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Friday, March 1st
Babbel is a well-known language learning program that has done much research on language acquisition. They don't teach by flipping flashcards and quizzing you with games that look appealing but don't commit the subject to memory. Their lessons stick, and they even have speech-recognition technology to help with your speaking skills so you can be understood when you actually converse with a live person.
The Babbel approach
Babbel is based on communication. They start with beginning conversational sentences, such as asking how someone is. That's what we want to know when conversing, right? We want to know how to greet people and ask how they are, not translate the words ball, red, and later tell someone that the ball is red. Probably not the first sentence you'll use when travelling. Babbel also uses spaced repetition. Words and phrases are periodically repeated to reinforce, which is a proven technique to commit them to memory. There are also practice activities to build your listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.
There aren't many language-learning apps or online programs that use speech recognition technology. Babbel has it, and it can be helpful. After you say a word or phrase, the program listens to you and lets you know where you were understood correctly and where you should improve your speech. In addition, the voices you hear are of native speakers from various Spanish-speaking countries, so you'll learn slightly different accents and pronunciations, and can practice these with your speech recognition program. Because speech recognition is relatively new for language programs, it's not a perfect science. Still, we think it's a good feature to have.
Babbel uses English as a tool
Most of us have already learned English and mastered it. Therefore, Babbel uses our knowledge of English as the building blocks to understand Spanish. The words that Spanish and English have in common are usually omitted or don't have lengthy explanations. It's definitely helpful to have this program use English as a guide.
What if you've already had some Spanish classes?
There's a placement quiz to find out where you're at to choose the best course for you. Babbel, like many online language-learning programs, has a plethora of material for beginners, then wanes down for intermediate and has little for the advanced learner.
Activities in the lesson
When you select your lesson, you're ready to speak when you set up your mic for the speech-recognition program. First comes the presentation of the material. To practice, you'll do exercises like fill-in-the-blank, matching words with images, and repeating words and phrases into the microphone. There's a review bar at the bottom of the screen so you can give previously-learned vocabulary the once-over.
Babbel's newer feature is Babbel Live. With your subscription, you can take unlimited classes per month in a live class with six students or fewer. The classes range from A1 (Beginner) to C1 (Advanced), and is based on the European method of fluency for these level designations. You can customize your plan by choosing the number of classes you want per month. Between 70 and 80 Live classes are held daily. You can take notes and review the material, and there is no assigned homework or tests to study for. In addition to having access to Live classes, you'll also have access to the Babbel app and online classes of the regular Babbel program. Please note that the students of Babbel Live must be 16 years of age or older.
20-day refund policy
Regardless of which plan and payment plan you select, Babbel offers you a 20-day satisfaction guarantee. It's nice to know that with Babbel, you have more than two weeks to decide if the Spanish lessons are right for you. This return policy is for both the online/app lessons and Babbel Live as well.
Great choice for Spanish lessons
Babbel offers a wide variety of affordable lesson plans and learning games from beginner level to advanced. Their programs are available through either their online courses or their phone app. And for those learners who prefer engaging with people in real life, their Babbel Live program fits the bill. With thousands of happy students, it's easy to see why Babbel earns such high marks in our review.
Have you always wanted to learn Spanish? Or have you learned some, but really want to improve your skills in order to be able to read Spanish newspapers or talk with native speakers? Do you have business associates or neighbors who speak Spanish, or have you wanted to talk in Spanish with the locals on your next trip? There are 460,000 people who are native Spanish speakers right here in the US, and 20 countries that have Spanish as their official language. No matter why you want to learn it, the question is which Spanish lessons are right for you.
With so much of our life going digital, from many of us doing our job remotely, to video chatting with our family or internet shopping, it's natural to want to explore online options for learning Spanish. There are many programs available online and through apps, and we can help you sift through them.
The first thing to consider is how much Spanish you already know. If you're just getting started, there are many programs whose focus is on the beginner, with lessons chock full of grammar, vocabulary, and practice. At the same time, the concentration is so heavy on brand-new students that many programs offer little to nothing for the intermediate or advanced learner.
Another important factor is your learning style and preference. Some learners like to go in the order that the experts have the lessons set up so that they can meet their language acquisition goals. Other students know that they want to pick and choose their lesson order based on their needs. For example, if the learner is going to travel in the near future, they want their first lessons focused on related vocabulary, like asking for directions and checking in at a hotel. Others are in the medical or business field, so they want to follow the language learning path best suited to their careers.
A major consideration is if repetition is okay with you, or if you will lose focus if the lessons aren't entertaining. Some learners are motivated to continue the day's lesson or look forward to the next lesson because of the fun and exciting apps that include gaming-like activities, points, badges, competitive leaderboards, and animation. Let's face it, if you're not motivated to learn, will you really stick with the program? Other students want to push forward with the traditional, square-shooting approach that feels comfortable as tried and true. Start with vocabulary and practice, add on grammar, preferably with detailed explanations in English, more practice, along with repetition and recycling of older material to solidify the knowledge base.
Once you know what level of Spanish learner you are, from beginner to advanced, your purpose of learning it, from travel to profession or just because, and if you like to be entertained or want "just the facts, Ma'am" , there are a few more aspects of Spanish lessons you may want to consider:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated, rated, and ranked the best choices for online Spanish lessons. We're sure that with this information, you'll have what you need to make the right choice for your goals in learning, acquiring, and becoming fluent in Spanish. ¡Ya vamos!
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