Behind the scenes of your Gymglish language lessons

We’re thrilled that Gymglish’s language lessons have become part of your daily routine, but it’s important to know exactly what you’re putting into your body, right?  Let’s take a peek behind the curtain and see what really goes into your lessons.

Do you think that Gymglish simply copies and pastes rules from a grammar book and automatically generates corrections? You’re young, naive and charming. You are also very wrong.

For each of our language courses, we offer our users personalized lessons that include diverse characters and personalities, various accents, professional and personal situations, all with a touch of humor.

Mathilde, manager of our Content Team, takes us behind the scenes to give you a glimpse of our secret recipe, and sheds light on the role that our team of actors, musicians, teachers and illustrators play in the creation of our language lessons.

The Creative Phase

A Gymglish lesson is first and foremost a story, a universe and a context. We make a point of highlighting culture in every lesson as well. 

The design of new lessons generally starts with brainstorming sessions. Our creative team of authors create stories, scenarios and dialogues on which each lesson is based. Members of the team inspire each other, proposing ideas and cultural references in this lively creative process. 

 Creating a story is not without challenges. When coming up with stories, the team tries to put itself in the place of the learner: “What story are we telling?”, “What situations do learners face when learning a language?”, “How can we introduce a humorous tone?”. For the storytelling to be effective, it should have intrigue and humor, use accessible language, and at the same time include compelling voices and characters. Obviously, the team tries to address pedagogical objectives for language learners too.  Piece of cake, right?

The creative team also supervises the recording of our audio and video texts, giving stage directions to the actors who voice the characters, but allowing them room to interpret roles with their own talents. The authors are especially attentive to tone and energy, accents, speaking at a natural pace, cadence and more. 

The hours spent in creative sessions are also used to create and produce drafts for the images that regularly feature in our lessons:

Draft which will serve as a brief for our illustrator.

Did you know? If a learner started their English lessons today and completed them at the rate of five lessons a week, they would have a different Gymglish story every day for five years. Obviously, we don’t wish that upon anyone.

The Multimedia Process

The second stage of our lesson creation is dedicated to multimedia production. In every Gymglish lesson, you’ll find audios, videos, illustrations, comics and visual elements. Sound and images help bring a language to life and stimulate the desire to learn over the long term. But how and where do they come from? Hint: It’s not the multimedia stork.

Sound

To bring our characters to life, we organize recording sessions with professional actors. In the audio segments, actors showcase their mother tongues (French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, etc.) and regional accents (Mexico, Argentina, Southern Italy, Austria, Switzerland, etc.) so that our users become familiar with the variety of accents a language features. We record our audio content in our very own studio located in our Paris office.

 “Turn my headphones up… And I said only green M+Ms!”. Shelgor, nervous hound and diva actor, supervising a recording session.

Did you know? Producing a one-minute scene takes an average of 20 minutes of recording in the studio, followed by editing and post-production by our sound engineer. Beyond the attention to detail, it’s also a fun process, during which our actors can improvise and joke around – there’s never a dull moment!

Images & video

Cartoons, images in different formats (letter, email, postcard, newspaper), and external and internal videos provide a wide variety of media to reflect what learners come across daily.

Remember the sketches produced during the brainstorming sessions? These are sent to our illustrators, including talented German cartoonist and illustrator Dorthe Landschulz, as well as the gifted Spanish illustrator Luna Pan.

Just like our illustrations, videos (produced in-house or by external artists) are pillars of our lessons. In addition to their accessible, visual format, videos allow us to add a cultural dimension to the lessons and highlight talented international artists.

Below is an in-house video and song from our online German course Wunderbla:

Pedagogy

The questions and corrections for our lessons are developed on the basis of the script and the situations in the story – which in turn may have been conceived with a pedagogical objective in mind. Our pedagogical team tries to link the context to specific learning points associated with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). They ask the questions: “What learning points are integrated into this story?”, “What is interesting grammatically in the script?”, “What vocabulary words are of note?”, “What verbs, tenses and conjugations appear in the dialogue?”. These questions inform the creation of questions for each lesson.

