a teacher will help you prioritize language learning, and give you the best possible chance to derive the greatest learning benefit from the sessions.

 

There are still a few days left to register, and enrollment into the language challenge is open after the start date. Don’t wait, get your language learning momentum rolling here:

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 3.32.31 PM

 

 

References:

http://mashable.com/2014/01/23/fitmob-startup-gym/

http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2011/01/24/gym_pact_bases_fees_on_members_ability_to_stick_to_their_workout_schedule/

 

See Who’s Taking October Language Challenge

If you are taking October Language challenge we’re giving away 50 free ITC if you make a video challenge pledge. Life Hacks research has shown that if you put yourself up to something by doing it in public, you follow through because others are watching.  So use peer pressure to your advantage!  So help out your fellow language learners participating in the challenge!  Leave them words of encouragement on their notebook entries!  And don’t forget to sign up for yourself, and get the summer of to a great start!

Click the links below to see:

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 1

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 3

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 4

 

Tamara from the United States, is learning Spanish

Helga is learning Spanish. She is doing her October Language Challenge to get herself back on consistence schedule with her language learning goals. Cheer her on by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Alex Gureev from Russia, is learning English

Alex is learning This is his October Language Challenge public pledge video. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Noelia from Spain, is learning English

Noelia is a professional teacher of Spanish and Catalan. She is participating our October Language Challenge in order to improve her English level. Let’s support her by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Pierre Bredel from Brazil, is learning English

Pierre is learning English. This is his fifth italki Language Challenge. He wants to speak better English. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Jessica from the United States, is learning Italian

Jessica is learning Italian. Even though she is a beginner right now her goal is to be able to have 30 minutes conversation with her instructor by the end of the language challenge. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Ric from the United States, is learning Spanish

Ric is learning Spanish. He would like to improve the grammar and the accent but the main goal for him is to be able to speak faster. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Dave from Philippines, is learning Mandarin Chinese

Rick is learning Mandarin Chinese. His goal is to be able to speak fluently with a Chinese person for five minutes. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Ania from Germany, is learning Arabic

Ania is going to learn Arabic and she is also a professional German teacher on italki. She thought it might be good know a little bit of Arabic in order to teach refugees German in Germany in a better way Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Ryan from United Kingdom, is learning Spanish

Ryan is learning Spanish. His main goal is pass his Spanish exam in November and also simply improve his general fluency.

 

Chris Cook from Canada, is learning Spanish

Chris is learning Spanish. He wants to use this challenge to get back in practice in his Spanish regularly. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

See Who’s Taking October Language Challenge

If you are taking October Language challenge we’re giving away 50 free ITC if you make a video challenge pledge. Life Hacks research has shown that if you put yourself up to something by doing it in public, you follow through because others are watching.  So use peer pressure to your advantage!  So help out your fellow language learners participating in the challenge!  Leave them words of encouragement on their notebook entries!  And don’t forget to sign up for yourself, and get the Autumn of to a great start!

Click the links below to see:

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 2

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 3

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 4

 

Autumn  from Nova Scotia, Canada is learning French and Spanish

Autumn has been teaching English on italki for 4 years, and she’s also been a student learning on italki at the same time. She has already completed the June challenge and this is her second time doing that because she wants to get a very high level in Spanish. She wish everyone the best of luck. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Jatin from Delhi, India is learning Dutch

Jatin wants to improve his target language which is Dutch. His goals for this challenge are to have a better conversation and improve his vocabulary. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Alessandra from Turin, Italy is learning German

Alessandra would like to make this challenge with German. She wants to improve it much as possible and her final goal is speaking with friends without so many mistakes. Also she’d like to improve a little bit even the grammar. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Jan Hyde from Leicester, United Kingdom is learning Spanish

Jan has been learning Spanish for three years but now she is still find quiet difficult to have to conversation with native Spanish speakers. Sometimes she get quiet frustrated when speaks in Spanish because she forgets some words and some phrases that she has learned but she doesn’t get practiced using. Jan successfully completed the challenge last year. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

 

Wyzwanie from Poland, is learning English

Wyzwanie is participating our October Language Challenge and she would like to improve her English level.

