Online Language Tutorials: Livemocha Reviewed

Each week, the Education Techie reviews tech tools that can help students and teachers. This week, the Techie is reviewing language learning tools. Today's review: Livemocha.

livemocha language learning social network

What Is It?

When you sign up for a Livemocha account, you list your native language and then select the primary language and level that you want to learn. You can add more languages later. Learning levels include beginner, intermediate, advanced, fluent and native. Livemocha offers both free and paid content. Flashcards and self-directed writing and speaking exercises are free. Paid content includes courses presented by professional third-party foreign language education companies. These range in price from about $20 for a month to $150 for a year.

livemocha home screen

Livemocha functions as a sort of social network, allowing you to connect with other users. This portion of the site is also free. You can set up a profile that lists your display name, gender, year of birth, country of residence and reason for learning a language.

Your profile screen acts as a home page within the site. Here you can set chat status, view your friends list, see your friends' recent activity, view your teacher score, change language preferences and sign up for courses. When you access your profile, the program suggests some language partners for you. I signed up as a native English speaker looking to learn intermediate French. The program automatically suggested several language partners for me, all of whom were either native or fluent French speakers.

What Are Its Pros And Cons?

I think Livemocha is a great idea. It really harnesses the Internet's community building and information-sharing capabilities for an ostensibly educational purpose. I didn't test any of the paid content, so my opinion is based solely on the free features. The site's free features are the most varied and comprehensive of all the language programs I looked at.

One potential drawback is that some Livemocha users may be looking for a social connection, particularly romantic, rather than educational opportunities. People with these intentions don't seem too common on the site, but that some users do have them is a factor to consider before allowing younger learners to use Livemocha alone.

If you're comfortable with this potential variability in quality, Livemocha might be just what you're looking for. I can see this as a good tool for students wanting to try out casual conversation skills, or for former foreign language students who don't want their skills to get rusty. But if you need professional instruction for a serious purpose, Livemocha might not achieve the level of quality that you're looking for.

Where Can I Find It?

Click this link to sign up for Livemocha.

This is the fourth and final review in a series on language learning tools. Previously, the Techie reviewed Babbel, Mango Languages and Internet Polyglot. Stay tuned for more reviews from the Education Techie!

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