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French Pod 101 Review

Saturday, October 16th

2021 French Lesson Reviews

French Pod 101 Review 3.5 Star Rating

French Pod 101

3.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: Free intro account
  • Starting at $4/month for Basic subscription
  • Starting at $10/month for Premium subscription
  • Starting at $23/month for Premium PLUS subscription

French Pod 101 is part of the Innovative Language family of language lessons, which started with Japanese Pod 101 in 2005 and has since grown to include Arabic, Russian, and more. More than one billion language lessons have been delivered by the Innovative Language Pod 101 platform!

Getting started with French Lessons through French Pod 101 is easy. When you create and confirm your free account, you'll be taken through a series of screens. The first will ask if you'd like to receive the French Pod 101 Word of the Day email series. Next, you'll be brought to the sales pitch. First, you'll be given a "limited, one-time only" offer that contains the following "Fast Track to French Fluency" package for the price of $1:

  • 1 free product download (valued at $9.99 and up)
  • 7-day Fluency Fast Course
  • 30 days of Premium Membership ($25 value)
  • 60 French audio lessons

If you click the small "No Thanks" button, you'll still be taken to your main account page. There, you'll get pop-ups confirming your account creation, asking (again) if you'd like to subscribe to the Word of the Day, asking you to set your level of difficulty, and then assigning you to the appropriate level. You can change that lesson level at any time on your account page. And yes, just like the last time we reviewed French Pod 101, we then got another sales pitch: 7-day free trial that includes all of the Premium tools and the complete lesson library, and a savings of 10% if we chose a subscription plan that day.

French Pod 101's subscription plans include the following:

  • Basic, $4/month: at this level, you'll get complete lesson access, in-depth lesson notes, basic mobile access, 100 French core words and phrases, and not much more
  • Premium, $10/month: at this level, you'll get complete lesson access and notes, line-by-line audio dialogue, premium app access, HD video, 2000 French core words and phrases, Daily Dose of French lessons, season vocabulary, custom word lists, interactive lesson quizzes, voice recording tools, vocabulary slideshow, word bank, spaced repetition flashcards, French audio dictionary, and grammar bank
  • Premium PLUS, $23/month: this level gives you all of the benefits of the Premium package. In addition, you'll get 1-on-1 access to a teacher, a personalized learning program, ongoing professional assessment, and weekly assignments specially selected for your current level of French
Best French Lessons

French Pod 101 continues to be a little bit sneaky when it comes to their pricing. The monthly fees listed above - and featured prominently throughout the site - are only valid if you pay for 24 months at a time. Your pricing increases dramatically if you only want to pay month-to-month or even 3 months at a time: Premium costs $25 on a monthly plan, and Premium PLUS is a whopping $47 on a monthly plan. While those fees aren't unreasonable when looking at comparable French lessons on the market, we don't like the fact that there's such a difference in how much you pay, and that don't tell customers upfront that the low prices only apply if you pay for two years of lessons in advance.

On a positive note, French Pod 101 comes with a 60-day, no hassle money-back guarantee. Their parent company, Innovative Language, has an "A" rating at the Better Business Bureau, so that's good reassurance that they will honor that satisfaction guarantee.

So, what about the actual French lessons at French Pod 101? There's a little bit of a choose-your-own-adventure feel when you look at your dashboard. You can follow the Pathway determined by your language level: that's probably the easiest choice. Where it starts to get a little wild is when you look at everything in the Newest Lessons column on the left side of the page, or even more so if you click on Add a Pathway. "Should I study the Top 10 Marriage Proposal Lines? Making a Suggestion in French? What about the 79 lessons included in the Absolute Beginner French for Every Day?" There's almost too much to choose from - but a fantastic variety for the easily bored. French Pod 101 adds new content every week, drawing on current events and hot topics - no outdated, out of the loop instruction here.

Even in the official recommended Pathway, the amount of instruction is extraordinary: in our Mastering Level 1 French, there were more than 200 lessons spanning almost 23 hours, including audio and video. The tests for comprehension aren't as broad as some of the French lessons we reviewed; French Pod 101 tends to use very basic multiple choice questions, and quizzes don't automatically come up as part of the lessons. You'll have to search it out and click on it, usually right above the notes and transcript sections of the lesson.

