De-Brief From An Organiser: Women in Language 2018

womeninlanguage1

A few weeks ago, I was proud to co-organise and witness the first ever Women in Language conference, a unique online event designed to champion, celebrate, and amplify the voices of women in language learning. It was not my first online conference about language learning, but certainly the first I partly created and the first one ever to feature an all-female line-up of speakers.

In today’s article, I am going to lift the curtain and share my official de-brief as one of the three members of our organising team.

What I Felt at Women in Language

Let me start with the most important thing: I enjoyed every single presentation that I saw. And as I was often online making sure everything went smoothly, those were almost all of them. The quality of our many speakers at Women in Language was excellent, and the range of topics kept things interesting and inspiring.

Women in Language delivered on a few extra levels too. It felt as inspiring and intense as every offline conference could feel, with the added bonus of allowing me to sleep in my own bed. I adored seeing #womeninlanguage posts on social media, and to hear from our attendees in the live chat and Facebook group. And most importantly, I got SO inspired and motivated to learn languages in a brand new way!

What I Learnt About Language Learning

A lot of the impact of four days of language love cannot be put into words. It’s a boost in motivation, a renewed commitment, a burst of energy. And at Women in Language, I got all of those out of it and more. I got to know more of our conference attendees and boosted my own desire to learn and teach languages in new ways.

Here are the most important lessons from Women in Language that will be essential for all language learners:

1) Dabbling Is Legit

At Women in Language, we celebrated the huge diversity of how people learn languages. You can choose whatever language you want to learn, and you can learn it for 2 weeks or 20 years, and you can dabble in a handful of languages at once if you want to. This is all “allowed”, and won’t make you any less of a language lover or polyglot.

Sometimes it’s easy to feel self-critical as a language learner, and to tell yourself that you’re doing this wrong if you don’t use Anki or speak from day 1 or spend many hours on your project. But dabbling is perfectly legit, and you are allowed to feel proud of it.

2) Compassion Matters

Leading on from the previous point, compassion was a regular theme of the conference. When you’re faced with so many blog articles and Instagram posts and YouTube videos and language books telling you what to do, it’s sometimes hard to remember that everyone has a bad day.

You can’t always be happy and you can’t always be 100% gold in Duolingo. Compassion means allowing understanding and empathy for yourself when times are tough, but also for other language learners. No one method is the right one. Allow other people to feel good about themselves, and extend that same kindness to yourself.

3) Everyone Loves Transcribed Audio

Finding something interesting to watch or listen to, at the right level, and then with a transcription…that’s difficult. But it’s also what a lot of our conference attendees wanted, and you certainly CAN find it online. If you want to get a few ideas, check out Speechling, Glossika, Rhinospike, and Movieclips on YouTube.

And by the way: Just listening is NOT enough. If it’s just a wall of sound, you’re not doing much good. You’ll need to know what you’re hearing. Find input that you can engage with, and check against your own skills. For more about this, listen to my podcast episode about listening skills.

4) There’s So Much to Talk About

It’s never enough to practice speaking by doing the “Hello how are you where do you live” dance over and over again. Speaking practice is best when you’ve prepared something interesting to talk about. And lucky for us, there are tutors and learners who already discovered this too, and they’ve even put together lists (like this one) of questions and conversation prompts.

5) When Your Brain Is Having Fun, You Learn

All too often we think of language learning as a STUDY activity, in all caps. But it’s just not necessary to do things this way. Language can be learnt through story, through fun activities, through play. The most important things are exposure and repetition, not how hard you study or how much your language experience feels like work.

Though some of these lessons may read as happy-clappy positivity notes, I found that they often helped to ease a learner’s mind and allow them to take a break and come back to language learning with new energy and enthusiasm. After all, we want to get fluent while having fun, right?

What Do You Think?

Whether you attended Women in Language 2018 or not, what do you think about those lessons above? Are you a dabbler, or a hardcore study nut? Leave me a comment below to join the conversation.

In part 2 of this blog article, I will put on my co-organiser hat (a very stylish hat, for sure) to tell you more about how Women in Language was organised, what we learnt in the process, and what you should consider if you want to run or contribute to an event like this in future.

