Lingoda is an online language learning school where classes take place 24/7 and native speakers teach you either English, French, German or Spanish (depending on what you sign up for). The lessons progress in difficulty following a course and the teachers help you out along the way in both private and group lessons where you’ll be with up to four other people.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Lingoda. While learning a language in a small group works very well for in-person classes, I was a bit skeptical about how well this format would suit online learners.
I signed up for a week-long trial where you get access to three classes for $23.99 and having selected Spanish I tried out three of the A1.1 lessons. While I realize that it offers up only a brief glimpse of what Lingoda has to offer, it was very enlightening as to its strong points and where things could be improved.
I really enjoyed the group classes and was very impressed by the teachers and the fact that they almost solely spoke in Spanish. While the content for some of the classes could be improved, we did get to cover a lot of material.
Unfortunately, the quality of class can be impacted by the other students studying with you. It really depends on how comfortable you and your classmates are with the material and how many of you are in the class.
Students at every level would certainly learn a lot through Lingoda’s immersive group lessons, however, you may still want to supplement your studying with other resources.
This review will take a detailed look at what it’s like to use Lingoda.
Lingoda’s platform has just under six hundred lessons available to learners, making it suitable for everyone from absolute beginners to more advanced learners.
These lessons take you from the A1.1 level all the way up to the C2 level. Somewhat unusual compared with most online language schools is the abundance of material for advanced learners to explore.
Divided into units, each of the early ones has fifty lessons for you to work through while the later stages have seventy-five available.
As you progress through the classes you can earn certificates and this could be invaluable if you need to prove your language skills to an employer or university for instance. Just be sure to check with them first to be sure that they would accept Lingoda’s certificate.
Each unit of fifty or seventy-five classes has a number of different types of lessons available to you. They vary between ones looking specifically to build your vocabulary and understanding of grammar or improve your reading and speaking skills.
Regardless of the lesson you choose, you will certainly get to speak quite a bit in all of them and teachers will help you improve your pronunciation whenever they see an opportunity.
While the content of the classes is generally quite good, the PDFs that accompany each class look very similar and they really rely on the teachers to bring them to life.
This makes sense as the whole aim of Lingoda is for native speaking teachers to help you work towards achieving your language goals, it would still be nice if they varied them up a bit more.
The exercises also ask you to fill in or write down stuff quite a lot. So, you’ll have to download a programme that allows you to edit PDFs if you actually want to use the material.
Lingoda’s platform is generally very nicely put together.
Before signing up for a class you can see the learning objectives and the material which you’ll work through with your teacher. This means that you won’t waste any time going over material you already know and maximizes your learning time.
My first lesson
Once you have signed up, you are greeted with your online portal and there’s a quick walk-through which will take through all of the different sections that you’ll need to navigate while using Lingoda.
Other than selecting your time zone which is key to arranging the time of your classes, there are no settings or preferences that you need to worry about. If you select the taster class option for $0.99 then your teacher will help to place your language level so you know where to begin.
As Lingoda is all about offering you the flexibility of taking online classes, it is up to you to schedule your lessons and keep track of what class you have signed up to and when it’s taking place. Thankfully Lingoda has a section where it keeps track of what classes you have signed up for and there is a countdown until your next class.
There are lots of lessons available each day and you don’t have to follow them in a linear manner.
Before your first lesson, you are encouraged to download Zoom. It’s a platform somewhat similar to Skype where your lessons will take place.
I started off my Lingoda experience with the first class ‘Hello!’ which goes over some basic vocabulary and teaches you how to greet people and say goodbye. Having signed up for a class at eleven PM, I was only joined by one other student and this meant that we both got to speak a lot.
Right from the start, the teacher spoke to us almost solely in Spanish and only used English when we clearly weren’t getting it and their explanations in Spanish had been met with blank looks.
The teacher was very friendly and encouraging and explained a bit how Lingoda worked, highlighting how each teacher has their own way of exploring the material with the students. While this became apparent in the other lessons I took, all of the teachers share the PDF with you and work through it, stopping at some points before moving on with the other parts.
