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 :

Leave a Reply