Babbel Spanish Reviewed: A Comprehensive and Engaging Learning Experience

Babbel Spanish is one of the best options for beginner and intermediate Spanish learners, combining a thorough learning system with effective and fun features.

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Babbel Spanish: Our Verdict (2023)

Platform Rating

4.6 / 5

Babbel Spanish is one of the best options for those who want to start learning Spanish or to reinforce their knowledge with lessons that integrate reading, listening, and speaking skills. The great design and the well-crafted learning method make Babbel stand out from other online language learning services. The inclusion of archaeological, cultural, and social information on Spanish-speaking countries will give you a feeling of getting close to diverse cultural contexts, which is important when you are learning a new language.

Pros

  • Diverse and engaging exercises.
  • Regular revisions.
  • Amazing integration of cultural information about Spanish-speaking countries.

Cons

  • Lack of emphasis on speaking exercises.

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Babbel is one of the most popular online language-learning services on the market. Its distinctive learning method is advertised as the shortest path to real-life conversations, empirically proven by academics from Yale University, City University of New York, and Michigan State University. Babbel currently offers German, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish, Dutch, Polish, Indonesian, Norwegian, Danish, and Russian. In this review, I’ll be taking a deeper look at their offerings for learning Spanish.

Table of Contents

How does Babbel Spanish work?

When you log in for the first time on the platform, Babbel will ask you questions to build your profile and identify your learning needs. Some of these questions include why you are learning Spanish, how much you know the language, what you want to achieve, how much time you want to learn Spanish, and what your learning style is.

Babbel features a good combination of writing, listening, and speaking exercises, ensuring a comprehensive language process. However, Babbel Spanish has less of an emphasis on speaking exercises, as most will focus only on pronouncing new vocabulary rather than developing dialogue skills. The platform allows you to choose between different levels and themes, which is one of the characteristics I liked the most about the method. Sometimes, you want to go straightforwardly to specific topics needing more improvement and practice.

One of the main distinctive characteristics of Babbel is the appealing visual and interactive elements that will accompany you throughout your learning experience. Like other platforms such as Busuu, Babbel gives the feeling of cohesiveness between graphic and interactive elements, giving a pleasant visual experience, easing the platform’s use, and making your learning experience quicker and more effective.

Visual representation of the Babbel Spanish dashboard
This is what Babbel Spanish dashboard looks like.

Babbel Spanish offers both Castilian and Latin American Spanish courses separately. Babbel also follows the CEFR system (A1 to C1) and organizes modules by levels or themes that combine grammatical structures, new vocabulary, and knowledge anchored to culturally specific situations, which I enjoyed. The platform gives you the option of choosing between English or Spanish instructions, allowing you to have the possibility to have a completely immersive experience.

Each learning level is divided into 2 to 6 courses of 5 to 15 lessons each. Courses are divided by topics referring to daily situations and different communicational contexts, that include traveling, professional, or education. Babbel Spanish can offer up to 275 hours of lessons across different levels and themes.

Lessons

Babbel lessons are short, about 10 to 15 minutes long. Lessons are structured as a flashcard system that combines cultural anecdotes about the language with learning new vocabulary and grammar through a dynamic that combines matching and building words and small phrases. I generally found lessons well-crafted and easy to follow, and I did not get bored.

The focus-oriented design ensures an optimal learning pace with minimal distractions
The focus-oriented design will ensure a good learning pace without distractions.

Every few lessons, Babbel will ask you if you want to review new knowledge.  This is one of the main pros of Babbel: revisions are recurrent. Furthermore, the platform will ask you how you want to be reviewed: by flashcards, listening, speaking, or writing exercises. This is a good feature as it allows you to focus on specific language skills you need to improve more in-depth.

Another type of lesson integrated into the system that I found useful is the Grammar Building Blocks. These lessons target grammar structures, allowing you to complement the learning of vocabulary and dialogues in daily-life situations. Some argue that too much focus on grammar can hinder a fluid learning process. However, I would say that grammar structures need to be learned in an integrated way, where you are able to identify how they can be used in daily life situations. I think Babbel manages this very well.

