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Do You Want to Learn Spanish in Video Chat Groups?

by Dave Clark

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October 12th, 2011

We need your feedback on a new possible way to learn Spanish: Visual Link + Weekly Video Chats

Come share your opinion on our Facebook Survey: Would you like to learn Spanish in video chat groups?

If we get a large enough response, we may consider forming groups that meet for an hour each week.

How it Would Work

Our idea is to sell a monthly subscription to the Visual Link Spanish Level I course for only $9.99 per month. Individuals would learn a particular section during the week, then they would come to their video chat group (which would be free) for an hour to practice with 9 others. Individuals would create 10 questions, from the given weekly section, then come to the video chat group and take turns asking and answering questions in Spanish.

There would be a group leader (also learning Visual Link Spanish Level I) who would help coordinate and guide the conversation and questions.

The sessions would go for 8 – 10 weeks or so. Participants would study on their own, then come once a week, at a given time, to practice with their group.

Your Feedback will Help Us Decide

That being said, if we get a big enough response, we will seriously consider starting these type of groups.

So…we need your feedback.

If you have ideas on how this could better work to help you learn Spanish, please let us know. We are open to suggestions as we are the focus-group phase at this point.

Once again, to participate in the survey, please visit http://www.facebook.com/visuallinkspanish to vote on the survey. You can either leave us feedback on Facebook or feel free to comment here on our blog.

¡Gracias Amigos!

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42 Responses

  1. Rachel says:

    This sounds pretty cool. I’d be interested. But is there any way you could do it through Facebook? That would be convenient for a lot of people. Maybe the Rounds app? It has a virtual blackboard (http://apps.facebook.com/chatrounds/?publisherid=elena&campaignid=BC&bannerid=0 ).

  2. Gary Simms says:

    I love your VLS 1. It gets me putting sentences together quickly.

    Where I fall down is trying to jump from that level to talking in the real world with others that are at the same level I’m at.

    I get halfway through a sentence and I’m stuck at how to say the rest. I just have to finish in English and see if my partner can help me transcribe it. Most of the time they can’t so unless I can get to a translator like studyspanish.com, I don’t learn.

    I’ll never learn if I quit so I keep plodding along and someday will get there.

  3. Jordan says:

    I don’t know. That seems a little tedious and complected for an exceedingly busy internet public with no attention span. I am a web application developer and find that the most successful internet tools are those that a user can use whenever they want for however long they want. Your other Spanish learning tools work well this way. I think the ideal would be a simple video/text chat room where subscribers could simply chat would be better. Subscribers could come and go as they pleased.

  4. Kay Reid says:

    I think I have purchased Visual link Spanish and I have purchased Level 1 and the dreaded Level 2 verbs AND I subscribed to the monthly comprehension for about 5 months so I don’t really feel I want to spend any more but I would DEARLY love to be able to practise what I am learning as a ‘Life Time Member’ and actually speak some Spanish to another human being. So— think it’s a great idea, don’t think I should have to pay any more and it should come as part of the package I have already bought. Well, that’s what I think!! Gracias, Kay

    • I’m pretty much in the same boat, and pretty much agree. I have gotten marginally good enough to be the adviser in a Self-Study Spanish course at our Senior Center, and my student agrees. What we would like is (scheduled) group telephone chat sessions with (grouped by skill level) other students. Nothing complicated, we would just need help with setting them up. Practice pronunciation, clear up (or raise!) questions regarding preferred terminology and grammar, etc.

      To thank you for reading this far, here are two resources my students use when on-line:

      This is absolutely great when you reach Level II and III:

      This is absolutely great when you try to think complete thoughts in Spanish:

      Estoy escribiendo la gran novela de Anglo hispano.
      Fue una noche oscura y tormentosa ….
      IWell, tal vez no …


  5. Claire Keyes says:

    I’d be interested, but I’ve gone through levels 1,2,3 and would need something more advanced.

  6. maria rees says:

    great idea i think you need to TALK to someone to help you learn .

  7. sharilyn armstrong says:

    I think it sounds like a great idea

  8. William says:

    Sounds like a great idea. However, I’d be interested in participating at an intermediate to low advanced level instead of level 1.

  9. Lee Paschyn says:

    I would be interested.

    Finding partners to practice speaking is somewhat difficult, and inconsistent with casual users who usually are non committal to really learning the spanish language.

  10. David Layne says:

    This might be interesting, but not useful to me since I am beyond level one…I hope!

