Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Survey & Feedback Results

I've run a couple of surveys on the Club site recently, and members have also posted feedback regularly on the Forums. Here is a short summary of the trends I've noticed:

1. The POV Mini-Stories are a HUGE hit. In fact, the new POV stories already seem to be the most popular lesson with members. I suppose this shouldn't be surprising. The POV stories allow members to practice and use the most common conversational grammar forms-- without studying grammar in any way. You learn how and when to use these grammar forms... but you never study grammar rules and you certainly never worry about terms like "present perfect", etc.

Of course, due to this feedback, I will continue doing POV lessons for all lesson bundles. I will also continuing doing the basic TPR Mini-Stories-- which focus more on vocabulary, but still teach grammar intuitively and naturally as well.

2. The new movie lessons are a hit. The movie lessons have also proven to be popular. In the movie lesson, I take a scene from a popular movie and then base a series of lessons around it (including a TPR Mini-Story & POV Story lesson). Our first movie is the romantic-comedy "Hitch", starring Will Smith.

3. Keep the Vocabulary Discussions. One concern I had was with the vocabulary discussions. To be honest, I worried they were a bit dry and boring compared to the other lesson types. I considered eliminating them. But members have unanimously asked me to keep them-- saying they are easy and helpful. So, I'll keep doing them ;)

4. Layout. Navigation and homepage layout have been a problem for a while-- the source of many complaints, in fact. These have now been completely changed and the new layout seems much more popular. Members can now easily access all lessons from the home page. Also, lessons are now grouped by lesson title instead of lesson type. In other words, on the homepage you click a lesson title (ex. "Hitch Intro", "Censorship") and that links to all the lesson types for that subject (ex. "Censorship Text", "Censorship Mini-Story", "Censorship POV", "Censorship Audio Article", "Censorship Commentary", "Censorship Vocab").

5. Audio Quality. This was a problem in the beginning, but I've finally found a new microphone that is working very well. Audio is now very clear and strong.

Remaining Issues

Members also had a few more suggestions and issues:

1. Forums-- Forum participation is still anemic. Writing is the final step in the Effortless English system, but many members say they are too shy to write because they fear they will make many mistakes. Of course I say, "Its fine to make mistakes"... but I know that isn't enough to reassure learners.

So I'm still thinking about ways to improve the Forums. One idea I will try is to add lighter Forum topics. Right now they are fairly serious-- especially ones related to the lessons. I'll try adding topics such as "Movies", "Music", "Book Club", etc. and see if this encourages more participation.

2. More Memberships. Lots of people have complained that I'm still in Beta Mode and am still limiting membership each month. My only answer is "please be patient :)" I don't want to fully launch the site (with totally open membership) until it is "ready". By ready I mean: a) The site has a library of at least 50 complete lesson bundles (each "bundle" contains: Text Article, Vocab Discussion, TPRS Mini-Story, POV Mini-Story, Audio Article, and Commentary), b) audio is upgraded further (I'm still researching even higher quality microphones and recording equipment), c) the Forums are active and energetic, d) our Street Team is organized and energized, and e) I've got a wider variety of lesson topics.

Once these goals are met, I will end "Beta Mode" and will open membership more fully. Until then, the best way to hear about periodic membership openings is to subscribe to the free Effortless English Newsletter-- to subscribe go to: www.effortlessenglish.org

So that's where things stand with The Effortless English Club. HUGE thanks to the amazing members who have helped build the site. Its only been a few months, but we have made big progress. I'm having a fantastic time working with you all- and look forward to growing and improving more in the near future.

Take care!

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