Overall this language course is intuitive, well-organized, easy to use and offers a clear path. Grammar and cultural aspects are well engrained in the lessons because you learn things in content. If your goal is to learn speaking and writing German at the same time, this course is a great choice and will definitely help you. The greatest asset of this language course is its “People” section, where you’re able to connect with other learners and can create learning partnerships to stay motivated and check you progress.
Babbel’s fun factor could definitely handle an upgrade. A badge system based on learning level and speed could increase the fun, motivation and also add an additional level of competition to the partnerships in the people section. Games and quizzes would add be an additional plus. I also doubt, whether the advanced learner would find enough meat in this course to make it worthwhile. With that being said, Babbel is still high on the recommendation list for beginning and intermediate German language learners. You’ll see results quickly.
Course Review Details:
What does Babbel have to offer?
- Initial trial lesson is for FREE (trial lesson)
- Course audio very professional by native German speakers
- Intuitive, easy to use mobile app for iPhone and Android
- More than 3000 words in course included
- Speech recognition option available
- Highly professional German native speaker with pleasant voice and clear pronunciation
- Average lesson duration ~ 15 – 20 min, depending on your learning speed
- Option to add personal words and phrases to vocabulary
- Offer language certificate for every course you complete, but you can only request it from Babbel.com directly.
- Tracks your current progress level
- Provides integrated vocabulary review feature
- Option to learn with tandem partner and/or co-learners to stay motivated and navigate through language learning challenges
Valuable Details on Babbel German:
Getting started with Babbel is very simple. You just select the language you’d like to learn and start learning your first words. Once you’ve created your full account, additional options open up. (See screenshot below)
The desktop screen displays the current lesson you are in as well as a daily challenge. The daily challenge is only accessible if you already have enough vocabulary under your belt. Below your current lesson, items for review are displayed. This is the content that you should refresh.
The main menu on top gives you access to:
Courses: Access to all courses / lessons in your language (New, Beginner Courses, Intermediate Courses, Grammar, Business German, Listening and Speaking, Reading and Writing, Countries and Traditions, Specials, Words and Sentences)
Vocabulary: All vocab that you’ve learned so far and your current knowledge level.
People: Access to the Babbel community of fellow language learners
Help: Contain FAQs and link to support
Once you’ve gone through several lessons, you quickly notice that every lesson follows a very methodical system:
- Listen and repeat: Intro new vocab. Exercise speaking and pronunciation through repeating new words and phrases. Select the correct translation: Listen to German phrase and find the correct English translation.
- Use vocabulary as part of a dialog. Complete sentences of the dialog by filling in the correct words
- Grammar section within context
- Review to reinforce what you’ve just learned
Three things stood out for me during this course review:
A) You need to be prepared to do a lot of writing. My assumption is that the course creators feel that writing improves memorization. However, if you’re a quick study, this may get in the way of going faster. It may also become monotonous.
B) You cannot deviate from the path within any lesson. Again, my assumption here is that they’d like you to stay on a given path to succeed and not get distracted and jump around.
C) The use of speech recognition enhances learning greatly. However, I’ve evaluated both – the desktop app as well as the mobile app. My desktop is Windows7 and my Android is a Samsun Galaxy 6. In both cases I had intermitted issues with the speech recognition feature. The Babbel speech recognition seems to be set very tightly. Often, the app didn’t recognize my answer even though I’m German and quite able to pronounce correctly.
Babbel has grammar directly engrained into the lessons. Love this approach because this way grammar won’t become overwhelming or a ‘big deal’. The content based approach is done very well. Therefore it makes grammar subjects easy to understand. In addition, there is also an additional grammar section separate from any lessons, where you can focus on specific grammar subjects.
The highlight and also greatest value of this language course is the “People” section. It definitely makes up for some other small shortcomings. Here you have the option to connect with fellow learners in two ways:
- A) You can find a tandem partner. This means, if you are English native and learning German, you look for a partner, who is native German and is learning English.
- B) You can connect with fellow German learners and follow each other progress.
This accomplishes 3 major things for you:
– You stay motivated.
– You have a partner to bounce a question off and also work through language challenges.
– Most importantly, you are able to practice.
Additional helpful features:
Babbel delivers cultural aspects in two ways: Within lessons as little balloons that you can open and read about the German custom related to a specific situation, e.g. tipping in restaurants. The course also offers a set of cultural lessons.
Now, here’s a funny things: Babbel has a set of lessons about German dialects. Shockingly, they treat this topic the same way as any other language lesson. What language learner wants to learn how, for example, the expression for “a cup of coffee” is spelled in Saxon dialect! LOL
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