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Specialist Language Courses

Review of the Language Learning App “Babbel”

In a recent blog post we presented the advantages and disadvantages of learning a new language via Mobile Apps. If you are thinking about starting a course with an app but you don`t know which app to choose you are in the right place.

One of the leading Mobile Apps for language learning is Babbel. They deliver language courses completely online, both on their website and as an app. According to “Fast Company Magazine” Babbel is the most innovative education company worldwide, the 48th most innovative company overall and in February this year Babbel reached one million active paying customers.

How does Babble work?

  1. You can download the App for free
  2. You can choose between 14 different languages: Besides the common languages like English, French, German, Italian and Spanish you can also learn Russian, Brazilian Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, Polish, Dutch, Indonesian, Danish or Norwegian.
  3. Each lesson is made up of the following:
    • New vocabulary words
    • A dialogue
    • Grammar instruction
    • Review and drilling of what you’ve learned
  4. Each lesson takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete
  5. There is a Review Manager – A bank of the vocabulary you have learned so far. It’s very effective in committing words to your long-term memory.

 

 

Pros Cons
  • Visualization: Babbel works with a lot of appealing pictures which help you to remember vocabulary and sentences
 

  • Information: at the beginning there is no information about how the course is structured (e.g. How many questions? different tasks?)

 

  • Clarity: good overview of your progress, different tasks and other options
  • Costs: You only have access to one section to begin with. If you want to have access to further tasks you need to subscribe – you can choose between 1,3,6 or 12 months. 10 – 5£ per month
  • User Experience: the layout and the design is very pleasant and appealing
  • Lack of Motivation: Some apps are set up like a game, while Babbel is set up more like traditional instruction and can become a little repetitive after a while
  • Audio: all the things you learn are spoken out loud
  • Wide range of Topics: beginners, middle school courses, grammar, business English, speak and listening, read and writing, country and people, extras, words and phrases
  • Review Manager
  • Cost: Downloading the app is for free

 

Conclusion:

I think if you’re a serious language learner, Babbel is great. What convinced me the most was the wide range of topics as well as the great visualisation – the use of photos really helps you to remember what you have learned. However, Babbel can`t replace a “real” language school and especially for beginners I would recommend to using Babbel in combination with a teacher-led language course. Babbel works best for beginner to elementary level learners. If you are an advanced learner, you will not find much to stimulate you as the course is based mainly on vocabulary building in simple scenarios.

Let me know if you have already made some experiences with Babbel or other language learning apps! What are your impressions about this topic?

 

About the author: Jule Kirchner is a 19 year-old German high school graduate. She is currently working as an intern at SLC for three months. Jule loves learning languages and likes to test the various ways how to do so.