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Mobile-phone English Course with Video and Live Tutoring Introduced

The excuses to put off learning English are as many as the reasons to learn the language. So busy executives will be interested to know that English instruction is now as close and convenient as their mobile phones. Professional English—Video Live Edition, launched in France and several other European countries this month, delivers video course instruction and live English tutoring by native speaking instructors on any video-capable 3G mobile phone.

The innovative, portable course is the product of a collaboration between New York-based 3iMobile, a language instruction course provider that specializes in mobile learning for international business executives and corporate training departments and 3G FACTORY™, the first 3G video service provider in France. This new service was developed in partnership with SFR, the leading 3G mobile operator in France. A successful pilot of the mobile phone-based course carried out by SFR between November 2006 and February 2007 with over 100 customers and SFR employees, Professional English—Video Live Edition highlighted the advantages of mobile learning.

Professional English—Video Live Edition was presented as a World Premier m-learning application by 3G FACTORY™ at the 3GSM World Congress in January 2007 in Barcelona. After the 16 week pilot phase with 100 user/learners, the service is now being commercialized by 3iMobile.

"Convenience and individual attention, so important to learning a language, are the essence of this course. With Professional English, students have a private English tutor and a structured, interactive video course, all delivered by mobile phone, so learning really happens anywhere, anytime," according to Roy Thomas, president of 3iMobile.

Professional English—Video Live Edition, a comprehensive course for advanced beginner through advanced learners, presents interactive video and text learning elements on any 3G video-capable mobile phone. Students access video lessons, interactive grammar and vocabulary exercises, and video conversation, on the mobile phone. Each course includes 20 lessons, on a range of business topics. A live tutoring session with a 3iMobile professional English-speaking teacher follows each lesson.

During the tutoring session with the teacher, the student has live conversation practice and is guided to give responses while the teacher listens and offers instruction and practice ideas. Teachers also provide models of pronunciation and insights into proper usage in today's changing corporate world. Students report that the teachers "make it much easier to learn English" and describe the live tutoring as "rewarding." The professional English language teachers, all native English speakers, are experienced using mobile technologies in teaching students working in companies worldwide.

SFR, after initiating and accompanying the development of the Professional English—Video Live Edition service, conducted a comprehensive pilot test in late 2006 and early 2007 with more than 100 SFR customers and employees, using 3G mobile phones. Conclusions from the SFR pilot included an appreciation of the freedom and convenience of the course delivery method, and the ability to be "face-to-face with an instructor, without being in a class." As one student reported, "I like learning with this course--it is accessible all the time, because I always have my phone with me. Learning English by phone is the essence of simplicity."

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.