  11. Jerry Cort says:

    For my purposes, I’m not crazy about the idea. Here are my thoughts:
    1. I’m not sure I can hit a specific time every week. I took an online course that was very successful and did not require simultaneous participation and yet still had extension interaction. That would suit me better.
    2. I don’t like the idea that the group leader is also learning at the same level. It would be nice if someone in the group was a native Spanish speaker who could say, “well guys, the best way to say that would be….”.
    3. While I think the spelling and sentence structure are important, my biggest problem is not making sentences with correct words, but doing in in conversation at a speed that doesn’t require everyone to stand around while I try to come up with the right way to say something. So I’m looking for more practice with verbal interaction, not more typed interaction. (And yes, I know that begs objection number 1.)

  12. Jerry Cort says:

    4. If there is no typing involved, but just video, it might work if the leader had the ability to control whose audio was on. Otherwise I picture it ending up like a Fox Group where everyone talks over everyone else. With the right control that might work but requires the simultaneous attendance that I wouldn’t be able to do.
    – So if it was video and audio and not text, then for the right person, with the right time flexibility, with the right type of group leader and control, it would probably be a great learning experience and a lot of fun.

  13. Joan Voss says:

    I don’t have the capabilities on my computer to be able to be on a video link. However, it does sound like a good idea for in the future maybe.

  14. Therese Maltby says:

    Yes, please! My son, daughter and I are trying to learn to speak Spanish. It is critical for my son and I to learn, as he works for Homeland Security and I am a nurse who has to work with my patients through an interpreter. Thank you!

  15. David Byrne says:

    HI sounds like a good idea but what about time differance as i live in Ireland and cant wait to learn spanish proper

  16. Karen B says:

    First of all, I do not use Facebook. I will never use Facebook because I don’t like the idea of my activities being tracked by anyone who wants to snoop on me. So, if you offer these classes in a different forum (i.e. PALTALK), I’d be interested.
    There’s a guy on Paltalk who teaches Spanish, but all he does is type a sentence in Spanish, and then the students read the sentence. Frankly, this did not help me speak Spanish better. In fact, I quit trying to learn Spanish, because his sentences were too hard. Plus, there were a lot of advanced speakers in the class, and spoke too fast. It was AS IF they wer showing off. They were a nuisance! (when native speakers speak spanish too fast, I BARELY have a clue what they are saying).
    I’d like PRACTICAL online lessons, so I can speak Spanish to my latino customers. I don’t have a problem paying a reasonable price for interactive lessons and a fluent coach.
    I really need DRILLS. Your Visusal Link Program is excellent, but I didn’t have the discipline to continue working alone.
    Online classes would be great … in the comfort of your own home. No commuting!

  17. Donna Barnes says:

    I think this is a brilliant idea. It seems I can read and write but when it comes to speaking, I find it very difficult. It is difficult for me to understand Spanish speaking people so this would be good exercise.

  18. Ruby says:

    The Video Chat Group sounds like a great idea. Not sure I would participate in the near future, but maybe after awhile.

    I just found out this afternoon that VL 5.0 cannot run on the iPad, because iPad can’t run Flash. Do you have plans to make iPad friendly apps of any portion of VL 5.0, say the games, for instance?

  19. Mary Lou Smelgus says:

    My thoughts are similar to many of the others who have responded. I have already paid for several of the courses so would only want to be directed on which section to study for that week. I also would want a native or very advanced speaker, who is well spoken, to correct and improve grammer and pronunciation. I often think about approaching some neighbors but do not trust that they are well educated and I don’t want to learn incorrectly or in a less accepted dialect. Yes, I know I’m being snooty, but I was raised in a family that valued the correct use of language. But whatever way it goes I want to say that I love the Visual Link programs.

  20. Mike Emig says:

    Good idea but I don’t use Facebook, or Facebook like products.

  21. Gay Davis says:

    I agree with Karen B. and Donna Barnes. I would love to do a chat with other Spanish learners, but I don’t do Facebook.

    Also, like Donna Barnes, I can read and write but have problems speaking and real problems understanding.

    Your new class sounds like a good idea.

    Gay Davis

  22. Judy Sherick says:

    I would love to participate. I’m in California and don’t get home until 5 pm though. Si. Quiero juegar contigo.

  23. Kim says:

    I like the idea because it gives us some accountability knowing we need to keep up with our lessons so we can be prepared for the video chat. I don’t like the thought of having to pay $10/month for a program I already own (actually I have all three levels). If the people in the group do not continue to Levels II or III, it seems like it could fall apart a bit. A group of ten is pretty big. It would essentially give each person six minutes a week speaking time. However, it would also offer 54 minutes of listening to others speak Spanish and could be good comprehension practice.

  24. Ganges says:

    I do not like it.

