For a long time, English has never been Nguyen Duc Phuong’s strong suit. He has seen himself as well as many others struggle with the language in Vietnam. This then inspired him to create Giasudientu, which allows people from all walks of life — even those who might not have all the time in the world — to learn English fast.
Currently, the online programme has a total of more than 850 users, and Phuong aims to increase his user base by 10 times in half a year’s time, as well as converting a good 10% to buyers. He told e27 that while working alone without a team, he had a total of six paying customers even without a real marketing campaign.
The programme has an added social component which allows users to interact with Phuong and other classmates on the chat messenger online and be ranked according to what and how many words they remember. After logging in, users get to go through a series of common words like “name,” “surname,” “marital” and “status” with a Vietnamese translation. Finally, their hard work will be put to the test to determine if they have mastered the set of words.
He claims that in Vietnam, there is quite a fair bit of demand for learning English, even for those who do not plan to further their studies overseas. He said, “The demand is really good. Learning English is the norm for young people, […] [as a] lot of jobs take English skills as a plus even if the job itself doesn’t involve much with English.”
The site’s targets users are Vietnamese folks who have access to the Internet but do not have an abundance of time to help them get the skills they need. Phuong’s strategy for these users is to follow the syllabus for 30 minutes a day for four months to get the most out of the programme. To complete the whole course, users should only have to spend a total of US$150, but they may choose to spend less so as to only learn courses that they think are truly essential.
However, he explained that he doesn’t support it. He said, “I want every user to learn all lessons from the first to the last, following the same methodology so less trouble happens and the result is more predictable. I use the product daily myself to make sure [nothing goes wrong].”
On the Frequently Asked Questions page of the website, users are only allowed to answer 150 times a day. Should users want to answer more than that, they can pay to become members. However, Phuong is concerned that the user might be overworked.
With measurable and trackable data, both Phuong and the users can use to find out how much of a certain topic they have learned. Basing the list of vocabulary on the Longman Photo Dictionary 3rd Edition, which has 3,000 common English words, the programme also uses the audio pronunciation from various online sources, such as the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, Longman online dictionary, Worldwebonline, AT&T Natural Voices and Google Translate.