Organising A Successful Online Conference

I’ll start with what we looked for in our speakers and talks.

For this first ever conference, we used our own network of interesting women to ask if they wanted to speak at Women in Language. Their social media accounts, blogs, youtube channels, relationships with us were what put them on the radar. So if you’re dreaming of speaking out yourselves, making yourself very visible is good advice.

Before contacting our speakers, we considered some guidelines about the types of talks we would be looking for. In addition to practical topics featuring tips and techniques for language learners at “Beginner” and “Advanced” levels, we also chose the tracks “Living with Language” and “Working with Language”. Each speaker we contacted let us know which of the four themes they would like to address in their presentation, and was allocated one. This way, we ensured that no topics would be repeated and we could offer a varied programme on every single conference day.

Here are just three of the 25 talks we saw at Women in Language:

Some of our speakers came to us with a firm idea of the talk they wanted to present, while others found themselves unsure at the start. As our programme officer, I found myself receiving several messages saying “I don’t know, maybe I have nothing to say after all.” If you have ever hesitated to put yourself forward for an opportunity, here is the thought process that does stop them in their tracks: “Maybe I don’t have anything to say here.” Meaning “Maybe my experience, my voice, my passion are not valid. Others will have more to say.”

I extended offers of a little “talk surgery” to those who needed an idea boost, and without exception it was the speakers themselves who came to me with fantastic topic ideas, and who delivered on them 100%. In fact, I found that the most intriguing topics came from a place of passion and excitement in each speaker’s mind. Topics like “Learning With Crime Novels” and “Managing Motherhood and Language Learnings” are not a language learner’s most burning question, but that’s exactly why they make incredible conference topics: They are real, and invite us to think differently.

Some People Voiced Different Opinions

I won’t lie to you, at times it felt hard to be out there putting together this positive, kinda feminist event. Some commenters felt that it was a wrong move towards equality, unnecessarily excluding male voices. To those guys, I want to remind you that we welcomed and celebrated male voices throughout the event - it’s just that this time only women got to speak “on stage”, and every single one of them brought expertise, commitment, quality, enthusiasm, and outstanding topics. We set out to show the language learning world from a different angle, and I was so encouraged to hear from several male attendees who were enjoying the conference just as much as everyone else.

If You Want To Be a Conference Speaker

If you are considering applying to speak at a language conference, please don’t hesitate. Even if you were to hear a no, don’t worry and keep putting yourself forward - maybe the programme is full already or the conference can recommend a future event for you to try.

Don’t be shy about suggesting a topic outside the memory-boosting-fluency-fast-track-performance mainstream. Don’t wait until you’re fluent in 16 languages. You’re good enough right now, as long as you have a cool topic. And what’s a cool topic? Your own experience!

You are so cool when you are yourself.

I want to give kudos here to all those women who agreed to speak and trusted Shannon, Lindsay, and me with Women in Language. You absolutely killed it, and we appreciate all the hard work you put into giving a great online talk at an event you’d never heard of before.

Many of our speakers were new to presenting online. From my perspective as a blogger and podcaster, I’m used to speaking to an empty room and waiting until later to see if anyone connects with my words. But these guys were new to the whole environment, and they handled it brilliantly.

Tickets

When we put together our event, we knew that it was a risk to ask for payment from attendees of an online event. Many other online events are open to attendees for free, but we wanted to create an atmosphere where the sales pressure is off, and where our audience members were just as invested in having a great time as we were.

We found that the ticket sales achieved this goal, and allowed over 250 audience members to join us from all over the world. This reassurance also helped us relax and increase our commitment to Women in Language. So on the ticket selling front, we are happy to note that all went well and we are now able to give a donation of over $400 to our chosen charity, Kiva. The charity supports entrepreneurs who do cool things to alleviate poverty around the world.

Here I want to say thank you to our audience members, who went ahead and trusted us organisers with a brand new conference idea. Some purchased a ticket and even took time off work, others were unable to attend but joined the conference to support celebrating and amplifying women’s voices in language learning. We appreciated your trust and support.

