Last Updated: October 12, 2015 0

Busuu – Learning Languages Online

Found In: Education

So far one of the greatest under usages of the power of the internet is that of it being a learning tool for new skills. Its application to any course materials have tremendous advantages over the traditional teaching methods of classrooms and teachers working from text books and lectures. The simple fact is that ninety per cent of teachers are either terrible at their jobs or at best are only average at them. When you add into the mix that all teachers have off days and that all of us can easily be distracted by other things in life; nothing can be better than filming and broadcasting over the internet the very best output of the very best in teaching staff so that all students across all geographic and social economic areas all get the very best in teaching quality. This has the added value of students being able to access the teaching materials at those times and places that most suit them and the other demands placed on their time. And that as they see fit they can review any class content for revision or to reinforce the materials they feel they could absorb to a better level of understanding. If it were ever possible to get government out of the road of the decision making processes there is this much more enlightened system available for rapid deployment and the money currently wasted on teacher salaries could be applied to a massive increase in computer resources for the less well off students.

All humans Should be Educated by the Best Tutors with Video

Busuu is doing its part by providing a fermium online resource for teaching languages. Freemium is the term that applies to free for the entry level, and paid for services for the more advanced functions and course materials. They currently support English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Turkish, Arabic, Japanese and Chinese lanuages. And after students select the language or languages of interest to them, they then proceed at their own pace through the levels of online video instruction provided. The Busuu site is built around the CEFR course content and it offers levels A1 and A2, B1 and B2. The students then work through each level which is typically broken down into about one hundred and fifty study units for each level. Each of these study units usually has a multiple choice questions to be answered and both speaking and writing assignments to be completed and there is widespread use of multi media materials to teach the students what they need to know. It stands to reason that of the two classes of student (paid and free), that the paid for premium students get access to greater resources during the teaching process. And important part of the process is that students mark and correct each otherís work; which serves to consolidate what has been learned by each student.

Busuu has Grown Rapidly to 25 Million Users

The site was launched in beta in 2009 after UNESCO began its support for the project a year earlier in 2008. Joining for free first is highly recommended so that you can check out the facilities. Joining only requires the usual information of email address, user name and password, and they do want you to select the language you most wish to study. What is interesting is that they do not assume you can speak English in the first instance, and so by implication the course materials will be provided in your native language so that you can understand what is required going forward to learn your chosen language. The site is proving very popular, with more than twenty five million users so far and growing rapidly. It is not surprising why this is the case given how powerful the teach resource is.

Busuu is Not Very Good, But it is Worth looking at to Know What it Lacks

After you have signed up for free, you will be continually nagged into upgraded to the premium service which is annoying but to be expected I suppose. But when you nominate to start learning, you will be run through a wizard that will highlight one step at a time all of what is on the page, and by clicking next you are taken to the next pop up message about the next section so that you come to understand what it is all about. Language is never an easy subject to learn, and perhaps Chinese or Japanese are the hardest of all because they donít involve the Romanized character set. And so while testing the Chinese subject, I found there to be no instruction provided and it made no sense to me at all. But after further playing around, you will finally get to understand how the menu system works, and that by clicking for example the play button, you will hear the term spoken for the page you are on. And the word being taught will appear in the language you are closing to learn. The style and structure of the site is very child like and I find that quite demeaning. I am not a child and as a man I donít feel comfortable with a little kiddies format of graphics. But dismissing that choice of template they have adopted, the course material is broken down into a chunk sized piece of information to learn, and each chunk is then further broken down into its constituent words that make up the chunk. And before you get a chance to forget what you have learned, you are tested on your recall of what has been covered so far. Certainly there is greater wisdom out there about how the human brain can best absorb the nuances of foreign languages; and Busuu does fail miserably at knowing how to teach languages. For example, the Chinese language has an entire different structure to other languages and the tone used is very important. But Busuu has completed omitted to even begin to address this issue and so it fails in my estimate.