The idea for LinguaStep began in the Summer of 2005, when I began studying Arabic in an eight week summer program. I found myself overwhelmed with the vocabulary pretty quickly, so I looked around to see what sorts of tools were available. While I found a lot of resources that helped a little, nothing stood out as a single easy-to-use solution relevant to the material I was trying to learn. So I decided to build something that I wanted to use. As the weeks went by, I no longer felt overwhelmed. In fact, I grew more capable in class and more productive with the homework knowing how much time I needed to spend in order to be prepared and to stay that way.
I continued with Arabic that Fall and onward into the Spring, all the while adding features to the software whenever I felt it could help me more. Some of my classmates asked if they could try it out, so I transformed the prototype from a program that ran only on my laptop to a service anyone could access online. Word spread, and over time, students from around the world were using this little prototype.
In the Fall of 2006, I started teaching Arabic at the same university where I had begun learning the prior Summer, all while continuing with my own studies there. In two semesters of teaching, I got a chance to participate in the language learning process from the other side, and the experience made me realize that students were not the only ones lacking adequate and relevant technology resources for language education.
Around that time, I began working on commercializing the software--- now called LinguaStep--- initially to ensure that it could operate in agreement with the publisher, but also with the idea of making the software available to students and instructors in other languages.
So whether you're new to the language, an advanced student, or an instructor, I hope I have built something as useful for you as it has been for me.