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CATEGORY 1- MAY 22 . 2024

Which Virtual Exchange Platform is Best for You:


  • The experiences offered by virtual exchange service providers are an incredible addition to college language courses, enabling students to practice what they learn in class with trained and vetted native-speaking coaches.

  • While most of the platforms are great, there are several differences between them, specifically related to
    • Authenticity of experience.
    • Price and accessibility.
    • Ease of integration.
    • Scheduled versus on-demand access.

  • Conversifi emerges with some key advantages including
    • Peer-to-peer sessions that emulate the authenticity of study abroad immersion.
    • Hundreds of pre-made conversation guides that take the work off instructors’ plates by mapping to textbooks, OER, and common curricular themes
    • The option to coach in one’s native language enables students to offset the entire cost of learning and even to earn money, making Conversifi the most affordable option.
    • Choice of both scheduled and on-demand sessions that better match student needs and expectations.

Trending Now: Virtual Exchange in College Language Courses

One of the hottest rising trends in college language education is the use of virtual exchange service providers (VESPs) to connect language learners with native speakers over video chat. This blog compares some of the benefits of two of them: Conversifi and Linguameeting.

Before getting into detail, it is important to understand the key objectives of both faculty and students when it comes to language learning. Faculty strive to provide students with the most effective and affordable resources available to help students learn the target language. Though faculty often perform like superheroes, they are in fact mortal and, as such, need tools that are easy to adopt and that won’t add work to their already full plates. 

While reading and writing are important, the majority of students are most interested in learning how to speak the target language. Unfortunately, conversational skills are among the hardest for instructors to teach. There are not enough hours in the week to give each student individualized time to practice with teachers or language TAs. Having students pair up and practice conversations with classmates poses significant challenges as both learners often make mistakes and speak unnaturally, which can result in the reinforcement of bad habits.

Organizing classroom-to-classroom exchanges with schools abroad is awesome in theory, but a tremendous amount of work in practice. These activities often contain many pain points, like students not showing up for sessions, one teacher putting in more work than the other, mismatched academic calendars, etc. Many of these challenges can be overcome through study abroad, which is often revered as the gold standard for leapfrogging student learning forward. However, study abroad is inaccessible to most language learners and is usually isolated to one term after several terms of study. 

Virtual exchange service providers (VESPs) are a financially accessible way to significantly help both faculty and students achieve their goals—and have fun doing so. VESPs enable faculty to outsource conversation practice to native speakers such that learners can get more practice than any individual faculty member could realistically provide. With the ability to practice speaking outside the classroom, VESPs help faculty recuperate valuable class time. Meanwhile, recorded practice sessions with native speakers offer faculty a window into how much students are actually learning in a real-world application of skills. Additionally, students not only improve their verbal skills, they also experience rich cultural exchange, which is very hard to teach from a textbook.

Two of the most popular VESPs are Conversifi and Linguameeting. Each offers video chats with trained and vetted native speakers, recorded sessions, and the ability to tailor session topics to the curriculum. Both are great options for faculty and students alike, though they are not identical services. 

While you won’t go wrong with either option, there are four key differences between Conversifi and Linguameeting:

Difference 1: Authenticity of Experience

Both services offer sessions with trained and vetted native speaking coaches; however, Linguameeting’s sessions are more formal whereas Conversifi’s sessions are geared toward simulating the experience of going abroad and chatting with a friend at a café. Conversifi’s coaches are also university students. This peer-to-peer model offers an authentic opportunity to make the target language more accessible and more meaningful to learners. Conversifi comes the closest to offering the holy grail of language learning, immersion, through virtual video conversations with peers.

Linguameeting has an option for group sessions, which may be great for some learners. Conversifi only offers one-on-one sessions. Conversifi believes that practicing one-on-one gives students unique time to focus on their individual advancement, whereas during class, both the instructor’s attention as well as the student’s attention are divided. Students walk away from Conversifi sessions energized and with a newfound recognition that speaking another language is a superpower.

Difference 2: Price & Accessibility

The four main VESPs all represent very affordable resources, especially considering that learners are talking to humans on the other side that need to be compensated. As reasonable as the VESPs’ prices are, the general costs facing college students for materials across all subjects add up quickly. Conversifi is the only VESP that also offers students an even more financially accessible option. Conversifi learners have the opportunity to coach in their native language and earn either in-app credit toward sessions as learners, or earn cash. In fact, many Conversifi learners have turned coaching into a part-time job. 

Alleviating their financial burden isn’t the only benefit of coaching. There are several pedagogical benefits for coaches as well. Coaches often identify similarities and differences between their native language and their target language, strengthening their skills in each. They develop empathy for both the language learner and the coach. Perhaps most importantly, coaches gain a sense of self-empathy, whereby they’re less hard on themselves when they make mistakes in their target language because they’ve seen learners on the other side taking risks and advancing just like they do. Lastly, there is cultural exchange in every session irrespective of whether the student is coaching or learning. And sometimes, when coaching in one’s native language, that cultural exchange is even more profound, especially for beginners.

Difference 3: On-Demand versus Scheduled-Only

All of the VESPs offer the ability to schedule sessions with a native-speaking coach. However, Conversifi is the only VESP that also offers an on-demand alternative, whereby students can drop in and find a coach without scheduling anything in advance. For many students, this flexibility takes a lot of pressure off of them. They are freed from the additional task of scheduling a session, and this on-demand option can reduce anxiety for those who are nervous about an upcoming session at a particular time. Knowing they can drop in and complete a call when they’re feeling ready is a great bonus feature for students on Conversifi.

Difference 4: Ease of Integration

All four of the major VESPs complement classroom learning. However, they are not all equally as easy to integrate. Conversifi and Linguameeting both integrate with learning management systems. They also are both meant to complement the themes of the class; however, the demand on the professor’s time to do so varies.

On Conversifi, coaches have a library of over 200 conversation guides per language that map to all textbooks, OER materials, and common curricular themes. This allows faculty to easily assign sessions that reinforce exactly what students are learning in class and on the right level. Conversifi has hundreds of conversation guides and is always adding more as new editions are published or requests are made. These guides represent a starting point from which coaches can either regress or progress the complexity of the organic conversations that ensue. On Linguameeting and other platforms, faculty often have to provide written instructions to coaches detailing what they want them to focus on, which adds additional work to the instructor’s plate. 


All the major VESPs add significant value to university language courses. Conversifi and Linguameeting are two of the best in the industry, alleviating traditional pain points among faculty and addressing students’ desire to learn to speak. While any and all of these platforms are welcome additions to university curricula, Conversifi rises to the top with several advantages that warrant consideration when deciding which VESP is the best fit for any particular language program.

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