Learning a new language can be a thrilling experience, the feel of trying out new words with a foreign accent, and also being able to place meaning to strange words makes one feel good.
Unfortunately, learning a language doesn’t stop at trying out new words. You have to engage in conversations. Context also applies to words and sentences. This is why you need a guide such as a language teaching software to help you through.
In this write-up, we’ll be considering two of the top services teaching language online; Babbel vs. Duolingo. Please sit back and get a full download of how each platform presents its courses and which is most suitable for you.
Babbel is a language learning program developed by a German company. It is a premium paid software with a focus on only 14 most learned languages. And as such, the courses on each language are well structured and developed.
The language classes on Babbel are distributed into courses and modules. Before you can learn about the program, you would need a subscription package. And the billing is either monthly or annually. The monthly subscription costs go for as low as $13, while the yearly plan goes for about $85. These prices are very competitive, though they give access to only one language course.
The focus of the Babbel courses is on building necessary conversation skills. To achieve this, the course takes you through a series of lessons on grammar and vocabulary. Then, you apply the learned words in context using conversational phrases.
Babbel has several examples in each of the courses. And these are well structured to help you grasp the real-life application of words and phrases learned. This is also important for examinations, as long text and passages generally have a flow of thought, and context is needed for appropriate interpretation.
To use Babbel, you would get the app on any or all of your devices. It functions well on mobile devices and PC as well. You can as well link the app together on all your devices. This would help you learn on the go.
After getting the Babbel app installed, you would then make your choice of language to learn. You would then take a free placement test to determine your proficiency level in your target language. The data from the placement test helps to determine where you are recommended to start your lessons.
The final step would be to subscribe to a payment plan. You get the monthly option, three-month plan, six-month plan, and the annual option also. Babbel is well structured to give you the right tutelage in your language learning quest. So, the whole feel is aimed at helping students get serious with learning.
Duolingo is about the most extensive language learning software, with well over 150 million registered students. This is majorly traceable to the fact that the program runs for free. And also, they have numerous language options, especially for English users with over 31 language options.
The focus of this app is to teach basic grammar and vocabulary. And it does this in an impressive, engaging model. The lessons on the app are integrated into a game-like pattern. Hence, the learning process is well intuitive and addictive.
This structure keeps students coming back to learn more. Duolingo also employs a reward system where users get coins for each level passed alongside the engaging design. This, too, is good for helping students pay more attention to lessons.
In using Duolingo, you start with signing up on the program. You can use the software on any suitable device. You then proceed to take a language skill test. Also designed to know your skill level in your chosen language.
And immediately, you get off on learning new words and sentences. You also get fill-the-blank models and several other examples and practice models. So, as you keep leveling up on the Duolingo language tree, you get a better grasp of your new language.
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Let’s Compare Babbel vs Duolingo
In comparing two top products that offer the same service, we must critically examine the learners’ essential needs.
And not only that, but we should also consider features that do matter to learners. Or at the least talk about functions that help in language learning.
So, in this comparison, we would be taking a look at some essential features that would help you make a decision. Whatever matters to your language learning practice should help you determine which program to go for.
Before you rush to start learning a new language, there are some things you should set straight. Chief of these is your goal(s) for learning.
Are you learning to be able to say a word or two in another language? Or maybe for examination purposes? Both cases are widely different. Therefore, it would only make sense that the two separate individuals take different approaches to learn their chosen languages.
How then does the teaching technique of language learning software affect your learning goals? It’s pretty basic. Each software is as well developed to help users achieve specific goals. Although this might not be explicit in its motto, it is subtly seen in their teaching technique.
So, first off, on Duolingo, the approach to teaching language is one built around learning new words. This might seem like an easy way, but it is a suitable method for building a strong foundation in learning a language.
Duolingo uses an adaptive approach in presenting you with words. This means that words that you have found confusing or difficult would be popped up more. And as you progress on the module, the program learns your strength and weak areas and helps to develop your language skills all round.
Babbel, on the other hand, has a more rigid approach to teaching language. The system focuses on the already optimized learning curve. This means you would be learning pre-ordered words, phrases, and sentences at any stage.
