Learning a language is all-around difficult. But it is so worth the time and effort. Any way to fit using and learning a new language into your day is worth checking out. I decided to try the online language-learning tool Babbel, so that I could simply go on my phone and clock in some learning time.
What is Babbel
Babbel is a research-backed online-only language learning app that is available in 14 languages including English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, Dutch, Polish, Indonesian, Russian, Danish and Norwegian. There are currently over one million active users of the Babbel app.
How Babbel works
Babbel provides users with a structured learning path to advance their language skills. The learning paths have planned courses with distinguished categories that are further broken down into individual courses. Courses range from topics such as business to travel and are relevant to real-life experiences, making users more inclined to actually retain and use the new information they learn.
Babbel’s learning method is structured around quiz-styled lessons (including content in word, picture and audio formats) and take around 10-15 minutes to complete. At the beginning of the lessons, users are presented with new material (vocabulary, grammar) concepts that will show up throughout the appropriate lesson to reinforce the new information. Questions are provided via matching, multiple choice and fill in the blank style question formats. The more advanced you get in the lessons, you’ll get longer phrases rather than just individual words to work with. Intermediate lessons typically end up with a full dialogue.
Why Babbel works
If you are a beginner to intermediate, Babbel is a strong option for a language-learning app. With it, you gain a foundational knowledge for a new language and gain confidence to really use the language.
The Babbel website explains how the app gets you conversational fast stating: real-life conversation skills with “lessons crafted by language experts, and voiced by native speakers, will get you ready for real-life situations”, “interactive dialogues will give you the confidence to speak, and our speech recognition technology will help you get it right”, and “curated review sessions will reinforce what you’ve learned by bringing it back in new contexts, committing it to memory so you’ll never struggle for the right words.
I have found all of these points to be spot on, and in my own experience, the app has made my language learning process much more efficient.
Benefits of Babbel
A few strong points of the program are the cost, convenience, ease of use, pace of learning, and tips in your native language.
In terms of cost, Babbel is affordable and one of the more inexpensive language learning programs with monthly subscriptions starting at $6.95/month up to $12.95/month. In the world of language learning tools, there are options that are free but may not feel as efficient, and there are other programs that are rather costly but have very similar material and structures compared to Babbel. If you want just a little bit more than what the free apps offer but not have to fork over a chunk of money, Babbel is a good option.
Convenience and ease of use
Users can access the app via computer or smart devices and the program is synchronized across devices. The app is very streamlined, making ease of use a major benefit.
Pace of learning
Babbel is quick to present information and moves at a faster paced than some of the other programs out there. So if you are dedicated to learning a language, this flow of learning can really help advance your skills.
Tips in your native language
Rather than just quizzing you and leaving you to understand new concepts on your own, Babbel also explains new rules and concepts with tips in your native language so you’ll get to really understand why and how to use them. Sometimes it’s just easier to grasp a new concept or find a shortcut on how to memorize a new rule by thinking in your native language so this is a really helpful aspect of Babbel.
Overall, Babbel is a valid tool and very useful aid for people of all ages who want to learn a foreign language. Since learning a language does require significant time and effort, it is nice to have a convenient way to practice that is both functional and effective.
I personally have significantly advanced my language skills using Babbel and I feel much more confident actually speaking and using what I have learned. If you want to give it a go or even just a try, your first full lesson is free!