Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.
Saturday, August 20th
Babbel is one of the more recognized and praised online language learning programs out there. They start out conversationally, which is refreshing. There's repetition of previously-taught words and phrases, but you don't get bored by the redundancy of the repetition, as can happen in some other programs.
Babbel's method works and is conversational
It's nice to be able to say "The boy plays soccer, The girl plays soccer," for example. Should it really be taught in the first lessons of a language course? Some language programs teach phrases like this first thing, but how long until you would actually use this sentence in context? You probably want to know how to introduce yourself and carry on a small conversation...probably not about the boy or girl who plays soccer. Babbel, however, teaches useful phrases right off the bat. They teach you how to greet people and ask how they are. This is conversational and something you can use right away. Babbel also uses a technique called spaced repetition, or what some language teachers call "recycling" . Spaced repetition is where key words and phrases are periodically repeated to reinforce them and commit them to long-term memory.
Babbel uses English as building blocks to understand German
Babbel knows that we have already learned English and uses that to our advantage. If there are words and phrases that look like English, and should be easy to learn, they don't spend a lot of time on them. The more complicated phrases for English speakers are reinforced more.
If you already know German, there's a placement test
The placement test is convenient as it can tell you where to start so you don't have to start at the beginning and get bored, or just guess. Babbel, like other online learning programs, provides much content for the beginner, but there's gradually less material the more advanced you become.
Babbel's practice activities
As soon as you select your lesson, set up the mic for your speaking practice! The lesson is presented, then you'll do practice activities like fill-in-the-blank, match images with German words, and repeat words and phrases into the microphone. At the bottom of the screen, there's a review bar so you can look over the previously presented material.
Speech recognition technology
Not many online language learning programs offer speech recognition technology, but Babbel does have it, and it's a good feature. When you record your voice after hearing the native speaker, Babbel listens to you and lets you know when you were understood and where you should improve. The voices that you are to imitate are native German speakers, so you can listen and try to repeat not only their words, but their pronunciation and accents. Speech recognition is relatively new, and therefore, not a perfect program. Even so, we think it's a good feature and are glad Babbel has it.
20-day refund policy
Babbel provides a 20-day refund policy, regardless of which plan and payment plan you have selected. This is a good period of time, as some online language learning programs offer a lesser trial period.
If you would rather learn from a live person and not from a computer program, then Babble Live might be what you're looking for. Babbel Live, you can take an unlimited number of classes per month in live sessions with six or fewer students. The classes range from A1 (Beginner) to C1 (Advanced). The classification system of A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 is the European classification for a person's fluency. It's nice to know that when you know which level you are at, it's a scale that's used throughout Europe, not just a company-invented rating system like some other language programs implement.
Many classes held every day
Once you know your level with a placement test or by progressing through the units, you will see that there are 70-80 live classes held daily. You are welcome to take notes, but it's not required, and there aren't any mandatory tests or quizzes. You can attend as many as you like. When you register for Babbel Live, you must be 16 years of age or older, and you also have access to the lessons and practice through the app and online program.
Babbel provides a great package when it comes to german lessons. It covers all the bases - reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It's effective and affordable, and thousands of students around the world recommend it. For all these reasons, it's easy to see why Babbel earns high marks when it comes to learning german.
Did you know that German is the second-most spoken language in Europe? Or that around 95 million people worldwide speak German as their primary language and that it is an official language in six countries? Perhaps you have German roots in your family and want to get in touch with your heritage by learning German?
If you study sciences, you may know that German is the most commonly used scientific language. Learning German can provide you with an insight into the German people's way of life and also broaden your horizons. Whatever your personal reason for wanting to learn German, the next step is to find your best way to study the language.
So much of our life now is digital, so it's natural to consider learning German online. There are many programs to learn languages: live, one-to-one tutoring; a real person teaching you through recorded video lessons; video-game-like lessons and practice; recording your voice and getting computer-generated specific feedback; getting feedback on written work by real people; or playing games and letting the time fly by while earning prizes and getting on a leaderboard. With so many different methods of learning and practice, we can help you narrow down what is best for you and your learning style.
The first thing to consider is how much German you may know. Have you had German classes in high school and want to brush up and continue to proficiency? Or is Gesundheit! when someone sneezes the extent of your German? If you are a beginner, choosing an online program will be easier, as most focus at least on the beginning German student. If you already know some German, some programs offer a placement test and others have you look at their curriculum and you select your own placement. If you are pretty advanced or your goal is to get there, only a few online German programs can help you get to advanced proficiency, while others fall short past the beginning German level.
How would you like to learn German? Would you like live one-on-one lessons with a tutor or in a small-class setting? Would you like to learn from a person, but via video so you can pause or review? Would you like to learn interactively with a computer program where you match phrases you heard with images, then record your voice speaking, and then have game-like practice exercises with awards and a leaderboard with a little healthy competition? It's all out there, and you get to decide which is for you!
Once you know your current level of German and how you might want to learn it, there are a few more aspects to consider:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed, evaluated, rated, and recommended the best choices for learning German online or via an app. We're sure that with the information we have for you, you'll be able to make your best decision for learning German and becoming more proficient and fluent in this common and popular language!
Select any 2 German Lessons to compare them head to head