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Verbling Review: Online Classes With Helpful Revision Tools

Quick Review

4.6 

Summary

Verbling is an online language-class marketplace where you can take lessons with teachers of your choice. It has some student-friendly extra features, including a built-in online classroom, flashcards, homework calendar, and a filing system for lesson materials. There are also useful but disorganized forums where you can discuss languages, share writing for critique, and do free language drills and exercises.

The lessons are generally high quality and well structured, plus the filters make it easy to find teachers who specialize in everything from accent reduction to interview preparation. 

However, it can be slightly pricier than alternatives, so if you’re on a tight budget, you may want to look elsewhere. It also has fewer languages than some of the bigger competitors, so it might not be a good choice if you want to study Azerbaijani, Khmer, or Yoruba.

Teacher Quality 

There are some less experienced teachers, but I found the lessons to be more consistently high quality than on italki.

Platform 

The classroom technology, flashcards, and filing system are fantastic for learners and easy to use.

Value

Some teachers charge more than on italki, but you get better classroom technology, more privacy, and fewer disorganized teachers.

Languages

Verbling lists 65 different languages on their platform, from Spanish and Mandarin Chinese through to Twi and Berber. Not all of them have available teachers, however.

Price

Prices are set by the teacher and range from $5 to $75 for an hour-long lesson. You can get discounts for buying packs of 5, 10, or 20 lessons with a teacher. Every student gets one free trial lesson, after which they’re $6 each.

I’ve got a confession to make: italki is one of my least favorite online language-learning resources. However, it was my go-to option for a long time, and I understand why people love it: it’s cheap, has teachers in nearly every language imaginable, and the app has a bunch of extra community features.

So when I got the chance to try out Verbling, I was excited to see how it would really match up. Could it be an italki replacement? And if so, which type of learner would it be best for?

I don’t believe there’s such a thing as “the best resource.” Most resources are good for certain types of learners, yet not well-suited to others. So while I went into this review expecting italki to be better than Verbling in some ways, I was also excited to see if Verbling would be better than italki – and my regular italki alternatives – in other ways.

Verbling app opening up on a tablet

Verbling has an app as well as a website.

About This Review

To write this review, I signed up to Verbling and booked classes with three different teachers. I also tried out the community features and looked through social media and Verbling’s own forums to see if there were any common complaints.

Since teaching styles often vary according to the language, I wanted to try Verbling out in two commonly studied but very different languages. And because it can be particularly hard to find a good teacher for absolute beginners, I took two European Portuguese classes as well as a Japanese one. I’m a complete beginner at Portuguese, while my Japanese is extremely rusty.

For context, I currently take A1 Basque classes on italki (review) and C1 Spanish classes on Langu (review). In the past, I’ve also used Live Lingua (review) and Lingoda (review), as well as local language schools and online and offline platform-independent classes. Meanwhile, some of my fellow contributors here at All Language Resources have tried out and written in-depth reviews about Preply, BaseLang, Rype, Chatterbug, and more. I compared Verbling to all of these when testing and rating it.

Getting Started and Booking Your First Class

Signing up for Verbling was quick and simple. I had to give my first name and email address, create a password, and then say which language I wanted to learn. Given that some competitors, such as AmazingTalker, ask you to verify your phone number and email beforehand, this was a relief.

After signing up, I was taken straight to the Find a Teacher page. The Verbling platform lists 65 different languages, and for the more commonly studied ones, there are plenty of teachers to choose from. If you’re studying a less catered-for language, however, you might find the choice limited. For example, there are only 4 Albanian and 12 Urdu teachers (at the time of this article’s publication).

More annoyingly, you won’t find any teachers for Basque, Galician, or Irish Gaelic, even though they’re on Verbling’s drop-down list of languages. italki sometimes suffers from the same issue (I’m looking at you, Cornish), but it has six teachers and community tutors for Basque, five for Galician, and seven for Irish Gaelic.

For Portuguese and Japanese, however, finding teachers was easy. Not only could I filter by the standard categories – language, price, location, available times and days – but also by teaching specialties: accent reduction, grammar, vocabulary, writing corrections, and more. This seems handy for intermediate and advanced learners who want to hone in on their weak spots.

Screenshot of the filters on Verbling's Find a Teacher page

Some of the search filters you can choose.

