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How to Teach French Online with Madame Alexa

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เนื้อหาจัดทำโดย By WordPress LMS Elearning Expert Chris Badgett and Entrepreneur & Online Marketing Business Strategy Expert Chris Badgett on Teaching, Education, WordPress Development & Online Business., By WordPress LMS Elearning Expert Chris Badgett, Online Marketing Business Strategy Expert Chris Badgett on Teaching, WordPress Development, and Online Business. เนื้อหาพอดแคสต์ทั้งหมด รวมถึงตอน กราฟิก และคำอธิบายพอดแคสต์ได้รับการอัปโหลดและจัดหาให้โดยตรงจาก By WordPress LMS Elearning Expert Chris Badgett and Entrepreneur & Online Marketing Business Strategy Expert Chris Badgett on Teaching, Education, WordPress Development & Online Business., By WordPress LMS Elearning Expert Chris Badgett, Online Marketing Business Strategy Expert Chris Badgett on Teaching, WordPress Development, and Online Business. หรือพันธมิตรแพลตฟอร์มพอดแคสต์ของพวกเขา หากคุณเชื่อว่ามีบุคคลอื่นใช้งานที่มีลิขสิทธิ์ของคุณโดยไม่ได้รับอนุญาต คุณสามารถปฏิบัติตามขั้นตอนที่แสดงไว้ที่นี่ https://th.player.fm/legal

In this LMScast episode, Madame Alexa describes how she went from working as a teacher in a program that immerses students in French to launching her own online language learning website. She decided to make her own interactive games and activities to fill the resource vacuum for younger learners in French immersion programs, with the goal of helping them acquire the language more successfully.

Alexa is owner of Madame A’s. She talks about how she creates classes using a combination of interactive features, video tutorials, and other activities to keep kids interested and learning at their own speed. Madame Alexa also discusses the technologies she uses, such as Elementor for WordPress website design, Genially for interactive activities, and recording tools for providing voice instructions.

Madame Alexa also reveals that her husband suggested WordPress to her as a versatile platform that would enable her to personalize her website and incorporate necessary capabilities like translation using the Polylang plugin.

She created a full platform with an LMS for children’s language learning, even though she was new to WordPress. According to Madame Alexa, she did a lot of research before finding LifterLMS, and she thought it was one of the few platforms that let her tailor her services for both individual parents and classroom environments.

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Episode Transcript

Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking to create, launch, and scale a high value online training program, I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co founder of LifterLMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress. Stay to the end. I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show.

Hello and welcome back to another episode of LMSCast. I’m joined by a special guest. Her name is Madame Aize. She’s from madameaize. com. She does language learning teaching over the internet. It’s French immersion from home. Welcome to the show, Madame A. Thank

Madame Alexa: you so much. You can just call me Alexa for this interview.

That’s totally fine. The kids called me Madame Alexa. I have a lot of different names.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. I’ll do it. I’ll do Alexa because my French is not that good. No problem. I did spend a, I was in France this past year. I spent some time in the Chamonix Valley area and had a ball there, but I also spent a lot of time in Canada.

Quebec’s an awesome place as well.

Madame Alexa: Perfect. It is lovely. I do really enjoy living here.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. Tell us the origin story of how you started teaching French in online or in person. Like where, did the website Madame A’s come to be?

Madame Alexa: Absolutely. I was a teacher for seven years in the French immersion program in Quebec.

So for anybody who’s not really familiar with that, it’s basically a school program in French, where most of the students that will register either don’t speak French at home at all, so they’re from an English household or their parents might speak French at home, but they absolutely want their child to be bilingual.

A little bit of a background on the education system here in Quebec specifically, you when you are in the francophone system, you have about one hour of English a week. You can imagine that a lot of people are not becoming bilingual with that program. And in the English program as well, they have about one hour of French a week.

So again not, great if you want your child to be bilingual. So the immersion program is really everything is completely in French for the most part. And you have one hour of English a day. And when the kids get a little bit older, like in grades five and six, they actually have six hours a week.

So you, you get that additional hour as well in there. I taught on the French side of a French immersion program for seven years. And I got to live the pandemic teaching online with a grade one class, which is very interesting. So most of my colleagues were ripping their hair out trying to figure something out online and I’ve always really enjoyed.

technology and educational technology, and I really saw this as an opportunity to teach differently. I was going online, I was creating these self paced plans for my students, which is not something that’s doable in a classroom, but I’m like, hey, we’re online, we could do this, let’s do it.

And I was finding that there were very few resources made, especially for younger learners. And even more so when we fell into French immersion. So what usually happens with French immersion is that they’re not second language learners, so it’s not as basic, but they’re not necessarily at the level of a mother tongue French speaker either.

So we have this very large middle area. That’s rarely covered. And not a lot of material has been created for that level, so I decided well, this isn’t out there and I need it, so let me create it myself. I think I’ve got the skills to do this. I started creating these little interactive games for my students and they responded extremely well to it.

So well that during my last year of teaching I replaced all of my homework with these interactive games. That was their, lessons, their review. They would be doing it through these activities. So they would learn with me during the week and then they would go home and practice through these games.

And the parents really appreciated it because they used to tell me I always have to fight with my kid to do their homework, to practice this language, but. Every time it’s your games, it’s never an issue. So I saw that there was something to do with this. So I decided to leave teaching entirely at the end of the last school year.

And I’ve been doing this full time since July. So all of the activities are now online and here we are.

Chris Badgett: Wow. That is really cool. Tell us more about the games, like from an instructional design standpoint, like what are

Madame Alexa: they? Yeah. I try to do a mix of a lot of different things. It’s important for me to lay the foundations first.

Usually what I’ll do is I will have an interactive kind of image that the child can click around and can listen to my voice. So they’re like discovering through doing and then once, So instead of having a teacher just talk them through what they need to learn, they get to explore it themselves.

In other instances, I’ll also have video lessons if it’s really a concept that’s important that, that is explained to them. I’ll have it in a video and I, find it nice. especially for the younger ones who don’t necessarily have that attention span to be able to come back to it, hear it as many times as they need to, take a break in between the lesson if they need to.

And then what I do is I’ll have a couple of different activities that can be scrambled letters, it can be a word search, it can be a quiz I really try to vary it so that they never know what to expect and it keeps them on their toes. And then I take what’s been taught and I have them apply it to a bunch of different concepts.

So very pedagogical. Wow. And they really get to use their knowledge in a bunch of different contexts.

Chris Badgett: So cool. I wish I had you as a French teacher when I was younger.

Madame Alexa: Thanks. I would have loved that. It’s never too late to learn. Don’t worry.

Chris Badgett: That’s true. That’s true. Tell us about your technology stack.

What tools do you use to deliver all this?

Madame Alexa: Yeah this is a little bit complicated because I do not have a background in programming or anything like that. And what I was finding with most of these LMS tools is that they were designed for adult learners, right? We know that online teaching is extremely popular for adults in higher education, but it hasn’t been exploited as much, I think, as it could have for children.

So that was something that a big problem that I was running into was that these, LMSs are very busy. They’re very they have a lot of things that children don’t know how to handle or it’s not valuable to their learning. So I needed something that I would be able to really edit a lot.

But at the same time, I it’s got to be if, we’re talking about coding, I’m, it’s very limited what I can do. So I use a bunch of different programs depending on what I’m doing. If I am doing a an activity, then I’ll often go with Genially, which is an amazing tool. So that really lets me add a bunch of interactive elements.

And, put in the designs that I want, which is really nice. And then I will use a bunch of recording tools as well, so that I can add my voice to all of those interactive elements. Because a lot of these students don’t necessarily know how to read, so they need to be able to hear the instructions versus doing them.

And for the design of the website, then that was Elementor that I was using. Which was extremely helpful for somebody like me who has never done a website in her life. So really appreciated that Lifter and Elementric could work together.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. It may surprise you, but I’m not a coder as well.

I I, work with WordPress and tools that you move around. And yes, luckily for me, I have engineering talent on the team and partnership, so I’m able to make it happen. But I’m really impressed with what you’ve been able to do, both from a design standpoint and just making learning fun, I think that’s really the most important thing.

Madame Alexa: Thanks. That’s really the, ultimate goal, right? Is to make sure these kids can have fun and learn at their own pace. I’m so reassured that you say that because I’m like, look at Chris accomplishing everything and he doesn’t have a background in programming either. So it’s all good to go.

Chris Badgett: I don’t need it.

WordPress is for everybody really. It’s, the main goal was to democratize publishing and we just build on top of that with democratizing education is, there can you tell us a little bit about your WordPress journey?

