I always liked debate time at school. Ask my boyfriend or parents and they’ll probably agree the affinity is something deeply embedded in my somewhat stubborn soul. So - naturally - I follow debates surrounding language learning with relish. There's so much to choose from: does age affect learning ability? (I don’t think so). Classroom teaching vs immersion (I vote a mix), and whether language learning belongs in school curriculum (I’m a yay). 

Today I weigh in on a doozy - how does learning a language through an app compare to learning with a tutor? I decided to put the research in. The subject? My wavering Spanish skills. The variables? Babbel (a language learning app) and Lucia (my Guatemalan Spanish tutor). Check out my entirely subjective findings below!


BABBEL (APP) VS. LUCIA (HUMAN)

 

COST

Babbel: 9/10 

I paid NZD $36 for a 3 month subscription with Babbel. Considering the amount of content there for the taking this is a pretty solid deal.

Lucia: 9/10

I paid the language school about NZD $96 for 5 days of lessons, 4 hours a day. Well worth it.

 

EFFECTIVENESS

Babbel: 6/10

I thought I was a master after a few weeks with Babbel but when it came to talking with native speakers I seriously struggled and later realised I’d misunderstood a few key concepts.

Lucia: 9.5/10

Lucia forced me to speak, get things wrong and ask questions. It was terrifying and hugely beneficial. I progressed much faster than I expected to.

 

FOR MOTIVATION

Babbel: 5/10

I was all over Babbel at the start but unfortunately I was a little over it after a month. Guiltily, I swiped their motivational notifications aside until I didn’t even feel guilty anymore.

Lucia: 9/10

Lucia told me off when I didn’t do my homework. That’s motivating. So is actually speaking Spanish with a real live human. However the schedule was a tad exhausting. I suspect a burnout would occur around week 3. 

 

FUN FACTOR

Babbel: 5/10

The design is great. I like Babbel, but lets be honest, it’s a bunch of fancy flashcards and about as fun as a bunch of fancy flashcards can be.

Lucia: 7.5/10

Most of my lessons were interrupted by long periods of laughter and joking (99% at my own expense). This did depend on Lucia’s and my own mood but all in all - yep, pretty fun.

 

TOTAL SCORES

Babbel: 25/40

OK so - in comparison - Babbel loses. BUT I still think it’s a great product and will definitely use it to tide me over between and alongside my other Spanish learning. 

Lucia: 35/40

Woohoo! Humans win! Let’s face it, when it comes to learning a language there’s no substitute for a one on one tutor. Add some Lingogo practise time on the side and you’re away laughing!


So what do you reckon? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. All challenges accepted!

In other news we’re making solid progress on our new Lingogo app. It looks amazing, is a billion times easier to use, boasts way faster download times and includes some new features that just might blow your mind. Stay tuned for the release date - it comes with a brand spanking new Lingogo Story series.

In the meantime - keep at it guys! Enjoy class, find that motivation, open that app and make sure you get involved in our monthly #LingogoChallenge to keep your head in the game.

This month’s challenge: learn a new jam in your target language! Find a foreign song, and play the heck out of it all month until you’re a singalong pro. Post a message, pic or vid to social media with our #LingogoChallenge hashtag to tell us what you picked. We’ll choose our fav at the end of the month!

Here’s my own entry to get you started with whats become a bit of a soundtrack to our #LingogoWorldTour. Can’t go past Enrique! 

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