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Before deciding to do this Lingoda review, I honestly had never heard of Lingoda! It’s a smaller language learning resource, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
Getting started with Lingoda
Basically, Lingoda is a monthly membership that provides you a certain number of private/group conversations (depending on what route you choose – more on that later), in a number of conversations. Which conversations?
That’s not a whole lot compared to something like italki or Verbling. It’s only four languages! Plus, whenever you do opt for a membership, you’re limited to the language you choose. So basically, you gotta commit!
Now, there are a ton of membership options for each language. As per usual, I went with Spanish; if I want to get a good understanding of this platform, I don’t want to be distracted by struggling with a language I have no experience in.
First things first: choose your level, or take Lingoda’s placement test.
I took the placement test, which involved a series of intermediate-beginner phrases in a multiple-choice format. I may be a bit rusty with my active knowledge of Spanish, but I thought I did pretty decently.
WHAT?! A1? No way! Even being rusty, there’s NO way I could be A1. Without getting in a little practice, I generally put myself at B1 at minimum. I am definitely beyond “soy Jamie” and “tengo un perro”. Using this platform at A1 would be a significant waste of my time.
Fortunately, you can easily change your level at any time, which I quickly did. Phew! Suffice to say, if you have a general idea of your current level, skip the assessment!
On that note, Lingoda does something pretty cool. Once you go through the structured classes and check all the boxes, you can receive a Lingoda certificate.
My first thought (as should be yours, too) is “okay, what does that actually mean?”. Fortunately, unlike the McGraw-Hill certificate from Busuu, this one actually seems pretty legit.
Now obviously if you’re looking for a resume-builder for an actual foreign language-related job, you’ll probably want to double-check with the employer just in case, but the CEFR is the guy that you want documentation from.
Now that’s awesome.
Booking a class
Once you’ve got your level and everything all figured out, it’s time to book your first class! You can book classes by:
- Days of the week (though it’s translated as weekdays, tsk tsk)
- Time frame
Weirdly, Lingoda does not allow you to search for classes with one teacher. Considering the competition depends a lot on the relationship you build with your teachers, it’s different to see Lingoda put more emphasis on taking certain classes and gaining certain skills.
You’ll also notice that the previews of these classes include the skill you’ll be focused on. Except for the “skill” skill…I’m not entirely sure what that’s supposed to mean.
I had never taken a group language class online before (and I was more interested in seeing the Lingoda process than getting high-quality, one-on-one attention), so I opted for a group class. The white bar on the bottom of these squares will tell you how many student spots are still available out of 5.
One last thing about that screenshot: I wanted to take a class the same day, and there weren’t that many! The impression I got from the teacher I ended up with did note that the class was full, so I’m assuming that they have enough classes to satisfy their students.
Taking a class
This is the class I took.
Before the class started, I had access to a few different things: the materials that the class would be reviewing, a FAQ about the meetings, etc. Lingoda told me the class would be over Zoom and gave me an option to test my device for Zoom, but didn’t give me anywhere to go, nor did it tell me how long the lesson would be.
With a group class, I assumed it would be an hour long, but I’d still like to know! I also wish it would confirm I was in the right time zone in some way – I’ve definitely set up online lessons like this and missed them because my account wasn’t in the right time zone.
Regardless, Lingoda told me to go to the My Classes page and wait. So I did!
Once 10:00 hit, a blue “Go to Class” button appeared. I clicked it, Zoom popped up, and I was ready to rock!
The six of us (5 students and 1 teacher) went through the powerpoint that I had had the option to download before it started. I did like having an idea of what we were going to talk about – that hasn’t always been the case with other platforms.
While we waited for everyone to log on, the teacher took us through some questions to answer and ask each other.
Then the teacher walked us through some of the slides. And by the way, apparently “skills” just means all of them!
For the next hour the teacher took us through, making sure that we each got equal opportunity to speak and ask questions. It was a very relaxed atmosphere, and I felt more than comfortable asking questions. A+!
Like I said, my spoken Spanish is rusty, so I had to deal with that uncomfortable feeling you get when you know you used to be SO GOOD and now you’ve lost fluency because you haven’t used it. So at first, it was kind of a painful class for me.
But because it was so low-key with a few other students to take their equal attention, I had time to get in the flow. And apparently, the teacher saw it too! How do I know that?
Once your Lingoda lesson is over, you give a quick review (just stars, you don’t have to write anything) and you can access your Class Report!
Lingoda review: prices
Lingoda is a paid program. How much you pay depends on a lot of factors, which can be overwhelming. The first thing you get is this:
This thing confuses me. It doesn’t seem to say anything very specific. I mean obviously, the more classes you sign up for the more you’ll learn and the better you get, but other than that?
Is there a difference in what you’re learning or how often you’re paying? What’re the prices? The prices have significant impact on what you choose from the start, so I wish the prices were more upfront here.
That’s WAYYYYY too many decisions to put in front of potential paying students at first glance. You can’t even really tell what the difference is, besides “walk, run, spring”, which doesn’t mean anything outside of Lingoda.
Because “Walk” includes a 7-day free trial, I chose that one.
And then you get more choices: number of classes per week, group or private classes, and the language you want. All of which comes at different prices! And remember, that’s just the “Walk” option.
To take a look at the “Run” option, I had to dig a little deeper.
Again, SO much information here! Although they didn’t mention it when they mentioned it for the “Walk” option, “Run” also includes a 7-day trial, plus cash back if you attend 90% of your classes. Which is a good deal! It just…takes some time to understand everything.
Last but not least, you have Lingoda “Sprint”.
Very very intensive – high risk, with high reward. They offer a 100% refund of Super Sprint (50% of Sprint) if you attend all the classes, which tells me that probably rarely happens.
What can I say? This is probably great for intensive learners really ready to commit and push their brains! I’ve tried to do hour-long lessons every day and let me tell you, I did not survive!
Lingoda review: should you try it?
When I started this Lingoda review, I was pretty excited. When I speak Spanish after a long break I’m always rusty obviously, but I also always walk away from the conversation feeling pretty good, realizing I’d missed it.
Participating in the Lingoda conversation itself was enjoyable, too. I’ve been around language learning methods and products for so long, it’s not very often I have a new experience. Turns out I like small group lessons over Zoom!
Lingoda appears to be a very high-quality resource for language learners who are at least somewhat serious about their language. If you’re content to stick with something like Mondly or Memrise, Lingoda is way too intense for you. But if you’re open to stepping outside of your comfort zone? Try Lingoda!
Oh yeah, make sure you prepare for actually signing up for a subscription, because there are a TON of options. I know if I was trying to make that decision, it would probably take me a couple of days to figure out which one is best for me.