The new 2.0 version of the language learning portal Babbel.com is now available. The company behind Babbel, Lesson Nine, has significantly revamped the learning material and technology of the site. To promote quality in the learning experience, this new version will be a paid service instead of being financed by advertising revenue. Half a million learners have already registered for Babbel.
With Babbel 2.0, Lesson Nine offers an innovative alternative to traditional learning software. Besides a comprehensive Basic and Advanced Vocabulary with 3000 words in 20 different language combinations, the new version also brings with it new Beginner Courses, numerous grammar exercises, Express Courses, as well as comprehension and practical exercises.
The learning material is either licensed from well-known publishers or produced by teachers and language experts. Thereby more emphasis is placed on methodology and quality. “We check all the content and technology multiple times and then test it with a small group of users to see how well the methods work in practice. It is especially important to present the different topics in a way that makes them most accessible for the learner at his or her computer,” says Miriam Plieninger, who is responsible for developing the vocabulary at Babbel.
With this new version, Babbel leaves behind the so-called “Freemium” concept, with which a part of the content was free of charge. Now only the first part of a given Course can be taken for free, as a trial. Full access costs between $6.65 and $11.95 per month.
Babbel now includes itself among those internet services abandoning the idea of financing through advertising. “The users are our customers, not the ad providers,” says Managing Director Markus Witte. “Only that way can the product be optimized for learning … instead of having to make a priority out of ad-placement.”
For many internet users the idea of payment for services is still taboo. Because of the large success of ad-financed services, free use is often demanded and assumed as a matter of course. At the same time there is a lot of skepticism around the quality and seriousness of content on the internet. “We’re on the cusp of a big change,” says Markus Witte, “because the more the internet becomes part of our lives and the more we depend on it for our everyday needs, the more we value quality and professional presentation.”
More about what’s new from Babbel’s Managing Director Markus Witte blog.babbel.com/.
Babbel.com offers accessible language learning through interactive exercises in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German on the internet. Since January, 2008, around 500,000 users have registered. The company behind Babbel, Lesson Nine GmbH, is located in multi-cultural Berlin, Germany, and was founded in 2007 by Lorenz Heine (36), Markus Witte (39), ToineDiepstraten (33) and Thomas Holl (34). Babbel.com received an investment from Kizoo AG and VC Fonds Berlin in the summer of 2008. 2009 then brought around 1 mio. Euro financing from the Berlin ProFIT program. The funds originated from a section of the European Union’s EDRF. The Babbel Team currently consists of thirty-five full-time and freelance employees.