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Mondly vs Babbel
Our team's in-depth comparison of the language learning apps from Mondly and Babbel
When it comes to learning a new language, not everyone wants to sit through live classes, work hour-long lessons, or read dense books. Most people only have a few minutes per day to dedicate to their language learning, and actually want it to be fun. Enter Mondly and Babbel. With both companies having short, engaging lessons that only take about 10 minutes to finish and a fun, gamified learning experience, these two programs fit the bill for a large segment of people. But which one is better? Babbel or Mondly? We answer just that question in this detailed comparison guide.
Given that this is a long post, we’ve added convenient jump-to links above so you can quickly navigate this article.
Video Comparison: Mondly vs Babbel
In the above video, TPI team member John runs down everything you need to know about how the language apps from Babbel and Mondly stack up. As always, you can continue reading for more detail.
Strengths of Babbel’s Program & Where They Win
Let’s dive into this comparison by highlighting where Babbel beats Mondly, and what we particularly like about Babbel’s program.
Prioritization of Grammar
One of the clear standout features of the Babbel course is that they incorporate grammar content and exercises directly into their lessons, which is something Mondly doesn’t really emphasize that heavily. With Mondly, the only real grammar instruction you get is a list of verb conjugations when you hover over a word. That’s it.
Babbel, on the other hand, takes it a step further with their explanations. They provide detailed grammar tips and tricks that you need to know to ensure you’re forming proper phrases and sentences. And the nice thing is that Babbel does this without bogging you down with dense, boring grammatical principles.
I actually think too much emphasis on grammar can do more harm than good when you’re first learning a new language, but Babbel finds a really nice sweet spot. They integrate grammar instruction into their lessons in a very subtle and efficient way.
For example, one grammar exercise might include just a brief one- to two-sentence explanation in your native language regarding feminine nouns, or adjectives vs adverbs, followed by a quick fill-in-the-blanks exercise to ensure you understand the concept.
So overall, I have to give Babbel props here. They really go out of their way to make grammar instruction a priority within their lessons while keeping it light and easy.
Deeper Lessons For Faster Fluency
My second factor in favor of Babbel is that their lessons and language content are better suited for people looking to gain an intermediate understanding of a new language. In other words, Babbel’s lessons show steady progression throughout their curriculum, moving towards more advanced topics, while Mondly’s lessons don’t really progress beyond the basic level.
In fact, the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels from Mondly don’t seem to be that much different from one another. Even when you get to the “advanced” level in the Mondly program, the lessons are quite basic.
They only seem to focus on present and past tense, and don’t progress towards the more difficult future or past imperfect tenses. Babbel’s lessons, on other hand, do advance past the basic stage.
Now let me be clear, I don’t necessarily think Babbel or Mondly are ideal for advanced learners. I’m just not sure either program will get to you 100% language mastery with fast, fluent conversations (if that’s what you’re after, see Rocket Languages or Pimsleur). However, there’s no question that if you’re goal is to reach an intermediate level with a new language, Babbel is the way to go.
Killer Live Classes
My last pro in favor of Babbel is that they offer live classes. Now, you should know these classes are not included in Babbel’s standard subscription packages – you do have to pay extra for them. However, they are very good and well worth the money in my opinion.
Essentially, the company offers hundreds of small group live classes per week across all learning levels and cover all sorts of different topics. These class sessions are capped at 6 students per class, and each typically lasts around an hour long.
Personally, I love the diversity of these classes. For example, if Spanish is your target language, the class topics might range from local food in Guadalajara, to Spanish holidays, to talking about the weather. It really does vary widely and you can learn about some really interesting topics, all while improving your language skills.
Overall, they’re just a fantastic way to dive deeper into interesting subjects and get critical speaking practice. Verbal practice is key to developing a level of fluency, and there is no better means of getting that than through a live class held in your target language.
Plus, since there are so many classes, you can basically pick the days and times that work for you, and drop in and out of classes as you please.
Now that we’ve covered the highlights of the Babbel program, let’s switch sides and cover the major pros in favor of Mondly.
One of the clear standout features of the Mondly program is that is that they try to gamify the language learning experience and make it fun. The main dashboard takes the form of a cool, interactive map and just has a fun, sort of whimsical feel to it.
Additionally, you can track your performance and really dig into what you’ve learned through a neat, interactive brain tool. This dynamic brain illustrates what you’ve learned and how you did in those sections.