Because French Pod 101 does such a terrific job of incorporating new content plus audio and video on a regular basis, they are definitely worth looking at for your French lessons. In the future, however, we would like to see their sign-up process show less of a sales pitch and more transparency with their pricing, which would move them up in our rankings.

Who Offers the Best French Lessons?

In order to know which type of French instruction would work well for you, ask yourself this question: "Why do I want to learn French?" For some, learning French is a requirement for school or work. In that case, choosing a provider of French lessons that will deliver the necessary vocabulary and grammar, reading and writing skills, and even pronunciation will be important.

You may want French lessons that will help you be a better-educated traveler. If you frequently visit any one of the 29 countries where French is spoken as an official language - not just France and Canada but also Switzerland, Haiti, Togo, and Madagascar, to name a few - being able to speak French fluently could make a huge difference. And, who wouldn't want to be able to confidently order coffee and a croissant in a Paris cafe?

The Best French Lessons Compare French Lessons Compare French Lesson Reviews What are the best French Lessons Best French Lesson Reviews

French Lesson FAQ

That can be a tricky question! It's estimated that there are about 76 million people who speak French fluently as their first language. But, there are another 235 million individuals that use French daily and fluently without it being their native tongue, plus up to 110 million who use it as a second language with varying levels of proficiency. Beyond France itself, you'll find speakers throughout Africa, India, the Caribbean, and Canada.
There are many different French dialects, depending on where it's spoken, but for the most part they're all mutually understandable. If you learned French from a Parisian and then traveled to Montreal, you would still be able to use the language without much of a problem - though you might need to pick up new vocabulary and train your ear to hear it a little differently. It's similar to the regional accents you'll find within the US - think of how English is spoken in New York vs. Texas, for example - or how English differs depending on whether you're in Canada, England, or Australia.
According to the US State Department, French is a Category I language. That means that French is closely related to English, making it easy to learn! (Spanish, Italian, Swedish, and Romanian are some of the other languages in that category.) Most students of French find the language to be somewhat familiar, which makes it more comfortable to study and to retain the vocabulary.
Start by learning some basic vocabulary. If you've got plans to use French in a specific context, like an upcoming vacation or a business meeting, choose some words and phrases that you'll need there. And, as with any language, the more you can expose yourself to the way it's used by native speakers, the more you'll pick up without even trying. Many students swear by watching TV shows and movies in French (with or without subtitles)!
You won't find a way to learn French that's more convenient or affordable, that's why! While French is one of the most commonly-taught languages in American schools, it can still be hard to find a class that fits your busy schedule. Even if you can find one that works, you may pay a lot of money for a semester of coursework; for that same investment, you could access years of online French lessons.
One reason French is easier to learn than some languages is because it uses the same alphabet is English - mostly. There are a few different characters that you'll need to know how to produce. Fortunately, they're not hard to make: on a smartphone, you can usually hold down the base letter (like c, e, or a) and accented options will pop up. On a desktop pc, there are shortcuts you can use when typing.
Not at all. You could pay under $300 for three levels of French coursework, or study as long as you like on a subscription plan that ranges from $4 to $23 per month. That's much more affordable than in-person lessons!
Each language platform has different policies regarding satisfaction guarantees and refunds. For subscription-based French lessons, you can probably cancel future payments but might not get your money back for what you've already spent. If you've paid a one-time fee for a language program, there may be a 30- to 60-day refund period. We recommend utilizing any trial options offered by a French lessons program before committing to it: you can usually find sample lessons or a one-week all-access pass, and that will help you get a feel for how the platform teaches French.
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Continued from above...

Finally, individuals with family trees that extend into French-speaking cultures may be interested in learning more about their heritage and connect with living relatives.

With so many options for studying the language independently, what should you look for in the ideal French lessons? Here are some aspects to consider as you evaluate the many programs currently on the market:

  • Teaching Methods. How does the program approach teaching language? Will you find a good variety of methods, like videos and written instruction, or do the French lessons mostly focus on one modality like listening or reading? Is it a good fit for your ideal learning style?
  • Fluency Level. How much French is covered by the program? Can you get beginner, intermediate, and advanced instruction as you progress through the French lessons?
  • Reputation. What do other students have to say about the experience of learning French with this program? Is it effective?
  • Value. A more expensive set of French lessons is worth the investment if it delivers superior results. Will you get your money's worth?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best French lessons available today. We hope these reviews will help you get on the path to fluency in French quickly and affordably!

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