An example of a grammar-focused lesson on singular articles
This is an example of a grammar-oriented lesson on singular articles.

A separate review section can be accessed from the dashboard in a different tab. Here, you will see a list of new vocabulary Babbel integrates into a test that you can access, allowing you to practice specific new words and even the ones you marked as favorites when following other sessions.

Live sessions

One of Babbel’s distinctive characteristics is the well-implemented system of live classes with native-speaking teachers. The Live section – accessed only with an extra subscription – will show you a list of pre-arranged classes for a maximum of six users about specific topics, such as food, public spaces, or traditions. The classes are typically 60 minutes long and are listed by learning level so you can practice knowledge on specific topics according to your language experience. You can book two free Live classes with a regular subscription, and after that, you will need to pay a Live subscription to take more classes.

Available live classes with extra subscription
These are some of the Live classes you can access with an extra subscription.

Other features

The tab Explore accesses the full list of courses, which can be browsed by level or theme. This is helpful as the platform does not constrain your learning path to a specific order of courses or lessons, giving you much flexibility regarding your needs and tastes.

Babbel also offers small stories and explanations of the local way of living in Spanish-speaking countries, called cultural bites. I found these pieces very attractive as they provide useful and insightful information that you can use to start new conversations with native Spanish speakers. Some cultural bites include information about archaeology, gastronomy, festivals, and music, so if you want to learn more about culture, Babbel is a great option.

Babbel also features its own podcast! This is a perfect option for those who like to practice and learn a new language while doing other daily activities, such as cooking or commuting. You can access the podcast via the Babbel platforms, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify. Another interesting feature that runs along the lines of the podcast is Babbel Magazine. Here, you will find many articles written by other learners or teachers who share recommendations, tips, and advice on how to improve your Spanish.

Babbel offers games where you can put into practice your knowledge in very fun ways. The Phrase Maze will help you strengthen your abilities to build sentences correctly, and the Word Tax will help you in your spelling skills. You will need to unlock and learn some phrases in your first sessions to play these games.

Pricing

Babbel Spanish offers a regular subscription called Babbel Self-Study, which offers app-based lessons, and Babbel Live, which offers online classes with real teachers and all the content unlocked. Compared to the Self-Study plan, the Live version is quite expensive – understandable, as it involves real-time teaching by native-speaking teachers.

Differences between Babbel Self-Study and Babbel Live plans
The differences in services offered by Babbel Self-Study and Babbel Live plans.

Babbel Self-Study can be paid for one, three, six, or twelve months. They offer a lifetime subscription for all languages, which, although it is a bit costly, is a good option for those who want to keep in contact with learning the language in the long run or those looking to learn more than one language.

Subscription options for Babbel Self-Study: 1, 3, 6, 12 months, and lifetime access for all languages

As I explained before, Babbel Live allows you to have live classes with native Spanish teachers. However, this option is quite expensive and unsuitable for those looking for affordable options to learn a new language.

1, 3, 6, 12 Month Spanish Learning Plan with Babbel Live

Babbel offers a free first lesson in every language to get a feel for if Babbel works for you. If it does not fulfill your needs, Babbel advertises a 20-day money-back guarantee – no questions asked.

Babbel: Free first lesson and 20-day money-back guarantee

Babbel also offers a referral plan where you can give one free month of Babbel to a friend and get a 10 EUR prepaid Mastercard when they subscribe. However, this offer is valid only for customers with a minimum subscription of 3 months.

Who is Babbel Spanish for?

Babbel Spanish can fit almost any student’s needs and those interested in having a good and thorough learning experience. The method has been proven scientifically, so if you want to ensure a rigorous but fun way of learning Spanish, this is a good option. However, if you are looking for a more affordable option and don’t need live classes, other platforms such as Busuu might suit your needs better.

My overall review

Babbel Spanish is one of the best online options for learning the language. However, the pricing could be improved, specifically regarding the live sessions. Besides that, I found Babbel a thorough and enjoyable way of learning Spanish in both Spanish and Latin-American contexts. Since I am an anthropologist, I felt connected with the platform’s cultural information. I know how important it is to learn a new language while feeling closer to different cultures and ways of seeing the world.