Once I’d set my filters, I could view Featured Teachers followed by regular ones. According to Verbling, Featured Teachers are an automatically selected mixture of high-performing teachers, with new teachers particularly likely to be included. But since I wanted to see the bad as well as the good, I ignored them.

As I scrolled down the list, the teachers’ availability and hours updated on the right-hand side of my screen, which was a nice touch. It meant I didn’t have to waste my time reading profiles of teachers only to find out they were fully booked up.

The teacher profiles include a photo, video, About Me section, availability and prices, language courses, teacher stats, areas of expertise, résumé, ratings, reviews, articles, and forum posts.

Screenshot of a teachers stats on Verbling, including response time, total lessons, and lessons per student

A high average number of lessons per student seems promising.

I liked that there was a profile category for accents, and I loved being able to see when teachers didn’t want to teach beginners or offer vocabulary development classes. Quite a few of the European Portuguese teachers that I looked at didn’t teach absolute beginners, which surprised and impressed me.

On most online platforms, it feels like teachers try to get bookings with every student they can. However, seeing that the teachers on Verbling felt comfortable saying who they don’t want to teach left me more confident in the quality of the classes they claimed to specialize in.

Screenshot of a teacher's profile on Verbling

This teacher doesn’t offer accent reduction, proficiency assessments, vocabulary development, business Portuguese, grammar development, or classes for beginners.

Most people will recommend reading reviews before booking a class with a teacher. On Verbling, you have three types of student-generated information about the teacher: the average score out of five, the text-based reviews, and the ratings, which are labels that students can give them.

Each student can give five ratings per class, but confusingly, they can use those to rate or up-vote the same thing five times. In other words, a teacher with a score of five for medical vocabulary could have given five doctors a decent class or really impressed just one student.

Generally, I find student feedback to be unreliable: people don’t normally like to publicly give their teacher a bad review. You often need to read between the lines to get a real idea of what someone’s like. That said, the way the ratings are organized could give you an at-a-glance picture of the teacher.

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Screenshot of a teacher's ratings from students on Verbling

Is this teacher best at teaching beginners, or do they simply get more ratings from beginners? It’s hard to tell.

Once I’d chosen my teachers, booking the classes was easy. You can either book a time and then pay for it or purchase a set number of classes to book later. I’ll go into the payment methods in more detail later, when I discuss Verbling’s prices and if they offer good value for money.

Before the first class begins, you can also view a demo class and test your internet connection, microphone, and video.

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The Trial Class

Trial lessons can be contentious: should they be free? Discounted? And does the price affect how much the student can expect to learn?

On a lot of platforms, teachers don’t actually try to teach in the trial class. They treat it as a personal introduction: a chance to discover who you are and why you’re studying the language. This can be pretty annoying for students who have paid for the class and still don’t know anything about the teaching style.

However, I understand why it happens. Teachers can feel pressure to offer discounted trial classes to attract new students, but they don’t necessarily think that their time is being fairly compensated. They may believe that trial lessons devalue their teaching.

With that in mind, I was interested in seeing how Verbling handles them and whether they would be useful.

Each student gets one free 30-minute trial class. After that, you have to pay $6 plus a processing fee for them. The teacher receives nearly all of the $6, including for the free lesson. I was happy to see this, because competitor website Preply doesn’t pay teachers for trial lessons.

On the other hand, I was worried that because Verbling sets the price, and it’s pretty low, my trial classes would be a waste of time. It didn’t help that I found some Verbling forum threads criticizing it, not to mention that the first teacher I looked at had this in her profile:

Screenshot from a teacher profile on Verbling, with 18 lines of text about trial lessons

That adds up to 18 lines of text about trial lessons.

However, I was pleasantly surprised on two accounts. The first was the discovery that not all teachers offer trial lessons. I think this is great: teachers should be able to decide how they want to do student onboarding based on what they believe is financially and pedagogically best for them and their students.

The second surprise was the quality of the trial lessons. I took one for Portuguese and one for Japanese. The teachers took different approaches to the class, but after each one, I had learned something and experienced my teacher’s pedagogical approach, they had evaluated my language levels, and we had outlined my goals and how the classes would continue.

Of course, this is only a sample of two. Other teachers may give dud trial classes. However, they were some of the most organized trial lessons I’d had in a few years. And that takes me nicely onto:

Teacher Quality

To be accepted as a teacher on Verbling, you must be a C2 or native speaker with teaching experience. You do not need teaching qualifications, but you do need teaching experience.

