Monotonous worksheets, endless conjugation, listening exercises, and pointless group work are all the joys of taking a language class. The interactive Web site Babbel.com provides a much needed escape from your usual lackluster way of learning a language with learn-at-your-own-pace tools and a fun social aspect.
I found an ad for Babbel on WordReference.com, the mecca of words for language students. My curiosity made me click, and I was not expecting much. I was surprised to find an engaging, well-designed learning tool with several great features.
First of all, Babbel is free. The site has added extra courses and special features that one can buy, but there will always be a free version. It offers learning language tools in: English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian. Anyone using Babbel will have no trouble organizing their activities at the site with Babble’s easy top menu.
The “Learn” tab includes vocabulary tutorials complete pictures and audio of the words. There is also a writing section where the user can author short compositions and have native speakers correct his or her work. The user can even keep track of the activities that he or she has already completed.
The social features of Babbel are very unique. The site allows the users to chat, to add friends, and to send messages. The “Chat” lets the user choose to chat with native speakers of their desired language of learning, or chat exclusively with his or her friends on the site.
The chat feature is an economical way to learn about different cultures from a primary source. Although it is entertaining to be called “beauty" and have someone tell you in broken English that you give them a special feeling inside when they look at your picture, it is important to be cautious even with people across oceans.
The chat rooms are a quick and easy way to be exposed to another language, but for more serious learners, I would recommend the Tandem feature. Tandem is when the user teams up with a native speaker who desires to learn the user’s language and vice-versa. The pair communicates through messages, completing activities, then correcting each other’s work.
Babbel’s company is located in the Berlin neighborhood of Kreuzberg. The young company with all of its founders under 40 years of age was started in 2008 due to the growing trend of learning on the Internet.
Babbel is a fabulous way to learn, but also a great place to just dink around. With that in mind, I would recommend the site to anyone, not just people interested in learning languages. It is an amusing place to just explore but stay away from the creepers.
I would not recommend it as primary tool for serious language learners but it is a great supplement for learning and a playful way to break down borders. It would be shame to not take advantage of the free knowledge on Babbel.Powered by Sidelines