Madame Alexa: Yes, I’m sorry. I seem to be having a bit of a problem with my camera.

Just give me one second. I’m gonna try to fix that.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, no problem. Your audio is still coming through just fine.

Madame Alexa: Okay, that’s good at least. Let me keep talking while I try to fix that. Sorry, what was your question?

Chris Badgett: What was your, like, how long have you been involved with WordPress as a technology?

Madame Alexa: So I, this was my first stint with WordPress actually. So yeah, it’s completely, new here. Oh, there we are. Yeah. What I had done originally with the website is that I had taken a a platform that had the LMS and the website together. But it didn’t work out for me because I needed, like I explained, I needed to modify so many different things and it just was not letting me do that.

And my husband works in, tech, and he’s the one who originally suggested WordPress because he’s you need to be able to adapt a bunch of different things and still have a skeleton. So this seems like the ideal situation, right? This is, the ultimate tool to be able to do that.

That’s how we got involved with WordPress to begin with. The original issue I was coming across was that I couldn’t translate my website with the other platform I was using, which is a huge problem in Quebec. Everybody expects things to be available in French and in English, even if it’s a French learning program.

For kids clearly designed to English marketed towards English speaking parents. You will absolutely get judged if your stuff isn’t also available in French. So that was something that was extremely important that I needed to do quickly. That’s what pushed me towards WordPress.

And then when I saw how much I could adapt to what I wanted to do and find the tools to really fulfill my vision, I was like, all right this is it. This is where we need to go.

Chris Badgett: Do you know offhand, like how that French English button on your menu works?

Madame Alexa: Do I know how it works?

Chris Badgett: Yeah, like what tools you’re using to make that happen or anything?

Madame Alexa: Yes, I do. It’s called, it’s a plugin called Polylang. Okay. Yeah, so it’s, not magical. But it does let me have basically every time that I create a page I can, Tell WordPress like this is the page in English and then duplicate it and explain this is the page in French and then translate the entire thing.

So I still have to do the translations myself but it lets WordPress know okay, when the person clicks this button, we’re going to this, the version of this page that’s in French, basically.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. Yeah. Very well done. Thanks. I’m impressed this is your first WordPress site. It’s pretty awesome.

Really? Oh,

Madame Alexa: thank you. It’s so nice to hear because I’m always worried that it’s not it’s not as good as it could be. So it’s, always nice hearing

Chris Badgett: that. It’s it’s, not just like a static website for a business. It’s like the whole thing. And you’re using advanced tools like translation and LMS.

And yeah, it’s there’s a lot going on. So it’s impressive.

Madame Alexa: Yes. In the beginning, it was a little bit overwhelming. I think now finally I’ve got it somewhere that I, like it. So I’ve been able to spend a bit less time on the website and a bit more time on my actual content which has been really nice.

It is definitely a big a big challenge in the beginning because you’re, learning a bunch of different. new tools at once. But yeah, I finally got it to I think where I want it to be. And I think it’s really nice to have all of these. It feels like limitless, right? All of the options that you can have with the plugins.

So I know that when I’m ready to crank it up a notch or add something else there’s, a ton of different tools out there that I could potentially add.

Chris Badgett: Do you remember how you found LFTR LMS or how you got, into that whole world? Research

Madame Alexa: Research Yeah I, at first I was like, there’s gotta be a business up there doing LMSs for children.

And there are. But it’s almost as if, as soon as you’re talking about doing something for kids, they want to really restrain what you’re able to do with it. And none of them I feel like the, concept of my business, obviously it’s not revolutionary. There are online games and online platforms for, children learning languages.

But none of them do exactly what I do, which is really a mix of a bunch of different types of activities. It was really important for me that everything was in one place so that if the child wanted to do it independently, they could. And I think that’s something that really hasn’t been exploited much.

So every single thing. tool LMS that I was finding was too restrictive one way or another. So that’s how I ended up doing a bunch of research for different different LMSs that would really let me customize. And that’s how I came upon LFTR and saw, okay, there’s a bunch of different things that I can do here.

And my service can be bought directly by parents. Who just want their child to have an additional tool at home, but they can also be bought by schools. So classroom access where you’ve got a teacher with a group of 30 students who are all advancing at different paces. And it was difficult to find a tool that would let me have.

Those two worlds working parallel with each other. And LFTR was one of the only ones who were letting me do that the way that I wanted to. That’s awesome. Yeah, but it was months of research comparing and trying things out.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. It’s a little overwhelming with how many, there’s 500 LMS is out

Madame Alexa: there.

There’s a lot. Yeah, there’s a lot. There’s a lot. Yeah. But I think that my vision was so clear and detailed and I knew exactly what I needed. So it was fairly easy for me to go through them and be like, okay, no, this one’s not going to work. It doesn’t have this. This is a non negotiable for me. So I had a couple of points like that, that I knew.

If this is not available, there’s no way I can do this. There’s no way I can put my eggs in this basket and I knew that it was going to be a huge commitment because I’m, trusting this platform to, hold all of my content, to hold my business in their hands and, not let me down.

Let me do what I want to do, because this, is literally my entire product. So yeah you, guys, this is Came in and got me there. I was like, oh, yeah, I feel like I can trust these guys and Will is amazing Every time I was stuck I could go look at a video that he’d done and I was like, alright I feel like somebody’s holding my hand here at all times every time I need him So it’s like a running joke between me and my husband When I don’t know how to do something, he’s have you checked a will?

I’m sure. And then when I get really stuck, if he hasn’t, then he’s joined the lives a couple of times, cause he’s I’m so interested in, the way that they do things you’ve inspired. He’s a I’m going to try to get his title, right? He’s a product manager in a tech company. And he’s enjoyed the way that you’ve done certain things so much that it’s inspired.

His job. And he’s gotten things implemented in his business that because he thought you guys were doing it so well. So like the lives, for example, he’s we should do something like that. This is amazing. So thank you. You’ve helped two different businesses with lifter.

Chris Badgett: That’s amazing.

Thanks a lot for saying that. And I’ll definitely pass that on to will as, well. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. One of our philosophies is. We don’t hide behind the website which, you don’t as a language learner or teacher, you can’t, but like some tech companies, it’s just like this faceless org and we’ve, intentionally went a different path.

So I appreciate you saying that.

Madame Alexa: Yes. And it’s, I think ultimately that’s what convinced me. To go with lifter versus all of the other LMS is, that I, saw that through you. I saw that I can be the teacher that I want to be online and they’re going to let me do that.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. Is there anything else on the lifter side that you like about the tool or the features or anything?

Madame Alexa: So many things. The number one thing is really how customizable it is. The, only thing I would say is that I wish I could customize even more. But yeah, to be able to in, the courses page, when you’ve got a student going through the activities it was really important for me that.

It’d be very uncluttered because the more buttons there are for a child, the more chances the kid has of getting lost. I had to remove a bunch of buttons like the mark is complete. I had to figure out a way for the system to recognize that. Yes. Okay. This activity was done. And we can move on to the next one without counting on the child to be like, yeah, okay, I’m done cause that’s, they’re not all able to do that, unfortunately. So I, really love that, that I could take out what I didn’t need. I could embed what I did need. That was really amazing. And it worked seamlessly with the different tools that I was using.

Chris Badgett: We, we get a lot of questions about making interactive content.

So I think you mentioned was it called Gina Lee or something?

Madame Alexa: Genially? Yeah. Yeah. It’s an amazing tool. Explain how you

Chris Badgett: did that inside of a lesson and Lifter LMS.

Madame Alexa: Yeah. Yeah. What I do is through my genially account that’s really where I’m creating the activity. I, have one part that’s the design.

So I do the design of the activity the way that I’ve imagined it in my head. I upload that into Genially, and then from Genially, I can make those different elements interactive. And so I can add a recording to it. I can make it so that when this is clicked, this happens and all of that stuff. Then once my activity is complete, then I generate like a a code to, So that people can, actually use it.

That’s a bit like a private code. Then I go into Lifter and under my lesson what I’ll do is I have to actually go through WordPress to do this. So I’ll go to WordPress. I will add an embed block and within that embed block, that’s where I put my link to the activity and there we go.

Nice. Nice. And then I make sure that it’s only accessible to the ones who are enrolled in the course.

Chris Badgett: Perfect. Yeah. Tell us more about the school or the classroom versus individual learner. How do you do that?

Madame Alexa: Yeah. I use your groups Add on, I guess we can call it that. Yeah. So I had to define the teacher role a little bit because my teachers are a little bit different than most teacher roles within higher education organized.