About The Technology We Used

In terms of technology, we used a setup of Google Hangouts on Air for our live broadcasts and embedded them in individual Teachable lectures via YouTube. We also added individual Chatango chat boxes in each lecture.

At the end of any session, the viewers could click “Complete and Continue” at the top and move on to the next session in our packed programme. Credit here goes to Shannon for leading us on the setup of a gorgeous page and ensuring the information was up to date.

Screen Shot 2018-03-25 at 14.09.34.png

Inside Women in Language

Combining technologies to create the conference experience

This format added to the feel of hosting a real conference, where you would often walk into the next room for another talk. But in addition, it made us into the Netflix of language learning, where any previous talk could be streamed from the beginning right after it was published.

All talks were offered on a single track (no two at the same time), which kept the conversation focused and helped create a live chatroom community. We also added an “after hours” experience through a dedicated Facebook group for Women in Language attendees.

Marketing Women in Language

Our marketing campaign, headed up by Lindsay, made it easy for Women in Language to get seen. We obviously talked about Women in Language in our own blog, podcasts, social media, newsletters, youtube, and wherever you see us.

Lindsay also prepared some beautiful pictures and tweets for the speakers and the attendees, so that everyone could easily spread the word about our event. We are so grateful that you guys supported us and shared your excitement before the event. It helped us so much.

Shout out to our friends How To Get Fluent, Language Learning Summit and Langfest for inviting us to present our new event, and to Mezzofanti Guild for hosting a guest post written by Shannon. Check those guys out - they are doing amazing work.

The Organising Team

Between three organisers, we found that we were able to play to our strengths and largely handle the large workload of running a conference like this one. We stayed in contact with each other through direct messages, but also weekly meetings, and the project management software Asana. When your organising team is living on three different continents, it’s helpful to ensure online communications are as good as they can be.

Our track record of collaborations was a key to our success. Lindsay, Shannon, and I were no strangers to each other’s work. We knew already that we appreciate each other’s work and that each of us knows how to use all parts of the technology and marketing setup. We had also met in person before and solidified our friendship. Throughout the organising process, we were able to stay supportive and open to suggestions from each other.

Sometimes, it can take courage and grace to reach out to a colleague and trust that they’re on board with your idea. From the minute Lindsay first mentioned the idea of Women in Language and Shannon hopped on the first Skype call to join us, that was something we committed to.

I am grateful that I had the opportunity to run such a cool project with two colleagues and friends that I respect so much.

What We’ll Do Even Better Next Time

So we were excited, we were buzzing, we enjoyed four days of a successful conference full of tips. But that doesn’t mean that there weren’t any mistakes to learn from.

On the technology front, a few hiccups taught us the following lessons. Maybe you’ll find them useful one day, so I’m sharing them here:

  • When you want to embed your YouTube events in another page, it pays to set up a dry run so that you’re double sure the embed will show up the way you want it to.
  • When you are planning to invite someone to a Google Hangout, you cannot send them a “join link” in advance because the software will discard that link the minute you close the video window in your browser. And then your speaker’s link will be useless and they’ll be confused.
  • Don’t click “eject” when you want to reset your Hangouts partner’s setup as they joined your Google Hangout. They won’t be able to join again, and you’ll have to create a new event.
  • Power Point going full screen in Google Hangouts is a bit of a gamble, so stay calm, have a dry run, and prepare trouble shooting notes to make sure all goes smoothly.

In terms of the programme, we tried a new format of round table discussions which was successful at large. The two-hour time slot did discourage some audience members from watching it though, and that’s something I had not expected and we will look into providing shorter round table discussions next time.

Finally: I feel fired up to expand our commitment to diversity and ensure we include more global voices. Our line-up was international but still looked largely like us: white women who speak English a lot. Even if each of them is different in nationality or language line-up, this still gives our attendees an unintentional impression of what the “norm” is. We can add to that during future events, and I’m excited that we now have 27 speakers who can help us grow our network and look for polyglots and language experts from more diverse backgrounds.

What About You?

Did you enjoy the online conference?

