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Michel Thomas

The Michel Thomas app features a unique interface for a unique language-learning methodology.

BERG worked with publishing house Hodder Education from late 2009 to bring the Michel Thomas language learning courses to smartphone apps, beginning with the iPhone.

Extensive design exploration coupled with tackling technical challenges on the device and at back-office resulted in a unique experience in keeping with Michel Thomas’s idiosyncratic style of teaching. The app went live in mid-May 2010.

The design approach was to complement — even celebrate — the listening and learning experience of the Michel Thomas Method without getting in the way.

Michel Thomas iPhone app - Learning Room sketching

The idea of a ‘Learning Room’ quickly emerged — somewhere ambient, immersive, and hypnotic, where you could concentrate for substantial lengths of time without getting bored or distracted.

The challenge of mobile use, where interruptions would be frequent – led us to a design goal of “Making The Best Pause Button In The World.”

Michel Thomas iPhone app - Learning Room sketching - petal math

The final design solution for the hypnotic ‘flower’ interface in the ‘learning room’ was a test for the resources of a mobile device. Generative graphics code allowed the rich experience to be realised without affecting performance.

Flash card games provide a lightweight, fun approach to self-testing, encouraging progress.

You can read much more about the design process here.

The app is free to install, with previews of each language, which a user then extends through a pay-as-you-learn model. The custom content management, content delivery and sales-management software to enable this was developed by BERG.

The Learn a Language with Michel Thomas app shows both our inventive approach to new product generation, and translating existing strong brands into new mediums.

If you’d like help understanding how your media brand and content could generate valuable, relevant new products – or if you’d simply like to know more about the project, do get in touch.