Busuu Review: Is It The Right Option For You?

September 18, 2020

For the very beginning of this Busuu review, let's start with basic things.

Busuu was launched in 2008 and has remained popular until today. It's a paid language learning app, famous by its base of over 90 million people and a relatively low-cost option for language learners. The cool thing about Busuu is that it encourages user's speaking skills by helping him or her to practice the language out loud using a speech recognition tool.

The app also gets you involved in other learners’ journey and has a powerful focus on listening to useful dialogues.

 

Busuu Review: How It Works

1. Choose a level (A1 - Beginner, A2 - Elementary, B1 - Intermediate, B2 - Upper-Intermediate).

2. If you’re planning to use the free version, start learning with a flashcard system, which has a vocabulary that includes pictures followed by short dialogues. If you ask me, it’s awesome to be introduced to dialogue, so you can get speaking instantly - even if you want to start with a beginner level.                                            Or

In case you’ve purchased the monthly subscription, you can start with choosing what you’re interested in learning - travel, culture, business, etc. For example, I got started with an A1 level German lesson for travel since I’ll only ever need the German language when I go to Germany. My first lesson started with introductions between two German speakers and continued with ordering food. That’s great because I would need exactly that while traveling, so the ability to choose tailored lessons is an awesome feature.

3. Once you’ve got some experience in the language you're learning, you can start speaking to other native speakers who also use the Busuu app.

 

Busuu Review: Who Can Use It

Even though everyone who is willing to give this app a try can benefit from it, it’s the best option for a few certain types of users.

  1. On-the-go professionals. If you’re a very busy person and have only 10 minutes per day for language learning, you can set the app to small lessons according to your
  2. The fun of interactive apps. Busuu's free version is fun and makes your learning of some simple phrases and expressions easy. Try to replace a mindless game with this app and not feel bored.
  3. Users who want some responsibility. This language learning app gives you the opportunity to set reminders during a specific time in your schedule that you’ve marked as a time for learning. These reminders are helpful but not too pushy.
  4. People who want to get better at speaking. If you’re bored with simple memorizing grammar but you’re too shy to speak with anyone - an online teacher or a native speaker (or you don't have access to them), you can just use Busuu’s speech recognition tool and get speaking practice.
  5. For language learners who prefer to use their computer. Busuu has a desktop version and not just their apps. It has a great keyboard control system that gives you the opportunity to easily move through lessons while learning on your computer.

 

Busuu Review: Pros And Cons

Pros

The layout is engaging and easy to use

The conversation lessons are very useful

The social feature is awesome

Busuu offers useful cultural tips

You can create a study plan that’s relevant to your life

 

Cons

Limited Language Options (12)

Some exercises don't have translations

The grammar explanations and practice have a lot of space for improvement

The Chinese lessons have poor quality

You Can Receive Incorrect Corrections

Lack of Entertainment

 

Busuu Review: Pricing

Although there’s a free version,  most of the benefits of the Busuu app lie in its paid Premium option. Prices range depending on the subscription, but the cost can still be less than if you were to pay for private lessons at a school. Also, there’s a seven-day money-back guarantee so you can try out the paid version to see if it’s something that would work for you.

Subscription Lenght Premium Premium Plus
One month $9.99 $13.99
Three months $8.33/month ($24.99) $9.66 ($28.98)
Six months $5.82/month ($34.92) $6.66  ($39.96)
12 months $5.41/month ($64.92) $5.74  ($68.88)

 

Busuu Review: Lessons

If you go to the lessons section, you can access all of the learning material. Lessons follow a logical progression and are grouped into different CEFR levels. One thing I really like is that you can see your progress with ease.

Even it isn’t perfect, I just love the lesson flow from one topic to another and the gradual scaffolding of material.

The way the material in Asian language courses builds on itself was tricky. Sometimes it was very difficult to get through some lessons the first time. So I blindly guessed the answer to a lot of questions. What's worst,  I was never shown a translation of the ones I got right.

I had no real connection with the Busuu material. I don't like the fact that I had only been exposed to the words as characters before answering the question. So,  I hadn’t had enough exposure to be able to memorize them at all. The capital letter and punctuation mark helped me guess the correct order of words in sentences.

This is something that happened with the Italian language as well.

 

Busuu Review: Exercises

Lessons start with the introduction of the new vocabulary with an audio recording, a translation, and a picture. Your job is just to memorize the word(s).

Busuu has good audio. The example sentence and pictures are nice touches as well. However, I was overwhelmed in some lessons because there were too many words for me to memorize.

 

This language learning option gives you a variety of simple exercises that aim at getting you comfortable with the language you want to learn. Also, you’ll come across basic listening activities,  fill-in-the-gap exercises, and unscramble-the-word/sentence puzzles.

I like that variety because it keeps the lesson progression from being too predictable.

One of my favorite exercises in the lessons is the simulated conversation practice. It's really great that it feels more natural and life-like. However, I wished I had the option to pause the recording or to listen to a specific part (or repeat it).

 

Busuu Review: Social

Busuu's social aspect is one of the things that a lot of other digital resources don’t have to offer.  People often say that it's the “Largest social network for language learning.” Its probably because of its 90 million user base.

This is one of the Busuu's best features, and it’s somewhat free. So, you can provide feedback to other users’ posts and vise versa with a free membership. However, you can’t use the social feedback feature that comes at the end of each lesson with a paid subscription.

The social feature is a nice touch, but some people can thinking of it as a social network and that could be very misleading. You can't send any direct or private messages like you can with other social language apps. So, the only chanal of communication with other users is through the feedback section of exercises. Also, you can offer your feedback on writing or audio posts.

I love this social feature. It was especially useful for me to get feedback on my Chinese pronunciation. I found it a much better way to get pronunciation feedback than by using speech recognition technology.

 

The number of language learning apps out there is mind-boggling. You should consider learning a new language with Ling App.

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