In the last year and a half, online lessons have become an increasingly common practice in Italy : according to data from Semrush , tool dedicated to the SEO analysis of websites , online course enrollments increased by 329% within a couple of years. A trend that has also affected sales in the notebook sector.
Among the portals that have seen the greatest growth there are Domestika.org with its creative courses (+2. 742%), the business school de The sun 24 Hours (+ 853%) and Coursera.org , which hosts courses taught by university professors of the world.
Another area that lent itself to distance learning even in unsuspected times is that of the study of foreign languages : even before the pandemic, those who wanted to learn a new language could take advantage of the internet to follow lessons via video call at affordable prices, and the trend was also intercepted by apps such as Babbel, who introduced the possibility to participate in live lessons with a teacher.
The new feature is called Babbel Live and allows you to participate in small group lessons . The procedure is quite simple: just download the app, sign up and then subscribe to the Live feature. Subscribers have access to unlimited classes for the selected time period: they can choose between the 1 month subscription to 79 euro , 3 months to 169 euro , 6 months to 289 euro and 12 months to 479 EUR.
Once registered, the “Live” section of the app comes alive showing all the lessons on the calendar, which can be filtered by level, days and hours; each has a theme, for example “talking about one’s origins”, and a short recap showing the teacher, the language level and the relative skills, which in the specific case can be for example introducing yourself, learning the names of different countries and speaking of your city. There is also a test to identify your level and a history of past lessons.
At this point all that remains is to participate in the lesson: when the chosen time arrives, click on the memo proposed by the app and connect directly to the video call , which is held on Zoom and is open only to members; which is why you need to have the teleconferencing app installed on your device, whether it’s a PC or a smartphone.
LA MY EXPERIENCE
Language learning apps have many advantages, and the ten million Babbel subscribers are proof of this, but also some flaws: among these, I believe that one of the most macroscopic is the lack of possibility of receiving direct feedback regarding one’s performance – that goes beyond the boxes checked correctly in the exercises – because learning takes place through trials, errors, corrections and confirmations.
The same is true for the practice of dialogue because language is a living matter; it must be used to communicate, to be able to make it one’s own. Therefore, the introduction of live lessons is an excellent card in the range of services offered by Babbel; are almost as effective as live ones, there is direct teacher feedback, and for good part of the lesson conversational exchanges are practiced with the other students, two by two, in separate “rooms”. Excellent thing, because if you want you could also stay in contact with your classmates to practice further.
The lesson times cover many time slots to meet different needs , just book them a few days in advance to choose the most convenient one. The use of an “unlimited” subscription, instead of a package of lessons, is functional, because in this way those who register are encouraged to commit themselves to make the most of the costs incurred, and consistency is fundamental in this field.
Compared to a traditional foreign language course, there are two things that are missing : on the one hand, didactic continuity, and consequently the possibility of correcting homework; and on the other a textbook, because Babbel and other similar apps embrace a communicative approach (each lesson is “thematic”, and through that theme constructs, rules and vocabulary are practiced) but it would be important to be able to count on a grammar where to find put in order all the things object of the lesson, in order to review or understand them better.
The fact remains that Babbel’s solution has on its side the extreme flexibility, with the possibility of exercising anywhere and anytime , and the relatively low price. The platform also offers podcasts, YouTube videos, games, stories and culture pills to convey notions about language and culture. Those looking for an online language course with certified teachers at affordable prices can consider it, given that the first lesson is free, without forgetting to cultivate the study of the language also with other tools, from reading to watching movies.