Learning a new language comes with endless advantages. Travelling can become easier and thus more enjoyable, your career may benefit, and it’s also impressive to everyone around you.
The internet has presented us with an ultimate resource for learning new skills and improving our knowledge. Websites like Khan Academy, Udemy, and Coursera offer a selection of courses that are targeted at specific subjects, and it’s all online!
Going a step further, some course sites specialize in one type of subject, such as learning a new language. Babbel vs. Duolingo will quickly be a debate you have if you want to learn new languages.
Babbel and Duolingo are websites that ease the pathway to learning a second language. It can be hard to decide which one is the best when we consider their plentiful strengths and a few weaknesses.
For that reason, we’ll be assisting you by picking out the key considerations to make when choosing between Babbel and Duolingo and analyzing them too.
Things to Consider
Instead of dwelling on details, here is a quick list of which factors we’ll be considering in this review:
- Lesson structure and testing
- Number of available languages
- How interactive the learning experience is
- What the lessons focus on
- Do they have a lesson that focuses on pronunciation
- Whether these platforms prepare you for using what you learn
- Cost of being a user
- Accessibility (e.g., is there a mobile app available)
If you are also contemplating other language learning platforms outside of Babbel vs. Duolingo, then makes a note of these considerations.
What Are Babbel and Duolingo?
The simple answer is they are learning platforms. Both sites enable the learning of multiple languages, and the available courses are laid out in ways that make approaching this learning experience simple and easy.
- Babbel requires a paid subscription if you want to access its learning resources. You can choose from 14 languages, which have courses that focus on vocabulary, and grammar and prepare learners for using what they’ve learned in practical situations. It’s also suitable for beginners and more fluent speakers.
- Duolingo doesn’t require you to pay. This platform is free and currently provides 34 languages for users to choose from. Similar to Babbel, Duolingo’s courses are designed to make learning a new language stress-free and enjoyable. They include lessons that focus on grammar and vocabulary, activities that challenge you to practice your new language, and each lesson has multiple-choice questions to keep you on your toes.
The more appealing website out of these two is Duolingo, primarily because it is free. This alone shouldn’t be enough to determine which platform is the best for learning languages though.
For Babbel vs. Duolingo, we must also consider how their learning methods are structured and what to expect as a user.
How These Learning Platforms Work
What can you expect as a new user on either of these sites? Below we will outline what it’s like to learn a new language on both sites and how it works.
Learning with Babbel
Starting with Babbel, the paid language-learning solution.
1. Select a Language and Pay
First, you’ll choose the language you want to start learning. Before you can start studying, you’ll have to purchase a course for that language. One downside of Babbel is that every language requires you to purchase the courses individually. In other words, one payment doesn’t get you access to every language.
2. Taking Your Placement Test
Next, you’ll take a test that gauges how well your current understanding of the language you desire to learn actually is. By gathering some basic information about your language knowledge, Babbel can produce a effective learning plan for your level.
3. Paying Your Subscription
Continuing from our previous remarks, this is when you’ll be prompted to pay for a Babbel subscription. Remember that this subscription only applies to the language you have chosen. To learn another language, another subscription is needed. The subscription plans range from 1 to 12 months.
Learning with Duolingo
Now, let’s look at the free learning platform Duolingo and how it works. Take into account how different this is to Babbel.
1. Select a Language
To start, you must create an account and choose the language you want to learn. Unlike Babbel, you can switch between languages without paying a penny.
2. Complete an Optional Proficiency Test
This test isn’t a requirement. If you’re learning a new language, then you can decide to skip this. If you want to advance a language you have already begun to learn, it will be helpful to take this test. Doing so will allow Duolingo to give you a learning plan suitable for your current knowledge.
3. Start Learning
After taking (or not taking) the placement test, you can start learning. On Duolingo, you will begin by learning the basics of your language’s vocabulary and grammar. Eventually, you will learn how to construct sentences with the vocabulary you’ve learned so you can use it.
Duolingo is more interactive than Babbel in many aspects. As you continue learning this new language and complete the activities with each lesson, your level for that language will increase. The more you learn and the more activities you complete, the higher your level.
Babbel vs. Duolingo: Comparing the Costs
So far, we’ve found out that Babbel will dip into your wallet quite a bit, especially if you want to learn more than one language. Obviously, learning several new languages at a time isn’t ideal, but there are some people to who this will apply.
But even though Duolingo is free, it’ll come as no surprise that they have to make money somehow. If users don’t have to pay a subscription, how can they make money?