Because most of those organizations want their teachers to upload content and manage certain things, which is not the case for me. The content is entirely made by me. I don’t want the teachers to be playing around with that or adding their own content. That’s not really the goal, right?

I want to be an additional Like fully formed tool. I don’t want to add any additional work to them. So I really wanted it to be there and they, just have to add their students and then their students can do everything. On their own. So I have this teacher role who’s able to add her students, who’s able to see the progress of her students into the different activities.

And then each student just has their own login and is able to just go in and do the activities either in class or at home. So if the teacher wants to use one of my lessons to present it to the whole group and then have them do the follow up activity on the classroom iPads, then they can just log in and do that there.

Or she runs out of time. She wants them to do it at home. During the week when they have time, they’re able to do that.

Chris Badgett: Wow. That’s super cool. Super impressive. Inspiring too, to think of lifters up inside of a classrooms and

Madame Alexa: delivering all this on the smart boards directly. Wow.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. Tell us, there’s a common question we try to help people with on this podcast, which is how do you get students or clients or classrooms in your case?

Like, how did you get your learning platform to get traction in the

Madame Alexa: market? It’s very difficult. When I originally started, I was marketing it to schools so I was exclusively doing classroom access and the education system in Quebec is extremely complicated. I think in the United States as well, this is something that you’re grappling with.

But especially when you come in as a private institution, as a private business into a public institution, you’re seen with a wary eye, unfortunately. I think because they’re thinking, Oh, this person is trying to just make money and exploit my students for their business when it’s really not the case.

My ultimate goal is to just teach these children and make, French fun. And obviously we all need to make money to make our, businesses. Keep, surviving but I’m never going to be putting a student’s success at risk just so I can make a few more bucks.

That’s, not the point, right? So that was very difficult because I had to cold call the schools, very difficult to get in contact. With administration

in a school and then you have to prove yourself. So bring that message and make them believe in something that’s very new. So yeah, that, that was particularly difficult and considering I’m on my own, that was very rough. Because I, do think sales is a full time job and when you are a business owner, you already wear so many hats, you don’t necessarily have the time to be doing sales full time, especially when, like me, it is not your forte yeah, I found that particularly difficult, so I ended up pivoting a little bit more and gearing the service more towards So lately lots of online marketing campaigns to go and reach those parents and to see what we’re offering and, to see that this is an available option for them.

Because I think on top of getting parents to, to trust this whole the, education of their child to something, an online service. Beyond that, we’re presenting something that hasn’t really been done often. There’s a whole element of trust that I need to to get past as well before these parents.

So that has been particularly difficult. I do find that presenting that, that face and that personal element really helps. So yes videos are, great and informative and educational, but the fact that you’re a real person and they realize that has been extremely helpful. I’m really starting to, I’ve never been good with social media.

I, I, it doesn’t come naturally to me to share my life. I just never thought that I was interesting enough for that, that nobody would care. But it turns out people do care. I’ve been trying really hard to share tidbits of, my life, of learning French, of tricks that parents can use at home, even if they don’t speak French, to support their child.

So that’s been extremely helpful. I think we’re bringing a, personal element, and they see that this isn’t just a face behind a screen. This is a real person with with real things to offer. It’s not just a, voice on the other end.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Is it is it like Instagram and Facebook and Twitter?

Yeah,

Madame Alexa: exactly. Facebook and Instagram, especially. I haven’t tackled Twitter yet. I am tackling Tik

Chris Badgett: TOK. Oh, good for you. For what it’s worth, we have a a Spanish teacher who does really well on Tik

Madame Alexa: TOK, so yeah it’s, Impressive that when you don’t have a very short time limit like people are interested in learning and I feel like this is just a, bite size way to learn now.

And it’s so accessible that I think there’s something to do with that. Yeah, for sure. And the algorithm is. It’s crazy scary good. If, it recognizes, Hey, you’ve got an interest in learning languages here’s a content creator who’s going to help you do that. And then we end up on their for you page and that’s really great.

It’s very impressive.

Chris Badgett: That is good. I agree with you that that whole micro learning thing is. It’s really a trend for one, but number two, tick tock is really good at that.

Madame Alexa: Yes. And, I feel like it’s a whole new era. This isn’t something that we would have been able to do some 25 years ago, right?

When, everything wasn’t so accessible with, the internet and with every, everything out there. So I feel like. It’s okay to adapt to new realities and, to change learning in a way that just suits people better in the lives that they’re living today, right? Of how busy they are.

You have

Chris Badgett: a like a free trial program course on your site? Yes,

Madame Alexa: I do. Yeah. Tell us about the strategy

Chris Badgett: of that and how it works and what it does.

Madame Alexa: Yeah. Originally it came from when I was still approaching schools. I think that Teachers are very concerned that if they jump into a new tool, it’ll be more work for them because they’re going to have to learn how to use it, how to apply it, where can they fit it in their planning.

And I think there was a big block there. They needed to see that what I created was good pedagogically, right? That it was good content, but also that it was easy to use. And I wanted them to see. I think a lot of them couldn’t fathom the types of activities that I was able to create with these programs.

So it was really important for me to showcase just a couple of activities just so they see the potential and that they see oh, wow, this is really easy to use. And my students are really going to enjoy doing this. So that’s where the free trial initially came from. It was just I think five or six different activities just to give the flavor and to show them how easy it was to use, but to also see we’re not just we’re not just teaching vocabulary.

We’re looking at reading, we’re looking at writing, we’re looking at speaking. Like we’re really exploring the language through all of this. It’s facets. So I, wanted them to be able to play around with that and put up an activity on the board and just have their students explore it. So that’s where I came from originally.

And then when I started pivoting towards parents, I figured, Oh, it it might be good for them as well to show this to their child and be like, Hey, is this something that interests you? Is this something that my child would do? And when they see the interest to be like, Oh yeah, this is worth me spending the 29 a month for my kid to have access to a bunch of different activities like this.

So that’s where it came from.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I think that’s the best marketing you can do is a free course or free product. That’s, great. You mentioned a term and just for the non teachers out there, what is pedagogy or pedag? Pedagogical mean?

Madame Alexa: Pedagogical. So it means that there’s, a whole science to learning, right?

This is what we learn for four years in university, right? It’s how the brain works. How, is a completely new concept introduced to a young brain? And then gradually that learning solidifies in their brain to become something that’s fully acquired. So any, you can throw any fun, colorful activity at a child and they might do it and they might understand.

But how does that play into the building blocks of their knowledge and how do you use those blocks to gradually grow towards language learning and becoming fully bilingual. So that’s all of the thought that’s behind every activity. It’s not just fun. There’s, a, yeah, there’s, yeah, it’s not just we’re throwing in this number of activities just, just.

for giggles there, there is a, goal to each and every one of those and they all create building blocks so that the child can take what they learn, reuse it later, use that knowledge to push their learning further and, then build on that. So that’s what it is. It’s, not just willy nilly exercises.

It’s really there is the method to the madness.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. And if I’m understanding it does it come with a weekly video

Madame Alexa: call? Yes, it does. Yeah. Part of the package. Yeah. When the when the parent purchases a monthly access, they have access to the activities drip fed weekly because it was very important for me that we don’t overwhelm the child either.

Sometimes there’s just too much going on and that’s a great motivation killer. So I wanted them to. Take it slowly. And every week when they’re on their home screen, they have a big button that says register for this week’s call. And obviously I have limited spots available because it would get very chaotic with 50 kids in there at once.

So if the parent wants too. They just have to press that button and it registers them for the weekly call. And then they get a a Google meet link that they can then join. So at the time of the lesson every week, and then we get to go over what they’ve practiced during the week. So the different types of activities that they’ve done, what they’ve learned, I get to practice it with them, but in an authentic.

context, right? Like, how do you respond with that knowledge when a French speaker is asking you a question, right? And you got to think on your feet. So we keep those very short. They’re only 30 minutes. They’re very young learners, so their attention span is quite short. And again, we’re going with the idea of we want to keep learning.

So we don’t want it to drag on, we don’t want them to get bored with it. So this way we get to do a fun little activity, I can read them books sometimes we can have like fun little discussions and every month I also do a live book reading that’s free that any, parent can join. They don’t have to be registered.

So if they just want their child to be listening to a French story. read by a native French speaker. That’s free. They just have to join the Facebook page and, we do that every third Sunday of the month. So yeah, just a bunch of different fun ways to, make French learning authentic for them.

