By far, without a doubt, the best thing you could ever do to learn a new language is to practice speaking it. And practice some more. And more and more and more until it just walks out of your mouth without you even thinking about it. That is what this Verbling review is about.
In the language learning community, there are two well-known and well-trusted ways to practice speaking a new language: italki and Verbling. They’re very similar to each other, and I’ve given italki its own space in my blog, so now it’s time for a Verbling review.
In this Verbling review, I’ll take you step-by-step through going to the Verbling website for the first time, all the way through your first lesson; trying to speak in a foreign language for the first time can be an incredibly nerve-wracking experience, so let’s make this easier on everyone, yeah?
Verbling review: from Verbling login and beyond
When you first go onto Verbling’s website, you’ll find all sorts of options; yup, there’s more than just native speakers of foreign languages! Here’s what your toolbar looks like.
Even though you have your options, we’re all looking for a Verbling teacher (at least at first), so let’s do that.
When you first create an account, Verbling asks you what language you’re learning, how much experience you have with the language, and why you’re learning. Whether or not that information is actually used by teachers, I’m not sure, but it’s nice anyway.
Because Verbling knows what language you’re practicing, clicking the “Find a Teacher” tab will get you to a list of Verbling teachers that might be a good fit for you. And if you instantly feel overwhelmed by the number of people you’re presented with, you also have a few options to help narrow them down.
You have the option to find a Verbling teacher based on:
- Language taught (obviously)
- Languages the teacher speaks
- Skills (ie. if you’re studying for a specific exam)
- Country the teacher is from
These options are very similar to those I talked about in my italki review, with a couple of key differences. First, while the options for availability are pretty…they’re kind of vague. For example, not everybody (and certainly not all cultures) agree on when exactly the day switches from afternoon to evening. So there’s a bit of potential for confusion.
RELATED: Verbling vs italki
However, the thing that Verbling does that I like is allowing you to shop for a Verbling teacher by gender. I’m always more comfortable talking with women, so I love this option! This is a big plus for language learners who feel strongly about this!
Once you’ve selected your preferred options, it’s time to do some shopping through the Verbling teachers that match your preferences. Click on one that looks interesting, and you’ll find a ton of info on them.
You’ll find information on the Verbling teacher you chose, like their resume, how long they’ve been on Verbling, how many lessons their average students take with them, detailed reviews, any articles they’ve written, and more. Holy information!
If you like what you see, you can go ahead and book a lesson. But wait! There’s more (options)!
If you’ve never spoken with this Verbling teacher before, you can book a trial lesson, which is 30 minutes for half the price. italki does this, but they only allow 3 trial lessons period. Verbling allows you one trial per teacher. I get that italki doesn’t want their students to game the system, but that’s kind of stress-inducing for me!
Once you complete a trial lesson, if you like that teacher, you can book a single lesson, or even multiple lessons in bulk! I really like this option, since it’s a small level of commitment that can potentially keep you learning more.
And the discount offered for bulk lessons depends completely on the teacher. This teacher I was looking at only offers 40 cents off per hour, but some may offer a few bucks. It’s up to you to do some looking around for a deal you like.
Once you’ve found a teacher you’d like to try working with, book a lesson!
What Verbling classes are like
After you book your lesson, you’ll get a couple of confirmations, so there’s almost no way you can forget. First, Verbling will send you a confirmation email, which includes a tutorial for how to access your lesson (it’s really easy and only really necessary for language learners who aren’t particularly computer-literate).
When you hit the 24-hour mark before your lesson, Verbling will send you another email letting you know. Then again, when you’re 30 minutes away, you will get yet another email. Finally, you’ll get an email when your lesson starts (just in case you missed all the others). Suffice to say, there’s almost no way you’ll forget about your Verbling lesson!
Clicking onto your lesson before it starts will get you to this view, where you can access any conversations you’ve already had with this teacher, as well as any vocabulary that you may have reviewed together in any previous lessons. Once your teacher logs on, you’ll get a button to click to get into your classroom, and you’re all set!
The Verbling virtual classroom is very smooth, and your teacher has the ability to share their screen with you, so they have access to pretty much any resource they could possibly want. If you already have a relationship with this teacher, you could easily share a link to an article you’d like to discuss, for example, or any other kind of digital media.
In this particular Verbling lesson, my teacher used both PowerPoint and a notebook program to both test my level and walk me through specific notes she made regarding my word choice. To the right, you can also see the conversation we had before our lesson, as well as the notes we wrote out for each other to help with the conversation we had.
Once your lesson’s finished, Verbling will send you yet another email summarizing it. This summary can help you keep a record of when/how often you’re practicing, with who, the vocabulary you referenced, and your conversation. If you really like your teacher, you can also go ahead and book another lesson right from this summary.
The Verbling community
Besides having one-on-one conversations with native speakers of your target language, you can also check out the Verbling community. The Verbling community, accessed under the Community tab, has a few options to help you expand on your learning just a bit.
First, we have Explore Decks. These are online flashcard lists created by teachers on Verbling. Even if you state that you’re learning a specific language, you can choose to see the decks of every other language, which is a great way of introducing you to any other languages you may be interested in.
This section is pretty similar to Memrise: you have a variety of different decks (they even use the same term!) that keep track of your progress and offer you audio clips to help practice your listening.
Also in the Verbling community, you have Discussions and Articles, just like on italki; Discussions are for members to (can you guess?) have discussions in/about the languages they’re learning, and Articles are those posted by Verbling’s teachers to both help their students and to up the chances that they’re the teacher you decide to practice with.
If your teacher referenced an article they wrote, you can also click to the My Teachers tab and easily find any of the content they posted. Or, if you’re just browsing around the Trending tab and you find an article that you’re interested in or have a question regarding, each article links to the teacher who posted it, so it’s easy to send them a message asking for clarification, or (better yet) book a lesson to chat about it in the language you’re learning.
This option is definitely helpful for coming up with material to talk about in your lessons, as your teacher will probably ask you what you want to talk about after you’ve had your initial “getting to know you” lesson.
Verbling is a great way to practice speaking in a foreign language, which is absolutely the most important part of learning. Especially with the option to purchase lessons in bulk with any teacher, it’s also a great way to stay motivated.
Even if you decide Verbling isn’t for you, it’s important to remember that there’s no way to learn how to speak in a foreign language if you don’t actually practice speaking! It sucks at first; you can’t find your words, your brain will hurt, and you’ll probably get embarrassed a lot, but you know what? I swear it’ll be worth it.