Then, as you complete lessons and drills, you earn experience points with a corresponding leaderboard where you can keep track of your streaks and compare your performance against friends and other Mondly users. For me, this fun, game-like environment is great for keeping yourself motivated and inspired.
Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR)
Beyond the gamification, perhaps the coolest aspect of the Mondly course is their virtual reality and augmented reality learning apps that are designed to complement their standard lessons. This is really where Mondly differentiates itself from Babbel and other competitors, and why they are widely considered a pioneer in the digital language learning landscape.
The Mondly VR app is a virtual immersion tool that places you in simulated environments, like grocery shopping, booking a bus ticket, or ordering food in a restaurant. You’ll be immersed in all kinds of situations that require you to speak to locals and critically use what you’ve learned. In other words, the goal of the app is to simulate real situations with native speakers.
However, the app doesn’t come with the main program for free. The VR app is a one-time purchase that costs around $5, which isn’t too bad in itself, but the real hummer is that you need an Oculus headset. Clearly, not everyone has Oculus, and this will cut down who this section applies to.
That said, if you don’t have an Oculus headset, Mondly also offers their AR app, which is free as long as you sign up for a paid account. The AR app takes a scan of your room and then uses augmented reality technology to generate a CGI teacher and animations right in your own office, kitchen or whatever room you’re in.
For example, if you’re learning about animals, the teacher will show you animations of sheep, cows, and pigs right in front of you. They provide some tips and insights, and then have you practice using the words in sentences. The cool thing is that you can interact with the animations and even get up to walk around them with a 360-degree view. It’s pretty cool.
Overall, I found the VR and AR apps to be a nice change of pace from the standard lessons. They’re definitely not equivalent to a standalone program, but they are a nice complementary tool for pronunciation and conversational practice. Plus, it’s just cool to add in some clever tech to diversify your language lessons and keep things fun and interesting.
Cool Job-Specific Lessons
Lastly, I like that Mondly offers job-specific courses and lessons. This is another aspect that separates Mondly from Babbel and other competitors. Personally, I think these courses are super useful for working professionals and add value if you’re learning a second or third language for work purposes.
For example, Mondly offers courses directly related to marketing, negotiations, customer service, finance, and healthcare, among others. These courses dive into relevant vocabulary and local customs that can be very practical. Bottom line, if you’re learning a new language in part for your job or occupation, then Mondly is a great option.
Before we get to the final verdict, let’s quickly compare pricing, as cost can be a major consideration for many people. And let’s start with Babbel. They offer a few different plans, ranging from around $7 per month (for their 12-month plan) up to $14 per month (for their pay-as-you-go plan). Thus, cost for Babbel depends on how long you want to commit to and pay for in advance.
With Mondly, they actually offer a free version, but it’s very limited. Honestly, it’s really more like a free trial than anything. Instead, most people opt for the Premium Plan, which unlocks all Mondly content and features. This costs $10 per month (pay-as-you-go) or around $48 if you want to pay up for an entire year in advance (i.e. $4 per month).
Overall, the two companies are very close in terms of pricing, with perhaps a narrow win for Mondly. That said, I should mention though that Babbel does offer a 20-day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied, so there is a nice safety net with them.
That about covers all the detail in this comparison, so let’s get to the final verdict. Should you choose Mondly or Babbel? Well, after testing each program, we have to give the win to Babbel. Although the two companies are similar in several respects, we believe Babbel is the better and more complete language learning program overall.
Yes, we like that Mondly offers unique ways to learn with their VR and AR apps, as well as their job-specific courses, but if you’re serious about learning a new language, Babbel is the better option. Our team likes that Babbel makes grammar more of a priority, their lessons advance beyond a basic level, and their live classes are organized and well-executed. All in all, we believe Babbel is the way to go.
Which is better, Babbel or Mondly?
After a full review of each course and working hours of lessons, it’s clear to our team that Babbel is a better program. Though the language learning apps are similar in many ways, Babbel’s content is better organized and we prefer their drills and exercises.
What is the main difference between Babbel and Mondly?
The primary difference between Mondly and Babbel (besides price) seems to be the emphasis on speaking. Though not the best app for conversational practice, Babbel seems to place a greater emphasis than Mondly on verbal practice.
Which is best for learning Spanish - Mondly or Babbel?
If your goal is to learn to speak Spanish, our team prefers Babbel to Mondly. Spanish was the primary language we targeted during our review and believe Babbel would be better than Mondly for learning Spanish.