You might remember that back in April we tried to answer the question Where is the online ESL market going? and if you google the term elearning you will find almost 180 million pages. Now, have you ever asked yourself how companies like EnglishTown, Cleverlearn, NetLanguages or GlobalEnglish work? How did they emerge and what makes them successful?
On their start page EnglishTown use the phrase Results Guaranteed! (Of course they won’t tell exactly what results they guarantee and how that guarantee is enforced). EnglishTown also says it is the ‘world’s leading e-language company’ with more than 9 million students’. I have been thinking about this for a while trying to understand their business model. You know what, they have a state-of-the-art infrastructure, a highly efficient marketing system and brilliant management. Still, if we pull together we can create something that is at least as good as EnglishTown&Co.
Look, in order to improve your English you need fresh, authentic input on a constant basis. You need access to a wealth of resources and this is what systems like EnglishTown etc. can’t give you: They put you into a more or less secluded place. Any ‘classroom’ – be it a real or a virtual one is a world inside the real world. What we have already achieved with our 30/30 Challenge is more than paid courses can do: Learners have broken a certain barrier – they have started to listen to the ‘real thing’ rather than an artificial ESL curriculum. They have used their freedom to select from a variety of sources and they have started developing success habits.
I was so surprised when one of the PC-Ware people I’m working with showed me the two brand new audio books she had ordered through Amazon. You should have seen how proud she was when she announced to the group that she had started listening to Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella. She has listened to this audio book for more than a week now and what’s even more important than the listening itself is the fact that she has been able to change her habits. This has such a positive impact on the group, another PC-Ware person, Dirk (who is a member of the ‘PC-Ware Google Team’) has done something new too: On Sunday he watched three episodes of Al Bundy in the original version. The other group members asked him how much of the dialogues he would understand and he replied: “Well, every single word since I’m a huge Al Bundy fan and I have seen all episodes several times but this time I watched them in English!”
What I’m trying to say is this: Our 30/30 Challenge should not be just another project that tanks after a while. It should be the beginning of something good. Something that helps everyone involved live a better live. Sounds like a mouthful but it can be real. I’m saying this because I need your support. I have a lot of ideas regarding this system but I need somebody to bounce them with.
Please let me know what you think.
Talk to you soon,
TOEFL listening lectures: A university lecture by a professor of Social History[YSaerTTEW443543]