Babbel vs Duolingo: Which is a Better Fit for You?
The question of choosing Babbel vs Duolingo is important for those seeking to get the best language education they can get.
Both platforms are popular and widely regarded as excellent online learning platforms for self-motivated learners. However, choosing a platform is a challenge if you don’t have the right information to help you decide.
I’ve taken a deep look at both platforms, and I outline their benefits and shortcomings in this blog post. Access the information you need to make a decision on which app to use. Read on to learn which app takes the champion belt in the battle of Babbel vs Duolingo!
Babbel takes its inspiration from stories such as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the Tower of Babel to imbue its name with powerful language-learning allegories. These stories have characters who speak multiple languages through forces that are beyond our reckoning.
But what has made Babbel one of the rising champions of language-learning apps? Does it hold up against Duolingo, one of the best-known language learning platforms out there?
You might think that choosing Babbel vs Duolingo is a no-brainer, but Babbel is no mere underdog and can be a powerful learning tool. Let’s find out why!
Pros of Babbel
Learning Spanish with Babbel is like learning how to swim by jumping in a lake. This app doesn’t pull any punches, starting your learning journey by exposing you to common phrases and conversations that are useful to both travellers and Spanish beginners.
You’ll begin learning phrases such as no entiendo (I don’t understand), estoy aprendiendo (I’m learning), and ¿puedes repetir? (can you repeat that?). And then you’ll slowly be introduced to increasingly complex yet practical conversations and phrases.
This method is similar to teachers who choose to only speak Spanish to their students when they start learning with them. It even includes different accents to train your ears and slowly ease you into understanding Spanish pronunciation and pacing.
You’re given plenty of freedom when it comes to choosing your course catalog, so you can choose lessons that interest you.
Grammar is introduced slowly, and every time a new rule appears you’re notified so you can review it and notice it in future conversations. It records sections where you struggled more so you can practice them until you master those trickier words and rules.
Cons of Babbel
One of the biggest weaknesses of Babbel vs Duolingo is that Babbel is not free—at least not entirely. While it offers many lessons that will provide you with a solid base, serious learners will have to pay if they want to check out the full course catalog.
This major difference begs the question: is paying for Babbel worth it, or should you stick to Duolingo? We’ll explore this idea further when we talk about Duolingo, but if you choose to pay for the full Babbel course, rest assured that you’ll be getting your money’s worth.
Babbel’s teaching method can involve a lot of vocabulary and grammar rules will go over your head if you don’t pay meticulous attention to every sentence. You might have to reference outside sources for vocabulary if you don’t understand things through context, so Babbel can end up taking more time and effort than it may seem.
Duolingo is the reigning champion of language-learning apps. Most people will recommend this app to you if you ask them which app is the best to learn a new language. It has a gamified style of teaching, with lives, points, and linear courses structured like the levels of a videogame, and even fancy coin sounds when you get a question right.
It has without a doubt made an impact on how we perceive learning a language. When comparing Babbel vs Duolingo, does this app hold up, or has Babbel surpassed the language-learning pioneer?
Pros of Duolingo
Duolingo is your friend if you have a busy life. You can use the app to learn Spanish in short bursts every day without having to dedicate long periods of time to it. It uses many different methods, such as writing, pronunciation, and listening so you can absorb their curriculum through different senses. This method will help you commit vocabulary to your long-term memory with ease so you don’t forget the words and phrases that it teaches you.
It’s gamified approach will make your learning experience pleasant, and it offers a linear structure of learning with branching paths that you can choose from as you conquer the previous challenges. When I think about Babbel vs Duolingo, Duolingo shines brighter when it comes to teaching vocabulary. By the time you reach the advanced levels of Duolingo’s language courses, you’ll have a sizable vocabulary that will be invaluable to your learning journey.
Cons of Duolingo
Duolingo is a learning software designed to look like a game, so when users try the app thinking that they will have the same experience they have on a common videogame, they will be disappointed and leave the app. The gamified aspect of the app can make learning a bit more fun, but it’s impossible to forget that I’m learning a language instead of playing a game. All of the lights and sounds of Duolingo make me wish I was playing a game instead, so I would often quit the app and play something on my phone instead.
The linear learning progression can be a good thing, but the restrictions can feel unnecessary if you already know some Spanish before getting on the app. Sure, Duolingo can give you a diagnostic test and put you in a level according to your skill level, but when I chose this option when trying to learn French I remember feeling like I was missing out on some content that I didn’t know yet because I was placed forward in the timeline (and I didn’t have the patience to look for it).
Lastly, you will get to the meat and potatoes of Duolingo’s course a lot later than you will with Babbel. People who use Duolingo to learn a language have decent vocabulary, but poor conversation skills because the gap between knowing words and having conversations is bigger than it seems.
Which is Better?
When comparing Babbel vs Duolingo, I must say that there’s no clear winner. Both excel in different areas and lag behind in others, and you should choose the app that peaks your interest and suits your needs. You won’t have to pay a dime to try either app, so I encourage you to give both a try and stick to the one you like best! They are both solid options that will help you learn a language faster. The battle between Babbel vs Duolingo might end up in a tie, so let’s help you break that tie by talking about the best way to learn Spanish.
The Best Way to Learn Spanish
My cousin Gabriel and his wife are a couple of polymaths with whom I spent the last few days. Gabriel has been learning Japanese recently, and he shared his technique to learn a new language: use as many sources as possible!
You don’t have to choose one app over the other if you have the time and dedication to learning Spanish. Using them both for half an hour each day will yield better results than if you used only one of them for a whole hour instead. However, Gabriel is a busy engineer who barely has time to dedicate to learning a language, so he has to stick to a method that is not ideal.
The ideal language-learning method is always through real life conversations. And if you have those conversations with a certified teacher, your learning will be faster and effective. Babbel vs Duolingo will become compliments to your learning, giving you a full education instead of just a learning app.
If you want to learn and talk to a certified Spanish teacher, you can take a free class at Homeschool Spanish Academy. Our teachers can help you with any vocabulary and phrases that you learn on your apps!
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