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Busuu Spanish course is one of the few language courses that offer a complete range of learning levels, including C1. The well-designed teaching method, built up around flashcards, and an outstanding platform make it among the best options for new and experienced learners who want a straightforward and minimalistic way of learning Spanish. The use of relevant content in each lesson and the possibility of interacting with other users’ learning processes make this option one of the best options I have found in the market for learning Spanish online
Busuu is one of the most popular online language-learning platforms in the market. It has gained a reputation for a well-balanced mix of listening, reading, and writing, providing a complete solution for learning a new language properly. Let’s have a look at how well it performs in practice for learning Spanish!
Busuu is a platform that currently offers Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Turkish, Polish, and Korean. It is accessible through desktop, Android, and iOS. Both the platform and the teaching language can be changed to Spanish or your native language, allowing an immersive Spanish learning experience.
How does Busuu Spanish work?
Busuu Spanish follows the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), offering courses for five levels divided by chapters, in total making up 63 lessons (or “chapters”):
- Beginner A1 (11 chapters).
- Elementary A2 (12 chapters).
- Intermediate B1 (12 chapters).
- Upper intermediate B2 (13 chapters).
- Advanced C1 (15 chapters).
The platform features a good method for personalizing your learning experience. The Study Plan is a series of questions the platform will ask you to identify your specific goals and how much time you can expend on achieving them. Based on this information, the platform can predict when you will achieve these goals.
Busuu will adapt the learning content to your needs. These are goals from which you can choose:
- Friends and family
- Fun and culture
- Intellectual satisfaction
These are the levels of learning intensity from which you can select:
- Occasional (5 mins)
- Regular (10 mins)
- Frequent (15 mins)
- Intensive (25 mins)
After selecting your entrance level, the platform will take you directly to your first lesson.
Every learning chapter is composed of different lessons. Each one can vary in length, going from 5 to 15 lessons each. Lessons are organized by theme: grammar, vocabulary, written comprehension, oral comprehension, oral expression, pronunciation, and revision. Some offer a mix of different types of language skill learning. Before starting each lesson, the platform will indicate how much time you will spend, allowing you to have good timekeeping and incorporation in your daily activities. Besides, most sessions are very short, making them accessible and adaptable to your needs. As you can see, Busuu Spanish offers the possibility of gaining skills in all facets of the language learning process: writing, speaking, and listening, which is not easy to find in other affordable online language learning options.
Each lesson offers the possibility to download a summary of the lesson and even an offline mode -through the premium subscription- where you can access content even when you are not connected to the internet. Every lesson has a special button for tips and advice that further explains the topic.
The flow of each lesson has good action-feedback optimization. This means that every time you answer a question, Busuu Spanish will not only show you the answer but also explain why it was correct or wrong. This gives a feeling of being guided thoroughly.
Generally, how every lesson is threaded with the next one is exceptionally good. At the end of each chapter, you will have to pass a test (Checkpoint) where you will need to succeed with 80% of the answers to continue to the following chapter. This is a way to ensure you have internalized new information.
Something else I liked about Busuu is the platform’s visual design and the disposition of visual and interactive elements. Although it might seem that this is a secondary aspect of learning a language through online applications, it is quite important. Some other platforms are filled with ads and too many buttons that confuse utilizing the interactive elements and the access to learning features. Busuu is straightforward and will show only what you need to see to keep you focused. Moreover, the high audio and video quality gives a truly pleasant learning experience.
Revision and community services
Besides the lessons, Busuu offers a revision tab that will show you a list of words you have learned and the possibility to make quick tests to memorize them. Even though learning new words is always useful, I found this section too focused on rote memorization.
Another section shows how Busuu became one of the biggest online language-learning communities. This has been achieved by a particular way Busuu created to interconnect user learning experiences. Busuu allows you to send voice recordings and written responses to native Spanish speakers who also use the platform to learn other languages. Thanks to this system, you can get feedback from native speakers and provide feedback and corrections to other users who are learning your native language.
Is it worth paying for the Premium subscription?
A big YES for this question. I think that Busuu is one of those learning services that make sense when accessing all content and features. The free version of the service will allow you to access only a few lessons from each chapter, making the learning process very poor. However, these are some of the features you can access with a free account:
- Provides interactive learning sessions through flashcards, including true/false questions and word matching.
- Offers different dialogues between native speakers where you can fill in gaps in the transcription.
- It gives you a starting point for comprehending the importance of language and culture, as it provides cultural anecdotes and facts and contextualizes them in the language structure.
The premium plan, however allows you to access the full Busuu learning experience, which includes:
- Enables an offline mode where you can download lessons and access them when you are not connected to the internet.
- AI-powered tool for assigning strength levels to the exercises you have completed.
- Unlocks quizzes for checking your overall understanding of new topics.
- Unlock the community’s feedback system to correct your exercises.
The premium account allows you to access all Busuu Spanish content and all lessons from the other languages offered. Importantly, you can also get your language abilities certified with a premium subscription.
Furthermore, the premium plan offers the following specialized courses:
- Complete Spanish (A1-C1)
- Spanish for travel (A1-A2)
- Learn Spanish with El Pais (B2-C1)
- All about Spanish (B2)
- Complete Latin American Spanish (A1-C1)
- Advanced Spanish Exam Preparation (C1)
As you can see, Busuu Spanish provides a complete learning experience as you can access the general knowledge of the language with specific uses for traveling, Latin American uses of the language, and even Spanish test preparation.
When you first open the platform, an initial discount of 50% on the Premium plan should be offered. Moreover, the platform offers a “no-questions-asked” refund if canceling within no more than 14 working days after making the purchase. However, it should be noted that when I canceled my premium subscription, I got no option for asking for reimbursement right away and to instead send a request through the Busuu Live service.
I highly appreciate clear and concise payment plans when purchasing online services. This is the case of Busuu, as it offers the possibility to pay for the premium plan for 12, 6 or 1 month, with the 12-month option being the most affordable one.
What are the pros and cons of Busuu Spanish?
- Relevant content in every lesson: While exploring the platform, I never found content that I thought was useless or lacked cultural relevance.
- Interactivity between users: The possibility of getting corrected by Spanish native users cannot be found anywhere else.
- Aesthetically pleasant: The appealing visual design and the minimalistic platform create a pleasant learning experience.
- Contents are cohesive and well organized: Well-interconnected lessons will assure a true learning feeling.
- Lessons are taught following the CEFR system: This is important for those who want to prepare for an official Spanish test.
- Possibility of getting certified or prepared for official Spanish tests: For those who need an affordable option to get certified in Spanish, Busuu is a good option.
- Get notifications: If you need to do a weekly task list to avoid forgetting important stuff like me, the platform will notify you when you need to take your Spanish lessons.
- It is possible to get incorrect corrections from other users
Who is Busuu Spanish for?
Busuu Spanish is suitable for anyone who wants to learn the language. The learning system is adaptative and appealing enough for anyone in the first, intermediate, or advanced stages of learning Spanish. Most dialectic and phonetic variations are focused on Castilian (Spanish from Spain). However, there is also the option to access the Latin American Spanish specialized course with a premium subscription.