Learning a new language? Nearly everyone plans on doing this once. But actually starting it? Only a few do that. Following it through until you can hold a conversation? Happens rarely. But what if you could learn a language online? On a platform? This is exactly what the team around Babbel was thinking in 2007, and they implemented the initially mere idea into a mobile online learning platform.
Babbel is first and foremost practical. They don’t try to teach single words like “hello”, “yes”, “no” or “thank you”. The goal is to be able to hold conversations in the respective language. But how? Educators and linguistics review, compile and tailor the specific lessons exactly to the respective language combinations. Here, “signora Marchi” plays an important role; she’s basically the conversation partner. So the learner does not only read and write what he has learned, but also actively speaks it.
At the moment, 14 languages of the world are offered on babble.com: Turkish, German, Italian, Indonesian, English, Portuguese, Dutch, French, Swedish, Polish, Spanish, Danish, Russian and Norwegian. If the learner wants to start learning a language, he’s first asked to rate his proficiency level: beginner or advanced. After that, he is asked his age. For beginners, the lessons begin quite easily: You are asked to choose the right answer out of several options. The visual support simplifies this process and so the learner remembers it longer, like a photographic memory. In contrast, advanced learners are already asked to assign whole sentences. Within one lesson, Babbel always uses the same words/sentences, so that the learner gets a feel for both languages, the mother tongue and the new one.
Of course, all of this is not completely free. The learner is offered four subscriptions: one month, three months, six months or 12 months. Babbel accommodates “long-term learners” and offers the best value-for-money for 12 months.
Meanwhile, the learning platform has over 400 employees, who sometimes call themselves “language nerds”. So Babbel definitely passed the startup phase. To see how effective Babbel is, you would have to try it yourself. Do you want to?
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