Introducing Forge, a magic textbook for language learners

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ForgeJohn
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Introducing Forge, a magic textbook for language learners

Postby ForgeJohn » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:22 pm

(This message was approved by admin Bluepaint)

Hi all,

We're the creators of the Forge app (https://www.forge.co/), a free "magic textbook" for language learners, and we wanted to bring you our Spanish curriculum! We're a couple of aspiring polyglots who felt that the existing app options came up short in providing a place for language enrichment. So we decided to give it a shot on our own. Although only Spanish is up for now, we're working on Italian, French, and Portuguese curricula, as well as Esperanto. We also recently became a social media partner of the International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019 Campaign and we're working on connecting with those communities in an effort to put together content and curricula around indigenous languages.

Currently available in our Spanish curriculum are six Beginner packs and four Intermediate packs, which include both lessons and drills. We've also recently rolled out some more offbeat packs around sports and movies, introduced verb practice packs, and have vocab packs and a cheat sheet for some of the most commonly used words.

We'd love for any and all to take a look and would love to hear feedback on what's working and what isn't. Since we're still in early stages, any notes or thoughts you are willing to share will go a long way in helping us make Forge as effective and enjoyable as we envision. You can share your thoughts with us through our feedback survey here: https://forms.gle/J6DffNcxcNwv8TEa8

Finally, if anyone is interested in getting a sneak peek at what's in the works, we're bringing on beta testers to get early access to some of our upcoming features, as well as a nifty badge on your profile page. You can let us know here or reach out to us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/forge_co.

Thanks for your time and best of luck on your language learning journeys!
Last edited by ForgeJohn on Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Cavesa
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Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
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Re: Introducing Forge, a magic textbook for language learners

Postby Cavesa » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:25 pm

Well, the first thing making a really bad impression is the note "One Stop Shop", that usually means "bad at lots of things" :-D Most great digital tools, that I know of, are good at a few things instead. Vast majority of products trying to be everything turns out to be not too serious trash. I am not saying your product will be so bad, but this can make a bad impression on some kinds of learners (the multiple track approach is rather popular on this forum).

When you speak in the blog about the app being an upgrade, you only mention other apps. Really, the language learning world isn't divided just between apps and teachers, what advantages does your "library" have over the high quality coursebooks? If you are trying to create a "one stop shop", you would need to beat those too (as they are still the best at some things for lots of learners), and that is something most apps completely fail at.

And is the main website finished? There is absolutely no presentation of your app, just a download link. A few generic sentences and a link, that doesn't look too trustworthy.

What does "intermediate" and "advanced" mean in your app? What cefr levels? Or what levels on a different scale

"locking into long term memory", so you mean SRS? a blog post says so. But is it SRS with precreated decks based on the content, or something for learners to add words into themselves?

Really, in a world oversaturated with apps, it is worth it to really present the product. We are no longer in 2010, when a language learning app was something rare and new, and something you would just desire to try out! If you hadn't had the agreement of the admin here (which I take a bit for a recommendation), I'd need much more convincing before I'd be willing to download one of the trillion apps available :-D.

"Why the world needs another language learning app", that is an excellent question. And so far, you have answered with nothing but clichés most app makers parrot, no offence meant. I don't doubt that the team are experienced learners with very good intentions, and perhaps a good product. So, why are you presenting it so badly?

"Forge is a brand new way to learn a language." if only I got a cent every time I read that... :-D And the screenshots don't look like it. Really, why can't somebody present themselves realistically, like "X is a big upgrade of several popular language learning strategies, newly allowing you to x,y,and z"
.....
Now that I have downloaded the app:

sign up with google doesn't seem to work. And I am on wifi, there shouldn't be a connection problem. Hmm, sign up with email doesn't load either. And I cannot even go back from the white "sign up with email" screen. Too bad there is no way to start without signing up. Not only it would be more bug proof, but also much nicer, to not feel like trying your app is an engagement (and a ton of future spam).

Based on the (still generic) descriptions at the beginning of the app and the few screenshots, I'd say this could be a good learning supplement for the languages with fewer such resources (including some big ones, like German, and lots of middle sized but still quite popular ones), but Spanish is already well served.

Sorry to not sound more positive, but that's what I see. I'd love to see a new high quality digital tool, that would fill some gaps on the market. But so far, your product might be a good idea (or not, I wasn't shown anything from the real functions of it so far), but really not functional or well presented.
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Bluepaint
Brown Belt
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Re: Introducing Forge, a magic textbook for language learners

Postby Bluepaint » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:01 pm

@ForgeJohn, mods & admins prefer not to edit posts so would you please edit yours to make it crystal clear I gave permission for it to be posted. Not everyone will read in full a promo post and there has already been a report made. Thanks.
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Gordafarin2
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Current focus: Persian (B2), Mandarin (beginner/HSK1)
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Re: Introducing Forge, a magic textbook for language learners

Postby Gordafarin2 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:25 pm

Hi John, thanks for posting here. To be honest I haven't tried your app, because the post and the website simply haven't sold it to me.

Your website has not even five whole sentences about what your app is and what it does. I have to agree with Cavesa - to convince people to use a new app, you really need to emphasize what makes it unique.

Language apps are a dime a dozen, and for all I know yours could be the best of the best, but from the site I cannot tell at all what it will do for me.
I'm not going to go through the effort of downloading a new mystery app, creating an account, and learning how to use it, when there are so many other resources out there (especially for Spanish). Even on the Play Store page, there's only one screenshot of the learning process, and it is... a translation multiple-choice question. How is that different from Duolingo or anything else?

If you are teaching things in an innovative way, you need to shout about it. When you come out with some underrepresented indigenous languages, definitely shout about that. Right now? I haven't been given any reason to try it.
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Leveling up in Persian... 100 hours of listening: 51 / 100
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Starting Mandarin... Pimsleur I: 5 / 30

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ForgeJohn
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:53 pm
Languages: English (N)
Spanish (N)
Studying: Japanese
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Re: Introducing Forge, a magic textbook for language learners

Postby ForgeJohn » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:20 pm

Thank you for the feedback Cavesa and Gordafarin2! Definitely not the response we were aiming for, haha, but super informative for us! Truth be told, we're a two-person team and, just due to bandwidth, the website and presentation element hasn't gotten the love we'd like for it to have. Responses like these are invaluable to us as now we know the impression that's making and have a clear objective to make sure we're putting our best foot forward right off the bat.

Cavesa, very sorry to hear you encountered multiple issues signing up, we're taking a look at that now. Appreciate you being willing to give us a shot, hope to have that issue ironed out ASAP.

Again, to both of you, thank you so much for your honest feedback, it's already helped us make this better.
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