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Mondly vs Duolingo
Figure out which language learning app/course is best for you in this detailed Duolingo vs Mondly comparison
When it comes to finding a fun, game-like language learning program with short lessons and a cheap price tag, almost everyone turns to Duolingo. However, Mondly has emerged a very viable alternative to Duolingo, with similarly-designed short lessons and a fun, interactive app – all at an affordable price. So which language course should you choose? In this detailed comparison, our team lays out the key differences and similarities between these programs to help you make the choice on which is right for you.
To make navigating this article easier, we’ve included jump-to links above for your convenience.
Video Comparison: Mondly vs Duolingo
In the video above, John covers everything you need to know about how the language learning apps from Mondly and Duolingo compare. For more detail, be sure to continue reading our full comparison below.
Why You Should Choose Mondly to Learn a New Language
To start this comparison, let’s discuss the strengths of the Mondly language program and the areas in which they beat Duolingo.
Mondly Makes the Learning Process Fun
The first clear advantage in favor of Mondly is that I really like how they try to gamify the language learning experience and make it fun. Obviously, there’s the cool, interactive dashboard and short lessons with catchy graphics and visuals. It’s an awesome interface and a great course design, but Duolingo has a lot of the same features.
Instead, I think the coolest aspect in this regard has to be Mondly’s virtual reality and augmented reality learning apps, which are designed to complement the company’s standard lessons. This is really where Mondly differentiates itself from Duolingo and other competitors. In addition, it’s why they’re widely considered a pioneer in the digital language learning space.
The Mondly VR app is a virtual immersion tool that places you in simulated environments. You’ll be immersed in all sorts of situations that require you to speak to locals, like ordering lunch in a restaurant, checking in to a hotel, and making small talk with a cab driver.
In terms of cost, the VR app does run about $5, which isn’t bad, but the bigger bummer is that you’ll need an Oculus headset to use it. This might rule this feature out for a number of people.
Luckily though, 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 premium account. The AR app takes a scan of your room and then uses augmented reality technology to generate a CGI teacher and animations in the room right in front of you.
For example, if you’re learning about animals, the teacher will show you animations of frogs, lizards, dogs, and birds. They’ll provide some background and instruction in this CGI space, and then have you practice using these words in sentences. In addition, you can interact with the animations and even get up to walk around and get a 360-degree view. It’s pretty awesome.
Overall, I found Mondly’s VR and AR apps to be a nice change of pace from the standard lessons and a good way to add some fun into your language learning experience. The apps are also a good tool for pronunciation and conversational practice, which is an area where Duolingo falls short.
With Duolingo, you really just end up listening to and repeating words in a vacuum. By contrast, Mondly places you in locations and environments to simulate real world situations and conversations, which in my opinion, is much more effective.
So overall, I have to give the win to Mondly here in terms of conversational practice. That said, I do think there are better courses and apps out there to help you develop your speaking skills. For example, I think Rocket Languages and Pimsleur are better than both Mondly and Duolingo in this regard.
Mondly is More Accurate
On the whole, I found that Mondly is better than Duolingo with using natural sentences and phrases. With Duolingo, this actually seems to be a recurring complaint. I saw it in forums and even noticed a few instances of odd phrases myself that weren’t necessarily incorrect grammatically, but were just bizarre.
Also, I saw a lot of complaints online regarding incorrect translations with Duolingo as well, though I didn’t see too many incorrect translations myself. And to be fair, it does seem like Duolingo has improved in this area as of late.
However, you do still occasionally come across an awkward sentence or phrase that sort of turns your head because of the weirdness of it. A couple examples of unnatural sentences I saw were “I am making dinner out of you” and “it called my fat.” It’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t happen all the time, but it can disrupt and distract your learning process occasionally.
So the key takeaway here is that Mondly seems to be more consistent and accurate when it comes to using natural sentences and correct translations within its lessons.
