Acquiring proficiency in a foreign language is a challenging endeavor for many of us. But what if we tell you that there is a promising solution that can supercharge your ability to master your desired language? Join us as we go under the hood of one of the top-rated educational apps in this extensive Babbel review.
Language pedagogies are massively changing due to developments in technology. Gone are the days when language learners only have to rely on textbooks, CD-ROMs, or enroll in expensive language schools. Today, the internet has provided users with a remarkable opportunity to take advantage of thousands of modern applications and downloadable resources in just a few clicks. However, not all of these offer high-quality content and are guaranteed to elevate your learning experience.
Officially released in 2008 by Babbel GmbH, Babbel quickly became one of the world’s most loved online language learning solutions. Throughout the years, the company managed to consistently level up its features as a response to the dramatic shifts in the preferences and behaviors of its users. But how exactly does this stack up against its more versatile and cheaper competitors in the market today? Let’s find out in the sections below!
What Is Babbel?
Babbel is the best-selling subscription-based e-learning platform centered on helping users build a solid foundation in the new language they want to master. The language courses from the inside are rigorously reviewed, developed, and curated to guarantee that you’ll gain enough information to help you speak confidently in as little as three weeks.
With a commitment to making learning through the language app as effective as possible, Babbel also made sure to include time-tested EFL methodologies that were all backed up by researchers from leading universities. These approaches made the app an empowering tool that paves the way for everyone to learn the language that can be used in real-life conversations.
To add to their success, they also partnered with legitimate learning companies like Cambridge English, intending to create low-cost language testing and certification programs. With this move in place, the language courses were further polished to meet the standards of the Common European Framework of Reference or CEFR.
Whether using the mobile app or the web version, you can have unlimited access to helpful content, including automatically-synced lessons, updated podcast episodes, interactive games, engaging stories, and more! So even if you are a newcomer or an advanced learner, Babbel has the right mix of tools and content for you!
What Is It for? A revolutionary exercise-based language-learning app with built-in gamified features and advanced short lessons to speed up learning progress and ensure retention of learned words, phrases, and grammar points.
Languages Offered: 14 languages
Level: Newcomer to Advanced
Who Is It For? For language enthusiasts and advanced learners looking for a more challenging supplementary learning tool for review.
|Superb learning content||Limited language course offering|
|Flexible and has an intuitive design||It May be expensive if learning multiple languages|
|It comes with useful supplementary podcasts||No set number of content per language|
How Does Babbel Work?
With such a low price tag and near-perfect ratings on different app stores, Babbel stands as one of the best language learning apps for those on a tight budget and looking for variety. If you decide to try this out, you can sign up for a free account and start learning at your own pace at the most suitable lesson level.
Once you click on the app, you’ll instantly be greeted by a two-part skills-related survey to help the app determine the appropriate lessons for you.
The questions will focus on your current level and your reason for choosing the desired language. If you are a beginner, you will most likely begin in the Newcomer category and slowly make your way up to Proficient. At this stage, you will go through three courses with 35 lessons inside.
For advanced language learners and those with background knowledge of the target language, you will be prompted to take a three-minute placement quiz to assess your language skills correctly.
The quiz will include a non-numerical scale partnered with an example statement to communicate how strong you are with the questions. Based on your responses, you can be categorized as the following:
- Beginner I = 4 courses with 40 lessons
- Beginner II = 4 courses with 47 lessons
- Pre-Intermediate = 2 courses with 18 lessons
- Intermediate = 4 courses with 36 lessons
- Independent = 2 courses with 18 lessons
- Advanced = 1 course with 9 lessons
From there, you can immediately start learning the introductory lesson, depending on your level. If you are a total beginner, the first lesson will touch on basic greetings and how to ask someone how they are. On the other hand, intermediate to advanced learners will start their language study with listening and speaking lessons.
Once you have finished your first lesson, you will realize that Babbel’s courses are capitalizing on the idea of chunked learning. Such a learning strategy can be reflected in how the words and expressions are broken down into small manageable pieces to ensure that users will not be overwhelmed.
To ensure that all concepts are understood, the Babbel app uses the suitable, old-fashioned spaced repetition method where you will constantly face the learned info consistently throughout each session. At times, you will answer multiple choice questions, fill in the blanks, spell, match words, arrange letters or words, and all the usual EFL testing approaches. Fortunately, it is not repetitive because it challenges you through different assessment methods.
It’s also a perfect tool to remind you when to jump back into action, as you can tinker with the notification system. From there, you can seamlessly add your Babbel sessions into your day at a specific time and day that works for you.
