As I’ve mentioned, I am slowly reviewing online Spanish language courses.
Today I decided to try out Babbel.
The good thing about Babbel is that it works hard to make sure you really learn the vocabulary in each lesson.
It focuses on 7 or 8 new words in each lesson. You hear, say, read, and spell each of those words. Multiple times in multiple ways.
However, I really did not enjoy Babbel.
How the Lessons Work
I took lessons in 2 different Spanish courses: Shopping and Music.
Each lesson has a certain number of steps you need to take to complete it. While you can skip any one screen, you cannot skip around, and you never see a lesson overview.
I felt trapped in the lessons.
It was not dynamic, interactive (in the way I like) or engaging. It felt much more like learning from a book. I was almost immediately dismayed and bored.
Here are what the lessons look like. Click on any to see it larger.
Also, I never got the sense of where the lessons were taking me. Did I really need to know the words they were choosing to teach me?
I did learn how to read and write some words in both categories. But I wasn’t learning how to construct sentences. It was unsatisfying.
Also, after using Rocket Language’s excellent speaking component, I was very frustrated with Babbel’s.
The microphone image in the 1st image above, is your opportunity to speak Spanish. Unfortunately, the method neither works well or is effective.
Babbel’s voice-recognition system has issues.
- Gives no useful feedback
- Often asks you to repeat the word – but not why. (i.e., due to recording error vs pronunciation error)
- Cannot listen to your voice recording
The microphone turns into a green check when you say the word correctly. Or at least when the computer thinks you did. But you never hear the recording yourself. So you never know how you actually said the word.
I found Babbel’s voice system of zero value, except as a way for me to practice patience.
It made me value Rocket Language’s voice system even more. Rocket Language’s excellent pronunciation feedback loop has been invaluable to me.
Course choices and Prices
Check out the screenshots below to see the various Spanish courses that Babbel offers. When you sign up you can choose to do any or all of them. (click on images below to make larger)
You can check out the first lesson in each course for free. And you can do that for any of Babbel’s 14 languages. You don’t have to limit yourself to Spanish.
The price ranges from $7 – $13 a month. The longer you sign up for, the cheaper it is. $7 a month for 12 months, and $13 for one month.
If you buy the course, you have 20 days to get a full refund.
Yet another reason I like Rocket Language. You pay once, and you get a lifetime membership. Of course, you do have to pay more. But less than a year’s membership with Babbel.
Once I review a few more Spanish programs, I will have to do a comparison of them.
If you only need to read or write Spanish, then Babbel could be a good choice for you.
You would have to check it out yourself at this link.
I am still very much liking Rocket Language (as you can tell by my comments).
To check out Rocket Language for free, go to their site here.