“I can talk English, I can walk English, I can laugh English…because English is very funny language. Bhairon becomes barren and barren becomes Bhairon because their minds are very narrow,” was one of Amitabh Bachchan’s famous dialogues in the movie Namak Halal. Though it is considered to be one of the funniest dialogues in the history of Indian cinema it brings out a very imperative avowal. You need to know English to go places. And knowing it is not enough. You need to be fluent in the language. And that is exactly what EnglishLeap.com is trying to do.
The conception of the idea lies in the fact that that lack of fluency in spoken English prevents millions of Indians from progressing in their careers and realizing their potential. The existing English improvements alternatives like the traditional classroom coaching institutes or books and CD’s are either unaffordable or ineffective. The founders Apar Sureka and Saurabh Chopra, both IIM graduates wanted to change this and formulated the idea of EnglishLeap. Today they have students from all across the country. 40 per cent of their students are from metros in India, 45 per cent from the non-metros and 15 per cent are international learners mainly from the Middle East.
Conceptualized in May 2011 and launched in November the same year, EnglishLeap teaches English in three learning layers. The first layer is the self-learning course which the user can use to practise spoken English with the computer. The user can take part in simulated conversation, record his voice and compare his recording with an expert. The second layer is teacher led classes. Users can login to Englishleap.com and join virtual classes. These classes are designed to give maximum spoken English practice to the learners. The third layer is social learning where the learners can talk to other English learners to get additional speaking practice. And there are 2 plans that the user can choose from – free users have access to a grammar improvement course and self-practice exercises. Paid users get access to the complete self-learning course, 12 teacher led grammar classes and unlimited conversation classes.
We had a small chit chat with the founders on their brainchild (EL) and this is what they had to say about it. Read on.
Q. How is EnglishLeap a superior alternative to traditional methods of English teaching?
EL – We offer a customized learning approach. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. The user can take a series of assessments, understand his improvement areas and work towards improving them. We solve a big problem in smaller towns as they do not have access to quality English improvement institutes though there is a huge desire to improve English in these areas. We have students from places like Jhalawar (Rajashtan), Raipur (Chattisgarh), Bulandshahr (UP), Malerkotla (Punjab), Sirsa (Haryana) etc who are happy to have found a great mechanism to improve their English.
The convenience of learning English from the comfort of the house is also a huge factor for our students. Besides the trouble of going to an institute, there is also a social stigma attached to be seen as enrolled in an English improvement class. Lastly, our solution is less than half the price of an average English improvement institute. In fact, the students get more ‘talk time’ despite the low cost. We can keep our prices low as we do not have to pay the exorbitant retail rents which raise the operating costs for the classroom coaching institutes.
Q – You told us about how one can learn the language through your website. But more often than not it takes time to learn. What does EnglishLeap have to offer their students who are not able to learn the language in 30 days? Do they need to repeat the course or is there an advanced course for such candidates?
EL – The model is based on a monthly subscription plans. Most students renew after their first month. There are students who have paid in advance for 6 months after being delighted in their first month with EnglishLeap. Also the classes are held across the day so the user can join in at any convenient time. Users have access to the self-learning course 24*7. EnglishLeap recommends its students to spend one hour every day learning English.
Q – How do you generate revenue from the model? Also how are you marketing the concept?
EL – The revenue model is based on a monthly subscription model at Rs. 800 per month. We are getting about 2500 visitors every day organically through online search. We have also done some online advertising to target English learners.
Q – What has been the traction so far?
EL – There has been a steady increase in the number of visitors, paid users and renewals over the last four months. Even though language learning on the internet is a new concept in India, we are very happy with the fact that people are embracing this concept and are realizing value in learning on the internet.
Q – Where do we see EnglishLeap in the next few years?
EL – We aspire to be the world’s largest community of English language learners. We aim to touch the lives of millions of students and enable them to speak English fluently.
It seems a great concept for English language learners. Try it out and lend us a feedback.