Have you ever thought about becoming a conference speaker?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Olly Richards' Language Learning Foundations Course reviewed in Full

In every language learning story, there comes a moment where you start wondering whether you’re doing things in the right way. You may start off with a burst of inspiration and the certainty that you’ll be fluent in just a few months. Then weird things start to happen. You wonder how to work less, remember more, and whether you’re cut out for studying every day. You miss a day, you google “is this normal?”.

And before you know it, you’re caught in “what the hell should I do?” territory feeling like a loser.

If any of that kind of feeling sounds familiar, let me tell you one thing: You don’t need any more theories. You need to start doing sensible things and following simple steps. In today’s review, I want to share a course that is all about teaching those simple steps.

Course Structure

Language Learning Foundations by Olly Richards is offered through his popular site iwillteachyoualanguage.com. It is not a huge course that will take you weeks to complete. It consists of 10 video lectures. You could block yourself off half a rainy Saturday, get comfortable with a laptop and use the time to overhaul your whole language routine. I’d say that’s a lot better than overloading your whole system.

Language Learning Foundations answers some of the most common questions that I see language learners ask all the time, and in this course you will get some answers that really help you out. Olly provides tips and instructions that will help you learn more effectively and achieve your goals a little faster.

Every training video and slideshow can be downloaded. They require some concentration from you, but I was impressed because they were all designed for real life. There's no dry theory here, instead you get tips that you can apply immediately.

How to make progress and not get distracted

For example, Module 3 is called “How to make progress and not get distracted”. Olly goes into detail here about how to get started, advising first of all on the best criteria for a helpful textbook or resource. This alone could save you hours of failed attempts with materials that just don't work. He then brings a bunch of solid arguments for why learners should select this type of resource, and what makes them different from other higgledy-piggledy types of approaches.

In the same module, Olly then moves on to sharing his own views on what your learning mindset should be when working with materials such as textbooks. Finally, there's an exact strategy for the actions you should take with textbook dialogues and audio examples. His advice is very detailed and focused throughout, it's the real deal and so helpful if you want to know how to learn a language independently.

Each module’s video takes 10-15 minutes to watch, but I think you should allow a quarter hour to digest their content afterwards and really think about how you’ll apply what Olly just discussed.

What’s in the package?

Olly has put together two different course packages, starting from just $47 which is a kick-ass price for a course that will enable you to learn without Rosetta Stone, without classes, without hand-holding. You can even upgrade the course to get an ebook version and audio training so you can learn away from your computer. He also offers interviews with four experts:

  • Alex Rawlings (only the most multilingual student in Britain!)
  • Richard Simcott
  • Chris Parker (famously fluent in Mandarin Chinese) and
  • …me as the language learning and teaching poster girl.

Olly’s interview with me was excellent. He asked intelligent questions, made sure every answer I gave was practical and useful for all learners, and our conversation goes perfectly with what this course is all about. So in other words, if you have the extra pennies to invest in these expert videos, go for it.

The slides and audio quality are fabulous throughout, by the way, and Olly also does that thing I love in video teachers: he shows his face regularly and speaks to you as the learner so you know this is your dedicated instructor.

Who’s it for?

Language Learning Foundations is designed so it can benefit any learner, especially beginners or those who are keen to reach dizzy polyglot heights.

A course like this is best if you’ve never enjoyed formal language training and you want to learn a language in your own way.

If you hated language learning in school, then you will enjoy Language Learning Foundations.

Conclusion

Olly has gone into great detail in his language learning course. He is a teacher and language blogger and speaks 7 languages himself. The course is for those who are looking for the best method to teach them skills for learning a language independently.

At the end of Language Learning Foundations, you will

  • Know specific techniques for setting your intentions, staying motivated and experiencing language learning success
  • Be able to select the perfect materials FOR YOU and know how to cut through empty promises
  • Feel confident and ready to tackle the world in a new language
  • Have solid foundations for cutting out the things in language learning that have always frustrated you

It is an incredibly friendly experience, so go and try out Language Learning Foundations if you’re new to language learning.

You can purchase the basic or extended video course versions from Olly’s course page.

