Summary: Babbel is an affordable learning resource that offers a lot of information and can be of great help to beginners and lower intermediate students. They structured the lessons very well, providing explanations and a lot of vocabulary for their students. The materials are easy to go through and easy to remember.
Through its repetitive lesson structure, they engage the student and solidify your knowledge.
Babbel offers comprehensive and extensive lessons; they are great for any beginner or intermediate student.
Compendious learning tool, definitely adds value to your learning plan.
Repetitive nature of the lessons
The lessons are connected and they build up your knowledge in a progressive way
Engaging content and comprehensive lessons
Flexible learning plan and self-directed – you have can choose what to learn and when to do it
I Don’t Like
No downloadable materials
Not a very unique learning structure, similar to Duolingo (matching words to images)
Won’t sufficiently develop your conversational skills
Price: The price for a personal plan varies depending on how long of a subscription you purchase. One month costs $12.95 and the price falls to $6.95/month if you purchase a year long subscription. There are also 3 and 6-month plans as well.
Summary: Pimsleur is great for stimulating the speaking process, it’s highly efficient and extensive. It’s based on a scientific research about memory and this is at the base of the program, regardless of what language you learn. Unfortunately, the high cost can make it prohibitively expensive.
It’s a great tool that forces you to start speaking quickly.
Lessons are thematic; they include a variation of conversations and a lot of explanations too but reading and writing are mostly ignored.
It’s an excellent resource, but comes with a high price tag.
The repetitiveness in the lessons’ structure
Scaffolded instruction that combines elements you’ve learned
Emphasis on how to speak and pronounce correctly
Very easy to go through the lessons and remember vocabulary
I Don’t Like
They should include more writing materials
Overly formal language
While the repetitiveness can be help you to remember the content, it can also become boring
High price tag
Price: One-time purchase:
Full course package $575
30 lessons package $150
5 lessons package $21.95
Alternatively, you could use Audible, following my advice below, which will end up giving you access to the full course for half the price – $275.40. You can get started by signing-up for a free trial of Audible and access the first 10 lessons for free.
Babbel offers affordable Italian lessons at a relatively low price.
Pimsleur is an interesting product; some people love it because it gets them speaking early on and others find it to be excruciatingly boring to use and overpriced. They offer courses for many languages and each language follows a similar structure.
For an alternative viewpoint, I’d suggest also reading our Pimsleur French Review. While that review focuses on French, it’s just as relevant to Italian learners. Pimsleur’s courses are very similar but opinions vary significantly.
Summary: Rocket Italian is a good, comprehensive and easy to use course. It’s ideal for beginners and lower-intermediate students. It’s an independent learning resource which can definitely teach you on its own how to speak and write Italian.
Quality Well-designed and user-friendly platform with solid materials.
Thoroughness Lots of extra materials included in each lesson but they are too repetitive.
Value It’s not cheap, but still affordable for most.
I Like Logical and clear structure of the modules and the lessons Downloadable materials Plenty of exercises and explanations Easy to keep track of your progress and check how good you are compared to other students
I Don’t Like Sometimes the recording feature doesn’t work The exercises are very repetitive The lessons are on the more boring side of things
Price: one-off payment – Level 1 costs $89.95, Levels 1&2 cost $239.90 and all three courses purchased as a package is $249.90.
Summary: This online tool is useful for people who already have a basis in Italian, it can be a great way to improve vocabulary and pronunciation. Beginners might want to look for alternative resources when it comes to learning grammar and the basics. ItalianPod101 comes in handy as a complementary tool to a more structured learning plan.
Quality The platform is easy to use, well designed, but the structure of the modules is not the best.
Thoroughness It covers mostly vocabulary and pronunciation in more depth, not so much grammar. No exercises available, just one vocabulary quiz.
Value Useful, but is definitely not the best resource out there.
I Like Plenty of audio files to practice pronunciation and comprehension Downloadable materials Thematic conversations and vocabulary structure Cultural elements explained in every lesson
I Don’t Like Lack of exercises Not a sufficient stand-alone resource for beginners. Random lessons suggestion, not connected to previous lessons Lots of unnecessary talking in English
Price: Free trial for 7 days. If you pay for one month at a time, the Basic plan costs $8/month, the Premium plan costs $25/month, and the Premium+ plan costs $47/month. There are varying durations with lower prices for the longer you commit – up to two years.
Use the promo code “ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES” to save 25% on a subscription to ItalianPod101.