How are you and your Family doing in these COVID-19 Times?
Sheldon Bixby: I’m fortunate enough to work from home, which has been challenging (I have two young boys). But I know people who have lost their jobs, so I consider myself lucky. We’re trying to look on the bright side, spending more quality time at home with family and trying to stay safe.
Tell us about you, your Career, how you Founded or Joined LinguaLift
Sheldon Bixby: I guess I started on this path many years ago, by moving to a new country to teach the only language I knew (English). It was 2003, and I was a novice English teacher who had just moved to South Korea. Of course, I was a little nervous at the time and super excited to begin this new adventure.
I had always wanted to travel the world, learn new cultures and meet interesting people, but the thing I was most excited about had the opportunity to teach people something that could add value to their lives. It was in Korea that I found my true calling. It brought me such joy to see people get excited about learning a new phrase or gaining the confidence to try a new sentence in English.
When I went to Korea, I knew I would be helping people, but I truly had no idea how much learning a new language could affect a person’s life. It’s not just about learning some new vocabulary. It’s about connecting with people from a different culture. It’s about making friends, learning the history and culture of a new country, enhancing your career options, and improving your travel experiences.
When you learn a new language, your whole world changes, you become more accepting of other people’s ideas and beliefs. Travel becomes an adventure, not just a trip. When you learn a new language, suddenly, doors open in your career, giving you opportunities, you never thought possible. Your pride and self-confidence grow to a level where you feel you can do anything.
I realized I was offering all these opportunities through my teaching, and it felt amazing! But I still wasn’t satisfied. I knew there were more effective ways for my students to learn, and I was determined to find them. That’s when I was lucky enough to meet a new student who was also obsessed with finding the best ways to learn languages. Every class, he would mention a new technique that he found, or a new website with better grammar explanations, or a new textbook with practice exams. And the rest of the students in the class would quickly write down the name of this new resource.
Unfortunately, my students began spending most of their time checking out the latest language resource instead of actually studying. That’s when it hit me; what my students needed more than anything was a complete study plan, a roadmap to follow.
The very next day, I began to interview all of my students. Asking them to share the methods and resources they used and what they found effective and ineffective. After I did that, I started to compile a list of the best tools, methods, and resources to use.
Then I started to create a document that could serve as a guide (a roadmap) for anyone wanting to learn a new language. But I didn’t stop there. I then took this document and turned it into an ebook. After that, I began to collect my student’s email addresses to send out the roadmap. I was so excited!
But there was still a problem. Even though my students had the new “roadmap to fluency,” most students didn’t follow the plan! For most students, it was still just too much work to collect all the resources and tools needed.
I’m ashamed to say; I ended up getting so frustrated that I decided to give up. I had nothing to do with the language learning world or the road map for eight long years. This continued until one day, I discovered LinguaLift. And I realized what had been missing from my language program all along. You need a roadmap, resources, and knowledge of how to learn a language. Still, you also need a platform that can effectively use these tools and resources and blend them into a complete language-learning system. That’s what LinguaLift does!
I can now truly say, our language learning system provides the most effective and efficient path to fluency. We have made such a positive impact on so many people’s lives in such a short time. It drives us to achieve more every day and reach as many people as possible with this wonderful language learning system.
That’s why we are in the process of developing as many languages as we can over the next couple of years. That’s why we provide access to all languages for one low price. And that’s why we have tutors available to guide you through the curriculum and keep you motivated. Our job is to make you succeed.
And in the end, all of this means I’m now able to positively affect more people’s lives than I ever thought possible.
How does LinguaLift Innovate?
Sheldon Bixby: This is an excellent question for us because innovation is our main focus. The language learning system we’ve created is actually called Hybrid Innovative Language Learning (HILL).
LinguaLift’s HILL system was created after years of research. We looked at over 100 language learning programs, spoke with industry experts, hundreds of language learners, and thousands of language students to find the best methods to learn a language.
What we found was, there just wasn’t a complete system out there. That’s when we decided to create our own—the HILL system.
Because of all our research, we knew everything a language learning system needed. So we made a list and got to work.
Here is our list and what was needed and how we solved each issue.
Show our students how to study a language
We cover this in our book “Language Learning Secrets.” We provide this for free on our website for all language learners.
Create a study plan for every student
We create a “Road Map to Fluency”. This is a customized study plan created by our tutors based on your responses to our online questionnaire that gives us a clear picture of your goals, schedule, and why you are learning a language.
Provide tutor support
Students have access to tutors through our in-app messaging. You can just send a message if you have a question, need further explanation, or if you have homework, you would like corrected.
Our “Over to you” section provides homework to encourage students to use the language they have just learned in useful ways. And our tutors are available to correct all homework.
Cover listening AND speaking
Our interactive lessons use audio from native speakers to teach you the correct pronunciation and use the shadowing technique to give you the ability and confidence to start speaking the language from day one.
To become fluent in a language, it’s essential to understand the culture. We include a section called Like a Local that teaches important customs and social norms that will help you navigate any situation.
Provide clear grammar explanations
Some language systems rely entirely on pictures and words and avoid grammar. But understanding grammar concepts is an essential step to learning any new language.
Create a memory system
Most language systems teach vocab, but don’t offer a way to remember what is being taught easily. We’ve created a spaced repetition system that tracks your progress and determines the best time for you to review the words and concepts and put them into your long term memory.
Create a great app
Our innovative app has combined everything on our list to create the most effective language learning system available.
How is the Coronavirus affecting our Business?
Sheldon Bixby: We’ve actually seen an increase in subscribers since the Coronavirus. I think many people are trying to be productive while spending more time at home. People who have thought about learning a new language are finally taking the vital step of finding an effective program to help them do that.
We’ve also been offering a 25% discount on our subscription price for the last few months because we realize many people are struggling right now.
How do you Project yourself and LinguaLift in the Future?
Sheldon Bixby: We feel we have a very bright future. We are working on new languages that will be released in a few months, and more languages planned for next year. Our students are delighted with the service we provide, and more students are utilizing our system every month.
Who are your Competitors, and how do you plan to stay in the Game?
Sheldon Bixby: Our main competitors are the popular language learning apps like Duolingo and Babbel. But the system we’ve created is so different from these programs; thus, we don’t feel we are directly competing with these companies anymore.
The truth is, a language app cannot teach you a language. Luckily, we’re so much more than just a language app. We are focusing on showing people the difference between our system and regular language apps, and most students who have tried our system see the difference very quickly.
In the future, Duolingo and Babbel will be trying to compete with us.
Sheldon Bixby: We wish everyone the best during these hard times. Be safe, be supportive, and be strong. We need to get through this together. And good luck with your studies!
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