These requirements are lower than italki’s requirements for Professional Teachers but higher than their ones for Community Tutors. Despite that, several blog posts and Reddit threads report that lessons on Verbling tend to be more structured.

italki markets itself based on its cheapness and variety of teachers. Normally, when it promotes its quality of teaching, it compares itself to language-learning apps rather than other platforms for online classes. And my experience of using italki aligns pretty well with that. I can find teachers for nearly every language, there will be cheap teachers, and I’ll get more speaking practice than with Duolingo (review). However, I’ll often need to try a lot of teachers until I find one who I think is good.

So my curiosity was piqued: would Verbling really match or surpass italki’s quality, despite the lower standards for applicants?

In the end, I had one excellent lesson, one great lesson, and one mediocre one. Again, it’s a tiny sample size, but it’s a better success rate than I usually get when trying out new teachers on other platforms.

My first teacher, Eriko Kasai, started off with some friendly chit-chat and increased the difficulty until she found a weak point to work on. She then did a grammar breakdown, and we practiced drilling the point by making example sentences. Useful vocabulary was introduced throughout the class, and she finished off by giving me homework, assigning me a textbook, and outlining what we would do in the next class.

For me, this was a great class: it was level-appropriate, I learned both grammar and vocabulary, I had opportunities to practice speaking and making my own sentences, my teacher was able to assess my level, and I had a sense that future lessons would build on each other.

In the Portuguese trial lesson, teacher Pedro Pinto started off by asking me to first try to speak in Portuguese and then to guess what he was saying. Next, I practiced reading a preselected text aloud, and he used it to teach some basic points. Finally, we returned to a speaking task. He wrapped up with some feedback and advice, and pointed out – correctly – that I spoke a lot more at the end of the lesson than at the beginning.

Again, I considered this a successful class: I worked on speaking, listening, and reading; I learned some new vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation points; and I came away with a study plan.

My non-trial lesson, an hour-long Portuguese class, was less structured. We covered a lot of new and useful material, but my teacher seemed thrown off by my ability to understand written Portuguese because of its similarities to Spanish. The material quickly went from complete beginner to upper beginner, and I was exhausted at the end.

From 0 to 100: learning “have a good weekend!” along with how to say that immigration from PALOP countries has influenced Portuguese culture and music.

She brought up the fact that the lesson hadn’t gone according to her plan, and I believe it was a simple error caused by inexperience. I also wondered if I should have booked a trial lesson first, but I wanted to do a regular, hour-long class before writing this review.

Overall, what struck me was that all three teachers had a plan for my long-term learning, which isn’t always apparent in online classes. I also got plenty of speaking practice in every lesson. Although it wasn’t quite the 70:30 ratio that, as an ex-teacher, I’m used to sticking to, I felt far more confident speaking at the end of each class compared to at the start.

Moreover, I felt the Verbling platform supported the teachers in delivering higher-quality classes.

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The Verbling Platform

Some platforms rely on you giving out your contact details to teachers or downloading extra software, but Verbling has a web-hosted online classroom built into its website. You never need to give the teacher your email address, Skype handle, or phone number, and I’m a huge fan of that.

A few months ago and on a different platform, I decided not to book further classes with a teacher who no-showed for the second lesson and then denied it when I requested a refund from the platform. However, we had already added each other on Skype. When she saw that I was taking lessons with a different teacher, she sent me several harassing messages, calling me disrespectful and rude for not continuing with her. This is obviously not normal behavior, but it has strengthened my aversion to giving out my contact details.

What’s more, when a company creates their own online classroom, they’re able to design something that better supports the online-learning experience. And by and large, I was impressed with how Verbling did this.

Let’s run through the main features:

  • Translating Messages

When I’m learning a language, I like to start using it straight away – including when I message teachers. However, there’s always the risk of not understanding the teacher’s response.

If you hover over a message in the Verbling inbox, you’ll see the options to copy it, translate it, hear a voice recording of it, or correct it. It uses Google Translate, so the results may not be perfect. However, this could help beginner students put their studies into practice. It left me more confident sending that first message to teachers in their language, and I liked knowing that I could hear the pronunciation of new words, too.

