Summary: FluentU is a popular platform for language learning that uses real world videos. They take videos from Youtube and add interactive captions. I really like the idea and design of the platform, but there’s a major lack of interesting content. Most videos last under one-minute long with a huge number being commercials. For me, FluentU falls far short of its potential.
The lesson library and video player have a great design. Unfortunately, example sentences use text-to-speech instead of native recordings.
Most videos are too short, disconnected to others, and not very interesting.
FluentU is fairly expensive and not worth the cost.
It’s great to be able to more easily use real-world videos to study a language.
A subscription gives you access to all of the languages.
The picture dictionary is pretty cool and something I haven’t seen elsewhere.
I Don’t Like…
The vast majority of the content is very short and is often commercials. It isnt really possible to watch longer series or shows.
There’s no benefit to watching beginner level content on FluentU compared to watching on Youtube because the creator will have already explained the topic clearly.
The audio lessons are the same as the video lessons, but without video. Few people will get any benefit from these.
Price: The Basic plan costs $15/month or $10/month if you pay for a year up-front. The Plus plan costs $30/month or $20/month if billed annually.
Summary: Busuu is one of the most popular language learning courses around but it’s not worth paying for. The course content isn’t designed very well and there are better free alternatives. I do really like Busuu’s social features that make it easy to have your speech and writing corrected by a native speaker, but that part is free.
Busuu’s platform is well designed but their lessons aren’t.
The content of their courses leaves a lot to be desired.
Other free apps teach languages better.
The language exchange part of the app is awesome and free to use. It’s really easy to get your speech or writing corrected.
They use video and picture prompts to help you think of a topic to write or talk about.
I Don’t Like…
The lesson structure has you learn some obscure vocabulary before learning the essentials.
You can find better courses for free.
A lot of important things like pronunciation and grammar are left out or barely explained.
Price: Busuu costs $8.33/month with a 3-month minimum subscription.
Languages: Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Turkish, and English
Summary:Verbling is a language learning platform where you can find and book classes directly from a teacher. It’s very similar to italki with a few minor differences. Unfortunately, on Verbling, the cost of lessons are generally higher and the number of teachers to choose from fewer. Still, it’s a fairly good option for finding a teacher.
Teacher Quality Professional teachers that have to submit an application
Platform Doesn’t use Skype for lessons
Value Cheaper than most options, but more expensive than italki
I Like Teachers are experienced and professional. No need to deposit money or buy credits first. Can simply pay one lesson at a time. Also has many payment options including Bitcoin. Well designed platform that makes booking lessons easy.
I Don’t Like Lessons are more expensive compared to italki. Far fewer teachers to choose from compared to italki. Fairly expensive if you’re only looking for conversation practice.
Price: The cost of lessons varies depending on the teacher and the language. The average cost for an hour long Spanish class is $18, for French it’s $24, and for German it’s $31. There are many other languages available as well.
Summary: italki is the most flexible and affordable place to find a tutor for the language you’re learning. They have a huge number of teachers offering classes to students of over 100 different languages. As a learner, you’ll be able to find a tutor that best fits your learning style, schedule, and personality. Teachers are able to set their own prices and make their own schedule.
Teacher Quality You’ll find everyone from long-time professionals to brand new teachers.
Platform The overall platform has tons of useful features but also some room for improvement.
Value Huge number of teachers, low prices, and flexible scheduling.
I Like… There are large numbers of teachers available even for less common languages.
You can find skilled teachers even at low prices.
The flexibility to schedule lessons whenever convenient. The huge number of teachers guarantees you’ll find someone to fit your schedule.
The extra features like answers, notebook, and language partners makes it easy to ask questions, get your writing checked, and find a free language exchange partner.
I Don’t Like… You have to load money onto your account before paying for a class. You can’t simply pay one class at a time without buying credits first.
You may need to try several tutors before finding one that fits your learning and personality style.
It’s easy to not take classes as often as you should.
Price: The prices vary by teacher and language with some being as low as $4 and others as high as $60 per hour. Most will fall somewhere near the $10 per hour range.
Summary: Mango Languages is a pretty good resource with numerous languages available along with their regional variations. It’ll work the best for beginners or for those interested in studying a few languages at the same time. Anybody past the intermediate level won’t find Mango Languages very useful.
It is well designed, has a beautiful interface, and is intuitive to use.
There are some gaps in terms of writing and grammar, along with a lack of materials for intermediate or higher level students.
The price is fair and will give you access to materials for over 70 languages.
It’s very easy to use and has a slick design.
The intense drilling of useful real life sentences and words during lessons will really help you remember them.
Cultural and grammar notes incorporated in the lessons are well-prepared to help you understand the language you’re learning better.
The subscription gives you access to over 70 languages.
I Don’t Like…
Most courses finish around the intermediate level with some less popular languages ending before that.
There’s not enough grammar practice.
During drilling, when a student is prompted to complete a task such as coming up with an appropriate translation of a sentence, the command is read out loud. Listening to someone repeat very similar commands over and over again is tedious.
The Google Translate plugin is a rather lazy and disappointing way to give students answers about words or sentences they’d like to translate.
Price: A subscription to Mango Languages costs $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year.