WeSpeke, which launched in 2010, facilitates language learning through social exchange.
Users can match with someone who is a native speaker of the language they want to learn, in order to practise and develop their communication skills through text, audio and online video exchanges.
“The real learning, the real preparing is done in smaller chunks”
The platform is now offering a suite of test preparation lessons to its users, focussing on reading skills, in order to prepare them for the TOEFL.
CEO and co-founder, Michael Elchik, told The PIE News that rather than WeSpeke competing in the language testing space, the company found a gap in test preparation.
“Our thought was that what we can do is by us having a community, we can help you better prepare for that test and therefore have a higher probability of passing that test,” he commented.
“When you think about it, you can go out to the book store right now and get a TOEFL prep book that’s this thick, but the real learning, the real preparing is done in smaller chunks.”
Users can buy any of the 24 reading lessons individually, and then practise their skills with a native speaker also on the platform.
The price of lessons will vary according to local currency, but in the US will cost $1 each.
“We have a credit system so you’re buying credits,” said Elchik. “That way you can deliver value to the markets that you’re serving.”
“Some products may be less, some may be slightly more based on what the value is to that,” he added.
While the lessons are targeted specifically for the TOEFL test, there’s an overlap in the content for other test providers.
“For example, if I’m getting ready for an IELTS test, I could look and benefit from the TOEFL preparation lessons on WeSpeke,” said Elchik.
“I can definitely benefit from taking those and connecting to a global community of natural speakers to get the inflection and get the speaking part down.”
WeSpeke has reached 193 countries around the world, with users that represent 206 native languages. Elchik said that “80-85% of our users are learning English”.
And since its inception, the platform has also facilitated 11 million exchanges.
The lessons will also be made available on mobile in the coming months, with the text chat function having recently launched on the mobile platform.
“Putting the lessons on mobile by definition reaches more people but it also aligns with their behaviours,” added Elchik. “You can be on a bus in Paris on your commute and you can take that 15 minute lesson.”
WeSpeke is hoping to roll out the full suite of skills, including speaking, writing and listening, by the end of the year.