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Screenshot of the Verbling inbox, with a Japanese message and an English-language machine translation below it.

Messaging teachers on Verbling, with Google Translate for support if needed.

  • Online Classroom & Class Materials

When you join the classroom for your lesson, you’ll view a video and the lesson information box. At the top of the lesson information box, you’ll see extra tabs for messages and flashcards.

Screenshot of Verbling demo lesson with a teacher video and lesson information

A Verbling instructional demo lesson, with the lesson information on the right-hand side.

At the top of the video, there are also several tabs that you can switch between. There’s a Materials tab that you won’t use during the lesson but will be handy later and a booking calendar so you can see the teacher’s future availability. You can add new tabs in the form of textpads, canvases that you can draw on, and videos from YouTube. I thought of these tabs as the classroom chalkboard.

Screenshot of Verbling demo lesson with song lyrics, stop watch, and YouTube video on a canvas

The canvas feature in use in a Verbling demo lesson.

My Japanese teacher, Eriko Kasai, made the most use of the classroom features, especially the textpad tabs. These are a fairly standard word processor: we could both type, add formatting, delete information, and more. We could also add celebratory fireworks.

She used the tabs for different grammar points, homework, and more. For example, when we were discussing dance genres, and I misheard barē ga mitai, “I want to see the ballet,” as barē mitai, “It looks like ballet,” she created a separate tab for the “ga ~tai/I want to…” structure. I could then access it as a note in the Materials folder or download it, making revision easy.

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Screenshot of organized Verbling materials from a Japanese class

Reviewing the lesson materials after the class.

Any links we shared in the chat were also automatically added to the Materials folder, but those could be deleted.

Even though I would still create my own notes after the class to help me remember the material, I loved knowing that I didn’t need to do anything during the lesson. Instead, I could focus on what I was learning and what I wanted to say.

  • Flashcards

Each new piece of vocabulary was added during the lesson as a flashcard. After the lesson, I was able to review them with a series of games, Duolingo-style. I first had to try to remember the meaning, and then I practiced matching them, typing them, and saying them. The automatically selected images weren’t always the clearest ones, but you can edit them with your own images.

Screenshot of Verbling's flashcard games with three images, one of dancers and two of a town or city.

Any of these look like “articles” to you? Me neither. Fortunately, I could change the images.

I loved that not only did the flashcards have audio recordings, but that I got feedback on my pronunciation – albeit feedback based on machine recognition. Verbling tracks your progress with each flashcard to decide if it’s a strong or weak word, and you can also import or make your own. There are some shared community ones that you can use, too, but depending on the language, you might not have many to choose from.

Alternatively, if you’re a fan of Anki (review), you can export the flashcards and review them there instead.

Screenshot of four Portuguese-language flashcard decks from the Verbling website

Most community flashcard decks are made by the same teachers.

  • Homework

Teachers can set you homework with a due date, and you sync this with several calendars, including Google, iCal, and iPhone. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try this system out: the one teacher who gave me homework told me to enter it in another tab on the classroom “chalkboard” and message her once I’d done it.

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Screenshot of the homework tab on the Verbling website, with the option to synchronize it with a calendar

No homework – officially speaking, at least!

  • Learning Plans

Some teachers will analyze your capabilities and create recommended Learning Plans for you. It’s nice to get this feedback, especially because it’s structured. Teachers can enter your strengths, areas to improve, CEFR level, progress with individual skills, and their suggested study schedule.

Screenshot of a Portuguese learning plan from the Verbling website

The bold text represents questions that teachers are prompted to answer.

  • Learning Goals

Sometimes, the trick to staying motivated is setting concrete, measurable, and time-specific goals (otherwise known as SMART goals). Verbling puts that into practice with a Goal section that appears on your student dashboard.

For every language that you learn, your teacher can set your current CEFR level, and you can set the proficiency you would like to achieve, from A1 up to C2. You can then tweak three settings: when you would like to achieve your goal, how many lessons a week you want to take, and how much self-study you want to achieve each day. As you update one setting, the others will update.

Screenshot of a Portuguese Learning Goal on the Verbling website.

From complete beginner to B2 in 30 months.

Once you’ve decided on your goal and how you’re going to achieve it, your dashboard will show how much self-study you should be doing each day and if you’ve taken enough lessons that week.

