Hallo ihr lieben
as usual, Holiday season has left us with two things; one is gonna be our faithful companion that’ll be with us for the rest of our life. No. Matter. What. The other one, well, not so much. I’m of course talking about (bigger) love handles and New Years resolutions.
“This year it’s on. I mean business. No more dabbling. I’m gonna become fluent this year.”
I’m sure at least some of you have had these thoughts and I want to be honest with you…
you’ll do it!!! You’re smart enough, you’re studious enough and you’re persistent enough!
And if you’re one of the ones who want to step up their learning… I might have just the right tool:
Lingoda is essentially an online language school, offering courses through Skype (and Adobe Connect).
And I think in that segment,Lingoda is actually one of the best you can find. So let’s take a look…
Now, I have to confess… when they first approached me, I wanted to do some trial classes to see if I liked it or not. But then I had Skype problems, then time problems and then motivation problems. I have never taken any Skype lessons anywhere and I’m not learning a new language at the moment. I didn’t really feel like I could judge whether it’s any good for you and so I ended up never taking a trial. But two of you guys did :).
Two readers, Marion andMicah, who with trial accounts I gave away a couple of months ago, left really great detailed reviews, so we can get a clear idea of Lingoda.
Did they like it? Hell yeah. But before we get to that, let’s look at the “specs” of Lingoda real quick.
Lingoda – what is it?
As I said, Lingoda is an online language school but compared to a normal school, it is MUCH more flexible, because it has a modular system.
You pay a fixed amount per month which is converted into lesson credits. With these credits you can then freely book a given number of classes, group or individual. There are different plans you can chose from. For 149 Euro for instance you could book 15 group classes AND 2 one-on-one sessions within 30 days. Each class is one hour long, so with this plan for instance you’d get the hour for roughly 9 Dollars (you could also go for just private classes, then you’d be at about 20 Dollars an hour). A PRETTY good deal, in my opinion especially when you consider that the group classes are very small (5 people max, usually less), which allows for a lot of interaction.
“… In group classes, there are generally 2 to 4 participants. […] I spent as much time actively interacting as I did in the three hours class in a physical class with 15 people in it.”
“… They (the teachers) were additionally selective with their vocabulary and changed speaking pace based on our ability to comprehend. For example, the teacher would speak to me in a slower pace and much faster to another student in the group class.”
But it’s not only the small size that makes the group classes great. It’s also the fact that they’re NOT organized in a linear fashion but rather by topic. Here’s a few that Micah tried out in the A1 section:
- Temporale Präpositionen, talking about time (grammar and structure – A1)
- Dictation, writing a letter (reading and writing – A1)
- Zahlen und Uhrzeit, talking about time (speaking and discussion – A1)
So you can take the same module twice or three times and let your interest guide you. On the website (Micah: “extremely user friendly“) there’s a schedule with classes to choose from and if none of the ones suits you, you can just schedule your own group class 7 days in advance (48 hours for one-on-one classes).
Now, another big, big plus of Lingoda that might be interesting especially for those of you who don’t have the option to go to a school, is the fact that they are able to issue CEFR certificates. That’s basically a certificate saying that you completed a level of the European framework (from A1 up to C2)). It’s not the same as a TestDaf or DSH but it’s definitely an accepted proof for time spent on language learning and might be enough for an application for a visa (I don’t know the regulations, so please double check).
And what I found really interesting, is that Lingoda is more than fair about the time
Lingoda offers certifications if students are participating at a certain level of frequency of classes each month. For example, there are 39 hour lessons in B1.1 [lingoda schedule] vs. spending 100 hours of time in an actual class at the local Volkshochschule [a school where you can language courses] in Deutschland, as a comparison.
This is especially great if you kind of know B1.1 decently well already but you need a paper/certificate. Most schools will make you sit much longer (and pay more).
Do you have the same teacher? No, you might see the same face again every now and then but you don’t have one teacher throughout. You do have a personal adviser though. That’s a person who contacts you upon sign up and together you determine what level you are, and establish what you want to do and how to get it done. And you can contact your adviser whenever you have a question, a feature that I really like.
What else? Courses are held via Skype and Adobe Connect. There have been glitches and Micah experienced a lag issue in one of the courses he attended, so it’s not as stable as a course in the real world…uh… yeah. But it wasn’t so bad that it would have diminished the overall great experience the two test users had. Which brings us to the big question:
Did they like Lingoda?
The answer is a clear yes.
“I have had 10 hours of classes, equally split between individual and group sessions. Overall, I feel delighted with the platform. […] Since I have begun these classes, I find I attempt more conversations with my friends as it is quite confidence building. […] Bottom line, I will continue with it as a paid customer. Es lohnt sich.”
“What an experience through just 10 classes. I felt encouraged and capable with the German language. I felt connected with the instructors and the language and I felt my knowledge was validated every time I started another class. […] Most of the time, I was at ease when spoken to by the instructors as I knew they would be patient and helpful. […] I am encouraged now more than ever, that I can use German.”
I was really surprised how positive the feedback was. They liked the platform, the setup and the instructors. But I think the most important point here is confidence. Lingoda courses made Marion and Micah feel confident about using German and left them motivated and encouraged. And that is pretty much the best a course can do. Grammar explanations are fine and all, but feeling GOOD about speaking, as basic and clumsy as it may be – that’s what’ll make you continue learning and getting better. So together with all the other things, I think I can safely say… I like :).
Let’s do a quick summary:
+ very reasonable prices
+ small groups (5 ppl max)
+ some individual sessions also included
+ modular, super flexible class system
+ personal adviser to help you with the administration side
+ good, skilled, patient instructors
+ exercises and work sheets have a good layout (according to Micah)
+ you can quit on a monthly basis
+ you can get a CERF certificate comparatively quickly
So yeah… if you’re looking for a way to learn German through Skype, you should definitely give Lingoda a try. They do offer a 60 minute free trial, too, so go to their website right now and check it out.
I linked directly to the German section in English, you’re welcome :)
If you want to get an even better impression, you can also read the full reviews of Marion and Micah. They’re very different in style but both incredibly insightful and you’ll have a lot of your questions answered there.
If you have more questions about Lingoda, you can just leave a comment and I’ll try to answer them and maybe Marion or Micah join the discussion, too.
And what about you? Have you tried out Lingoda? If so, how did you like them? Or have you tried other, similar sites? Share your experiences in the coments below.
Have a great week and… what? I forgot something??
Oh right… the giveaway.
Win a Lingoda German course worth 400 Euro :)
Yup, you read that right. Not 40. Four freaking hundred. Lingoda is sponsoring one 3 months language course (at Lingoda.com, of course).
Isn’t that AMAZING??!!
And you don’t even have to do some stupid task like writing a poem in German ;). You just have to sign in
Update: We have a winner, sorry sorry sorry!
We’ll select the winner at random, so even if you’ve won one of the Advent Calendar giveaways, you’ll have the same chances.
Oh just to make sure:
I am not affiliated with Lingoda in any way and I did not get any money for this review, nor did they “sponsor” anything on here. I just really have a good impression of them; both of the product and also of the company based on the communication we had.