If you are also keen on improving your skills in the quickest way possible, you can head over to Babbel Live, where you can join hundreds of classes with certified language teachers and native speakers. In that area, you can filter the instructors and join a lesson that you are most interested in. You will also be joined by five other participants making the whole experience fun and exciting.
What Languages Can I Learn With Babbel?
Are you ready to jumpstart learning a new language? Currently, the Babbel app offers a language course for 14 languages (including English). Below is a list that shows 13 of the foreign languages you can learn from the app assuming that English is your preferred language of instruction.
- Portuguese (Brazilian)
At present, there is no news on whether its team of professional linguists is developing any other languages. If that changes soon, don’t worry; we will keep you informed by updating this post.
How Is The Design And User Interface Of Babbel?
Right off the bat, we can say that the user interface of Babbel is sleek and uncluttered. In fact, it looks very professional and may sit well with those who are tired of seeing language apps with lots of colors and kid-like mascots.
Whether you are using the Babbel app or the desktop version, you’ll find that it banks on a cleverly intuitive, minimalist, and user-friendly design. It’s so simple that you won’t get distracted while learning, and you can easily find everything in just a few taps or clicks.
While going over the grammar lessons on Babbel Spanish, we also noticed a lot of white space, which somehow helps all the elements on the screen to breathe. The developers are also using a readable typeface with a size that easily adjusts to the screen size of your devices.
Similar language apps also use white or greyish tones for the background, but that is not true regarding Babbel. Depending on the color scheme you set on your device, the app will automatically adjust. While our team reviewed the app, it proved to be compatible with both light and dark modes. That’s a major plus!
If you do decide to join the dark side, your eyes will be delighted with the muted aesthetics it carries since it significantly reduces glare and blue light. All the white-colored letters and buttons appear more readable due to striking contrast. We highly recommend this mode if you use the language learning app during nighttime or in low-light environments.
If you want to go light, the contrast is also spectacular. The UI will instantly look elegant and will undoubtedly be suitable for your daytime learning adventures.
Babbel does not have the usual lively animated mascots or odd transitions, unlike other language-learning programs. In fact, it only has its magical plant icon, which symbolizes the learners’ progress. Over time, you will see that the icon actually changes as you progress in your learning languages. From a simple two-leaf plant, it will have its own flower when the time comes.
Babbel Mobile Version
As you take the beginner courses on Babbel, you will see three to four major tabs below. The tabs changes depending on the language you are learning because they do not offer live sessions for all 14 languages. Generally, you will see the Home, Review, Live, and Explore tab.
If you are using the free version, you will see a small clickable banner encouraging you to subscribe to a premium account to unlock all courses.
In the main app, you can also see your progress and the suggested podcast episode for you to learn on the go.
If you haven’t added your goals yet, you can adjust it to set an active goal for the number of activities you can commit to per week and your most preferred days and time.
At the top, you will also see two tabs. One for “Today,” which shows your progress, and another tab for the “Current Course.” From the “Current Course,” you can jump into the unlocked lesson contents you are interested in going through for the session.
On the flip side, you can also see the Review tab, which serves as your memory bank. Here, you can track how many words you have learned in every memory stage. If you are not in the mood for a lesson and would like to review, you can click on the “Play All” to quickly job your memory.
The next important tab is the Babbel Live, where an actual live interaction is involved. If you truly want to sound like a native speaker and practice your listening skills, you can book a class with language teachers and join other learners.
Lastly, the platform also has a dedicated Explore tab where you can access courses, audio materials, and games. At first, some of these may be locked, especially if you are just at the very beginning stage of the language. The more that you learn, the more games you can unlock.
Babbel Desktop Version
At first glance, the Babbel website version is certainly not different from the mobile app interface. The only difference we noticed is that an activity section easily shows a calendar to track progress.
While the app has three to four tabs, the desktop version has six, including Home, Live, Prices, Help, Learning Language, and your profile. Once again, the Live feature only works with some languages.
Similar to the mobile app version, the desktop version is also very responsive and is usable no matter how much you minimize the browser. Everything will still be readable and clickable.
What Are The 3 Best Features Of Babbel?
Want to get a basic understanding of the three best features of Babbel? Please take a closer look at these three things that we enjoyed while using the platform to learn multiple languages.
Learning Made Easy Through Gamification
Learning a language is not that difficult due to the wide selection of approaches, techniques, and resources you can use. Many language apps today focus on gamification, but do they really live up to their main goal, which is to help people learn?
What we like about Babbel is that the content is not only gamified but is done in a way backed by science. While going over your lessons, you can practice spelling words, translating expressions, recording yourself as you repeat words, matching pictures with words, and filling in gaps in a sentence. All of these assessment types are actually used in schools, making them credible resources.