- Advertising. The most obvious is that Duolingo makes money by offering to advertise. These ads are only shown on their iOS and Android apps. On their website, there are no advertisements, making it less intrusive to use.
- Language Certifications. If you invest your free time into learning a new language, perhaps you want some proof. You can complete a certification test to prove how brilliant your language skills are.
- Duolingo Plus. Duolingo is free to use; there’s no catch. A premium subscription is available, but this is by no means necessary. It costs $6.99/month and lets users download courses on their smartphone to access offline, removes advertisements, and has a few other perks as well.
- User Translations. This may come as a surprise, and it’s an interesting way for them to fund the company. Duolingo users translate many words and Duolingo store this information in their databases. With these translations from experienced users, Duolingo sells them to other companies that require this type of data.
It’s pretty agreeable that none of these are “despicable” ways of them making money. Sure, advertising can be irritating, but this is the norm for mobile apps.
Even considering these things and the fact that you can upgrade to Duolingo Plus, it is still a free app. Where cost is concerned in Babbel vs. Duolingo, the latter takes the trophy.
Babbel: Pros and Cons
- Teaches vocabulary and grammar for each language
- Provides clear pronunciations for each audio clip
- Lessons include information built on previous lessons
- Everything taught has explanations
- Not as expensive as other subscriptions like Rype
- Reviews state that users don’t feel much enjoyment from learning with Babbel
- Activities for the lessons can seem repetitive
- You must purchase a subscription for every language you want to learn
Duolingo: Pros and Cons
- Easy to sign up and start learning within minutes
- It has an interactive and enjoyable learning experience
- Lesson structure includes grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation
- Free to use online and as a smartphone application
- All language courses are free and don’t require individual subscriptions
- The app includes occasional advertisements that can only be removed with Duolingo Plus
- Some of the lesson activities are a bit similar
Is There an Alternative?
Do neither Babbel nor Duolingo appeal to you so far? Instead, you might want to do some research into Rype, another language-learning platform.
The gist of this platform is that it comprises professional teachers who you can choose from, and they create learning plans for you.
After you sign up and choose a teacher, you will also have to choose a time slot that fits with your schedule. Pricing can be much steeper than other language learning sites, though. You can pay one of these three pricing plans:
- $175/month for 3 months, paid monthly
- $235/month for 12 months, paid monthly
- $215/month for 12 months, paid annually
Unless you’re serious about learning a new language and the price of Rype doesn’t discourage you, stick to Babbel vs. Duolingo for now. Currently, Rype is providing new users with seven days of free access and a discount on their first month after that.
Overall, Rype is a great place for you to learn languages. You can pick up a customized lesson that a teacher made specifically for you at a time that works for you, and learning will be more enjoyable. Setting aside the high price, it’s worth looking into if it’s something you can afford.
Summary of Babbel vs. Duolingo
To touch on some of the earlier things to consider we mentioned, here’s a quick comparison of both language learning sites:
To use Babbel, you must pay; Duolingo is free (with an optional subscription).
How Many Languages?
Babbel currently only offers 14 languages to learn, whereas Duolingo has 34 languages.
Both websites explain how what you are learning can be used in practical settings.
Both sites have lessons that include explanations for pronouncing phrases.
Although both sites are interactive to an extent, Duolingo’s interaction makes learning more stimulating and enjoyable.
Both sites’ lessons focus on vocabulary and grammar and have activities to accompany what you learn in those lessons. Duolingo’s activities also include multiple-choice questions.
Should You Learn a New Language?
Before we conclude this discussion about Babbel vs. Duolingo, here are some tips. Learning a new language is a big commitment, but keep these points in mind:
- Knowing a second language looks amazing on resumes
- Learning a language isn’t short-term; it can take months and often years before you’ll be able to speak the language fluently
- If you frequently travel for work, then learning new languages can be incredibly beneficial
- Understanding how to pronounce and use a language is just as important as the vocabulary and grammar
- Don’t try to learn more than one new language at a time since this can be difficult and confusing
It can be enjoyable to learn a new language. As long as you don’t overwhelm yourself, pick a language that interests you, and choose a good resource to learn from, you’re good to go!
Picking the best from Babbel vs. Duolingo isn’t easy, and we don’t intend to do so. Both of them are fantastic ways for you to learn a variety of new languages. It all comes down to whether you want to pay for Babbel, or would you rather learn for free on Duolingo?
Although Duolingo’s apps have an odd ads, they don’t intrude or come excessively. Maybe this isn’t the question you face. Rather, you might want to use Rype.
If you have the money for this, it’s worth looking into. Regardless of the language learning solution you decide on, just make sure it caters to your learning style.