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Screenshot of a student's Weekly Progress on the Verbling website, showing how many lessons they'd taken that week

Will it keep you on track, or will it prioritize lesson attendance over engagement?

In theory, I like this function. In practice, however, it leaves me disappointed. The problem is that not all students learn at the same pace, nor do they all have the same base level. Moreover, Verbling told me I could progress in Japanese just as quickly as Portuguese. That might be true for someone who already knows kanji, for example, but it’s not realistic for the average European.

Had there been some more variables (native language, how hard you want to push yourself, etc.), I would have been more impressed. As it is, I don’t think it’s sufficiently customizable. It will keep you on track, right up until you realize that you’ve not been able to achieve your goals in the allotted time frame. And that’s when some students could become demotivated or lose confidence.

Plus, for it to be useful, students rely on their teacher to set their CEFR level – and only one of mine did that.

In fact, that’s the most annoying thing about Verbling: not all the teachers took advantage of the platform. Neither of the Portuguese teachers created flashcards or used multiple tabs, meaning it was harder for me to review the material. I only got one learning plan, and I wasn’t given due dates for my homework.

Perhaps this was because I only took one class with each teacher. Even when it wasn’t officially a trial lesson, I’m sure they were all aware that I might not be returning. Why would they create a learning plan for me or give me deadlines, if they didn’t know if I wanted to continue? And fortunately, Verbling’s platform allowed me to create the materials and flashcards myself after the classes.

However, this does point to a weakness in Verbling’s learning-friendly system: the platform has great features, but it can’t make the teachers use them.

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Community Features

I like italki’s community features (available only on their app), so I was excited to see that Verbling has them too. They’re disorganized but pretty good, although I believe italki’s are better. Let’s go through the main ones.

  • Discussions

This is a forum that contains a bit of everything. You can go to language-specific forums, which contain a mixture of quick lessons from teachers, exercises from teachers, students asking questions, students posting text for feedback and corrections, and chats in the language about the culture in question.

All of this is great, but it would be helpful to have the lessons, questions, and feedback requests split into their own sections. I would also have liked an option for uploading voice recordings for community feedback, like on italki.

Moreover, the Discussions badly need moderating. Some of the posts are thinly veiled attempts by teachers to get students.

Screenshot of a teacher's post promoting their classes under the title K-drama

Discussions or adverts?

There’s also a Community Support section that seems to be designed for teachers and students alike to get advice about using Verbling. However, it’s cluttered with posts that should be in language-specific forums, such as English fill-in-the-gap exercises.

Screenshot of Verbling Support Community forum, with off-topic posts

Vocabulary exercises are useful, but only when in the right forum.

  • Articles

Unlike discussions, articles can only be written by teachers. It seems that in the past, they had to be submitted to Verbling for publication. This means you’ll find some excellent content without wading your way through as much spam. However, more recent posts tend to be less valuable.

I get the impression that Verbling may be phasing articles out: new ones were published regularly up until summer 2020. However, there have been no new ones since the 7th of August.

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Screenshot of Japanese articles on Verbling

The most recent Japanese articles are a mixed bag.

  • Feature Suggestions

You know when you find a great platform, but there’s just one thing that’s bugging you? That’s where Verbling’s Feature Suggestions page comes into play. Teachers and students alike can make suggestions, upvote them, and add comments. If Verbling implements them, they’ll mark it as completed and add some comments.

I was happy to see this. While I’m sure a lot of suggestions aren’t adopted, it shows that Verbling is actively looking to improve and prioritizing user experience. Plus, users can give feedback without feeling like they’re being difficult or complaining.

Screenshot of Verbling Feature Suggestions, including some open, completed, and planned suggestions

Suggestions can be completed, planned, or closed.

Pricing and Purchasing: How Much Are Verbling Lessons?

The average class price varies according to the language, but Verbling seems to set a minimum price of $5 per hour. Some teachers may also offer a discount code for their first lesson.

There are often discounts for bulk-buying classes in packs of 5, 10, and 20. Bear in mind that lessons expire after six months, although they can be reactivated providing you do so within one year of the original purchase date. Disappointingly, forum comments online imply that teachers do not receive the payment for expired lessons.

Screenshot of Verbling checkout showing fees, discounts, and available payment methods

Verbling recommends purchasing 10 lessons at a time, but the €0.88 discount doesn’t convince me.