Chris Badgett: Wow, that’s awesome. And the you mentioned, I think current pricing was 29 a month. We get asked a lot about how to figure out what to charge or pricing. Any, advice there in, this education market or how you came up with that?

Madame Alexa: I found that extremely difficult as well. Obviously my pricing for is different from my pricing for parents because we’re talking about an access for 30 children for the entire school year versus a monthly access for one child.

So that was a big moment for me, even for my school pricing was very difficult. I ended up having to drop the price to something. Almost ridiculous and even then it was very difficult to sell to schools because it’s so hard to pass all of those barriers. So I knew that I needed to go with something that was easy to digest.

I think a lot of people when they talk about a monthly membership, they’re very quick to compare it to other monthly subscriptions like Netflix. They come to expect that. As a a monthly subscription price. Obviously we’re talking about education and not just entertainment. So I think that really was an added value to what I was offering.

But you want something that They that’s a no brainer right for them that it’s like this is a very small price to pay for your child to have quality education that’s added to what they learned at school every day. And when I, spoke to many different parents to see the different tools that they had used, what did they, that made sense for them? And that price range came back a lot. The 25 to 35 a month was something that was often mentioned. And I, wasn’t even talking about monthly prices. I was just like what would you be willing to pay? And they’re the ones who kept coming back with the monthly pricing.

And that’s when I started doing the monthly pricing. Cause I was like, okay, this makes sense to people. So let me do that. And and I figured why not just start right in between these two numbers and, go from there. So it is an introductory price right now. I don’t know how long that’s going to last.

I’m thinking that the more, because I’m constantly adding content to these this platform as well. So obviously, eventually, I’m thinking the price will increase. But right now, since it’s all very new I figured this was the ideal place to start. I hope that answers your question. It

Chris Badgett: does.

That was really good. I have found by the way that dollar a day, basically price point is a good price point for certain things. So I’m glad you found that spot. What about expansion or growth plans for the future? I guess you could do more grades or ages and then different countries or like, how do you think about the future?

Where do you want to go? Oh,

Madame Alexa: so many plans. Originally the idea was to create content from kindergarten to grade six. At the moment we only have early learning. So it’s grades one and two. So definitely going to be expanding from. K to at least four and maybe to six. If I see that the interest is there.

It is extremely time consuming to create the activities and to make them as good as I want them to be. So yeah, I have to put a lot of thought into that. It’s a lot of planning. It’s a lot of creation. That’s a lot of testing before it’s put out there. Yeah. So for sure, I want To grow that I’d also like to keep adding on to the current activities that I have so that there’s more I’m going to be visiting Western Canada very shortly so that I can compare the immersion programs over there to the ones.

over here and see what the differences are so that I can better adapt to their needs. So that’s a growth that’s going to be happening very shortly on the school side. Eventually I would like to start marketing this to the US as well, because I think that if this is good enough for English speaking Canadian parents who want their child to speak French, then why wouldn’t it be for, you guys, right?

I think that language learning is so beneficial everywhere, especially today. And especially considering French is such a popular language. I can definitely see some parents wanting to give additional opportunities to their child and, seeing how easy it can be, right? And that they don’t need to.

the language to be able to give their child that opportunity. So that’s something I definitely want to go towards. And you’re the first to hear this. We’re currently developing a, an AI tool, a conversational AI tool specifically for children. So that outside of those. Live 30 minute calls if the child wants to practice their language learning, they’re going to be able to do that with a cartoon version of me, who’s going to ask them questions and respond to what they say.

So we’re working on that right now.

Chris Badgett: Wow. Do you know what that AI tech is called? Oh

Madame Alexa: boy, I do not. Clearly not my area of expertise. That is my husband’s. It’s definitely his passion project right now. So I’m, working on all of the educational side of it and the I guess the knowledge that goes into that.

That data but yeah, I couldn’t even give you a specific name. I have no idea.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. No worries. It’s interesting time for AI and it’s amazing how fast changing and what happens even over a year.

Madame Alexa: Yeah. And the possibilities are just endless. I’m constantly amazed with what he’s showing me that it can accomplish.

I I threw that idea one day because. What I do, right? Every morning I wake up with a new idea and I’m like, we should do this and expected that to be like a unicorn project in 20 years and then he goes no, you don’t understand. This is moving fast. This is possible.

And I was like, really? I feel like it’s way more complicated than you think it is. And he’s no, And within I want to say a week he had the very basic prototype done and the, voice side of it is a little bit complicated given. But it’s, working now. But when he made me try it after a week it was still written.

Which is great for older kids, but younger kids it’s is more complicated. And he had me write to it and talk to it as if I was a kid and it was responding and it was responding well. So I was very impressed with everything that we can accomplish with this. Now it’s, unharnessed, but So many possibilities, especially in learning we, could really take language education to a whole new level before, if you wanted to become a fluent speaker, you needed to put yourself in an environment where people around you spoke that language.

And now potentially we’re talking about. That might not be necessary anymore. Obviously it’s preferred if you’re stuck alone in the middle of a country where French speakers are, scarce that’s not going to stop you anymore, which I think is absolutely amazing.

Chris Badgett: That is really cool.

Yeah. AI as a tutor, particularly trained on your material and style content. There’s just so much there.

Madame Alexa: Yeah, absolutely. I wanted to be able to also analyze the speaker’s level and where they’re at and then recommend specific activities to work on. Their challenges based on that. So that’s the the end goal as well.

Chris Badgett: Adaptive learning. Very cool.

Madame Alexa: Exactly. Good job.

Chris Badgett: A couple more questions before we land the plane here, Alexa. Do you remember the time that went by from, okay, I think I want to try to build this site that does this thing to getting your first paying student or classroom on board?

Madame Alexa: You mean like from, the conception of the idea to actually getting it done?

To

Chris Badgett: getting it done and having your first customer.

Madame Alexa: So I started getting the idea in 2020 when we were teaching online. I started creating the material I want to say in 2021 or 2022. And I got my first paying customer. I think six months within building like the, bones of the platform. So it was very fast at first and then it came almost to a complete stop.

I think a lot of entrepreneurs definitely live that. Yeah. And, that’s exactly what happened to me. So it was working extremely well. And then It just froze because then it wasn’t just like my, immediate contacts, I had to push this further. And like I said, sales and marketing, I knew absolutely nothing about.

So I think there was a big adaptation period there where I had to be like, okay I’m going to have to put in some real effort for this. So yeah, but yes, initially it happened fairly quickly. I was making more than my costs. So I, was profitable within six months of, creating it. Which I’m, told is something to be proud of.

Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think the, only reason that I was able to do that was because I have an online service, right? So I, it’s not like I have to pay an office or all of these material production costs to be able to do it. So yeah, it’s it’s a whole new era of business now.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. What advice do you have for somebody else who’s a language learning instructor who has a deep passion like you do and they’re inspired by something like this? What advice would you have for them?

Madame Alexa: I would tell them to have a clear plan in mind and to not expect things to be easy.

I think that teachers already make they, daily they’re doing a job that is extremely demanding. So I know that they’re not afraid of hard work, but this is a different kind of hard work. So I think. Yeah to, be aware that you’re going to need to wear a lot of different hats. And if you’ve got a passion for learning, it’s great because you will be learning a lot.

So for sure to carefully research what you’re going to be, the tools that you’re going to be using. Because they are going to really make a difference in Your, product or your service being successful. But also you want to be able to do your thing. So you need to be using tools that you can trust and so that you’re not constantly handling technical issues versus doing what you’re actually wanting to do.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. Thanks for that, Alexa. And that’s at madamaise. com. Any other for the people to connect with you on the internet?

Madame Alexa: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So the Facebook page for Madame A’s and the Instagram is at madame. As. ca. And always free for a call if you want more information. So you can just write to me directly.

That’s alexa, a l e x a, at madameas. com. So that’s my personal email. So if anybody wants to know a little bit more, to ask me questions, I am always

Chris Badgett: available. Alexa, thanks for coming on the show and thank you for being an inspiring example of a language learning entrepreneur. I’m really impressed.

I can’t wait to see, we’ll have to do this again a couple of years down the

Madame Alexa: road. Yes, I would love that.

Chris Badgett: Thanks so much for coming. We really appreciate it. Thank

Madame Alexa: you so much for having us. It really makes a difference for small businesses to to be able to be put front and center like that. So I really appreciate it.

Thank you for all the work you do. You bet. Have a great.

And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMS cast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. And I’ve got a gift for you over at LifterLMS. Go to lifterlms. com forward slash gift.

