Babbel – One of the biggest online language course providers

Babbel - One of the biggest online language course providers
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Babbel is an online language course. It combines writing, listening and practicing in a single interface available both online (via the website) and offline (via the app).

How are courses organized?

Babbel lessonWhen you first use Babbel, you discover courses for all levels. The website uses the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages to divide lessons by level of difficulty.

Courses go from A1 (beginner) to B1 (intermediate). There are no courses for higher levels at the moment.

Here is how each course is organized :

  • Vocabulary : you learn individual words, you then have exercises to help you remember them.
  • Dialogue : You listen and read a dialogue with missing words, you have to find the missing words and complete the dialogue.
  • Grammar lesson : grammar explanations about the dialogue.
  • Review : you review everything you just learnt.
  • Each lesson lasts roughly 15 minutes, depending on your speed and the time you decide to spend on it. This is very practical for people who don’t have much time to learn French, but understand the importance of daily practice.

babbel dialogueThe vocabulary is useful and dialogues sound realistic. The pronunciation is also very good.

The games such as finding the missing words, or putting words in the right orders can be fun. But I can’t help but wonder if they aren’t just a waste of time.

I also find that too much time is spent learning individual words rather than sentence.

This makes sense at first, but can make it harder to know how to use the words later on.

Fortunately, the presence of dialogues make this a minor problem. It would be nice to have the possibility to skip the memorizing words part and directly use dialogues.

The grammar lessons are easy to understand and the exercises allow you to check if you understood well.

Babbel Lessons:

The lessons are typical quiz-style, which remind me a lot of the styles used on Duolingo and Rosetta Stone.

Seems like this is somewhat of a standard in online language courses these days.

The amount of lessons per language seems to vary tremendously. Danish had 70 lessons in the main course series, but only at beginner level.

When I checked out the French counterpart there were at least double the amount of beginner lessons, plus double the amount of that again in intermediate lessons. One can only hope they will add to all their languages as they go along.

Since their free trial is restricted to just one lesson, unfortunately this is everything you’ll see as a trial member. You’d have to pay to unlock the other teaching elements, which is a shame. I would’ve liked to see them display what else Babbel does other than just this vocabulary, picture-matching quiz-style learning.

Languages Available on Babbel
All courses are taught in English.

Spanish, French, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Turkish, Danish, Russian, Norwegian, Polish.

Babbel pronunciation practice:

listen babbel

babbel pronounciationBabbel includes pronunciation lessons. These lessons explain you how to pronounce French words the right way.

You can also record your voice and compare your pronunciation. This app also evaluates your voice, but I would be careful using this function as the evaluation is not necessarily perfect.

Reading and writing practice:

Babbel gives you the opportunity to practice reading and writing.

In these lessons, you can be asked to listen to a dialogue or a sentence and write the missing words you hear.

This is very cool for people who need to practice listening and writing, but also get used to the right way to write and pronounce French words.

Review Manager:

The review manager is based on a Spaced Repetition System, everyday you can review the words you are about to forget just before your forget them.

This is one of the most effective way to memorize vocabulary and a tool I highly recommend you to use if you choose to use Babbel.

Babbel Review Conclusion

Babbel offers nice little quiz-style courses at extremely affordable prices. For your investment you get real recordings and access to a handful of learning options and tools to help you learn better.

I’d say, due to the extremely low price, that Babbel is definitely a competitive player in the quiz-style market falling somewhere between Duolingo (free) and Rosetta Stone (somewhat more expensive.)

I’m not a huge fan of this method of learning languages, as it simply bores me out too quickly. That has nothing to do with the quality or effectiveness of the method, but more about my language learning profile and personality.

Best I can advise is to give it a try and see if their methodology works for you. According to their website they have millions of users. They can’t all be there by accident.

Thanks for reading to the end!

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