This method of teaching is called adapted technique. And as “serious” as this might sound, it is a very effective teaching language method. Especially for the students, you get a more academic approach to learning. This often helps students’ performance.
In the end, both platforms employ teaching techniques that work. However, if you are looking for a serious approach, Babbel is your cue. At the same time, Duolingo is more appropriate for one hoping for an enjoyable ride learning new words in a foreign language.
Babbel vs Duolingo, Babbel has a better teaching technique.
One vital point that determines how effective you are in learning a new language, primarily through an online channel, is the area in which the lessons are focused. How do I mean? Let me break it down for you.
There are various aspects of every language on earth. We have grammar, vocabulary, semantics, among others. So, in essence, your area of focus determines your progress through the language. It also tells a lot about how well you can utilize the course’s knowledge in the end.
Although both apps’ focus is similar in many ways – in that they are both online platforms, regardless, they have some peculiarities that could shape how your language learning goes.
Okay, first, let’s consider Babbel. The learning structure here focuses on establishing conversations. And as a result, the words, tenses, phrases, and sentences treated are targeted towards establishing a dialogue.
The conversational style that Babbel chooses indicates that the language modules are designed for real-life use. It is nearly impossible to learn a language from learning software correctly. However, Babbel would set you on course to speaking and understanding a new language. The rest is left to how well you practice.
Much like Babbel, Duolingo also teaches more of grammar and vocabulary. However, the focus here is left at the informational stage. This means the app is structured to get you accustomed to these new words and phrases in a new language.
While this can serve as a bedrock for your language learning journey, it is not sufficient to get you fluently speaking the language. The straightforward approach of Duolingo can help learners place meaning to words in conversations. But you would need more than that to get a full grasp of conversations.
In essence, your goals as a language student should inform your choice of a learning platform. Note that Babbel won’t get you to start speaking like native speakers, but it does better than Duolingo at teaching good language skills.
Babbel vs Duolingo, Babbel has the upper hand
Ease of Use
Now, moving on from the defined area of focus and teaching techniques. Let us consider features that keep users glued to their screens.
Even more than personal goals, one factor that keeps people going on language learning apps is how well they enjoy the learning process. No one wants to learn in an environment that is not conducive. Even the strongest of goals do get bored sometimes.
The usability of each software is tied to their user interface. As this is the contact with users, how easily subscribers can navigate the app’s different features matters.
Duolingo has a refined user end. The software is designed initially for system use. Since then, it has been developed to function on mobile devices, Android and iOS. And additionally, to help students learn on the go, two of the most popular courses are available in Podcast versions.
Babbel also has a pretty neat app that functions well across multiple devices. You can use it on both Android and iOS mobile devices and Windows and Mac computers. One good thing is that your account can be linked across multiple devices.
Both platforms have easy to use student dashboard and log. However, Duolingo edges Babbel out comparatively in terms of design. And also, the use of podcasts makes it more intuitive than its close competitor.
Babbel vs Duolingo, Duolingo is easier to use.
Getting students to participate in a learning program actively goes beyond making the class attractive. It also borders on how interactive and fun-to-be the lessons are.
Presenting the topic in a fun and catchy way does the job of attracting and keeping students devoted to language learning apps. This is because most student populace is less concerned about goals but more particular about having an idea. So, they are more captivated when the lessons are well engaging.
One of the vital forms of engaging learners is tests and results. Many users are eager to see how well they are moving up the learning ladder. Hence, giving feedback and presenting results in a fun way can serve as excellent motivation for language students.
Duolingo uses an effective grading method, an excellent source of motivation for students on the app. You get a fluency score – a measure of how well you can place words to meaning. And in turn, your fluency score unlocks different levels of “language mastery” as you move up the learning tree.
More interestingly, Duolingo uses a gamified approach to both the learning and assessments. The lessons come in beautifully-designed graphics and levels. With every topic passed, you are assigned a level. And under each level, you encounter obstacles like in modern games; providing the right answers to questions helps you move forward.
And it doesn’t stop there. With the gamified approach and separating lessons into levels, Duolingo also adds a friendly reward system. You get coins the more you get your lessons right. You can, in turn, use these coins to access special classes.