Keep learning, keep taking action, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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เนื้อหาจัดทำโดย By WordPress LMS Elearning Expert Chris Badgett and Entrepreneur & Online Marketing Business Strategy Expert Chris Badgett on Teaching, Education, WordPress Development & Online Business., By WordPress LMS Elearning Expert Chris Badgett, Online Marketing Business Strategy Expert Chris Badgett on Teaching, WordPress Development, and Online Business. เนื้อหาพอดแคสต์ทั้งหมด รวมถึงตอน กราฟิก และคำอธิบายพอดแคสต์ได้รับการอัปโหลดและจัดหาให้โดยตรงจาก By WordPress LMS Elearning Expert Chris Badgett and Entrepreneur & Online Marketing Business Strategy Expert Chris Badgett on Teaching, Education, WordPress Development & Online Business., By WordPress LMS Elearning Expert Chris Badgett, Online Marketing Business Strategy Expert Chris Badgett on Teaching, WordPress Development, and Online Business. หรือพันธมิตรแพลตฟอร์มพอดแคสต์ของพวกเขา หากคุณเชื่อว่ามีบุคคลอื่นใช้งานที่มีลิขสิทธิ์ของคุณโดยไม่ได้รับอนุญาต คุณสามารถปฏิบัติตามขั้นตอนที่แสดงไว้ที่นี่ https://th.player.fm/legal

In this LMScast episode, Madame Alexa describes how she went from working as a teacher in a program that immerses students in French to launching her own online language learning website. She decided to make her own interactive games and activities to fill the resource vacuum for younger learners in French immersion programs, with the goal of helping them acquire the language more successfully.

Alexa is owner of Madame A’s. She talks about how she creates classes using a combination of interactive features, video tutorials, and other activities to keep kids interested and learning at their own speed. Madame Alexa also discusses the technologies she uses, such as Elementor for WordPress website design, Genially for interactive activities, and recording tools for providing voice instructions.

Madame Alexa also reveals that her husband suggested WordPress to her as a versatile platform that would enable her to personalize her website and incorporate necessary capabilities like translation using the Polylang plugin.

She created a full platform with an LMS for children’s language learning, even though she was new to WordPress. According to Madame Alexa, she did a lot of research before finding LifterLMS, and she thought it was one of the few platforms that let her tailor her services for both individual parents and classroom environments.

Here’s Where To Go Next…

Get the Course Creator Starter Kit to help you (or your client) create, launch, and scale a high-value online learning website.

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Browse more recent episodes of the LMScast podcast here or explore the entire back catalog since 2014.

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Episode Transcript

Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking to create, launch, and scale a high value online training program, I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co founder of LifterLMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress. Stay to the end. I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show.

Hello and welcome back to another episode of LMSCast. I’m joined by a special guest. Her name is Madame Aize. She’s from madameaize. com. She does language learning teaching over the internet. It’s French immersion from home. Welcome to the show, Madame A. Thank

Madame Alexa: you so much. You can just call me Alexa for this interview.

That’s totally fine. The kids called me Madame Alexa. I have a lot of different names.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. I’ll do it. I’ll do Alexa because my French is not that good. No problem. I did spend a, I was in France this past year. I spent some time in the Chamonix Valley area and had a ball there, but I also spent a lot of time in Canada.

Quebec’s an awesome place as well.

Madame Alexa: Perfect. It is lovely. I do really enjoy living here.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. Tell us the origin story of how you started teaching French in online or in person. Like where, did the website Madame A’s come to be?

Madame Alexa: Absolutely. I was a teacher for seven years in the French immersion program in Quebec.

So for anybody who’s not really familiar with that, it’s basically a school program in French, where most of the students that will register either don’t speak French at home at all, so they’re from an English household or their parents might speak French at home, but they absolutely want their child to be bilingual.

A little bit of a background on the education system here in Quebec specifically, you when you are in the francophone system, you have about one hour of English a week. You can imagine that a lot of people are not becoming bilingual with that program. And in the English program as well, they have about one hour of French a week.

So again not, great if you want your child to be bilingual. So the immersion program is really everything is completely in French for the most part. And you have one hour of English a day. And when the kids get a little bit older, like in grades five and six, they actually have six hours a week.

So you, you get that additional hour as well in there. I taught on the French side of a French immersion program for seven years. And I got to live the pandemic teaching online with a grade one class, which is very interesting. So most of my colleagues were ripping their hair out trying to figure something out online and I’ve always really enjoyed.

technology and educational technology, and I really saw this as an opportunity to teach differently. I was going online, I was creating these self paced plans for my students, which is not something that’s doable in a classroom, but I’m like, hey, we’re online, we could do this, let’s do it.

And I was finding that there were very few resources made, especially for younger learners. And even more so when we fell into French immersion. So what usually happens with French immersion is that they’re not second language learners, so it’s not as basic, but they’re not necessarily at the level of a mother tongue French speaker either.

So we have this very large middle area. That’s rarely covered. And not a lot of material has been created for that level, so I decided well, this isn’t out there and I need it, so let me create it myself. I think I’ve got the skills to do this. I started creating these little interactive games for my students and they responded extremely well to it.

So well that during my last year of teaching I replaced all of my homework with these interactive games. That was their, lessons, their review. They would be doing it through these activities. So they would learn with me during the week and then they would go home and practice through these games.

And the parents really appreciated it because they used to tell me I always have to fight with my kid to do their homework, to practice this language, but. Every time it’s your games, it’s never an issue. So I saw that there was something to do with this. So I decided to leave teaching entirely at the end of the last school year.

And I’ve been doing this full time since July. So all of the activities are now online and here we are.

Chris Badgett: Wow. That is really cool. Tell us more about the games, like from an instructional design standpoint, like what are

Madame Alexa: they? Yeah. I try to do a mix of a lot of different things. It’s important for me to lay the foundations first.

Usually what I’ll do is I will have an interactive kind of image that the child can click around and can listen to my voice. So they’re like discovering through doing and then once, So instead of having a teacher just talk them through what they need to learn, they get to explore it themselves.

In other instances, I’ll also have video lessons if it’s really a concept that’s important that, that is explained to them. I’ll have it in a video and I, find it nice. especially for the younger ones who don’t necessarily have that attention span to be able to come back to it, hear it as many times as they need to, take a break in between the lesson if they need to.

And then what I do is I’ll have a couple of different activities that can be scrambled letters, it can be a word search, it can be a quiz I really try to vary it so that they never know what to expect and it keeps them on their toes. And then I take what’s been taught and I have them apply it to a bunch of different concepts.

So very pedagogical. Wow. And they really get to use their knowledge in a bunch of different contexts.

Chris Badgett: So cool. I wish I had you as a French teacher when I was younger.

Madame Alexa: Thanks. I would have loved that. It’s never too late to learn. Don’t worry.

Chris Badgett: That’s true. That’s true. Tell us about your technology stack.

What tools do you use to deliver all this?

Madame Alexa: Yeah this is a little bit complicated because I do not have a background in programming or anything like that. And what I was finding with most of these LMS tools is that they were designed for adult learners, right? We know that online teaching is extremely popular for adults in higher education, but it hasn’t been exploited as much, I think, as it could have for children.

So that was something that a big problem that I was running into was that these, LMSs are very busy. They’re very they have a lot of things that children don’t know how to handle or it’s not valuable to their learning. So I needed something that I would be able to really edit a lot.

But at the same time, I it’s got to be if, we’re talking about coding, I’m, it’s very limited what I can do. So I use a bunch of different programs depending on what I’m doing. If I am doing a an activity, then I’ll often go with Genially, which is an amazing tool. So that really lets me add a bunch of interactive elements.

And, put in the designs that I want, which is really nice. And then I will use a bunch of recording tools as well, so that I can add my voice to all of those interactive elements. Because a lot of these students don’t necessarily know how to read, so they need to be able to hear the instructions versus doing them.

And for the design of the website, then that was Elementor that I was using. Which was extremely helpful for somebody like me who has never done a website in her life. So really appreciated that Lifter and Elementric could work together.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. It may surprise you, but I’m not a coder as well.

I I, work with WordPress and tools that you move around. And yes, luckily for me, I have engineering talent on the team and partnership, so I’m able to make it happen. But I’m really impressed with what you’ve been able to do, both from a design standpoint and just making learning fun, I think that’s really the most important thing.

Madame Alexa: Thanks. That’s really the, ultimate goal, right? Is to make sure these kids can have fun and learn at their own pace. I’m so reassured that you say that because I’m like, look at Chris accomplishing everything and he doesn’t have a background in programming either. So it’s all good to go.

Chris Badgett: I don’t need it.