Our teacher inserted text boxes above the PDF slideshow that was shared so that we could learn yet more vocabulary and he encouraged us to practice speaking to each other. For a basic lesson, there was a lot of Spanish speaking involved and I really enjoyed the immersive experience.
As well as the slideshow itself (which you can access both before and after the class), the teacher can also use the group chat to send you any vocabulary that comes up. At times they may pull up another resource to hammer home a grammar point or search something on the internet to help with their explanation.
As there were just two of us in this first class, we had a lot of speaking time which was great and when the other student disappeared towards the end of the lesson, I got to chat one-on-one with the teacher about the material we had covered, going over any questions I had.
On Lingoda, you’ll find lessons on all types of subjects at all times of the day. While this makes scheduling lessons more convenient, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to stick with the same teacher throughout your classes.
This is helpful in that you’ll get to work with teachers from all around the world with different accents. But, one downside is that you often start afresh with a new teacher who doesn’t know your strengths, weakness and what level you’re at.
My next two lessons
While my first lesson highlighted some of the positives of using Lingoda, my second class showed some of the downsides of how the lessons work. In this class, there were five of us and this meant each of us got to speak a lot less.
With people signing in from all around the world and with different internet speeds, there were a few times when people spoke over each other and this led to some awkward pauses and silences.
As such the teacher had to manage the class a bit more than when it was just one or two of us taking part.
As there were more of us, this also meant that we couldn’t spend as much time on the material and at times we had to rush through a couple of sections to make sure that we covered most of the lesson.
The class was also slowed down by some students who weren’t so confident with the material.
At the lower level, this was a small inconvenience but I could see it becoming pretty frustrating at higher levels. This is because Lingoda allows you to sign up for any class that you’d like. So, there may be students signing up for classes that are too far above their level.
Whereas my first class was with an Argentinian teacher, my next two were with a Chilean and Spaniard. I really liked the opportunity to hear different accents and see the teachers differing teaching styles.
Overall, they were very friendly, engaging, and more than happy to explain or go into greater depth on any points that came up during the lessons. All three of them helped to improve my pronunciation and a couple of the teachers used the group chat a lot to get us to practice writing sentences, and would correct any mistakes that were made.
While the content of the classes was quite good, there were some spelling mistakes in the PDFs and there seemed to be very little difference between the conversation and vocabulary classes.
The later lessons also seemed to follow a very similar format where you answer questions or list words and phrases. I wish they would have varied up the exercises a bit as they all looked very much the same after a while.
Indeed of the forty or fifty pages that made up most of the PDFs that the classes were based on, many of them were almost filler material and some of the earlier ones simply have one word on a page for you to learn how to pronounce.
This felt a bit unnecessary, especially when at one point our teacher had to open up another powerpoint document as the content provided wasn’t adequate enough to explain how to use the verb ‘gustar’.
Some of the content also seemed slightly unrelated and during our conversation practice class about our daily lives, the vocabulary featured in the pronunciation section had very little to do with what we had already covered in the class.
Having said that though, Lingoda does provide content on a wide range of topics including discussions on politics and social movements to expressing feelings and role-playing games, among many others.
As aforementioned, the content really does need a teacher for you to get the most out of it.
Although there are obviously ways in which Lingoda could improve, I really enjoyed my experience trying out their platform. I came away very impressed at just how much Spanish I’d gotten to speak in all three of my hour-long classes.
The teachers were very dedicated to using Spanish and refrained from reverting to English as sometimes happens and this immersive method seemed to resonate with the other students as well.
How much speaking practice and time you get does depend on how many people are in your class. Although I preferred the smaller classes, the larger ones still didn’t really feel overcrowded.
Even in the group class with four other people, we all still got to speak quite a bit and it was useful having other students ask questions which you may not have thought of yourself.
Although Lingoda is very well-designed and is nicely put together, the content of the classes could be improved upon as all of the PDFs look very similar and they could have done with varying the exercises a lot more.
As such I think it could be useful to work through an exercise book alongside your Lingoda lessons to really make sure that you’re confident on all of the grammar points.
Although the teachers will certainly teach you the main points, the PDFs themselves aren’t the greatest reference if you want to go back and look over something or learn an important grammar point before you’ve been able to schedule the class.
