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Help Kickstart Papora – learn a new language online with great kicstarter rewards!

This is a very quick post, as there is not much time to let you guys take action. A new language learning initiative needs your help on Kickstarter. For anyone serious about foreign language learning, this should be a great chance to get involved. Read more about it here – then decide if your polyglot support should follow!

1. Not another language learning website?

If you’ve been visiting this blog for a while, you know I’m always keen to describe and support new language learning initiatives. I still don’t think anyone has cracked the code on how to learn foreign languages online. So my theory is this: the more attempts are out there – the more users they gain – the more feedback they get. It’s no point shouting just at Rosetta Stone and Livemocha – if you have a conversation with the people behind different platforms, they can all learn how to help you study better.
Having said that, there are a few things that make this new initiative a bit different.

2. Meet Papora

I’ve backed Papora a few days ago and I’ve enjoyed a trial version of their Spanish course. There are a few things I can already tell you about the project.
Every lesson on the platform is supposed to start with a real-life situation. This is useful and a nice break from either Memrise or Duolingo – where the items are studied either in isolation or as parts of a largely abstract progress scheme. With Papora, you’re starting out by learning the most useful words and phrases.
There’s plenty of well-structured input in the Spanish lessons I took – and most of them make good sense from a learner’s perspective. It’s not always easy to maintain the link between real-life contexts and basic building blocks of language – but the study and practice modules are well supplemented with grammar and culture bits.
The platform combines computer-assisted language learning with live language exchange. This, I feel, is potentially Papora’s greatest strength – it may turn out to be a really affordable alternative to Rosetta Stone, and a good way to supplement the communities of other foreign language websites out there.
Is it perfect? Of course not. The interface on my Mac still plays some tricks every now and then, the Android app is still in the works – and I’m personally missing more feedback on spoken and written production. But it’s powerful for a start-up.
Which is why it needs support to take it further.

3. Help Papora

The folks behind the platform are trying to make exciting things happen. They will need to cover more languages, get more promotion, and invest in apps to make Papora a success.
The Kickstarter they’ve prepared is actually one of the better-rewarded programmes I’ve seen. You get given several language courses – or get to feature in them – or even sponsor a language!
You haven’t got long to show this project some polyglot love. Go do so. Hope to see you there soon.

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4 Responsesso far.

  1. Chris Wilson says:

    Hum, I got an press release from the guy and wasn’t blown away despite the promises that I would be. It looks very similar to Rosetta stone despite the promise of “unique and exciting methodology.” It also continues in the abuse and degradation of the word “fluent” from meaning “fluent” to “speaking comfortably in regular situation”. I take your point that the more new initiatives there are out there they push the big names to improve but It hasn’t been enough to get me to part with my cash…yet. Maybe you can convince me otherwise Wiktor?

  2. The main promise for me is the social aspect. I’ve seen good and bad learning software, but the more language exchange there is (between actual users) the better.
    Besides, I still think it’s early stages for everyone – and getting another player into the mix is vital for a new perspective to start evolving. I’m not counting on the Papora guys to get everything right the first time. I’m hoping they’ll keep changing, and if my 20 pounds help them do that, great.
    But I see what you mean by “fluency” devaluation – and I’d add that people who think they’re learning a language by clicking and tapping the right things at the right time are missing out on a lot (back to my hope for real people exchanging languages on the platform).
    PS How’s Delta treating you?

  3. Jake Stainer says:

    Hi Chris, Papora is different to Rosetta Stone in the sense that you have translations, it teaches you how the language is formed and you get a cultural insight in every single lesson – plus every lesson is based on the a real life situation, oh and not to mention there is a community of thousands of language learners behind it 🙂

    Rosetta stone doesn’t teach the most useful of phrases in my opinion. I remember learning French with them and learning the boy is under and things like that but that wasn’t really going to help me to travel to France…

    As Wiktor said, the big element of Papora is the social side of language learning. I wanted to develop something for learners that wasn’t only fun, engaging and relevant – but also tapped into the side with real people, real emotions. Language learning shouldn’t just be doing exercises and reading it should also be about interacting with real people as involving ourselves emotionally in the language is how we truly learn it as it starts to really become part of us.

    What do you think?

  4. Cakefiend says:

    I have some concerns about the way Papora is being marketed.

    Firstly, I have seen Papora promoting their Kickstarter on dozens of language sites and blogs over the past week. Of course this in itself is not bad; however, they do so under false names, pretending to be random members of the public who just stumbled across the project. You can find hundreds of these “independent” recommendations if you google for “new way to learn a language, check it out” (with quotes). Hundreds of “different” people, all promoting the same product with absolutely identical wording… and every one of them claims that they’ve signed up, in which case the Kickstarter should be fully funded by now. This, to my mind, is not an honest way to promote a product.

    Secondly, the user testimonials on the Papora website appear to be falsified: here is one of them. And here is the same photo in its original context — a LinkedIn profile with a completely different name!

    I’m always looking out for new language learning tools, but these kinds of promotional tactics make it difficult for me to trust Papora.