My final Mondly highlight is the fact that they teach you truly useful vocabulary. The material you learn consists of words, phrases and sentences that you’re actually likely to use in real world situations, which is something that doesn’t always hold true for Duolingo.
For example, you’ll learn things like “I need to buy a ticket” or “where is the bathroom.” Plus, Mondly even offers job-specific courses and lessons, which can be super helpful for working professionals. For example, Mondly offers courses directly related to marketing, negotiations, customer service, finance, and healthcare.
So when it comes to overall practicality and the ability to actually use lessons, I have to give the edge to Mondly.
Why You Should Choose Duolingo to Learn a New Language
Now that you have a better understanding of what Mondly has to offer, let’s discuss the strengths of the Duolingo language program.
Extra Resources for Users
The first highlight in favor Duolingo is all about the extra resources they provide users. With Mondly, there’s really not much beyond the standard lessons and their supplemental VR and AR apps.
Duolingo, on the other hand, offers several different resources beyond their core curriculum. This includes short stories (to sharpen your reading and listening skills); forums (so you can connect with other learners to discuss tips, their language learning experiences, and get answers to any questions you may have); a podcast (for more exposure to the language); and a translation dictionary.
But perhaps my favorite resource of all is the series of online events where you can directly interact with other learners face-to-face via Zoom to practice speaking or discuss whatever is on your mind. These are all great, free resources that learners can take advantage of.
Speech Recognition Technology
The other major advantage here is that I like Duolingo’s speech recognition technology a little better than Mondly’s (though I would just note it’s not as good as others’ tech, like Memrise). Not only did I find it more accurate most of the time, but with Mondly, every time you go to speak, you have to hold down the microphone button the entire time, which can become annoying.
I know this might sound nitpicky, and it is, but it does make a difference over time. With Duolingo’s speech tech, you only have to click the microphone button once and then the recording will automatically stop once you are finished speaking. It’s a small gripe, but it is worth mentioning.
Before we dive into the final verdict, let’s briefly compare pricing and affordability, as that can be an important factor. Both companies actually offer a free version, but as you might imagine with anything that’s free in life, there are some drawbacks.
To cut to the chase, the free versions from both companies are very limited. The content is limited, there are ads, and unless you’re doing some very cursory learning, they are just plain frustrating. So as a result, most people choose to upgrade to their paid plans.
With Mondly, that would be the Premium Plan, which unlocks all of the Mondly content and features across their 40 or so languages. This costs $10 per month, or around $48 per year if you want to pay up for an entire 12 months in advance.
With Duolingo, that would be their Plus Plan, which costs $7 per month or $84 per year.
So overall, pricing between the two companies is very close, but Mondly does have the edge if you plan to sign up for an entire year.
Final Verdict: Duolingo vs Mondly
With the detail covered, let’s get to the final verdict. Should you choose Mondly or Duolingo? Well, after testing each program, it’s a close call. The core program from both companies actually share several similarities, including short lessons, a fun game-like environment and a cheap price tag. Ultimately, however, I think Mondly is the winner.
I’m a big fan of their AR and VR apps, which keep the language learning process exciting and fun, and I think they’re a great tool for practicing your pronunciation and conversational skills. Not to mention, I think Mondly does a better job with translations and teaching useful language. So for those reasons, I have to give the edge to Mondly.
After thoroughly testing each app/course, the language experts on our team believe Mondly offers the more effective language program overall.
Are the apps/courses from Mondly and Duolingo free?
Yes, both Duolingo and Mondly do offer free versions, but you will need to sign up for a paid subscription in order to unlock all the content and features.
How many languages do Mondly and Duolingo cover?
Duolingo gives you the possibility to learn over 20 different languages, while Mondly offers over 40 different language courses.
What is the difference between Mondly and Duolingo?
Although the lessons from both companies are similar in several respects, Mondly differentiates itself from Duolingo in that they offer a proprietary AR/VR app to help make the learning process more engaging and fun.