Like many people I know, I have the desire LATER, like when I retire, to go back to languages I have learned in the past and try to revive those competencies, or to start new languages. I know that to some extent this will always be a dream. I have never had any trouble learning the grammar of a language or reading it, but when it comes to oral competency just forget it! I do not have the ear for it. So, I am interested to see how this site works. I really want to brush up my grammar and reading skills in a couple of languages and think that I am capable of doing so, but do I still dream of the oral competency?
I was interested to notice recently on Facebook an ad for another social networking language learning program, My happy planet. This program also talked of connecting with others to learn, though it was closed down for production when I sourced it. However, it seems that the idea is not limited to LiveMocha.
So I logged in and joined LiveMocha. It seems that one can learn, practice and return the favour there,i.e.help people who are learning your native language. A whole list of languages was offered initially and I chose French because I'd like to revive my competency in that. I did study it for six years at school and for a year at University so I am hoping that I can get into this reasonably easily. Louise and I, however, were quite challenged a couple of years ago when we thought we might get back to French at Alliance and were freaked out by the induction test.
Once I had chosen French, I discovered that despite the long list of languages being offered, in fact the only ones really offered were English, Spanish, French, German, Hindi and Mandarin. Others are "coming soon". There were a few people who were learning French whom I asked to be my friends, though I think that for this program to be effective there would need to be a greater network.
I then embarked on French 101 (I was offered 101, 102, 201 and 202) and completed the first lesson. The course (French 101) is supposed to take a total of 50 hours but as yet I haven't any sense about how long it will take me. I found it quite confusing in each section as there were no instructions and I had to play about trying to work out what to do. I lost scores while playing around and felt that with clear instructions I would not have, as absolutely none of the language was new. I wondered what it would have been like to start a course with absolutely no knowledge, and maybe that is really what I need to do to test the usefulness of the site.
It's an interesting concept and maybe an area where social networking can really help one's learning. I think from my experience of LiveMocha and MyHappyPlanet that this is still very much in an embryonic phase but I'll continue with the French and maybe later when I have time to ponder it I will have access to the other languages I am interested in.