On top of that, there are actual mini-games that double as an entertainment feature. While stuck in traffic or waiting in line, you can open the app to spell learned words to help a train stay on track or form correct sentences to save the professor!
Get Authentic Immersion To The Language
The problem with traditional language learning apps and platforms is that they usually focus on teaching the students words and phrases alone. Even if you spend countless hours maintaining your steaks and maintaining your position on the leaderboard, you’ll find yourself tongue-tied the moment you speak the language.
Babbel added the Live feature to prevent you from experiencing the fear and panic of speaking the language with others, which is meant to encourage you to use all the words and phrases you learned in real-life conversations. This can help you learn from seasoned instructors and pave the way for you to gain confidence and break through your fear of being judged.
If you regularly check the available classes on Live, you will also notice varied topics that may align with your interests. So whether you want to learn party conversations or how to ask someone out, there’s something in Babbel for you.
Thoughtful Programming For A Better User Experience
Today’s age is about releasing apps meant to squeeze money out of their users. Some applications are just going to bombard you with lots of ads, annoying pop-ups, and large banners, making the whole platform useless and unusable. Fortunately, that is not the case for Babbel.
The Babbel developers ensured that all aspects of the learning platform would work seamlessly for all users. Even if you do not decide to upgrade your account, you can use the features and learn from some of the free lessons. You also won’t be notified all the time to subscribe to a paid version.
To Whom Is Babbel For?
If you want to build genuine relationships and be understood clearly by native speakers, using a language learning app like Babbel is ideal for your needs. Babbel comes with enough language courses and in-depth lessons that will seriously aid you in a new language. Since it has a more challenging approach in terms of lesson delivery and content, it is highly recommended for total beginners.
We cannot deny that Babbel teaches learners in a way that might come off as dull, especially to those who already have prior experience using applications like Memrise or Duolingo. However, learning a new language is more straightforward with this app making it a great resource to use along with other language learning apps.
Babbel can be a tremendous self-directed language course if you want to learn English because it is more affordable and has credible lessons that are at par with Cambridge English standards. With this said, the app also doubles as a preparatory course for an official English language certification since the lessons inside already take on a holistic approach.
Whether you want to improve your conversational skills, create grammatical sentence structures, or learn a few words in English, Babbel is a great fit!
How Much Does Babbel Cost?
Ready to brush up on your language skills or start from scratch correctly? The next thing you should consider is pricing for the Babbel app. For such a robust application, we are confident that you are wondering how much it costs and whether it is worth buying at all. We will answer all that below!
Is Babbel For Free?
Ready to experience the Babbel Method? Well, the good thing is that it is totally free of charge to sign up and take your first lesson in every course. However, you must pay for a subscription to access other lessons and courses.
What Subscriptions Does Babbel Offer?
Signing up for a Babbel subscription is the best way to take full advantage of all the lessons inside the platform. At present, there are two types of subscriptions that you can take: Standard and Babbel Live.
Standard Subscription Per Language Course
As seen in the picture above, the standard online course starts at $13.99 per month and will give you full access to all levels and courses in the language you purchased. You will also get additional lessons on topics like grammar and culture.
Be wary about one thing, though. You see, Babbel asks users to pay for every language course that they are interested in. So before you make a purchase, be sure to select the language you really want to learn.
Babbel Live Subscription Per Language Course
Babbel Live is a separate subscription that you can opt-in for if you are more interested in practicing your speaking skills. Below is a breakdown of the pricing depending on the plan:
- $30 for one class per month
- $100 for five classes per month
- $180 for ten classes per month
- $290 for twenty classes per month
If you are unhappy with the features, you can also contact customer support and share your experience with them. They will also offer you a 20-day money-back guarantee.
Is Babbel Offering Discounts, Coupons, And Deals?
Babbel is already priced competitively, which is why many are willing to pay for it. If you are wondering if there is a way to get it at a lower price, then you are in luck! At present, the company offers a student and military discount. At the same time, they usually send promo codes and set up sale events through your registered email.
Babbel Review: Our Honest Take
Babbel’s quality is definitely fresh and intriguing. As we were using that app, we realized that it somehow takes more time to use than other applications. Some language learning apps promise you that you’ll learn for 20 minutes or less, but this one might take up a lot of your time.
Some might find this a downside, but we want to remind you that Babbel is great for those who are genuinely committed. And if you are one of them, then check out our three realizations about Babbel.
Advantages Of Using Babbel
If you want to learn a language, Babbel may be a suitable choice for you. Below are some of the reasons why we think so.
