Michael Bush, an associate professor of French and instructional psychology and technology at Brigham Young University, says that he admires the site’s use of social networking. “In the right setting, it is possible in a one-on-one situation for the teacher to be a native speaker of the language, or perhaps even another learner who is more advanced–a key factor that the developers of Live Mocha have recognized,” he says. Bush would like to see “more culturally authentic pictures and voices that match the pictures” in the site’s solo instructional materials, however.
Live Mocha is still in its testing phase, and Nadkarni says that he expects it to remain so until early next year. At that point, several new features will be introduced. The site will support 25 languages in addition to the English, Hindi, Chinese, Spanish, French, and German it currently offers. It will also launch applications designed to run within the social networks Facebook and hi5. Nadkarni says he expects that connecting with hi5 in particular, which is known for its popularity in Latin America and other parts of the world, will help bring a larger international base of users to the site.
Nadkarni expects the site to make money through several channels. Although some content will always be free, he says, Live Mocha will add a subscription layer early next year that will cost $10 to $20 a month. It will also feature travel advertising and a tutor marketplace. Nadkarni says that he eventually hopes to add a closed network especially for high-school students, which could help them practice conversational skills while learning about the world.