Originally posted on wealthofgeeks.
The language learning app industry is a rapidly growing market, projected to grow from $3.14 billion in 2021 to $16.6 billion in 2031. With more options available than ever, now is a great time to learn a new language.
I’m a bilingual translator and I checked out the six most popular learning apps on the market. Instead of evaluating technical aspects like interface and speed, I focused on the app’s didactic approach. In other words, can a person learn a new language using an app like Duolingo?
The method was simple: download the apps and start from the most basic level in Spanish. A week-long performance evaluation, using the app daily and making mistakes like a novice.
Babbel: Best in Class
Of all the apps reviewed, Babbel touts itself as offering the “most holistic” approach to online language learning. I think a better adjective is “realistic.”
While most apps track progress through levels and paths, Babbel lessons are organized according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR) levels. This foreign language proficiency scale indicates which official certificate a student might qualify for. Note that the 14 languages offered are entirely European, with the sole exception of Indonesian.
Babbel focuses on providing students with the fundamental building blocks to learning a language: understanding words’ meaning, spelling, and grammar. The quality of additional content students can access sets the app apart. The conversation scripts hone speaking skills, the podcasts enhance listening comprehension, and the cultural magazine dedicates itself to the language.