Superb Learning Content
The Babbel lessons are truly different from what other language-learning apps have ever offered. One great point to highlight is that not all languages follow the same format and provide the same features. For instance, the Turkish language does not have the Babbel Live, which makes it entirely a world apart from languages like Spanish or French. The same can be said for the Indonesian and Danish courses. But to meet the needs of users, those without Babbel Live seem to have more exercises related to listening and speaking.
Another thing we noticed is that the number of lessons per course may vary depending on your target language. For example, Course 1 for the Newcomer level for Danish has 12 lessons while Italian has 7, and Swedish is left with 10.
By now, you are probably wondering why it is like that, right? Well, the answer is simple. Babbel follows a curriculum that is based on proficiency standards per language. It seems that Babbel is working with real language experts and education professionals who truly understand the right way of chunking content. This makes the lessons digestible and easy to follow.
Since they first launched the application, there have been lots of modifications and added features making it a bang-for-the-buck type of subscription. Users can rest assured knowing that the lesson content is updated and that development for new features is on the way. In addition, the number of assessment types is increasing as they seamlessly add these as soon as their in-house team proves that it is an effective learning approach.
As a bonus feature, we also noticed that the app sometimes has a pop-up notification that contains little-known facts about the language you are learning. Now that’s one way to keep the user engaged with the language, right?
It Is So Flexible
When learning a language, we usually have moods and preferences about the topics to cover for the day. Some may want to challenge themselves and jump ahead of the last lesson, but there are also times when they want to go back and check out the previous lessons. If that experience rings true to you, then we are glad to say that Babbel is the perfect learning companion.
Once you are logged in, you can instantly work on any level and take on the lessons you feel you need more practice at. You can also swiftly move through each level. Say you are already an Intermediate, you can go back to Beginner to review some points. Even better, when you go back, the exercises might be different, giving you more chances to check your understanding of a concept.
Useful Supplementary Podcasts
The podcast from within the app may seem like a bonus feature but is actually quite useful for auditory learners. This can be a great way for busy people to immerse themselves in the language still while doing their work or driving to the office. In addition, the podcasts may serve as an example of how native speakers pronounce specific words.
Drawbacks Of Using Babbel
While it may seem like a perfect platform to learn languages, we also have to point out some of the things we did not like about it.
It May Easily Become Expensive
While the low monthly fee is reasonable given the quality and quantity of lesson units, the service may not be for everyone. Since users are only paying for one particular language, they will not have the same full access to other foreign languages. This certainly limits the freedom of the users who are still thinking about what language to learn next.
No Set Number Of Content Per Language
As a paying customer who wants to get the best out of every penny, it is normal for one to wonder if they will have enough lessons to cover the whole language. In the case of Babbel, the app has a varying amount of content which means that certain topics might not be discussed in the same order as with other languages.
For instance, we used Portuguese for quite a long time, and we assumed it had the same number of lessons per content as Turkish. To our surprise, Portuguese has 13 lessons in one course, while Turkish only has 10.
While we do not think the lesson content was compromised in any way, it would still be great if the app had some consistency on what essential words or phrases should be covered in each course. For Polyglots, we understand how much they like to compare the words they learned with other languages right away. In the case of Babbel, some words are taught in the first lesson in one language, while the others will only be encountered in the third lesson.
Only Focuses On Popular Language
We do not have a lot of negative things to say about the service that Babbel offers. However, it is disappointing that they only managed to release content for 14 languages. It would be better if they also give small languages a chance to be discovered by their huge userbase.
Is Babbel Worth It For Foreign Language Learning?
Overall, we think that Babbel is worth trying out due to its course quality, assessment varieties, and flexibility. Undoubtedly, we understand its 5-star ratings and why legitimate companies recommend it.
The major thing that you should consider is the fact that the learning techniques utilized in the app are backed by research and are consistently developed by its team of professionals. Perhaps, this is also the reason why they are more focused on improving the quality than the quantity of the language courses in the app.
So if you want a reliable back pocket app, you should check out Babbel today!
On The Hunt For The Best Language Learning App?
While we can recommend many Babbel alternatives, we will cut to the chase and point you to the best language-learning app today. The Ling App is a resource that comes complete with lessons for 60+ foreign languages (including minor languages!). By signing up for an account, you can instantly access lesson units that will touch on grammar points, speaking, reading, and vocabulary practice.
To ensure that you’ll have a chance to practice as if you are speaking with a native speaker, we added a FREE AI chatbot to simulate real conversations. With this tool, you can get instant feedback on how to improve and boost further your skills in your target language.
And the best part? It is affordable and is guaranteed to live up to your expectations. So what are you waiting for? Discover a new way to language learning with Ling by downloading it on the PlayStore and the AppStore.