 

Alex Barnes from England, is learning German

In July Alex already did italki language challenge in Chinese and this time he would like to do it in German. He studied Chinese and German at University in England but last year he was in China, so he has forgotten a lot of German. Alex has no particular goals but he wants to improve his pronunciation and accent and to be a bit more fluent when he talks. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Amanda Saravia from Springfield, United States is learning Turkish

Amanda is learning Turkish. She wants to improve her fluency like talk faster and also learn a little bit more words. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Eoghan from Ireland, is learning French 

Eoghan is learning an interesting and beautiful language-French! This is him October Language Challenge public pledge video. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook!

 

Morgane from France, is learning Korean

Morgane is a French teacher on italki but she is also student because she is learning Korean. Morgane is doing this because she is going to working in a Korean company in two weeks. This is her October Language Challenge public pledge video. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Gillian from Scotland, is learning French 

Gillian wants to improve her French. She is going to do at least three lessons a week, possibly more. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

italki Learns (about) Esperanto

August 23rd, 2015 | Posted by Ivan in event | feature | Motivation | teachers | tips - (Comments Off on italki Learns (about) Esperanto)

Saluton! This week italki is trying out a new language. We decided to focus on esperanto – the constructed language created in 1887. 

Why esperanto, rather than any other conlang?

Well, first of all, we’ve recently sponsored a language meet-up in Germany, based entirely around esperanto: International Youth Congress (IJK). We saw around 300 young people get together in Wiesbaden to practice esperanto, listen to lectures, and get their 100ITC voucher. 

Besides simply showing support to the esperantists of the world, we are involved in the event and are involved in the esperanto community because esperanto learners need support. The fate of the lone esperantist can be difficult.

There are many reasons to learn this language:

… but, it still seems that esperanto is seen as an odd hobby. There are very few native speakers, and this language, though built on a beautiful dream, has not found as much traction as it’s creator probably hoped.

It is, however, a very useful language to learn. We are actively looking for esperanto teachers, and are doing everything we can to support the community. The most important issue that the lone esperantist has is the lack of speakers with whom to practice day-to-day. Though IJK, polyglot gatherings, and other events help to build community, many esperantists get to meet and practice the language in person.

That’s great, but once the language enthusiasts disperse, there is often difficulty in practicing the language in a natural environment. Sure, there is media out there to support esperanto learning.

We feel that practice, one-on-one, is the best way to learn or keep up a language, so we have decided to put some effort behind building the esperanto community online, on italki.

In the spirit of support for the esperanto community, we have decided to take a few esperanto lessons with our teachers.

italki, meet esperanto!

First, esperanto tutor Teddy presented a “Chinese version” for Chinese speakers in the office, and later that week, we gathered again for the “English version” delivered by esperanto teacher Tim.

Teddy Nee, who runs Nee’s Language Blog and the author of two italki Articles on esperanto, described the basics of esperanto grammar, including descriptions of the different parts of speech, plurals, and use of the accusative. 

Tim Morley (mentioned above for his TEDX talk) gave us a fascinating description of worldwide esperanto community events and organizations such as the World Congress, IJK, and Pasporta Servo.

Members of six cultures and speakers of so many languages, tried to get the basics of this cool language while in our office. Sometimes we just like to take a step back and look at how awesome the future is. 

We’re very thankful and glad that we have such cool teachers, and are really proud to support the esperanto community.

italki spotted around the world!

August 12th, 2015 | Posted by Romain in event | feature | Language Challenge - (Comments Off on italki spotted around the world!)

Thank you all for writing great testimonials, participating (and winning!) in the June 2015 Language Challenge and for sending us these great photos.  As a special reward, we sent italki T-shirts to Language Challenge Winners all around the world and many of you posted these on Social Media.   We wanted to share some of these great pics of italki everywhere!

Czech Republic

Alena learning English and German.

Alena

Petr is learning Spanish and English

Petr

 

 

Vietnam

Johannes who is originally from Germany but now lives in Vietnam. He is learning Vietnamese.

Sans titre

Brazil

Arthur is learning Español

Arthur (more…)