Naturally, we want users to enjoy doing their lessons. To this end, we try to diversify the format of our questions (fill-in-the-blank, drag-and-drop, multiple-choice, drop-down menus, etc.) to reduce monotony. We also endeavor to find the right balance between grammar, vocabulary and conjugation, to keep students engaged.

Obviously there is more to a language than grammar and conjugation. A language also involves concrete situational skills that can be used in a professional context, at school, in preparation for a trip or an event. This explains why we put our users in everyday situations: in our lessons, they’ll learn how to book a hotel room, apply for a job offer, host a meeting or order food at a restaurant.

Did you know? Our authors and editors formulate questions with varying levels of difficulty, to enable fine-tuning of a learner’s profile. This personalization can result in two users receiving different versions of the same question, each tuned to their general level.

Depending on the learner’s level and the difficulty of a concept or question, a different format may be used

Our teaching team includes ten different nationalities. People with creative talent work hand in hand with teachers and experts in course languages (English, French, Spanish, German and Italian). We draw on both the expertise of our pedagogical team members in their mother tongue and their experience as learners to identify areas of difficulty in a language.

Our team also receives valuable help from dozens of freelancers, all of whom are native professionals, from a wide range of countries (Colombia, Austria, Spain, Germany, Italy, etc.).These professionals enable us to enrich our lessons and offer our users authentic, diversified content.

Our pedagogical approach is not exhaustive…  and we own this!  Instead of covering absolutely everything, we focus on making learning as accessible as possible, aiming to optimize understanding, communicating and retaining what has been learned. 

Did you know? On average, our pedagogical teams take four to five weeks to produce one daily lesson from start to finish.

Culture

Learning a language is inextricably linked to the cultures where it is spoken. This is why we end each of our lessons with a section featuring authentic extracts from films, series, songs and literature linked to the story of the day.

Each extract is curated by our teams. To ensure there is plenty of variety, we select works from different periods, cities/countries and genres, always making sure they are short and punchy.

We also include cultural elements in our media, in the audio material and images.

In this image from our online German lessons, we include cultural references from Switzerland and Germany.


In our online Spanish lessons, we include cultural references from Spain (tapas, flamenco, etc.)…
…and from Latin America with this image referring to the Iguazu Falls in Argentina.

For our Italian lessons, we highlight the diversity of the country’s regions and cities.

Did you know? Our cultural highlights aim to reveal the cultural richness and diversity of the language. They also typically evoke a memorable reaction (laughter, surprise, nostalgia) in the user which also stimulates learning and inspires curiosity.

This excerpt comes from the film Victoria by German director Sebastian Schipper

Gymglish lessons are the product of an ecosystem that calls on a variety of highly qualified humans. Our creative and pedagogical teams – supported by a network of freelancers and language experts – create content that is linguistically and culturally relevant, and most important of all, fun and engaging. This combined with the help of our artificial intelligence engine helps optimize long-term retention of language while stimulating motivation and encouraging our users to progress.

The creation of our lessons is something we take very seriously! Still on the fence? Try our online language lessons free for 7 days.



Related articles :

22 thoughts on “Behind the scenes of your Gymglish language lessons

  1. erik pennekamp

    I wonder how you calculatie my ‘rating’ (currently 2.9 in the Spanish course). What is the goal? 5? 10? 100? And what is the relation between my rating and the A1…C2 CEFR. Sincerely yours, Erik Pennekamp

  2. Allan Le Quesne

    I enjoy the humour of the stories. The hyperbole encourage me each lesson.
    Merci beaucoup
    à plus tard

  3. Mrs W L Ashford-Brown

    Hello. I am enjoying these lessons. They are fun, getting increasingly challenging but keep revising, so at last i think i am actually progressing.
    Big plus ++++ have just about managed to stop cheating. Having a hearing problem I don’t always hear the dictation but have the transcript, so useful.
    Love the snippets of culture at the end. Brilliant. Thank you all.

    1. Olivia

      Hello there!

      Your kind words mean the world to us! I’ll be sure to pass this on to our team.

      Have a fantastic day and keep up the good work!

