Software Reviewed By:  Mitsuko Yamamoto and Pat Sarvis 


Title of Software: The Learning Company: Learn to Speak English


Product name

Complete Interactive English Course for Non-Native English Speakers



Platform / Operating system

Win 3.1  Win95  Win98  WinNT  Win2000  MAC UNIX  Other


ESL/EFL Level(s):     Advanced Beginner   Low Intermediate   Intermediate  High Intermediate  Advanced
Age group:     kindergarten   elementary grades  middle grades  high school  college age  adult interest

Type of Program:

Problem Solving  Drill and Practice  Simulation Informational   Game Student Tool  Teacher Tool ESL-Specific Non-ESL Specific  Testing  Text Reconstruction  Text Construction  Exploratory activities
Other: ______________________________

User friendliness:

not at all somewhat average good excellent

English Language Areas Covered:

Reading   Speaking  Writing  Vocabulary  Grammar  Listening   Cultural Competence  Computer (limited)
Conversational  Other: ___________________________

What does the program try to accomplish?

Through a functional and situational approach, this program tries to improve adult learners’ English, particularly grammar, speaking, listening, and reading.

Pedagogical considerations--Program Operation:

·        Is there an instruction manual and/or an on-screen help option?

·        Can the learner's work be saved?

·        The instruction manual has easy-to-follow instructions with graphic help. There is also page specific onscreen help with colorful and clear English instructions. On the Action Page, there is onscreen explanation of certain cultural or situational aspects, to increase the learner’s background knowledge for understanding the listening exercise.

·        There is no save function in this software. The learner can quit from any point in the program, but cannot save work. There is no report generating of student progress for the instructor.

Pedagogical considerations--Feedback:
How does the software program evaluate the learner's response? 


  • Does the learner receive informative feedback for his/her response?
  • Is the correct response provided, and after how many tries?
  • In all of the activities, if the answer is not correct the program tells the user orally as well as by highlighting the incorrect portion. Some activities provide encouraging oral responses for correct answers. At times there are amusing crying or smiling faces to inform the user of the quality of their response. These kinds of responses may be motivating for some learners.
  • The student may attempt the same question as many times as he/she chooses. However, when the learner clicks on “Show Answer,” all of the answers on the page are given. This could reduce motivation for the student to complete the activity. Some parts of the program offer hints, such as the initial letter of the correct response. There is also onscreen grammar help in which the user can scroll down to find the needed grammar point to answer the question correctly. The program is very narrow and rigid in the oral and written responses it will accept as correct. Slight variation in the wording or structure of the response results in a wrong answer.

Pedagogical Considerations--Content

X Well organized  X Well sequenced  Enjoyable
Interesting   X Factually correct  X Helps learning
X Provides somewhat effective practice  X Introduces new language understandably  Provides meaningful interaction between computer & learner  Provides communicative interaction between students    X Creates challenge without anxiety
X Free of excessive violence  X Free of stereotypes
Takes advantage of computer's unique capability 

Comments: This program helps learners by offering many alternatives. Learners can choose to listen only, or read the transcription of the conversations while they listen. In answering some kinds of questions, users could choose to answer orally or type in their response. The speech recognition feature, if properly adjusted, could provide effective pronunciation practice for learners. Students have control over the order of activities within each chapter, as well as from chapter to chapter.

Pedagogical considerations--Program Output

Attractive screens

 X   Color

 X   Video
Attractive Graphics
Attractive Sounds

Print option available