Are you looking to become a better social media user and balance your time between the real world and the digital world? Let’s see if this course addresses that.
The Glossika platform offers an immense list of languages that are hard to find elsewhere. It features a memorizing learning method that measures your learning outcomes with repetitions of words and phrases. If you are a user who can profit from these characteristics, Glossika Spanish can be a good option to start learning Spanish. Still, this might be a truly misleading and frustrating option if you are not
Glossika might be one of the market’s most multicultural and multilingual online language learning tools I have ever reviewed. It covers many of the World’s languages, organized by language family or region. The catalog covers from the most popular language families such as Romance, Anglo-Saxon, and Slavic, to more specific such as Afroasiatic-Semitic (Arabic, Hebrew), Vietnamese, Baltic (Latvian, Lithuanian), Celtic (Irish, Gaelic, Welsh), Indo-Iranian (Bengali, Hindi, Kurdish, Persian), Swahili, Hakka, Thai, Uzbek, and others. The list is immense!
Glossika Spanish is offered in two courses: Spanish (Spain) and Spanish (Mexico). This division between Spain and Mexico is something I appreciate. Although some other Spanish online learning language platforms offer Latin American linguistic variations of Spanish, the focus on Mexico aligns with the idea that regionally, Spanish is highly diverse, and there’s no such thing as Latin American Spanish. This is important to acknowledge in the first stages of learning Spanish: grammar structures can be the same, but the use of many words and phrases can vary significantly between different countries.
How does Glossika Spanish work?
When you sign up for Glossika, the platform will direct you to an entry placement test where Glossika will identify the level of Spanish you should start the course from. After you do the test, you will be taken to a dashboard showing you some metrics, a button to start a new session, or review previously learned items.
Glossika works through a flashcard system, presenting you with new vocabulary and phrases. The flashcard features words and phrases in English and Spanish, and the pronunciation is notated with the phonetical alphabet. You must repeat the word or phrase in each card, recording your voice to proceed to the next card.
Glossikas leitmotif is “listen and repeat”. The listening part is quite well achieved, featuring native voices in good quality audio. However, I found the repeating part a bit messy. First, the system only records and stores your recordings. It does not have a voice recognition system that can score you. Glossika also shows the phonetic notation of the word. However, it is not common for new learners to be familiarised with the phonetic alphabet, so in most cases, this notation can remain useless.
Each session comprises a set of words you must repeat several times within 25 flashcards. However, based on the first sessions I followed, the content lacked cohesiveness, as the words and phrases seemed randomly put together. For instance, the third session showed me phrases such as “está nublado” (it’s cloudy), “compórtate” (behave yourself) and “estoy agotado” (I’m pooped), and even “!no te metas!” (mind your own business).
Even though the learning sessions are focused on memorizing, the platform features a separate memory section where you basically do the same as with the learning sessions: repeating and recording already “learned” vocabulary.
Glossika’s method for measuring your learning level is through reps or repetitions, which intend to “build up your muscle memory and confidence.” This approach reflects a mechanized way of understanding language learning, which I found very distanced from reality, as this a good language learning process needs a coherent and cohesive integration of different communicational skills, such as speaking, listening, and writing, together with a correct integration of contextual knowledge (cultural, historical and linguistic).
However, for those who might feel memorizing ways of learning to suit their needs better, Glossika’s system features an algorithm that adapts to your memory performance, using information about when words were learned for the first time and reviewed afterward (a form of spaced repetition). The algorithm can determine the optimal time to review new items and schedule reviews for you to do later. As Glossika states on its website, each time you launch a new review session, the system will show you exactly the times you risk forgetting.
Glossika’s learning path is linear on a single path. There’s no possibility of choosing the order of topics or difficulties. Basically, in each session, you learn new items and go back to the dashboard to see your analytics. That’s it.
Nonetheless, there is a list of topics from which you can select or deselect to personalize the content of the course. However, the way it is organized results to be quite frustrating. Firstly, subjects such as health, philosophy, policy, technology, or travel seem to be topics from a magazine, not an online language learning course. Secondly, there’s a topic labeled language where you can choose from very disorienting topics such as Nynorsk culture, Latvian culture, Paleography, Writing, or Wu culture. To be honest, I don’t see how these subjects can be part of a coherent Spanish course.
Glossika features a Blog session where you can access many articles that I found quite interesting, covering tips, advice, and even in-depth knowledge of many languages. If Glossika had figured out a way to include this content inside the learning sessions, it could become an outstanding online language learning service. Glossika also offers the possibility of downloading several handy language guides when traveling and doing tourism.
There is a one-week trial of the course that you can use to give you a glimpse of the learning experience with Glossika. This duration gives you a deep sense of the method and the overall quality of the content.
Glossika language courses can be purchased monthly or annually. Every plan grants you access to the complete Glossika language catalog. The Freemium plan will grant you access only to specific languages such as Catalan, Gaelic, Hakka (Sixian), Hakka (Hailu), Kurdish (Sorani), Manx, Welsh, Taiwanese, and Wenzhounese.
The Basic plan allows you to change base and target language every 30 days and grants you the possibility to download 100 sentence pairs for offline use. This plan can be paid monthly for $16.99 or annually for $13.33/month ($159.96). The Pro plan has unlimited access to more than 60 languages and allows you to download 500 sentence pairs for offline use. It can be purchased monthly for $30.99 or annually for $25 ($300). Glossika also offers an Enterprise plan for multiple users that includes learning metrics, progress reports, and testing results. This is a good option for small or big businesses that need employees to learn a new language.
What are the pros and cons of Glossika Spanish?
- Immense language catalog: The variety of languages Glossika offers is just incredible. Featuring very specific ones from not popular linguistic families.
- Rigorous focus on phonetics: It explains how words and phrases should be pronounced using the phonetic alphabet.
- Content seems to be randomly put together into sessions: I could not find a common thematic thread in each session. This is highly misleading.
- Sessions lack depth and coherence: There’s no way to determine the relevance and connection of the learned and reviewed content.
What is the right audience for Glossika's online language learning service?
We come to the tricky part. I would say that Glossika is a good option for young learners who can afford extended study periods in front of the computer, listening to and repeating words and phrases. This can also be a good option for those who struggle with the phonetics of the language.
However, for beginners and intermediate learners who more than want to learn Spanish but need to dive into the language, there are many other options online that balance better grammar, communicational skills, and contextual information, such as Busuu, Babbel, or Rocket Spanish.
Glossika is a platform more suitable for those curious users who want to learn specific languages that are basically impossible to find elsewhere.
My overall review
Glossika is an online language learning option that does not fit most Spanish learners’ needs. It can be well suited for specific audiences, which are described above. What is impressive about this platform is the way it can afford to offer such an immense language catalog. This is truly outstanding.
However, this is not an option if you are looking for a holistic, well-balanced tool for learning Spanish.