Starter Labs

What is a Starter Lab?

Learning a new language from scratch has never been this easy, using our animation-based lessons!

Starter Labs are carefully thought-out modules specifically designed for beginners in a language.

The animated sequences, each about 90 seconds long, are designed to familiarise the learner with the language used to discuss a specific everyday topic. In contrast with other types of content on the site, Starter Labs make greater use of translation to help you understand dialogues and create important linguistic connections.

At the end of an animation, the most important sentences spoken appear on the screen to help memorise them and associate them with the written word.

How are Starter Labs structured?

Starter Labs are divided into 20 modules for progressive learning. Each module is unlocked as you finish the previous one in the given order, so as to ensure a natural progression in learning the new language. The maximum score for a Starter Lab is 1000 points.

There are six steps to a Starter Lab:

The Video step is a first viewing of the animated sequence. Before pausing or replaying the video, please watch it without interruption so as to get familiar with the dialogue and vocabulary.

The Vocabulary step presents the key expressions of the exercise. Seven expressions are provided, along with their translation.

The Comprehension step enables you evaluate your general understanding of the dialogue. This stage comprises seven translated questions in multiple-choice format. The maximum score for this stage is 180 points.

The ability to understand questions and formulate responses is important in all forms of communication. The Dialogue step concentrates on questions and responses in relation to the points being discussed. Here you have to pair up a question with an appropriate answer. The maximum score for this exercise is 120 points.

The Sentence Construction step, comprising seven questions, covers syntax in the target language. For each question, a segment of the animation is played and you have to reproduce the spoken dialogue by placing blocks of text in the right order. The maximum score for this step is 280 points.

The last step of a Starter Lab is the Word Jigsaw. The fill-in-the-gap text here helps you consolidate the knowledge gained by reusing all the expressions encountered throughout the exercise. The maximum score for this stage is 320 points.

What are the themes of Starter Labs?

Starter Labs cover the following topics:

  • • Introducing yourself
  • • Introducing other people
  • • Talking about people: age
  • • Talking about people: physical characteristics
  • • Talking about people: personality
  • • Talking about jobs
  • • Family and pets
  • • Hobbies and sports
  • • The days of the week
  • • The time
  • • Asking what somebody would like
  • • Asking/saying where things are
  • • Talking about what you usually do
  • • Talking about what you’ve done/never done before
  • • Talking about the past
  • • Talking about the future
  • • Talking about what is happening now
  • • Parts of a house
  • • Making comparisons
  • • General comprehension
  • • Saying where you come from
  • • How to count
  • • Talking about family
  • • Expressing a judgment
  • • Have/don't have
  • • Talking about the weather
  • • Saying where something is
  • • At the restaurant
  • • Buying something

How do I find a Starter Lab?

To find a Starter Lab, you can explore the page by category, or use the search tool to search by title, either in the target language or in your site interface language.

How much time is needed to complete a Starter Lab?

Generally speaking, Starter Labs can be completed in 15 minutes, which helps the learner practice regularly and make faster progress.

Good to know: you can slow down the speed of dialogue in the animation by clicking on the tortoise icon.