As always, local costs of living affects the rates: I found the Japanese teachers were more expensive, while the European Portuguese and Spanish ones were pricier than the Latin American ones.

interlinear books between lines
Screenshot of the price range for Japanese classes on Verbling

The hourly price range for Japanese classes on Verbling. The average is around $24.

Screenshot of the price range for Spanish classes on Verbling

The hourly price range for Spanish classes on Verbling. The average is around $17.

You can pay via PayPal, bank card, or Verbling gift card. However, the price you see isn’t actually the price you pay. There’s an additional 6% Trust & Support fee, and Verbling only accepts payments in USD, so your bank may sting you with foreign currency fees and poor conversion rates. While this is no different to italki, some of the smaller competitor sites allow you to pay in multiple currencies and don’t have hidden costs.

Does Verbling Offer Value for Money?

I found the prices reasonable for the quality of the teaching. However, I also wanted to compare Verbling’s prices to its competitor sites. While cheaper isn’t always better, you can often find the same teachers at different price points on different platforms.

  • italki vs Verbling: Which is Cheaper?

I was able to find two of my teachers on italki. It’s hard to directly compare lesson prices because teachers can charge different rates for different types of classes on italki. However, their classes tended to be a couple of euros more per hour on Verbling than on italki. This is consistent with the experiences of other All Language Resources team members.

When I looked at cheaper teachers, however, the gap narrowed and some even charged less per hour on Verbling than italki. Based on this very limited data set, I would guess that the cheapest teachers charge roughly the same on each platform, but the mid-range ones might charge a little more on Verbling.

Since italki and Verbling charge the same 15% commission rate (at the time of publication), the extra money presumably goes directly to the teacher. Personally, I would be happy to pay the extra couple of euros per hour on Verbling compared to italki, because I think the platform adds more than that in value. Even if the per-lesson rate is higher, I can see myself learning quicker and wasting less time on trials with lower-quality teachers.

That said, I also looked up my regular Spanish teacher from Langu (which also charges 15% commission), and her classes are about £2.50 (around $3.50) more expensive on Verbling. She’s the joint-most expensive Spanish teacher on Langu, but she’s pretty run of the mill price-wise on Verbling. Langu is pretty new and small, however, so it’s probably not a great choice for most students.

In short, if you like the sound of Verbling’s platform and want more structured teaching, I believe it offers value for money.

However, if budget is your priority or you’re just looking for casual, unstructured conversation, you may prefer italki or other platforms. You can find plenty of cheap teachers on Verbling, but mid-range ones might be cheaper elsewhere. And if paying in USD adds up to off-puttingly high fees for you, Langu or schools based in your country may be a better option.

And on that topic, let’s take a look at some of the best alternatives and complementary resources for Verbling.

Verbling Alternatives and Complementary Resources

You’ll find a huge range of online platforms for language classes, as well as courses and apps that can supplement your lessons. Here are a few options:

  • Online Language Classes

italki (review) is the most famous choice, and it’s a good option if you’re looking for lower prices, more teachers to choose from, or better community features. For certain languages, it may be the only option available.

If you like the sound of Verbling’s flashcards and materials, you might like Chatterbug. It has games, videos, and lots of supplementary learning materials. However, you can’t choose your teachers, you have to pay a subscription fee, and we weren’t overly impressed with the extra features anyway.

You can also try Live Lingua, Langu, Preply, or Verbalplanet. Spanish learners might like BaseLang (review), which gives you unlimited classes with Latin American teachers each month, while TutorMing (review) is a good option for Mandarin learners.

As you can tell, there’s no shortage of platforms for online language classes. In fact, we’ve ranked several of them of them in an italki alternatives showdown, so check that out if you’re not sure which is best for you.

  • Free Language Exchanges & Community Feedback

If you’re looking for more casual language practice, you could try a language exchange app like Tandem. It will let you meet language learners from all over the world, and we found it quick and easy to find people to practice with.

On HiNative, you can post questions about language conjugation, vocabulary, and more, and people around the world will answer you. In our opinion, it’s useful, but there are a lot of off-topic posts.

LangCorrect’s lets you publish your writing for critique by the community of language learners. We think it would work well alongside Verbling, since you put the new language you’ve learned into practice straight away.

