I've been trying to analyze what it was about Livemocha that kept me engaged and led to learning. Part of it could be that I am a little competitive so things like questions with right and wrong answers, gaining points, etc. are things that motivate me. That makes me wonder what a non-competitive person might think about those aspects of the livemocha experience. It was also nice that I could do a variety of things (listen, read, write, speak). It seems like engaging a variety of ther learner's senses is effective in promoting learning. The other nice thing was that I could learn at my own pace and make mistakes without it being public (like what happens in a classroom). It was also effective to receive immediate feedback regarding my answers.
I was prompted a number of times to "find a friend" or to provide feedback on someone else's learning which I thought was an interesting concept. I think that online or distance education often gets a bad rap for being "anti-social". While that may be true in some cases, there are ways to make livemocha a little more collaborative and social and to capitalize on the power of social negotiation or collaboration. I wish that I had the time to take one of these courses. It seems like an interesting way to approach language acquisition--almost a melding of online education with social networking.