and welcome to a new episode of our series Review of the Day.
“Review of the Day?”, I hear you say. “More like Review of the Year.”,
And it’s true. I don’t do reviews very often.
Now, there are loads and loads of courses and websites and apps out there that I could review, and possibly make some of them sweet sweet affiliate dollars.
But I find it really hard to talk about something if I’m not all that into it and I wouldn’t use it myself. Like Duolingo for instance. Or soap.
So I’ve decided to not do any reviews unless I’m genuinely excited about something.
And a few weeks ago, through a Youtube ad of all places, I found something that got me so excited, I actually reached out to the developers and I am really happy to tell all of you about it today.
It is called:
Yes, that’s … that’s really their name.
I think it’s a play on words with the French oui (yes) and no and at the same time, it kinda sorta sounds like “we know“. The creators are from Canada and the whole thing started out with the pair French-English, so it would make sense, but I’m not sure.
Anyway, so Ouino is what we could call a
Language Learning Homebase
So it’s a program that offers you everything you need to self study – topic based lectures, grammar instructions, verb conjugation, vocabulary training, loads of exercises, listening comprehension, speech training, reading comprehension and of course progress tracking.
It’s not the only product that does this, of course.
But there are a few things about Ouino that I found really really cool and that made me go like “Oh wow, I’d actually use that for studying.”
Now, a big disclaimer in advance: I did NOT really thoroughly test Ouino.
I peeked around a bit, but I didn’t really study with it. That’s because I am not really learning a language at the moment and I don’t have much active experience with tools like that, so I can’t really compare. And I have a very particular learning style anyway (those of you who have read my post on how to learn vocabulary will know what I mean)
So… technically, this is not really a review in the classic sense.
What I am telling you is just my initial impression.
The thing is… for roughly 90% of the learning tools out there, my initial reaction is like “Meh… don’t really care.”, whereas Ouino got me so excited that I actually reached out to the developers to laud them (and get a couple of freebies for y’all ;).
So yeah, let me tell you why I think Ouino is a great option.
Ouino – What I like
And the first is something that ALL online courses should offer in my opinion.
No Content Restrictions – Non Linear Approach
Learning a new language, especially in the beginning, is quite overwhelming and unless you are an expert in learning, you’ll need guidance.
That’s why virtually all apps and courses organize their material in a linear fashion that you can follow. Problem is… many FORCE you to follow it.
That’s for instance why I cannot use Duolingo. Their skill tree forces me to do lots of lectures and modules that I absolutely don’t care about, just to “unlock” a topic that I’m actually interested in.
It’s actually quite weird if you think about it, that an app for learning would actively BLOCK you from learning the topic you want to learn.
So it makes perfect sense that Ouino has decided to “free” the content.
They DO offer a linear progression, but it is just that – an OFFER.
They know that every learner is different and comes with different needs, interests and prior skills. And they try to that justice, by giving you the freedom to decide. You can follow their suggested path, but you have the freedom to access or skip any lecture and module at any time.
If you’re a complete beginner and you want to start with passive voice, you can.
And frankly… I love that.
Rating Your Understanding
This is nowhere near as “fundamental a thing” as what we just had but it’s a pretty cool and useful feature.
For each topic or module … not sure how they call it, actually… so after completing a module, you rate how well you understood it and that rating is then displayed in the overview.
That’s a great way to keep track of what you know well and what needs a review and it’s a feature that I haven’t seen anywhere else.
And if you’re wondering how I know about it even though I didn’t really use the program… well that brings us right to the next big plus.
Great video guide
Most websites and apps have the usual promo-video where they tell you how much fun it is to learn with their app, and how easy it is, and that they use the latest NASA space tech AI algorithms for their vocabulary trainer.
But to really get an impression of the product, you need to make an account.
That’s different for Ouino.
They have a complete video guide, 12 videos with about 4 minutes each, that introduce all the parts of the system in detail – how they work, what you can do with them and also, why they made the things the way they are.
Yes, they also have the typical boring stock footage of beautiful young people laughing slow motion or smiling while studying on an iPad in a coffee shop.
But they do show a LOT of the software and by watching them you can get a REALLY good impression of what Ouino offers and if it might be something for you.
Now, they’ve actually recently made a big upgrade to the software, including new designs and a flashcard trainer.
And these changes are NOT reflected in the video guide just yet (the are shown in the video below, though)
So yeah… the video guide is a tiny bit outdated, but you can definitely get an impression of the software, you also get a sense of respect for the learner. Which brings us right to my next point.
Genuine respect for the learner
This might be just in my head, but while watching the videos I got a feeling that Ouino really genuinely respects the learner as an individual with individual needs and wants and likes, and the respect that and want to empower you to do it your way.