  • Self-Study Options

If you would prefer to study at your own pace, without a teacher, then you’ve got a lot of options to choose from. Innovative Language’s Pod101 and Class101 series are jam-packed with video and audio lessons for a huge range of languages. (You can also get 25% off the premium subscription with the discount code ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES.) We recommend using a textbook alongside these courses to give more structure to your studies.

LanguageTransfer has short-and-sweet audio lessons for a wide range of languages. It’s free, but we believe it’s better than a lot of pay-to-use courses. However, if you prefer something in depth and slower paced, try Pimsleur. We think it’s well structured.

Looking for a gamified app? LingoDeer is one of our favorite options for beginner and lower-intermediate students. It doesn’t include much speaking practice, so it works nicely alongside Verbling. Meanwhile, Babbel is great for European languages, and we love the community feedback features. Busuu not only teaches you a language but also integrates community feedback. You can also take a look at our top Duolingo-esque, gamified language-learning apps here.

There are also plenty of language-specific courses and apps. If none of the options we’ve mentioned sound right for you, take a look at the languages listed at the bottom of this article. We’ve reviewed hundreds of resources, so you’re bound to find one that’s fun, effective, and suited to your learning style and goals.

Final Thoughts

There are numerous websites offering online language classes, but what makes Verbling stand out is the learner-friendly platform, the well-structured classes, and the often higher prices.

It’s worth mentioning that good teaching comes down to the teacher, their organization, and their communication skills – not the platform. With a poor-quality teacher or a teacher who doesn’t want to use the learning and review features, Verbling’s system adds nothing.

But Verbling’s platform combined with a good teacher is a winning combination, in my opinion. It allows you to focus solely on the class instead of on taking notes, and it is excellent for reviewing lesson content.

The learning plans, meanwhile, encourage teachers to focus on long-term progress rather than just on fun classes. And there’s no denying that I quickly found two great teachers when I tried Verbling out, unlike with some competitors.

Whether or not Verbling is right for you will depend on your priorities. If you’re looking for something cheap and cheerful, try some of the other platforms we’ve mentioned. If, however, you like the sound of Verbling, give a trial class a go.

Personally, I’ll keep using italki for languages with very few online teachers, like Basque, and I’m not going to switch my Spanish classes over from Langu for now. However, when I pick up my next language, I’ll probably try Verbling first.

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Comments (5)

My experience with verbling is really I have none which is not good. I applied as a teacher and was accepted and they turned my profile on live, and once that happened, nothing… My “mentor” who was fast to respond suddenly stopped corresponding even to direct questions. So much for, “ask me anything anytime.” What’s worse, I’ve not had a single booking after an entire month. I guess it’s just all a gimmick? I’ve sent articles and post community questions and even answer some, but nothing… No responses, no nothing. I’ve even gotten a few thumbs down on my simple question I asked about slang v. formal. It’s like I’m invisible. Verbling is a non-entity for me and my expectations were not even close to being met.

Do you have any experience with italki? I’ve been teaching online on a different site for almost a year, and thinking of applying for both sites. I thought Verbling seemed better because teachers have to actually be qualified, unlike the site I’m currently working on, but now I’m not sure…

I don’t have any experience teaching on italki but I’ve taken classes on both. I know a lot of teachers use both platforms for finding students as well. As a student, I prefer italki just because it’s easier to find someone that fits my preferences.

iTalki has no support. There isn’t even an email address for you to click. You have to dig around for a long time (took me almost half an hour) to find a way to even trigger a reply form. I don’t like it anymore, as a student. This might be helpful for you teachers to know that there are a bunch of students who prefer Verbling. I took lessons for a year and never had problems. I take lessons on iTalki and 1) there is a fee you pay to PAY. So your lesson price has an extra $2 surcharge on it!!!! 2) like I said, the least support I’ve EVER seen on any site of any type and 3) I can’t remember which, but there are some really basic interface things you can do in Verbling that you can’t in iTalki. Verbling has a built in chat system, so all your chat messages are in one place, it has a better screen sharing, it has a translator and dictionary tool on the chat screen. It’s LOADS better. I only used iTalki because I like the instant tutoring to get a lesson whenever. But after awhile, when you see it’s always the same 5 or 6 teachers, if you don’t like them, it doesn’t matter when they are available. It looked good at first, but the longer I use iTalki, the less I like it.

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