ChinesePod is growing, after the SpanishPod, now we have FrenchPod which went live last week. But, if you think this is just a business expanding, you are wrong. As Ken described in his blog, the new FrenchPod represents a new version of the Praxis Language platform which named Personalized Learning System (PLS).

Coincidence or not, when I wrote the post about italki and discussed with several other friends who are also working on online language learning sites, the impression I got is that ChinesePod introduced Podcast into the lifelong language learning, which is its most attractive feature, but in terms of building the user community, some other sites such as italki are doing better work.

As an online Learning site, ChinesePod has also learnd from the market, quickly and effectively. Although focus on different direction to drive the user community, the new PLS has indeed brought the online language learning environment to next level. PLS introduces a Open Community which is a social collaborative learning environment that functions as a community of practice. This feature allows the learner immediately access to others on the network with whom they can interact, converse, and learn from. Furthermore, more tools and content options are also available for the individual, including mobile features and ways to free the learner from the computer.

As I am working for a French company, learning French is always something I wish to do. Thanks to PLS, I found FrenchPod is very easy to use. But, please also allow me to be a bit picky, I think what is missing here is first, the user generated content, i.e. leave users the flexibility to upload their own language contents and share with others; second, the multimedia content, a video clip I am sure will help me remember the vocabularies much easier, like ECPod.

Gang Lu

Dr. Gang Lu - Founder of TechNode. He's a Blogger, a Geek, a PhD and a Speaker, with passion in Tech, Internet and R'N'R.

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2 Comments

  1. Gang Lu,

    I appreciate the post. We tend to see 2 types of social networks: people-centered (think Facebook) and objected-centered (think Flickr).

    People-centered networks, such as LiveMocha, iTalki, etc tend to focus more on connecting people first and then layering in learning materials. We have taken the object-centered approach by putting out learning materials (lessons, grammar, vocab) at the core of our service. We believe this is what will attract a loyal vertical community of students in the long-run.

  2. There are many things I should like about Ecpod, I certainly appreciate access to this kind of material when studying Chinese.

    However I am surprised that you have not mentioned in this post or the original one that apart from the content generation idea the site architecturally is about as un web2.0 as you can get. I am not just talking lack of RSS feeds here, because of the framesets I cannot even bookmark a link to and individual video. Having been ‘spoilt’ by modern expectations of how a website should work, fundmental problems like this render Ecpod unusable for me.

    As for Praxis I am awaiting the German one to give it a run for its money again.

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