This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

What can we learn reviewing Khan Academy?

It's been a little over a month since we created the "Breaking Language Barriers" (BLB) Study Group. I have searched the net many times looking for a way to implement BLB as an easy, productive way to teach foreign languages to those who have a desire to learn a language other than their own. Sales of language software from language centers such as Rosetta Stone is proof positive that there is indeed a market for such learning. The problem with such software is that the poor and many in the middle class cannot afford the high cost without great financial sacrifice. That's why P2PU can become the flagship language teacher that will be available to everyone regardless of their personal income level. Remember, all materials for the course must be 100% free and or open source.

Enter Khan Academy: I've known about Khan Academy for about two years and frequently send my children to the Khan Academy website to study Algebra II and other free courses that are offered there. If you have not seen Khan Academy, it's a site that offers well over 200 free courses, which are taught using video. The success rate is phenomenal! I encourage the BLB organizers to review some of the classes offered at Khan Academy because I believe we could get a good idea of how to finally implement our BLB courses.

A Word from Khan Academy...

"With a library of over 2,400 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and 125 practice exercises, we're on a mission to help you learn whatever you want, whenever you want, at your own pace."  

The concept is brillant and the number of videos watched is well over 60 million. To me, this is proof positive that we too can use the same method here at P2PU to Break Language Barriers world-wide. And don't forget, P2PU recently added IRC Chat to aide us in instruction to students wanting to learn.

Over the next few days I will get a short video (2 minutes max) up on P2PU as a test run. Once it is up, I would appreciate it if you watch the video and offer constructive criticism.

In the meantime, I am curious to hear your thoughts on Khan Academy. By the way, I have emailed Sal (created Khan Academy) and awaiting his response.


Task Discussion

  • Sébastien Vigneau   Aug. 16, 2011, 7:21 p.m.

    Btw, any response from Khan Academy?

  • Sébastien Vigneau   Aug. 16, 2011, 7:20 p.m.

    To keep on collecting examples of website or software based language teaching, I started this list on Google Spreadsheet. Feel free to add to it!

    After spending some time myself on Rosetta Stone and talking to people who have been using it, I think we could copy some ideas from it. For instance, we could build a collection of Creative Common images and associate each of them to a legend translated in several language. The next step would be to record voices for each legend. The collection could ultimately be used to build exercises with a logical progression.

    A quick way to get started could be to start a collection on Flickr (collecting other images from Flickr), with a legend in english as the title of each picture. People would be asked to translate this sentence in their own language, using the comments. Then, we could have a few more volunteers to read the sentences (e.g. by partnering with LibriVox). When we will reach this point, it will be time to think how we can put it all together in a course with a progression.

    What do you think about it?