They’re not trying to sell you their product by telling you 10 times how you can learn German in a fun way. Instead, they talk to you like you’re an adult.
It’s often just nuances, and I’m really curious if you get a similar impression but just to give you one example, in one of the videos they talk about Ouino as the “primary tool” which you then supplement with other stuff that the program doesn’t offer. They even have a video about what to do beyond Ouino.
I felt like they’re not trying to talk you into using the software, but instead made a genuine offer and that’s awesome in a web that is flooded with landing page garbage.
And it’s a pretty good offer, at that, which brings us to my last big plus.
Ouino has a sale going at the moment where they offer lifetime access for about $100. Which is RIDICULOUSLY CHEAP price for such a comprehensive all round learning platform with 440 lectures and 1200 exercises.
Well, I know it’s not cheap for everybody. Some of you come from countries with a really weak currency, and $100 bucks is like a month’s salary.
But it’s cheap in comparison to the overall market and what some Youtubers charge for their Udemy or Teachable courses… not gonna name any names, but it’s a bit ridiculous.
Anyway, even if Ouino is not on sale, it’s somewhere around the price of a Netflix subscription, which is a really good deal in my opinion.
Of course, they offer the customary 60 day money back guarantee, but there’s also a free demo, which is my last pro.
Ouino offers you a free demo, where you get one trial lecture, you can click through all the menus and modules and see all the lectures and content that you’ll have access to in the full version.
And while many sites offer a free trial period or a portion of free content, what’s special about the Ouino demo is that you DON’T NEED AN ACCOUNT. You just click demo and you can play around.
I think that’s pretty cool because I hate creating an account or having to login via Facebook or Google JUST to check for 10 minutes if I like something.
Anyway, so those were my pros for Ouino, but of course, we also need to look at the flip side of the coin
Ouino – The Cons
And the first negative is of course the name… Ouino. I mean, come on, how am I supposed to ever remember the spelling of that. Do I have to take French lessons now?! And to make it even worse is the fact that their website is called ouinolanguages.com…. that just looks poutine tastes. And sounds like that insufferable curd cheese. #quebectriggered
But the REALLY big, serious criticism I have is their logo. A white “o” a red background – it looks like the freaking Opera browser symbol and it is soooo confusing, oh my gosh!!
Yeah… obviously, I don’t really have anything negative to say :).
The only thing that I can really think of is that they’re interface has room for improvement when it comes to navigation, because there’s a lot of scrolling to do.
But other than that, I don’t really have cons to speak of.
As I said in the beginning… I did not thoroughly use Ouino, so there’s an off chance that it’s super buggy or laggy or maybe their customer service sucks or whatever.
But they have pretty good reviews and I think the people behind it really do care, so I don’t think my intuition is too far off.
And my intuition says that it might be one of, if not THE best online learning platform out there and if you’re looking for one you should definitely check it out.
Here’s the link to their German learning homepage, where you can also find the free demo (just scroll down):
And here’s their video about the upgrade they recently made:
And here’s a link to their video guide, if you want to check that out: Ouino – Video Guide.
So yeah… that’s my review/preview of Ouino, and I’m really curious what you think. Does it look like something you’d use? Do you get the same vibes from their videos? Or do you actually have experience with Ouino? I feel like it’s still a fairly small project, at least on the German learning side, but if one of you has used it, it would be AWESOME to hear your thoughts. And please be honest. The good, the bad and the ugly. We want it all.
But yeah… let me know in the comments what you think.
Have a great week and I’ll see you … wait.. actually… I feel like I forgot something..
Oh right… the people at Ouino actually have a little giveaway for you. And by little giveaway I mean
!!! Three Lifetime Memberships !!!
Isn’t that crazy :)!!!
That is the best giveaway we’ve had so far.
And because people always talk about the power of visualization, I thought, why not do that this time.
So here’s what you have to do in order to win:
It’s March 2022 and you’ve reached fluency in German.
What will you do?
And I DON’T WANT realism. Turn off your head and yearn for a bit. I want DREAMS!!! With details :)!
So yeah… leave your vision in the comments below and I’ll randomly pick three.
Oh, and please please please please please ONLY enter the competition if you’ve checked out the demo and you REALLY like the program and you’ll use it a lot.
And another request, and this might sound a bit weird… if paying for it would not be a problem for you, please consider not entering the competition. Or share your dreams but leave a little disclaimer that I shouldn’t pick you.
There are lots of people reading here, who genuinely can’t afford this program or who would have to save up for it. So let’s give those people a chance to win it :)!
Thanks a lot and I’ll see you in the comments!