  25. John says:

    I think that it could be a good idea, but having attended a converstaional class for a while, i think groups of ten is too many for everybody to participate in the discussions, six would be a better number, also the group leader MUST be of an higher level then the others in order to correct gramatical and pronouciation errors, ideally would also be a native spanish speaker or and advanced student.
    I am in the UK and i think it would be beneficial to assign groups by timezone.
    The group leader must also have the ability to eject disruptive or non-committed participants.

    There should also be choice of level to join.
    for example
    beginner 1 – complete beginner
    beginner 2 – basic understanding
    beginner 3 – post beginner but not quite intermediate

  26. Brian says:

    I use Skype to contact Spanish speaking friends who may also be learning English so we help each other. Typing your conversation helps to understand the spelling. The audio facility is good for pronunciation and understanding Spanish speaking people. This system is able to be used at anytime 24/7 and it’s Free.

    A fixed schedule would not work for me or the majority due to the time difference arround the world.

    A System as sugested by Jordon could work with individual chat rooms.

  27. David Burghard says:

    I agree with Jordan, who suggested an on going open forum. It solves the scheduled time problem and would bring in persons of all levels, thus encouraging those at lower levels to continue their advancement.
    The problem with this format might be the control issue as it would probably be impractical to keep it manned 24/7. If participants agreed to behave in a civilized manner, it would probably work. After all, we have conversations every day where we don’t have a coordinator and they usually work.

  28. Tim B says:

    It sounds like an interesting idea.
    My concern would be that there may be a couple of people that would tend to dominate the conversations leaving the others without an opportunity to contribute anything. It probably would work ok if the chat group was only 2 or 3 people.

  29. B. Gaskins says:

    I would love to participate in this program

  30. Bill says:

    It sounds like a reasonable approach. My concern would be creating groups of similar abilities. I’m a rank beginner, and would need to be with other beginners or I would be lost in the group and unable to participate.


  31. Dave Clark says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Here’s an update I didn’t explain very well. Users who have already purchased Visual Link, wouldn’t have to purchase again, they would get to do it free. (The $9.99/mth would just be for the Level I course – if you don’t have it.)

  32. Scott says:

    I like the idea of this, and I too wish that this would be a part of the package when you purchase the software, with that being said I also understand it would take time and effort for the company to deploy such and on-line system. As for a suggestion I would ask that for the people whom have already purchased the software would get one on-line chat get to see how it will work out for them. I would also hope that the chat would be voice and video and not text base, this is where I have a problem I never have been a great speller and I skipped some of the games just for that reason, however I do know that is a mistake.

    Oddly enough I can speak better than I can comprehend, I think this is because I sit and think out what I want to say and get the sentence structured in my mind, and when I get a reply and I sit thinking about what I want to say next.

    I would also hope that the group would all be on the same level, if someone had completed level three, they would be more advanced and I would not understand. On the flip side someone what was on level 3 would not want to waste their time, listening to me say. “Where is the bathroom either. I would also like to see maybe at the end of the course that the instructor would give us maybe 4 or 5 words each week, mainly objects, example maybe one week, the words would be kitchen items like, Oven, toaster, stove, etc. Then the next week would be new words like outdoor items. Personal I think the course is great and I really do enjoy it. I never thought I would be able to say anything in the short time I have owned the course.

  33. Brian says:

    I am very much looking forward to this if it happens.

  34. Peter Walker says:

    I am about 3/4 of the way thru’ level one. I find I can read fairly well what I have taken and I can speak not too bad but I have to take aminute to formulate my sentences.When asked in english to reply in spanish I can usuallyget it done. I do not have anyone to practice with and what I need is to be asked in spanish to reply in sentences in spanish or to reply in a general conversational mode ( muy despacio por favor )

  35. Diann says:

    I have visual link spanish 4.7 I love the program. I feel we should receive updates to the program at no charge.

  36. ISAAC says:

    It is an amazing idea. I would be interested in joining the group. Keep up the good work.

  37. Dave Clark says:

    Hola Diann,

    I wish we could give away an update to Level I version 5 at no cost. However, with the investment we made and major improvements, unfortunately, we have to make money on it. However, please watch your email. Later this week, we will be having a major upgrade sale for those who have already purchased Level I. (You will be able to download the upgrade at a pretty reduced price.)

  38. Julia Xu says:

    Thanks for your course from which I have learnt much about how to master Spanish asap, and from your Newsletters, I also have got to know many interesting stories, cultures, traditions, etc. of the Latinos. The more I read, the better I know how much I should improve speaking the language.
    Your great efforts in helping people in the world to learn Spanish would be highly appreciated.

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