Pearson and Livemocha.com are beaten to publication just one week after their '$20bn industry transforming' announcement
April 08, 2009 (PRLEAP.COM) Education NewsApril 8, 2009 - Pearson Education last week announced what they and the rest of the global English language teaching world thought was a groundbreaking deal with languages social-networking site Livemocha.com.
But, in the best tradition of the web, their triumphantly announced August publication date has already been soundly trounced by a tiny company from the UK called Languages Out There (LOT).
When Livemocha CEO Shirish Nadkarni was quoted as saying, "This partnership will further transform the language learning marketplace, empowering and engaging anyone across the globe who wants to learn English" he obviously had no idea that one of his main competitors, Italki.com…just a week earlier…had agreed to partner with LOT and that LOT's unique real practice conversation course materials were already available to buy and use online.
Respected education blogger Kirsten Winkler got very excited by the Pearson announcement "Livemocha sets a new standard with this partnership for the entire online education market. That's for sure".
And Globalwatchtower.com missed the Italki.com/LOT deal too saying of the Pearson/Livemocha deal, "We think that language textbook publishers will queue up to partner".
Pearson and Livemocha's press release said they planned to build a series of online conversational English courses that will be offered as premium, paid-for content on Livemocha starting in late summer.
The release pointed out it would be Pearson's first venture into direct-to-consumer online products for English-language learning. Bill Anderson, Pearson's head of English language teaching is quoted as saying, "By joining forces with an industry leader like Livemocha, we're able to address a broader range of language learners beyond the institutional markets we traditionally serve".
Little did they know they'd been beaten by a full eight months. Since, in December last year, LOT's website Languages Out There published over six hundred hours of specially designed online conversational English courses that can be used with Skype and online language social networks.
Languages Out There founder, Jason West, has been predicting the explosion of quality online ELT publishing in conjunction with social networking for years. West remarked, "It's fun to be first, especially when such a huge and profitable company as Pearson thinks it is a good idea; but we have been working on this for eight years and hopefully we can benefit from their obvious confidence in online market developments".
Meanwhile, blogger Winkler clearly thinks this is the start of a big new trend saying…" Myngle.com is currently working on their own branded language courses, too. But there is nothing known of the content and quality yet. So it seems there is something like a trend of online education platforms forming partnerships with content providers".
Languages Out There started teaching English Out There in London, in the UK, in 2001. Their real practice English conversation lessons teach learners some new language and then get them using it with complete strangers or native or fluent online practice partners. The technique helps learners to overcome their fear of speaking and boosts their confidence and motivation levels.
In 2006 they started using Skype to make free online phone calls and quickly realised that their approach to teaching English was a perfect fit with the online environment and new web 2.0 communications technology.
Since then they have spent thousands of hours preparing their tried and tested materials for publication for use by teachers and learners both in the real world and online. The materials consist of six levels of twenty lesson plans for self-study and the same number of three-hour ready to teach lesson plans for teachers. They are available online now at:
Languages Out There
…and cost just 20 pence per lesson plan as part of an introductory annual membership price of £48 for individual users only. The self-study lesson plans at the two lowest levels have their instructions translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish.
The Italki.com/LOT partnership can be seen at:
Italki.com is a free online language exchange and social network and has over 400,000 members, it has also just added a platform to enable online language teachers to be remunerated for their time.