Mondly and Babbel are both large, relatively inexpensive online language learning platforms that offer a number of courses to encourage regular practice of a new language. Babbel is the more popular course, and although Mondly isn’t as well-known, it’s still often recommended.
Here are a few of the key differences between Mondly and Babbel:
- Babbel’s courses are well-structured, focus on language that you’ll use in real-life, and comprehensively teach the language.
- Mondly’s courses are available for more languages but they aren’t as well thought out. They offer more unique features (VR and Chatbot), but at this time, they’re more gimmicky than useful.
If the choice was narrowed down to just these two options, Babbel would tip the scales for me. I’d definitely recommend it over Mondly.
I should say, though, that on broader terms, you should definitely look to consider other language learning resources aside from these two. The language you’re looking to learn is ultimately the decider for which platform you should go for. If you’re interested to see my favorite resources broken down by language, take a look at the table below.
What I like about each program:
- Daily lessons followed by weekly quizzes and monthly challenges encourage long-term learning and provide incentives to carry on.
- Useful vocabulary that is communicated to the user effectively throughout the lessons.
- Fairly inexpensive to use for learning one, or several, languages.
- Practical content designed to prepare a user for real-life scenarios.
- Well-designed platform with easy navigation for simple use.
- Fairly short lessons that build on the ones that came before, while covering a wide range of information.
- Good explanations for important grammar topics.
- The interface is visually unappealing and would benefit from better design.
- The course itself is poorly structured and not very well thought out.
- There is no variation in content or exercises when switching languages or levels.
- Important theoretical concepts that would increase understanding of the language are ignored.
- While the price is relatively low, you’ll need to purchase each language course individually.
- The speech recognition software can be frustrating to use.
Babbel’s courses cover 14 different languages, while Mondly offers courses in 34 languages.
Babbel’s languages are as follows: English, French, German, Danish, Italian, Indonesian, Spanish, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Dutch and Turkish.
Some of the more popular languages covered by Mondly include Italian, German, Russian, French, Spanish and Chinese. Rarer languages available to learn include Hungarian, Hindi, Croatian, Afrikaans, and Thai.
Babbel works by using a subscription plan, with varying prices depending on how long you’re looking to subscribe for. It’s worth bearing in mind that this subscription only covers one language. Babbel offers a money-back guarantee for the first 20 days following a subscription purchase.
The monthly fee for one language is $12.95 per month, or you can pay $8.95 per month for a three-month subscription, $7.45 per month for a six-month subscription, or $6.95 per month for a yearly subscription.
Mondly offers three different plans, which fluctuate in price depending on whether you want to pay for one language or all the languages. Prices are cheaper when paid yearly rather than monthly.
A month-by-month subscription for one language costs $9.99 per month, while a yearly subscription for one language costs $47.99 per year, or $4 per month. Oddly, it costs the same price – $47.99 per year – for a yearly subscription for all the languages.
Mondly offers a wide variety of language-learning content, but it isn’t suitable for someone looking to learn a language at an advanced stage.
The user can learn and develop their vocabulary, pronunciation and conversation skills using the different lessons provided. Grammar is covered to some extent. The suggested path a user should follow is highlighted in the screenshot below:
Each of these bubbles covers a different topic relating to vocabulary, grammar, and chatbot functionality. Clicking on these bubbles takes you onto a lessons page, with each lesson offering a number of exercises. There’s no order to the lessons and you can do them as many times as you want. If you perform too badly you’ll need to give it another go.
One issue with Mondly’s content is that it’s all the same for every language. This means that if you’re trying to learn multiple languages, you’ll find it fairly boring to repeat the same vocabulary topics in your study. The tool also seems to think that all languages work in the same way, which means that some language-specific concepts get ignored.
This is designed to establish how much of the language you already know, if any.
The test will start you out at the appropriate level based on your knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, but you’re free to move from level to level at your own free will.
Each level is made up of a number of different courses. The courses comprise of lessons, which feature a range of activities. In all, there’s quite a lot of content to get through.
Lessons start off with a Listen and Repeat exercise, which is meant to let you know if you’re correctly pronouncing the word or phrase. However, the lack of feedback might leave you wondering what exactly you’re getting wrong with a word you’re hung up on.
Above is a typical exercise that can be found on Babbel. Exercises can get repetitive but the lessons are well organized, with content you’ve learned showing up later on. They also become slightly more advanced as they go along, and the resource provides good grammar guidance and explanations along the way. You can take part in verb conjugation exercises and practice identifying word types.
Babbel also offers review sections divided into four categories: Flashcards, Listening, Speaking and Writing. These help to remind you of everything you’ve learned in each lesson. A spaced repetition algorithm assesses your knowledge level based on how many words you get right or wrong in this section.
Although Babbel is one of the most-used language-learning apps in the world, I wasn’t blown away with it. It’s solid but not spectacular. Mondly is lesser-known, and I don’t think it deserves a high-ranking popularity status.
If you’re choosing between the two, Babbel is clearly the better option, thanks to its diversity of content and well thought out out lessons. – but I wouldn’t recommend it to students at a higher than intermediate level. Mondly, on the other hand, falls short when compared to other language learning resources.
It’s probably best to take a look at some of the other language-learning resources that are available before you sign up for either one of these courses. You can find our top recommendations for each language from the table below.
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