WordPress is for everybody really. It’s, the main goal was to democratize publishing and we just build on top of that with democratizing education is, there can you tell us a little bit about your WordPress journey?

Madame Alexa: Yes, I’m sorry. I seem to be having a bit of a problem with my camera.

Just give me one second. I’m gonna try to fix that.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, no problem. Your audio is still coming through just fine.

Madame Alexa: Okay, that’s good at least. Let me keep talking while I try to fix that. Sorry, what was your question?

Chris Badgett: What was your, like, how long have you been involved with WordPress as a technology?

Madame Alexa: So I, this was my first stint with WordPress actually. So yeah, it’s completely, new here. Oh, there we are. Yeah. What I had done originally with the website is that I had taken a a platform that had the LMS and the website together. But it didn’t work out for me because I needed, like I explained, I needed to modify so many different things and it just was not letting me do that.

And my husband works in, tech, and he’s the one who originally suggested WordPress because he’s you need to be able to adapt a bunch of different things and still have a skeleton. So this seems like the ideal situation, right? This is, the ultimate tool to be able to do that.

That’s how we got involved with WordPress to begin with. The original issue I was coming across was that I couldn’t translate my website with the other platform I was using, which is a huge problem in Quebec. Everybody expects things to be available in French and in English, even if it’s a French learning program.

For kids clearly designed to English marketed towards English speaking parents. You will absolutely get judged if your stuff isn’t also available in French. So that was something that was extremely important that I needed to do quickly. That’s what pushed me towards WordPress.

And then when I saw how much I could adapt to what I wanted to do and find the tools to really fulfill my vision, I was like, all right this is it. This is where we need to go.

Chris Badgett: Do you know offhand, like how that French English button on your menu works?

Madame Alexa: Do I know how it works?

Chris Badgett: Yeah, like what tools you’re using to make that happen or anything?

Madame Alexa: Yes, I do. It’s called, it’s a plugin called Polylang. Okay. Yeah, so it’s, not magical. But it does let me have basically every time that I create a page I can, Tell WordPress like this is the page in English and then duplicate it and explain this is the page in French and then translate the entire thing.

So I still have to do the translations myself but it lets WordPress know okay, when the person clicks this button, we’re going to this, the version of this page that’s in French, basically.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. Yeah. Very well done. Thanks. I’m impressed this is your first WordPress site. It’s pretty awesome.

Really? Oh,

Madame Alexa: thank you. It’s so nice to hear because I’m always worried that it’s not it’s not as good as it could be. So it’s, always nice hearing

Chris Badgett: that. It’s it’s, not just like a static website for a business. It’s like the whole thing. And you’re using advanced tools like translation and LMS.

And yeah, it’s there’s a lot going on. So it’s impressive.

Madame Alexa: Yes. In the beginning, it was a little bit overwhelming. I think now finally I’ve got it somewhere that I, like it. So I’ve been able to spend a bit less time on the website and a bit more time on my actual content which has been really nice.

It is definitely a big a big challenge in the beginning because you’re, learning a bunch of different. new tools at once. But yeah, I finally got it to I think where I want it to be. And I think it’s really nice to have all of these. It feels like limitless, right? All of the options that you can have with the plugins.

So I know that when I’m ready to crank it up a notch or add something else there’s, a ton of different tools out there that I could potentially add.

Chris Badgett: Do you remember how you found LFTR LMS or how you got, into that whole world? Research

Madame Alexa: Research Yeah I, at first I was like, there’s gotta be a business up there doing LMSs for children.

And there are. But it’s almost as if, as soon as you’re talking about doing something for kids, they want to really restrain what you’re able to do with it. And none of them I feel like the, concept of my business, obviously it’s not revolutionary. There are online games and online platforms for, children learning languages.

But none of them do exactly what I do, which is really a mix of a bunch of different types of activities. It was really important for me that everything was in one place so that if the child wanted to do it independently, they could. And I think that’s something that really hasn’t been exploited much.

So every single thing. tool LMS that I was finding was too restrictive one way or another. So that’s how I ended up doing a bunch of research for different different LMSs that would really let me customize. And that’s how I came upon LFTR and saw, okay, there’s a bunch of different things that I can do here.

And my service can be bought directly by parents. Who just want their child to have an additional tool at home, but they can also be bought by schools. So classroom access where you’ve got a teacher with a group of 30 students who are all advancing at different paces. And it was difficult to find a tool that would let me have.

Those two worlds working parallel with each other. And LFTR was one of the only ones who were letting me do that the way that I wanted to. That’s awesome. Yeah, but it was months of research comparing and trying things out.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. It’s a little overwhelming with how many, there’s 500 LMS is out

Madame Alexa: there.

There’s a lot. Yeah, there’s a lot. There’s a lot. Yeah. But I think that my vision was so clear and detailed and I knew exactly what I needed. So it was fairly easy for me to go through them and be like, okay, no, this one’s not going to work. It doesn’t have this. This is a non negotiable for me. So I had a couple of points like that, that I knew.

If this is not available, there’s no way I can do this. There’s no way I can put my eggs in this basket and I knew that it was going to be a huge commitment because I’m, trusting this platform to, hold all of my content, to hold my business in their hands and, not let me down.

Let me do what I want to do, because this, is literally my entire product. So yeah you, guys, this is Came in and got me there. I was like, oh, yeah, I feel like I can trust these guys and Will is amazing Every time I was stuck I could go look at a video that he’d done and I was like, alright I feel like somebody’s holding my hand here at all times every time I need him So it’s like a running joke between me and my husband When I don’t know how to do something, he’s have you checked a will?

I’m sure. And then when I get really stuck, if he hasn’t, then he’s joined the lives a couple of times, cause he’s I’m so interested in, the way that they do things you’ve inspired. He’s a I’m going to try to get his title, right? He’s a product manager in a tech company. And he’s enjoyed the way that you’ve done certain things so much that it’s inspired.

His job. And he’s gotten things implemented in his business that because he thought you guys were doing it so well. So like the lives, for example, he’s we should do something like that. This is amazing. So thank you. You’ve helped two different businesses with lifter.

Chris Badgett: That’s amazing.

Thanks a lot for saying that. And I’ll definitely pass that on to will as, well. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. One of our philosophies is. We don’t hide behind the website which, you don’t as a language learner or teacher, you can’t, but like some tech companies, it’s just like this faceless org and we’ve, intentionally went a different path.

So I appreciate you saying that.

Madame Alexa: Yes. And it’s, I think ultimately that’s what convinced me. To go with lifter versus all of the other LMS is, that I, saw that through you. I saw that I can be the teacher that I want to be online and they’re going to let me do that.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. Is there anything else on the lifter side that you like about the tool or the features or anything?

Madame Alexa: So many things. The number one thing is really how customizable it is. The, only thing I would say is that I wish I could customize even more. But yeah, to be able to in, the courses page, when you’ve got a student going through the activities it was really important for me that.

It’d be very uncluttered because the more buttons there are for a child, the more chances the kid has of getting lost. I had to remove a bunch of buttons like the mark is complete. I had to figure out a way for the system to recognize that. Yes. Okay. This activity was done. And we can move on to the next one without counting on the child to be like, yeah, okay, I’m done cause that’s, they’re not all able to do that, unfortunately. So I, really love that, that I could take out what I didn’t need. I could embed what I did need. That was really amazing. And it worked seamlessly with the different tools that I was using.

Chris Badgett: We, we get a lot of questions about making interactive content.

So I think you mentioned was it called Gina Lee or something?

Madame Alexa: Genially? Yeah. Yeah. It’s an amazing tool. Explain how you

Chris Badgett: did that inside of a lesson and Lifter LMS.

Madame Alexa: Yeah. Yeah. What I do is through my genially account that’s really where I’m creating the activity. I, have one part that’s the design.

So I do the design of the activity the way that I’ve imagined it in my head. I upload that into Genially, and then from Genially, I can make those different elements interactive. And so I can add a recording to it. I can make it so that when this is clicked, this happens and all of that stuff. Then once my activity is complete, then I generate like a a code to, So that people can, actually use it.

That’s a bit like a private code. Then I go into Lifter and under my lesson what I’ll do is I have to actually go through WordPress to do this. So I’ll go to WordPress. I will add an embed block and within that embed block, that’s where I put my link to the activity and there we go.

Nice. Nice. And then I make sure that it’s only accessible to the ones who are enrolled in the course.

Chris Badgett: Perfect. Yeah. Tell us more about the school or the classroom versus individual learner. How do you do that?

