Interview with Tatyana Chibinyaeva — founder of Polygled

How did you come up with the idea of Polygled?

Why do we learn foreign languages? There are many reasons– work, travel, new friends, and then relatives, history, culture... Health and longevity, after all — learning languages perfectly trains the brain!

Unfortunately, not being bilinguals since childhood, not having constant practice, we forget the language. I have tried many ways to maintain a certain level-independently, with tutors and native speakers, offline schools, and then online platforms, but I have not found the perfect solution for myself. I discussed this situation with friends and colleagues, and it turned out that they face the same problems: without regular practice, motivation to learn the language is fading. As a result, many of them participated in the creation of the platform, and some even became partners.

Not to lose our skills, develop them and get new ones, enjoy real communication with interesting people from all over the world, without wasting a minute on organizing the process – this is what we wanted for ourselves when we created this platform, which we now share with tens of thousands of people! And we hope that their number will continue to grow.

What tasks does the platform solve today?

Today we have solved the main tasks: in any place, at any time, on any device (whether it is a smartphone or a computer), the user can find a native speaker, communicate in the language they are learning and teach their native language. Chat, audio or video call — everything is on the platform and completely free!

If somebody wants to improve their knowledge with a tutor, he can also do it on the platform. We have both professional teachers and just people who like to speak their native language. You can choose a time in the smart calendar and sign up for a tutor you like, paying for the lesson immediately on the platform.

It is already possible to learn the language level and take a specialized course on the platform in a group in a video conference mode, also built into the platform, without switching to other programs. For example, we have a special course for IT developers that prepares them to get a job in a foreign company. There are impressive results — some of our students find new jobs by the end of the course!

There is a program "How to launch an online course" made specially for teachers. Anybody can immediately post their course on the platform on favorable terms after completing it! Do everything on a "turnkey" way: from creating a personal landing page to a payment system.

We also offer a White label service for educational institutions.

Do you think online education is a trend or a logical development of education, in general?

This is the inevitable result of progress. I can't imagine the future without offline mentoring, without offline society: school, student. But what can be made more convenient and accessible through modern means of communication, it is strange not to do so. We are happy to walk in the forest, but we do not go from St. Petersburg to Moscow, because there are more convenient and faster means). So it is with communication practices on the platform: not everyone can and not everyone wants to spend time going to an offline school, not everyone has the opportunity to learn in the country of the language being studied, but everyone has a smartphone and free access to Polygled, which means tens of thousands of users from different countries!

Do you study online yourself? Do you practice languages on the platform? Which ones?

Yes, I am interested in the format of webinars on the most relevant topics in the field of education, science and technology. And, of course, I communicate with the platform's chat partners. I correspond, call, improve my English with a tutor on an individual program. Here, I also want to sign up for a conversation club and dream of learning Spanish!

Which of your colleagues / rivals can you identify, whose projects are personally interesting to you as a user, and why?

At the moment, I am in the process of studying various methods of teaching foreign languages. For example, there is an interesting method TPRS (Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling), it has many resources and followers. As an English-language resource with interesting content on TPRS for myself, I can highlight https://www.ted.com/.

As for Runet, I can't help mentioning SkyEng as an effective business model, and as an online school that has absorbed all the best at an affordable price. Rightfully leaders and consolidators of the industry!

What is new in the near future for users of the platform?

We want to make the platform a daily necessity. Chat and learn — that's our goal! This is why we are currently preparing a variety of game training elements. Such as quizzes, conversation clubs, interest clubs, and much more! For more serious users, we will launch free asynchronous language courses.

How do you see Polygled in 3 years?

We have a lot of ideas: we want to implement VR courses, offer our users all the variety of modern methods and tools for learning foreign languages, providing our partner schools with a platform as a convenient platform for work and cooperation. We are thinking about working with neurophysiologists and linguists to transform the platform into an effective multi-lingual environment based on a multi-million-strong community of chat partners!

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