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent, the Language Learning Blog. The links in this article are affiliate links and support Fluent without costing you any more money. My review is not paid for and being an affiliate did not affect the content.

New Podcast! The Memory Palace is a Happy Place, with Anthony Metivier

Yay, here's episode 14 of the Creative Language Learning Podcast. Thank you guys so much for all the support and attention that the podcast has got over recent months. I really appreciate you all listening and am looking forward to creating more episodes for you. If you want to do something to support this podcast and help me create more shows, please support me on Patreon. It's easy and cheap.

memory podcast

In episode 14, I spoke to a highly unique guy in the language learning world. Anthony Metivier (I've previously reviewed his Udemy course on learning and memorizing vocabulary) and even got to be a guest on his podcast. So Anthony is a regular here on Fluent, and this time I wanted to dig a little deeper into his memory palace world.

Check out the interview for

  • Thoughts on what it is that will stop you from giving up

  • Competition in language learning, and where exactly Freud comes in

  • The point when giving up might be the right decision

  • How a memory palace can be a source of happiness and comfort in your life

  • Fifty shades of German

Article of the Week

20 Struggles of Expats living in Germany

Tips of the Week

Anthony opted for tip number 2 as his favourite, but actually added such a great perspective to Tip 1 that it became unmissable.

1) Label things

2) Use Instagram (Lindsay does Languages has an article about this)

3) Get onto a MOOC

Tips and Links from this Podcast

Support this Podcast through Patreon - every $ helps!

Magnetic Memory Method, the home of Anthony Metivier

The How of Happiness on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

The Nerdist Podcast

The Vocab Cookbook

National Geographic Documentary: Brain Games

Learn Languages, Skip Hassle and Have Fun: Does Guerrilla Language Learning deliver?

If you have ever spent a little time learning online, you may have noticed that there are lots of great video courses to help you learn languages. Udemy is one of the leading platforms that offers language courses on video. There are courses for learning any language from German to Hebrew, courses about memorizing words (I reviewed Anthony Metivier's course before) and also general courses aimed at helping you develop great learning routines.

guerrilla-course

Just in case you are unaware, I am both a teacher and learner on this platform. I like hanging out on Udemy, because their learning interface is impressive and it allows the instructors to provide special offers, add lectures at any time and reply to questions from participants in lots of detail.

Guerrilla Language Learning

In today’s article, I’ll be reviewing “Guerrilla Language Learning” by Wiktor Kostrziewski, who writes and coaches at 16 Kinds. He’s also an experienced language teacher. I am in contact with many fellow language bloggers, but haven’t had the chance to get to know Wiktor yet, so I’ve been looking forward to trying this course out. It promises that we are going to “learn languages, skip hassle and have fun”.

I have also bagged a fabulous discount for you, making this course available for only $19 if you use the code FLUENTSPRING by May 2015.

Course Structure

Guerilla Language Learning is divided into three sections called “On how things are”, “On how things can be” and “On how things should be”. I am loving this encouraging structure.

Section 1 contains a friendly introduction and a wonderfully strong case for becoming multilingual. Wiktor goes into detail about the promises, hopes and truths of language learning. There is a slightly outlandish lecture comparing languages to food (I’d say skip that one), and a great video examining how language schools actually do their business. Lecture 4 is particularly great, and I feel that the whole section comes down to the essentials right there.

In Section 2, Wiktor focuses on practical approaches to getting things done. He goes into deep detail for learners wanting to develop a routine that works for them. How does learning work for you? How can you make your own textbook? What are tests and certificates good for? In Section 2, those questions are addressed in depth.

And finally, Section 3 was the most interesting one to me! This is the part where you will really make significant changes to how you learn. From improving how you interact with teachers, to optimising how you use internet resources, Wiktor covers an excellent array of how language learners can improve. Out of all the three sections, I would recommend this one the most.

Value for Money

The course is listed in the Udemy Marketplace for $19 (This is especially for users of the code FLUENTSPRING which Wiktor provided me with after I wrote this review), which strikes me as a worthwhile investment. It contains the video lectures, worksheets, live sessions and 2 free books as well. You’ll easily save this much money, many times over, if you have the determination and drive to work through Wiktor’s ideas rather than spending money on language schools. It also requires a significant investment of time. This is no quick fix. Allow at least 2 weeks to work through everything.

