A big step forward with the frameworks, but no more marketing joy!

No, I haven’t been dead for the last couple of weeks, just focused…:-)

Two main things to talk about today – the joys of marketing, and the joys of building frameworks for new SSi courses.

Let’s do marketing first – get the pain out of the way and keep the pleasure for last…;-)

I did a follow up test last week, with a shorter video and a headline that made it clear that this was how much Spanish Phil and Alison had learnt in a single day.  And… I made it possible for people to download the first lesson directly from the landing page, since at least one person had suggested that once people try the first lesson, they’ll want more – a thought I would like to agree with!

Nope, no dice.  

Didn’t work any better.  We had a lot more shows of the video because of fixing the https issue, but we still had a dramatically low registration rate, even after waiting a week to see how many people would download the first lesson and then come back for more.

Next steps:

I think that I’ll have to take the first lesson off the page, reluctantly – it looks as though we need to inspire people a little more first of all!  So I’m thinking, a la Codecademy, of having a mini-lesson of about three or four minutes available with a nice big play button on the landing page, and then having a two field registration form available right underneath it (which requires a bit of technical fiddling).

I also started thinking about a booklet about language learning – a kind of ‘how to’ collection of ideas – but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that what I’m most interested in right now is dramatically accelerated acquisition.

Great – I’m sure that would be interesting to a lot of people – but we really need to have a few more examples of successful accelerated learning using our approach!

Which brings me onto frameworks…

We could have a go at intense sessions (I want to see what we can do in 2 days, and in 5 days) with our existing materials – but they’re not perfect for that approach, mostly because I wrote them about five years ago.

Over the last year or so, I’ve been working on a new, central framework which is aimed at being easier to adapt to multiple languages, and a much more efficient version of the ideas I’ve been working on for the last five years.

I’ve got 16 sessions written, plus an additional 5 quick start lessons for people doing a two-day immersion course (designed to make it possible to stop using English after the first three or four sessions), and we’ve started recording them for Welsh (northern only at the moment).

The first of those 16 are being adapted into Dutch and Spanish by Louis and Gaby – we should be recording the first 5 for Spanish with Gaby and Pilar very soon – but I threw a spanner into the works.

It was all Louis’ fault, really…:-)

I came back from our trip to the Netherlands and realised that I’d got Lesson 5 of the 16 completely wrong – it belonged as an adjunct to the tourist course, not as part of the main course.

So I ditched it, and re-wrote it, and that meant altering Lessons 6 to 16, and then asking Louis if he’d mind re-recording Lesson 5 and onwards for the Dutch.

I think he’s almost forgiven me.  The first rush of agony is over, at any rate…;-)

I think I’ve almost forgiven myself, too.  It felt like a small mountain of extra work, but I’m convinced that it was the right thing to do, and the new Lesson 5 is much, much better.

So as soon as Catrin and I have recorded the first 15 sessions (we’ve already done the 5 quick start ones) and I’ve imported them all (groan moan – Ifan is doing some brilliantly exciting stuff with an online version of the lesson software which will mean we can leave the pain of importing sound files behind us, but it’s not ready yet) – we’ll be ready to go hunting guinea pigs.

Once we’ve guinea pigged the Welsh, we’re going to go hunting some celeb guinea pigs, and then see if we can get some celeb guinea pigs for the Spanish.

Which will bring us back to the marketing – a celeb or two on video on the landing page talking about their experiences with our approach should make a difference…:-)

Shouldn’t it?!

6 responses to “A big step forward with the frameworks, but no more marketing joy!

  1. I like the idea of focused – I know absolutely nothing about marketing but it would be nice to think that if you can really zoom in on something you enjoy doing then you can offer something unique and thoughtful and worthwhile to people. Very interested to see what the new framework will look like and how that fits in with accelerated learning – I’m imagining something that will dock directly into my brain, would that be about right? 🙂 Bring on the celebs!!

    • Yup, we just need to get a neural interface to download the material straight into the amygdala…;-)

      The most important difference with the new material is that it does a much better job on the interval learning front – that’s a key part of the original Welsh course, but I’ve learnt so much more since then by witnessing the effects on so many learners, and by studying more myself, that I’m hugely confident the new material will be significantly more effective in general, and particularly so for intensive sessions. I’m certainly better at that than I am at the marketing!…;-)

      • oh cool! see I’m thinking about what bits of the SSiW course I like most that seem to be unique and how I could make those work in an ESL classroom – so far on the list I’ve got ‘teach useful things’, ‘get the students to speak lots and lots and lots’, ‘teach through speaking/listening’ (not reading/writing/grammar’ and ‘be positive’ – so I find it interesting anyway to hear about what’s kinda underlying the SSi framework 🙂

        Have you thought about asking Benny the Irish Polyglot to review the course on his site? I think he sometimes does reviews (mostly scathing ones of Rosetta stone) and I think he would really appreciate what makes SSi work…?

      • MMmm, interesting stuff. You might find it interesting to have a look at the new framework which is going to be the base for our English course – you might even be able to get your students to do the translation and recording for some of the lessons, and then use them…

        I did reach out to Benny at one point, but he was too busy to get back to me, and I guess he probably gets a ridiculously large amount of pitches from language learning companies. We’ll have to invite him to one of our 5 day intensive courses when we get them up and running…:-)

    • It is one possibility – but it’s a hairy market, and people who are really good tend (understandably) to want very large slices of the pie, while we want to keep every penny we can to put into developing courses for non-market languages.

      I think we have to try and do everything we can in-house, and if we reach the point of accepting that we are up against an insurmountable brick wall, then we’ll look at other possible workarounds…:-)

      Sorry to be so dreadfully slow about getting back to you about the German, by the way – but if you’ve skimmed the blog, you know why! So I’m hoping that ‘to understand all is to forgive all’ will kick in…;-)

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