      The Gymglish team

  4. Birgit

    Hi Gymglish Team,

    So, you don’t wish upon anybody to stay with your lessons for more than five years 😉 ? In fact I did and it has been a pleasure. I’ve now started over again, using the English to English- version, which is a new challenge.
    Gymglish definitely is a fun way to improve my language skills. Thanks a lot for all the hard work you are putting into it and keep up the excellent work.
    Best wishes
    Birgit

  5. Julie

    I loved the lessons with the videos and songs and interesting facts. Fllowing
    Victor Hugo has been fantastic but for weeks now I have only been getting revisions and that is not so exciting and makes me wonder about continuing. Can you tell me why this has happened?

    1. Olivia

      Hello there Julie,

      Thanks for reaching out. We’re thrilled to read that you are enjoying your Frantastique lessons 🙂

      Please feel free to get in touch with our Customer Care team at support@gymglish.com, they will be happy to help with this issue!

      Have a fantastic day,

      The Gymglish team

  6. Daniel Russell

    Got to admit, I’m enjoying this far more than I thought I would!

    It’s good fun. I’m making mistakes, but definitely learning from them as I go along, and improving all the time.

    I think the fact here’s no pressure, and you can work at it in yoru own time make a world of difference.

    Thank you. You’re doing great work!

    1. Olivia

      Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for your kind words, they mean a lot! Our content team will be thrilled to read about your positive user experience.

      We can assure you that creating our lessons is as much fun for our team as it is for our users 🙂

      Have a fantastic day,
      The Gymglish team

  7. Elenuté Nicola

    I love your frantastique lessons.

    I do wish you hadn’t adopted the (admittedly now correct) language deterioration of his/her (singular) to their.

    1. Olivia

      Hello there and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment on our blogpost.

      We’re sorry to hear that you aren’t entirely satisfied with our use of gender-neutral writing. As is often the case with such changes, it can take some time to get used to.

      We have decided to use gender-neutral language across all our communications in a bid to avoid bias towards either any sex or gender. The same rule applies to our French and German articles. We sincerely hope you will come to understand our stance on the matter; looking forward to welcoming you on our blog again soon!

      Have a great day!

      The Gymglish team

  8. Carlos Chaparro

    I really love this courses. I fallow Frantastique and Gymglish. But been brutally honest, I find them too expensive. I wish they would be cheaper. I have sent them to many friends as a referral, but all of them reply me back with the same observation as me. 🙁

    1. Olivia

      Hello Carlos and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment on our blogpost. Also, we’d like to thank you for kindly recommending our courses to your loved ones!

      I suggest you get in touch with our Customer Care team at support@gymglish.com who will be happy to answer any questions you may have concerning pricing and subscription plan. We always strive to come to an agreement with our users; it’s a core part of our philosophy and mission!

      Have a fantastic day,

      The Gymglish team

  9. Maria A Garcia

    Thank you for the excellent work that you do. What I like the most is that you take care of every aspect and personalize the necessity of each one. I enjoyed practicing every class. Thank you!

    1. Olivia

      Dear Maria,

      Thank you for taking the time to write such a positive comment! We’re thrilled to hear that you take pleasure in completing your daily lessons :).

      We hope to welcome you to our blog very soon!

      Have a great day,

      The Gymglish team

  10. kenneth hellman

    I am really impressed, what a huge language factory! But I´ve got a problem: My hearing is not good at all. Although I use my hearing aid it´s sometimes hard to percieve what they are saying. Especially all this dialects. I understand the pedagocical reason but…hmmm…

    1. Olivia

      Dear Kenneth,

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment on our latest piece.

      Bear in mind we have a “hard of hearing” option in our system, enabling you to receive transcriptions of all audio files in your lesson. This means you’ll be able to answer audio comprehension questions without having to listen to the audio. Furthermore, this option means that you will no longer receive “dictation” questions (requiring you to listen to audios and write what you hear).

      Please note that this option will not enable you to select any vocabulary for translation from the question e-mail. Rather, you will have to wait until the correction e-mail to do this.

      Should you wish to activate this option, please don’t hesitate to contact us at support@Gymglish.com.

      I hope this helps, and that you have a nice afternoon!

      The Gymglish team

Leave a Reply