Madame Alexa: Yeah. I use your groups Add on, I guess we can call it that. Yeah. So I had to define the teacher role a little bit because my teachers are a little bit different than most teacher roles within higher education organized.

Because most of those organizations want their teachers to upload content and manage certain things, which is not the case for me. The content is entirely made by me. I don’t want the teachers to be playing around with that or adding their own content. That’s not really the goal, right?

I want to be an additional Like fully formed tool. I don’t want to add any additional work to them. So I really wanted it to be there and they, just have to add their students and then their students can do everything. On their own. So I have this teacher role who’s able to add her students, who’s able to see the progress of her students into the different activities.

And then each student just has their own login and is able to just go in and do the activities either in class or at home. So if the teacher wants to use one of my lessons to present it to the whole group and then have them do the follow up activity on the classroom iPads, then they can just log in and do that there.

Or she runs out of time. She wants them to do it at home. During the week when they have time, they’re able to do that.

Chris Badgett: Wow. That’s super cool. Super impressive. Inspiring too, to think of lifters up inside of a classrooms and

Madame Alexa: delivering all this on the smart boards directly. Wow.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. Tell us, there’s a common question we try to help people with on this podcast, which is how do you get students or clients or classrooms in your case?

Like, how did you get your learning platform to get traction in the

Madame Alexa: market? It’s very difficult. When I originally started, I was marketing it to schools so I was exclusively doing classroom access and the education system in Quebec is extremely complicated. I think in the United States as well, this is something that you’re grappling with.

But especially when you come in as a private institution, as a private business into a public institution, you’re seen with a wary eye, unfortunately. I think because they’re thinking, Oh, this person is trying to just make money and exploit my students for their business when it’s really not the case.

My ultimate goal is to just teach these children and make, French fun. And obviously we all need to make money to make our, businesses. Keep, surviving but I’m never going to be putting a student’s success at risk just so I can make a few more bucks.

That’s, not the point, right? So that was very difficult because I had to cold call the schools, very difficult to get in contact. With administration

in a school and then you have to prove yourself. So bring that message and make them believe in something that’s very new. So yeah, that, that was particularly difficult and considering I’m on my own, that was very rough. Because I, do think sales is a full time job and when you are a business owner, you already wear so many hats, you don’t necessarily have the time to be doing sales full time, especially when, like me, it is not your forte yeah, I found that particularly difficult, so I ended up pivoting a little bit more and gearing the service more towards So lately lots of online marketing campaigns to go and reach those parents and to see what we’re offering and, to see that this is an available option for them.

Because I think on top of getting parents to, to trust this whole the, education of their child to something, an online service. Beyond that, we’re presenting something that hasn’t really been done often. There’s a whole element of trust that I need to to get past as well before these parents.

So that has been particularly difficult. I do find that presenting that, that face and that personal element really helps. So yes videos are, great and informative and educational, but the fact that you’re a real person and they realize that has been extremely helpful. I’m really starting to, I’ve never been good with social media.

I, I, it doesn’t come naturally to me to share my life. I just never thought that I was interesting enough for that, that nobody would care. But it turns out people do care. I’ve been trying really hard to share tidbits of, my life, of learning French, of tricks that parents can use at home, even if they don’t speak French, to support their child.

So that’s been extremely helpful. I think we’re bringing a, personal element, and they see that this isn’t just a face behind a screen. This is a real person with with real things to offer. It’s not just a, voice on the other end.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Is it is it like Instagram and Facebook and Twitter?

Yeah,

Madame Alexa: exactly. Facebook and Instagram, especially. I haven’t tackled Twitter yet. I am tackling Tik

Chris Badgett: TOK. Oh, good for you. For what it’s worth, we have a a Spanish teacher who does really well on Tik

Madame Alexa: TOK, so yeah it’s, Impressive that when you don’t have a very short time limit like people are interested in learning and I feel like this is just a, bite size way to learn now.

And it’s so accessible that I think there’s something to do with that. Yeah, for sure. And the algorithm is. It’s crazy scary good. If, it recognizes, Hey, you’ve got an interest in learning languages here’s a content creator who’s going to help you do that. And then we end up on their for you page and that’s really great.

It’s very impressive.

Chris Badgett: That is good. I agree with you that that whole micro learning thing is. It’s really a trend for one, but number two, tick tock is really good at that.

Madame Alexa: Yes. And, I feel like it’s a whole new era. This isn’t something that we would have been able to do some 25 years ago, right?

When, everything wasn’t so accessible with, the internet and with every, everything out there. So I feel like. It’s okay to adapt to new realities and, to change learning in a way that just suits people better in the lives that they’re living today, right? Of how busy they are.

You have

Chris Badgett: a like a free trial program course on your site? Yes,

Madame Alexa: I do. Yeah. Tell us about the strategy

Chris Badgett: of that and how it works and what it does.

Madame Alexa: Yeah. Originally it came from when I was still approaching schools. I think that Teachers are very concerned that if they jump into a new tool, it’ll be more work for them because they’re going to have to learn how to use it, how to apply it, where can they fit it in their planning.

And I think there was a big block there. They needed to see that what I created was good pedagogically, right? That it was good content, but also that it was easy to use. And I wanted them to see. I think a lot of them couldn’t fathom the types of activities that I was able to create with these programs.

So it was really important for me to showcase just a couple of activities just so they see the potential and that they see oh, wow, this is really easy to use. And my students are really going to enjoy doing this. So that’s where the free trial initially came from. It was just I think five or six different activities just to give the flavor and to show them how easy it was to use, but to also see we’re not just we’re not just teaching vocabulary.

We’re looking at reading, we’re looking at writing, we’re looking at speaking. Like we’re really exploring the language through all of this. It’s facets. So I, wanted them to be able to play around with that and put up an activity on the board and just have their students explore it. So that’s where I came from originally.

And then when I started pivoting towards parents, I figured, Oh, it it might be good for them as well to show this to their child and be like, Hey, is this something that interests you? Is this something that my child would do? And when they see the interest to be like, Oh yeah, this is worth me spending the 29 a month for my kid to have access to a bunch of different activities like this.

So that’s where it came from.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I think that’s the best marketing you can do is a free course or free product. That’s, great. You mentioned a term and just for the non teachers out there, what is pedagogy or pedag? Pedagogical mean?

Madame Alexa: Pedagogical. So it means that there’s, a whole science to learning, right?

This is what we learn for four years in university, right? It’s how the brain works. How, is a completely new concept introduced to a young brain? And then gradually that learning solidifies in their brain to become something that’s fully acquired. So any, you can throw any fun, colorful activity at a child and they might do it and they might understand.

But how does that play into the building blocks of their knowledge and how do you use those blocks to gradually grow towards language learning and becoming fully bilingual. So that’s all of the thought that’s behind every activity. It’s not just fun. There’s, a, yeah, there’s, yeah, it’s not just we’re throwing in this number of activities just, just.

for giggles there, there is a, goal to each and every one of those and they all create building blocks so that the child can take what they learn, reuse it later, use that knowledge to push their learning further and, then build on that. So that’s what it is. It’s, not just willy nilly exercises.

It’s really there is the method to the madness.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. And if I’m understanding it does it come with a weekly video

Madame Alexa: call? Yes, it does. Yeah. Part of the package. Yeah. When the when the parent purchases a monthly access, they have access to the activities drip fed weekly because it was very important for me that we don’t overwhelm the child either.

Sometimes there’s just too much going on and that’s a great motivation killer. So I wanted them to. Take it slowly. And every week when they’re on their home screen, they have a big button that says register for this week’s call. And obviously I have limited spots available because it would get very chaotic with 50 kids in there at once.

So if the parent wants too. They just have to press that button and it registers them for the weekly call. And then they get a a Google meet link that they can then join. So at the time of the lesson every week, and then we get to go over what they’ve practiced during the week. So the different types of activities that they’ve done, what they’ve learned, I get to practice it with them, but in an authentic.

context, right? Like, how do you respond with that knowledge when a French speaker is asking you a question, right? And you got to think on your feet. So we keep those very short. They’re only 30 minutes. They’re very young learners, so their attention span is quite short. And again, we’re going with the idea of we want to keep learning.

So we don’t want it to drag on, we don’t want them to get bored with it. So this way we get to do a fun little activity, I can read them books sometimes we can have like fun little discussions and every month I also do a live book reading that’s free that any, parent can join. They don’t have to be registered.

So if they just want their child to be listening to a French story. read by a native French speaker. That’s free. They just have to join the Facebook page and, we do that every third Sunday of the month. So yeah, just a bunch of different fun ways to, make French learning authentic for them.