Course Pacing

I am not the most patient person and found the 20-minute videos quite overwhelming. I often found my attention getting diverted. The course contains a full five hours of content, but it had me wanting to skip ahead to the next point throughout.

One solution for making yourself work at the right pace could be to download the videos and watch them on long train journeys or listen to the audio in the car. The slides are not required for learning success.

Video Quality

The videos follow the classic concept of presenting slideshows with a voiceover. Both voice and slide quality are high throughout. As always in a lecture like this, I found myself wishing Wiktor had addressed the camera himself on occasion. I want to get to know him better! Video is such a versatile medium and I feel like slideshows with voiceover fail to take advantage of it.

The most important quality aspect that I perceived was the material. Every lecture comes with its own PDF worksheet. And those worksheets are GOOD! They contain thoughtful prompts, further reading recommendations and exercises.

Instructor Quality

I really like Wiktor’s voice and the way he responds to any and every learner question. With over 2000 participants, it’s also clear that he is well-liked. The best thing about him is the sheer focus and depth that he brings to each lecture. He has researched his topic and cannot provide enough information. Sadly, this is also the worst part if you are expecting a quick course. Wiktor’s approach and style work only when you have a good 30 hours to focus. It requires commitment.

Overall Rating

One of my main criticisms is that a few of the lectures in this course feel like musings or blog posts that were converted into a video. It doesn’t make the course a bad investment of time or money. In fact, I found myself agreeing with Wiktor’s sensible perspectives throughout. His recommendations are powerful and they really do work.

But as a result I felt that the course was not well-paced. The lectures needed to be more concise and entertaining, with some of them being cut completely.

The PDF downloads were excellent and delivered Wiktor’s information and exercises in a format I enjoyed.

Final verdict: 4/5, but not suitable if you want something fast

Try the Course Today

Use this link to sign up: http://tiny.cc/guerrillalanguage. And please don't forget that the code FLUENTSPRING will get you an awesome deal and this course for just $19. So worth it, that's a bargain.

Have you joined Guerrilla Language Learning? Are you a Udemy student? I’d love to hear what you thought about my course in the comments or over in the course on Udemy.

Thanks for reading this article on Fluent, the Language Learning Blog. If you are feeling stuck right now, why not subscribe to Fluent and check out our language book shop.

New Podcast! The Full Online Learning Guide with Breanne Dyck

breanne podcast

Welcome to episode 10, a little milestone for the Creative Language Learning Podcast! Thank you guys so much for tuning in, sharing the podcast and responding to it so often.

Do you have any dream guests you'd like to hear from? Special topics, questions or discussions? Leave them in the comments below.

This time, I am talking to an expert in the area of course design and online education. Breanne Dyck knows how to make people learn, she's got lots of information about neuroscience and learnt quite a few languages herself.

It’s not abstract motivation that keeps us going. It’s all about checking in along the way.

In this Interview you'll be finding out about

  • Why languages are the daddy of self-teaching
  • The big mistake all self-learners tend to make
  • Where the MOOC concept comes from
  • What you should consider before you start even looking for an online course
  • The difference between a MOOC, an online course and Duolingo
  • How to avoid wasting money on unsuitable courses

  • What motivation is really about

Click here to Listen on Stitcher and Here to Listen in itunes

Article of the Week

What is a foreign language worth?

Tips of the Week

Out of the following fabulous three tips, Breanne chose number 1 as her Tip of the Week! Keep immersing yourself in the target language through Facebook and practice switching from and to the target language without translating everything in your head.

1) Language Immersion by Facebook on Language Surfer

2) Beat the Leaderboard on Memrise like Leszek Trybala

3) Translate to Beat the Plateau, a tip from Dr Rebecca Braun at the Guardian Live Q&A

Tips and Links from this Podcast

Breanne is holding three major webinars, the Elevate series from 3-6 December 2014. If you're curious about making your own online course, this is THE place to be.

