JapanesePod101, by far the best application of commercial elearning I have come across and simply one of my favourite ways of studying Japanese (when I can be bothered) have launched a new product range: eBook and audio 'study packs'.
In effect the study pack is like an extended lesson of the type you would usually get as part of their daily service as a subscriber. For your USD19.99 you get an 8-part audio set comprising 25 minutes of dialogue, and 8 corresponding eBooks totalling 91 pages of transcripts, key vocab and key grammar.
So far they have one of these 'study packs' available covering the day in the life of a university student - a valid subject I suspect as I'm quite sure JP101 are now on the required listening list of most non-Japan domiciled university students of Japanese (and many in-country too I'm sure).
It sounds like an interesting proposition - with each eBook being longer than the equivalent study guide that accompanies the daily podcast, it sound like you are getting a little more to work with, but given that the cheapest monthly subscription is only USD8, and this gives you access to the ENTIRE back catalogue of PDFs (the podcasts are free anyway), then it is difficult to see how the new product can really be said to offer great value for money.
For my money, I think the error lies in making these new packs story focused. That's what all the other content is. This is great for daily exposure, but the language covered tends to be very hit and miss.
I think that they could make more out of this approach if in the study packs they focused on one aspect of language - say a pack that dealt with mixed family so it covered all the family members, household vocab, events like weddings, births and so on. Or another could deal with getting about and cover this in all its aspects - navigation, landmarks, asking for directions, buying tickets and so on. This way, at the end of a work set you would really feel like you have mastered a linguistic area, and would open up a new area of conversation for you.
At present, because of the ad-hoc way in which language is covered simply to support the stories, you might learn the word 'river' and 'bridge' but not, say, the words that describe different sizes of river, the terrain that accompanies it and so on.
Alternatively, the theme could be built around language skills - for example introducing new grammatical structures, perhaps with alternatives, and drilling them. Perhaps they could do a study pack that dealt with exclusively with describing things, so adjective behaviours and lots of example vocab so you could build up through each study set.
I realise that this is not an approach that suits everyone - I particularly like the idea of covering language in themed sets - but I would suggest it as it is fundamentally different to the regular approach, so it would offer an alternative to complement the existing product range, rather than repeating it in a different way.