Chris Badgett: Wow, that’s awesome. And the you mentioned, I think current pricing was 29 a month. We get asked a lot about how to figure out what to charge or pricing. Any, advice there in, this education market or how you came up with that?

Madame Alexa: I found that extremely difficult as well. Obviously my pricing for is different from my pricing for parents because we’re talking about an access for 30 children for the entire school year versus a monthly access for one child.

So that was a big moment for me, even for my school pricing was very difficult. I ended up having to drop the price to something. Almost ridiculous and even then it was very difficult to sell to schools because it’s so hard to pass all of those barriers. So I knew that I needed to go with something that was easy to digest.

I think a lot of people when they talk about a monthly membership, they’re very quick to compare it to other monthly subscriptions like Netflix. They come to expect that. As a a monthly subscription price. Obviously we’re talking about education and not just entertainment. So I think that really was an added value to what I was offering.

But you want something that They that’s a no brainer right for them that it’s like this is a very small price to pay for your child to have quality education that’s added to what they learned at school every day. And when I, spoke to many different parents to see the different tools that they had used, what did they, that made sense for them? And that price range came back a lot. The 25 to 35 a month was something that was often mentioned. And I, wasn’t even talking about monthly prices. I was just like what would you be willing to pay? And they’re the ones who kept coming back with the monthly pricing.

And that’s when I started doing the monthly pricing. Cause I was like, okay, this makes sense to people. So let me do that. And and I figured why not just start right in between these two numbers and, go from there. So it is an introductory price right now. I don’t know how long that’s going to last.

I’m thinking that the more, because I’m constantly adding content to these this platform as well. So obviously, eventually, I’m thinking the price will increase. But right now, since it’s all very new I figured this was the ideal place to start. I hope that answers your question. It

Chris Badgett: does.

That was really good. I have found by the way that dollar a day, basically price point is a good price point for certain things. So I’m glad you found that spot. What about expansion or growth plans for the future? I guess you could do more grades or ages and then different countries or like, how do you think about the future?

Where do you want to go? Oh,

Madame Alexa: so many plans. Originally the idea was to create content from kindergarten to grade six. At the moment we only have early learning. So it’s grades one and two. So definitely going to be expanding from. K to at least four and maybe to six. If I see that the interest is there.

It is extremely time consuming to create the activities and to make them as good as I want them to be. So yeah, I have to put a lot of thought into that. It’s a lot of planning. It’s a lot of creation. That’s a lot of testing before it’s put out there. Yeah. So for sure, I want To grow that I’d also like to keep adding on to the current activities that I have so that there’s more I’m going to be visiting Western Canada very shortly so that I can compare the immersion programs over there to the ones.

over here and see what the differences are so that I can better adapt to their needs. So that’s a growth that’s going to be happening very shortly on the school side. Eventually I would like to start marketing this to the US as well, because I think that if this is good enough for English speaking Canadian parents who want their child to speak French, then why wouldn’t it be for, you guys, right?

I think that language learning is so beneficial everywhere, especially today. And especially considering French is such a popular language. I can definitely see some parents wanting to give additional opportunities to their child and, seeing how easy it can be, right? And that they don’t need to.

the language to be able to give their child that opportunity. So that’s something I definitely want to go towards. And you’re the first to hear this. We’re currently developing a, an AI tool, a conversational AI tool specifically for children. So that outside of those. Live 30 minute calls if the child wants to practice their language learning, they’re going to be able to do that with a cartoon version of me, who’s going to ask them questions and respond to what they say.

So we’re working on that right now.

Chris Badgett: Wow. Do you know what that AI tech is called? Oh

Madame Alexa: boy, I do not. Clearly not my area of expertise. That is my husband’s. It’s definitely his passion project right now. So I’m, working on all of the educational side of it and the I guess the knowledge that goes into that.

That data but yeah, I couldn’t even give you a specific name. I have no idea.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. No worries. It’s interesting time for AI and it’s amazing how fast changing and what happens even over a year.

Madame Alexa: Yeah. And the possibilities are just endless. I’m constantly amazed with what he’s showing me that it can accomplish.

I I threw that idea one day because. What I do, right? Every morning I wake up with a new idea and I’m like, we should do this and expected that to be like a unicorn project in 20 years and then he goes no, you don’t understand. This is moving fast. This is possible.

And I was like, really? I feel like it’s way more complicated than you think it is. And he’s no, And within I want to say a week he had the very basic prototype done and the, voice side of it is a little bit complicated given. But it’s, working now. But when he made me try it after a week it was still written.

Which is great for older kids, but younger kids it’s is more complicated. And he had me write to it and talk to it as if I was a kid and it was responding and it was responding well. So I was very impressed with everything that we can accomplish with this. Now it’s, unharnessed, but So many possibilities, especially in learning we, could really take language education to a whole new level before, if you wanted to become a fluent speaker, you needed to put yourself in an environment where people around you spoke that language.

And now potentially we’re talking about. That might not be necessary anymore. Obviously it’s preferred if you’re stuck alone in the middle of a country where French speakers are, scarce that’s not going to stop you anymore, which I think is absolutely amazing.

Chris Badgett: That is really cool.

Yeah. AI as a tutor, particularly trained on your material and style content. There’s just so much there.

Madame Alexa: Yeah, absolutely. I wanted to be able to also analyze the speaker’s level and where they’re at and then recommend specific activities to work on. Their challenges based on that. So that’s the the end goal as well.

Chris Badgett: Adaptive learning. Very cool.

Madame Alexa: Exactly. Good job.

Chris Badgett: A couple more questions before we land the plane here, Alexa. Do you remember the time that went by from, okay, I think I want to try to build this site that does this thing to getting your first paying student or classroom on board?

Madame Alexa: You mean like from, the conception of the idea to actually getting it done?

To

Chris Badgett: getting it done and having your first customer.

Madame Alexa: So I started getting the idea in 2020 when we were teaching online. I started creating the material I want to say in 2021 or 2022. And I got my first paying customer. I think six months within building like the, bones of the platform. So it was very fast at first and then it came almost to a complete stop.

I think a lot of entrepreneurs definitely live that. Yeah. And, that’s exactly what happened to me. So it was working extremely well. And then It just froze because then it wasn’t just like my, immediate contacts, I had to push this further. And like I said, sales and marketing, I knew absolutely nothing about.

So I think there was a big adaptation period there where I had to be like, okay I’m going to have to put in some real effort for this. So yeah, but yes, initially it happened fairly quickly. I was making more than my costs. So I, was profitable within six months of, creating it. Which I’m, told is something to be proud of.

Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think the, only reason that I was able to do that was because I have an online service, right? So I, it’s not like I have to pay an office or all of these material production costs to be able to do it. So yeah, it’s it’s a whole new era of business now.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. What advice do you have for somebody else who’s a language learning instructor who has a deep passion like you do and they’re inspired by something like this? What advice would you have for them?

Madame Alexa: I would tell them to have a clear plan in mind and to not expect things to be easy.

I think that teachers already make they, daily they’re doing a job that is extremely demanding. So I know that they’re not afraid of hard work, but this is a different kind of hard work. So I think. Yeah to, be aware that you’re going to need to wear a lot of different hats. And if you’ve got a passion for learning, it’s great because you will be learning a lot.

So for sure to carefully research what you’re going to be, the tools that you’re going to be using. Because they are going to really make a difference in Your, product or your service being successful. But also you want to be able to do your thing. So you need to be using tools that you can trust and so that you’re not constantly handling technical issues versus doing what you’re actually wanting to do.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. Thanks for that, Alexa. And that’s at madamaise. com. Any other for the people to connect with you on the internet?

Madame Alexa: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So the Facebook page for Madame A’s and the Instagram is at madame. As. ca. And always free for a call if you want more information. So you can just write to me directly.

That’s alexa, a l e x a, at madameas. com. So that’s my personal email. So if anybody wants to know a little bit more, to ask me questions, I am always

Chris Badgett: available. Alexa, thanks for coming on the show and thank you for being an inspiring example of a language learning entrepreneur. I’m really impressed.

I can’t wait to see, we’ll have to do this again a couple of years down the

Madame Alexa: road. Yes, I would love that.

Chris Badgett: Thanks so much for coming. We really appreciate it. Thank

Madame Alexa: you so much for having us. It really makes a difference for small businesses to to be able to be put front and center like that. So I really appreciate it.

Thank you for all the work you do. You bet. Have a great.

And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMS cast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. And I’ve got a gift for you over at LifterLMS. Go to lifterlms. com forward slash gift.

Keep learning, keep taking action, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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