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Learing languages online

op 20 oktober 2013

Learning a new language is always a difficult process. The website Radio Lingua aims to help people with this by offering courses to learn a new language in a modern way, using podcasts. They teach the very basics of a language, such as the basics for everyday conversation, counting to ten, asking people how they are doing, etc. The real basics of every language.

About Radio Lingua
Radio Lingua is a website founded and settled in Great Britain. The site describes itself as a way to learn a new language, anywhere and anytime. The users can decide for themselves when and where they will take the course.

The site, founded in 2005, is run by its two founders who work fulltime, and some parttime employees. They offer courses for 24 different languages. The courses are all narrated by certified teachers and inhabitants of the country the language is spoken in. The company thus strives to let these languages be taught by ‘locals’.

Strategies to use social media
Radio Lingua can be analyzed by looking at the different strategies Li and Bernoff describe in their book Groundswell: Listeling, talking, energizing, help/support and embracing.

The company has listened to its users closely. Where a company normally has to do research on what their users want and how and when consumers use their product, it appears that Radio Lingua has listened and understood its users perfectly. They understand that users want to be able to take these courses when it suits them and that users want to be able to do other things while taking the courses. That wish is granted as the courses are all offered as podcasts. Radio Lingua is aware of that and they advertise for this flexibility specifically, as can be seen on their homepage.

Radio Lingua also talks to its users. The company does not only have its own Facebook page, but also some of the larger courses have their own page where the users can interact with each other, but also with the Radio Lingua Team. However, when looking at the page it becomes clear that there is acutally little interaction between users and the people of Radio Lingua. The page predominantly features links to new parts of the course. There is therefore some room for improvement here to create more interaction between the company and its users. They could, for example, put up little quizzes and exercises of the specific language and post things that invites people to react on, to create a dialogue between the user and the company.

Radio Lingua on Facebook
By creating these social media platforms the company has created a close and energized community. Looking at the page, we see that it has over 17000 followers, and that a lot of people respond to one another. Through these platforms, users not only get energized by the product Radio Lingua offers, but also by the fact that the experience does not stop with the product, but goes on through these social media.

Though Radio Lingua’s website has a helpdesk and they have put up contact information for when users are having problems or questions, there is also a room for improvement here. Take for example the page KLM has on Facebook, where they offer 24/7 support for their customers. Nowadays people want a speedy reaction on their questions, and interacting with customers through Facebook or Twitter is a good solution for this.

It is difficult to see in what sense Radio Lingua embraces the suggestions made by its users, or even what the users have suggested in the past. However, when looking at their website you get the sense that the Radio Lingua of today has come to be through a process of improvement. It seems likely that users have had their say in what should be improved, but this can never be said for certain.

Though Radio Lingua has created social media platforms on Facebook to create a community for its users to energize them, there is room for improvement. The most important one for me being that Radio Lingua should start using social media for help and support, like KLM is already doing.


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