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Language learning apps like Duolingo and Babbel are really popular right now, with good reason. You can learn a new language wherever, whenever, on any device. Not to mention, they’re fun!
But do they actually work?
Before trying out Babbel for myself and writing this Babbel review, I decided to delve into the research surrounding the effectiveness of language learning apps.
I came across a study this week from Michigan State University that measures the success of language learning apps, specifically Babbel, and my inner geek got super excited. Finally, we have some answers!
In the study, 85 MSU undergraduate students used Babbel to learn Spanish for 12 weeks. Their Spanish level was assessed before they started and when the 12 weeks were up.
What were the findings?
After 12 weeks, nearly all of the students improved their Spanish. They improved not only in their Spanish vocabulary and grammar, but also in their oral proficiency, or spoken Spanish.
Their gains were directly correlated with how much time they spent using Babbel. 75% of those who spent at least 15 hours on the app improved their Spanish proficiency level, while 69% of those who spent at least 6 hours on the app did the same.
The study also notes that 36% of the students ended up quitting before the 12 weeks were over.
What can we take away?
The key takeaway from this study is that in order to be successful on Babbel, or any language learning app or program, you must put in the time and not give up.
That may seem intuitive, but as many of us have kids, families, hobbies, and many other responsibilities in our lives, it’s easy to go about our business and not prioritize our language learning.
If you commit to it, Babbel can work for you!
What is Babbel?
Babbel is a language learning app and e-learning platform that was founded in 2008. It currently offers 14 different languages: Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Spanish, and Turkish.
It’s available on both iOS and Android, as well as through their website.
Babbel has an in-house team of over 150 educators and linguists that create the course content.
It focuses not only on the basics of the language, but includes specific courses for travel, family, work, holidays, cuisine, etc. You choose your own learning path, and they are constantly adding new content.
It has won numerous awards, including digita 2013, Innovate 4 Society, and Best Web Application or Service at TechCrunch’s Europe Awards. In 2016, Fast Company named Babbel the most innovative company in education.
Let’s take a closer look at what Babbel has to offer for Spanish learners.
What you’ll find inside Babbel
Here is a glimpse of what you’ll find inside lesson one of Babbel’s Spanish program.
This is the first screen you’ll see when you log in, before starting lesson one. It welcomes you to Babbel, and lets you know that you’ll start learning why Spanish is important along with some basic phrases.
You start out by learning the sheer scope of the Spanish-speaking world. It brings back a memory from middle school Spanish class, where we had a poster titled El Mundo Hispanohablante.
Lesson one starts off very slowly. You start by learning how to say I’m learning Spanish, and dragging the word into the sentence. It’s pretty hard to get this one wrong.
Next comes vocabulary matching time. Simply click on the correct phrase that matches the meaning of the given phrase.
Babbel includes a lot of listening activities, like this one. I really like how clearly the native speakers speak Spanish, and the simple multiple-choice options make success within everyone’s reach.
Sorting activities like this one are a great alternative way to get new vocabulary to stick in your head. Simply drag the boxes onto the line in the correct order.
You’ll complete listening activities where you listen to a native Spanish speaker and translate what you hear into English. Listening comprehension has always been my weak spot, so I love practicing with activities like these.
You’ll then move onto the next part of the lesson, building on what you’ve already learned with more Spanish vocabulary, grammar, and culture.
How much does Babbel cost?
Here is the current pricing structure for Babbel. Please note that this is accurate at the time of posting, and are subject to change at any time.
The monthly price goes down when you sign up for a longer subscription term. The best value is a 12-month subscription, which is $6.95 per month. If you sign up for a monthly subscription, the monthly price almost doubles to $12.95.
However, if you sign up here through Small World Spanish, you’ll save 25% on your yearly subscription or 10% on your 6-month subscription! That brings your price down to $5.21 per month for 12 months or $6.71 per month for 6 months.
What if I don’t like it?
Babbel comes with a 20-day happiness guarantee. If you decide Babbel isn’t right for you, just send them a message within your first 20 days for a full refund.
What do the reviews say?
Babbel is extremely highly rated. With over 14,000 actual user reviews, they have a score of around 4.5 stars. That’s a lot of satisfied language learners!
If you’re looking for a fun way to learn Spanish whether you’re at home or on the go, Babbel is a really affordable and effective option.
Just remember that it takes time and commitment to learn anything new, and that includes a new language. If you make the time for it and make it a priority, you will improve your Spanish!
And with their 20-day satisfaction guarantee, you have nothing to lose, but an entire mundo hispanohablante to gain!
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