European and Scandanavian teachers might be able to use Babbel for older or adult students in place of a textbook, especially as a complement to a conversation-focused course. Class lessons could be organized to follow the sequence presented in the website, though it's unclear if the content is aligned with any school standards or requirements. If you are teaching French or German in the United States, Babbel could definitely be used for extra credit, for homework, in class practice, or for pronunciation practice (although inconsistency might make this unfeasible). Though the site lacks a teacher dashboard, teachers can track student progress by using printed course certificates.Continue reading Show less
Babbel supports older learners at various levels of learning a language with vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation lessons and an active online community. Fill-in-the-blank, ordering, pronunciation, voice match, word match, and error-correction activities populate six beginner, three intermediate, and six grammar courses. Each course contains approximately twenty lessons, most of which are divided into six to twelve words, phrases, or sentences. Plentiful courses cover themes like cuisine, pronunciation, false cognates, and slang.
Learners from six mother tongue languages (German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Swedish) can learn English, German, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, Dutch, Polish, Indonesian, Norwegian, and Danish. British English spellings and Castilian Spanish pronunciations are perfect for European kids, but they might confuse kids with American roots.
Babbel hosts an active learning community and an impressive depth of content, but it fails to create an immersive experience. Highlights include the People page, which hosts an active chat, topical boards, and user-submitted writing activities and provides the option to help others with short translations. Other bright spots include the Review Manager, which helps you commit vocabulary to long-term memory through customized review intervals, and, ultimately, the large collection of content that helps you learn 12 different languages.
Unfortunately, all of this content is spread too widely across the site; it requires too much clicking about, and speech recognition can be frustrating. Images (and sometimes capitalization) are extensively used to provide hints, undermining textual and aural learning. Verb conjugations are relegated to a subset of lessons and are not well integrated. It would be helpful to see one's progress on all courses and words on one page. Currently, this information is displayed partly on the Vocabulary page, partly on an activity bar, and partly on the Home page, and the information is available only for the current course. Despite these needling problems, Babbel still provides a social and visually interesting experience for language learners.