Google, in case you have not heard of it

Rozuku, an easy course creation website

Udemy, an online course marketplace with reviews and thousands of courses

French Grammar for Beginners, my awesome online French course for grammar reference and simple explanations

Lynda.com, online course marketplace

Breanne Dyck's Blog at MNIB, about the science of learning and teaching online

Reddit, where you can find communities about anything and any language

Behind the Scenes of Fluent's first Online Course: French Grammar for Beginners

I'm very excited today as I finally get to write to you blog folks about my new online course. Its subject is French Grammar - the full thing covering everything students need to complete level A1.

This awesome course contains 15 video lectures, documentation, quizzes and a certificate at the end - a full package which would cost you hundreds in personal tuition, but is on sale for $75. You can register for a place on French Grammar for Beginners today at the special rate of just $35 - this expires on 31 January.

In today's blog post I'd like to tell you how and why the course came into being.

Why make an online course?

French Grammar for Beginners is a new venture, which my longest-standing readers may know as what started out being French on a Windowsill. I would grab my laptop and record my own explanations of grammar, using the best grammar book I know as an inspiration. In these video lessons, I combined my teaching experience with my own memories of learning French. The idea was to give simple examples and make sense of grammar in a way that everyone can understand.

French on a Windowsill was great. The videos on YouTube received excellent feedback, my favourite of all being a simple:
 

You are AWESOME.

This stuff felt great, but I strongly believed that I could offer students a better product, and not at private tuition prices. Last year I started investigating how I could turn French on a Windowsill into a full-on English course. I considered selling the videos on my online shop along with supporting materials, or teaching them as a series of webinars, but none of these offered my learners the great interface, fast download speeds and easy access that I wanted them to have.

Eventually, I came across Udemy. The website is a modern marketplace for online courses and allowed me all the things I wanted to offer, like:

  • Mobile apps so learners can watch my videos wherever they are
  • A choice of watching the videos online or downloading them
  • The option of offering you quizzes and progress reports
  • A forum for student questions, which I can respond to publicly

So last year I started working on creating this new version of French on a Windowsill. I recorded two extra lectures to make a full A1 level grammar course complete, I added transcripts and exercises and uploaded all my videos to Udemy. There is also a new intro video, which I will share with you in today's post.

French Grammar for Beginners was complete - my first online course!

Why is it important to learn as part of a community, even online?

1)  Groups keep you coming back
Learning is one of the many things in life that are more fun when they are shared, and many students start making friends on forums and courses which keep them coming back, talking about the subject and ultimately succeeding at their missions.
2) You're going public
Think about the last time you endeavoured to make a big change, like following an exercise routine or cutting Facebook time out of your day. Did you enlist others on your journey or perhaps even
3) More answers means better answers
The internet is built on collective knowledge - it's democratic, and you can benefit from this every day. A question asked or experience shared in a course like French Grammar for Beginners can be viewed and answered by everyone on the course and just like on Quora this has the potential to give you access to the best and brightest learners and teachers, anytime.

So, here's my conclusion:

The combination of community and learning at your own convenience was the perfect way of showing you how online learning is changing the world. It used to be a privilege for scholars at Harvard and Cambridge, but now online learning is bringing in a new age.

How you can study on French Grammar for Beginners

Guys, I hope I've shared my reasons and also ignited your understanding of how online courses can help you learn a language at really great value. For just $75, French Grammar for Beginners features

  • 15 video lectures with tables and documentation for downloading
  • Revision quizzes to test yourself
  • Great mobile learning through the iPad and iPhone apps
  • Support from me - I am checking this course regularly and personally responding to student queries

Here's the special offer for you

French Grammar for Beginners will be available with at a price of just $39 all January (standard price $75). Yes, for one more week only. This is less than the price of a single language lesson and a discount for only 50 learners. Just click and have a look around Udemy to see the video intro and free preview lectures.

I'm a learner on Udemy myself, by the way. To preview own course and find out which classes I am taking online, please check out my Udemy profile.

Fellow language learning bloggers: If you would like to promote this course while earning as an affiliate, you can send me a quick email today and I'll provide further details.