For Babbel, the app is structured in the standard lesson format. You move from module to module. And under each module, you have several classes. The focus of each lesson is determined by the topic being treated. The primary form of engagement on Babbel is the numerous assessments.
First off, you get a series of examples under each topic being examined. You can practice your language progress with these examples. And of course, you get corrected for incorrect selections. After this, you then graduate to assessment level questions. With these, you are graded and presented with a score.
So, in essence, both apps have their preferred method of engaging students. I won’t say one way is more effective than the other. However, it is noteworthy that learning a language needs constant practice – which both platforms prioritize. How serious you want your learning to be can then influence your preferred engagement style.
One of the primary factors influencing your learning software choice is if your language choice is available on the platform. There is no two-way around this. Even if the platform has all the qualities you are looking for in learning software, they can only offer so much. And this is shown in their language options.
On this front, the Babbel vs. Duolingo battle is pretty much settled. This is because Babbel offers way more courses than Duolingo. Babbel has 14 common languages on the platform. In contrast, Duolingo has roughly 31 language options in the system.
What then does this mean for learners? This goes to say that if you are looking to get into less common interest languages for English speakers like Vietnamese, Chinese, Hindi, Esperanto, Korean, Navajo, etc., Duolingo would be your best bet.
However, if you want a well-detailed study of language, students’ more common interests like English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, German, and Babbel would help you more. As they have well-expanded versions of courses on the limited options they teach.
However, nothing stops you from taking a swirl around the common languages on Duolingo and then top it off with a more adept study on Babbel – so far, they both have the lessons on the language in question.
Here is another rudimentary factor that informs people’s choice in the language learning platform. Learners looking to maximize an online platform for learning language are often on a tight budget. Otherwise, they are constrained by time (we’ll get to that in a minute).
So, the price tag on a language teaching software is as essential as any other factor, if not more. One thing you must know as a language student, however, is that the more in-depth the class scope, the more likely the price would go up. However, you should also bear in mind that a high price doesn’t automatically mean good quality.
In this case, Babbel is a paid service while Duolingo is free. Babbel also is reasonably priced with less than $100 billed on the annual plan. This is a competitive price for the quality that is offered.
The subscription fee on Babbel gives you access to only your chosen language. Learning more than one language would require you to make multiple payments even though it would require more commitment on your part to be able to keep up with more than language courses on Babbel.
On the other hand, Duolingo offers all of its content for free. The first question that comes to mind is, how then does the service keep working for the millions of users it has?
Several explanations have been proffered. Duolingo has been said to sell language translation data from its users to significant corporations. Also, the app contains lots of paid advertisements. And for users that don’t want any ads, they pay for a pro subscription.
How do all these affect the content put up on Duolingo? It merely means that they have enough incentive to use valuable language teaching material, especially for translation. However, it doesn’t go past the translation level, hence focusing on grammar and vocabulary.
Which then is more preferable? For multilingual enthusiasts, Duolingo seems like the more appropriate option. You get a shot at multiple languages, all for free. While for persons looking to grasp a new language, Babbel would be your go-to software.
The last factor we would be considering in the Babbel vs. Duolingo comparison is the time commitment required. This is also a valid question you should ask yourself before opting to learn a new language on any software; how much time can you spend on there per day?
From the scope of work defined on Babbel language courses, each lesson takes about 15 minutes to complete. The classes are well structured, and depending on the number of lessons for your language choice, you would be able to estimate how fast you can complete the course.
But on an average, to complete a language course on Babbel takes about two months. This is if you follow the spacing of the courses and give allowance for practice. However, if you are the type that wants a crash-course, then you can complete the courses a much shorter time frame.
Duolingo courses are also self-paced. How long you spend to complete any language module depends on how committed you are to learning. However, it should not take you less than a month to go through the numerous levels of any language options on the norm. This would help you retain more of the lessons learned.
In general, both platforms offer short lessons that are convenient and good for proper retention. So, your choice in this regard would be validated by other features that apply to your learning plan and style.
Our Side-by-Side Comparison
Ease of Use