While I do think students would quickly improve their language skills using Lingoda, I think it would be good if they added a forum where students can communicate with both other language learners and the teachers themselves. This way they’d be able to ask questions and ask for advice without having to take up any of their classmates’ time in one of the group lessons.
Overall I thought Lingoda was great and I found myself looking forward to my next Spanish class which showed how much I enjoyed them!
Working out at around $10 for a group class, it seems like a very affordable option for students looking to take classes with a native speaker. While I didn’t get to try one of Lingoda’s private lessons I can only imagine that it is very similar but you get even more speaking time.
While I often recommend italki for finding affordable tutors, the major advantage of Lingoda is that their built-in curriculum keeps you moving in the right direction.
Another good alternative, though only available for Spanish learners, would be Baselang. They offer unlimited 1-1 Spanish classes for $149 per month.
Plans and Prices
Lingoda offers a lot of different plans at various price points and number of lessons included.
The cheapest offer which is a taster session for an hour-long private class costs $0.99.
While this may give you a slight idea about the quality of teachers on hand and the format that Lingoda uses, in reality, this private class will be quite a bit different than the group classes.
Lingoda also has three 7-Day Trial packages for you to choose from and each of them offers you three hour-long group classes for the price of $23.99.
The only difference between the three is that they then roll into different subscription packages. The first (Basic) offers you another ten group lessons for $109/month, the second (Pro) offers twenty group lessons for $199/month and the third (Premium) offers thirty group lessons for $259/month.
These subscription packages let you work towards your CEFR certificates and you are also given a personal learning plan so that you’re more likely to achieve your language learning goals.
While some people may prefer the classroom element that Lingoda offers whereby you learn with up to four other students, others may prefer paying extra for private hour-long classes. For five of these classes a month it costs $139, for ten it costs $259 and for fifteen it costs $379. These again get you working towards your CEFR certificates.
If the certificates and language qualifications that you gain are key to you signing up to Lingoda then there are yet more plans available to you. The group subscription plan gives you access to fifty group lessons (each lasting an hour) and you can use these over a period of six months to work your way to gaining any of the certificates that Lingoda offers up.
This plan will set you back $499 for the six months. The Standard subscription plan costs $579 and this gives you access to forty group lessons and ten private lessons again over a period of six months. The Private subscription plan costs an eye-watering $1,149 and that is for fifty private lessons over the course of six months. These prices and subscription plans supposedly can help you work your way all the way from A1.1 up to B1.3.
For some reason attempting the B2 certificate (there are no further certificate options after that) is more expensive, possibly owing to the fact that it’ll take you a while to get to this level depending at what level you start off at.
As such the Group plan costs $709 for six months and 75 group classes, the Standard plan is $849 for 60 group lessons and 15 private lessons and the Private plan is $1,699 for 75 private lessons.
While I enjoyed Lingoda, I would recommend trying out their taster session along with their week-long trial before signing up to any of their other packages. This is because everyone has their own learning preferences and so while it will definitely suit some people, Lingoda’s group classes may not be for everyone.
Working out at around $10 for a group class, it is a very affordable option that can give your studying some structure while also giving you access to a native speaking teacher. While the lessons do cover a lot of material you may still want to use other resources at the same time as the PDFs which are provided really need the teachers to take you through them for you to get the most out of them.
Lingoda is definitely worth trying out for its immersive approach. Right from the start, your classes will almost solely be in Spanish and you’ll be stringing sentences together in no time at all.
For lessons with native speakers, Lingoda is pretty affordable and the classes themselves are very well-structured with each of them having their own learning objectives and accompanying PDFs. With its immersive approach, beginners and intermediates will quickly progress as the classes are almost entirely in Spanish and right from the start they’ll be encouraged to speak as much as possible.
While class sizes vary, the cap off at five students per group session means that each student will get ample speaking time although how much content you cover depends to a large extent on how comfortable everyone feels with it.
Although the content of the PDFs could be improved, along with more variation in the exercises you go through, there is a clear progression in terms of difficulty and students can work towards achieving CEFR certificates.
Enjoyable and effective, Lingoda is well worth checking out if you’re looking to learn a language online with friendly and engaging teachers.