Mondly is an average online language learning platform. It is ideal for those seeking a solid beginner-level competence, but it does not provide much beyond this to support more advanced learners. It does, however, offer a wide range of languages (33 in total) at a reasonable price, making it stand out from similar programs.
Quality: The interface is simple but underwhelming.
Effectiveness: The program promotes a strong vocabulary and essential grammar skills, but the contextual connections and explanations could be improved.
Cost: The premium membership pricing options are relatively inexpensive.
$9.99/Monthly (Monthly Membership)
$47.99/Per Year (Annual Membership - $4/Month)
$47.99/Per Year (Annual Membership - $4/Month)
Note: The program may provide access to multiple languages with the first two pricing options.
Compared to other language learning programs such as Duolingo, Babbel, and Mango Languages, Mondly may seem similar. All of these programs provide a basic understanding of common languages, making them ideal for attaining conversational fluency.
However, Mondly does not quite live up to what it promises. While I was intrigued to find that it offers a wider range of language choices, the program is rudimentary and ineffective for obtaining a solid, applicable grasp of any language.
I was also disappointed by the interface, which is deceptively simple. Navigating through the content and exercises is not always as easy as it looks.
Also, while the program provides a solid foundation for mastering the core linguistic elements – vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation – it is not as effective for developing contextual competence.
However, Mondly is not without some merit. Compared to other language learning programs, it is one of the more inexpensive options. For example, while Mango Languages provides a whopping 71 languages, it’s 2 times more expensive.
Also, Mondly is dependable for consistent accuracy across all the languages it provides. So, while it does not offer advanced material, it is a trustworthy resource for learning the foundational elements of language.
Mondly supports 50 million users worldwide and is well reviewed on both the App Store and Google Play. However, keep in mind that these reviews (one million in total) represent a small sample of the user database.
Through the premium membership (both monthly and annual), the program provides 1,000 lessons and conversations, covering 5,000 words and phrases. This is a significant amount of content, but keep in mind that it only covers the beginning levels.
The vocabulary is organized into several topics, such as “Daily Lesson,” “Core Vocabulary,” and “Travel.” Grammar and chatbot features are also provided. All of this material is presented in location bubbles on an aerial landscape map.
Is Mondly Easy To Use?
In general, it’s simple to use. The interface is uncluttered, for the most part, and transitioning through the lessons is fairly straightforward. However, the design is far from perfect and may be confusing when you first start using the program.
There is a free version that grants you access to some of the content provided in the premium plans. Although limited, it is helpful for giving you a taste of what the program is like.
On the home page, each bubble (as described above) gives access to several lessons with corresponding exercises and activities. These lessons can be completed in any order, and you can redo them as many times as you choose.
You will also be “graded” on the quality of your work, with the highest score being three stars. Each mistake will reduce this score. A low score may require you to repeat the lesson, promoting incentive for higher concentration and more detailed focus.
However, the numbering of the lessons may cause confusion if you are not familiar with how it works. Each lesson is demarcated by a fraction (example: 2/8), but this has nothing to do with the score, which is represented by stars. Rather, this fraction indicates which of the eight lessons you are currently on.
When you sign up for an account, you will be asked to choose a language and select a level. However, you do not need to sign up to gain access to some of the platform’s features. All you have to do is visit the website or download the app to try it out.
If you are using the program on multiple devices or wish to track your progress, setting up an account is ideal. However, keep in mind that each level covers identical content. So, once you reach a certain threshold, the program is useless.
Fortunately, Mondly allows you to switch between languages at any time. (Despite what the pricing plans state, the program provides access to all languages once you purchase a membership.) This preference can be adjusted in the settings.
Another helpful feature about this program are the abilities to combine languages. This means that you can learn Italian through English or any of the other 32 languages. There is no English-speaking bias, unlike other platforms.
However, changing languages is not as simple as it may sound. The program has bugs that affect this process. For example, the selection process can be flaky. Some users have experienced difficulty selecting a level (even though all of them provide the same content), and sometimes the program erroneously tracks progress.
Even though Mondly provides a wide range of languages and facilitates learning from your native language, the content for all languages is the same.
Therefore, not only are the vocabulary topics identical for each language, but concepts specific to each language are not covered. This is a considerable disadvantage since it treats all languages equally – a faulty basis that can lead to contextual confusion and translation errors.
Each lesson provides a set of subsections, such as “conversation” and “vocabulary.” Within these sections are different types of exercises designed to drill you on the lesson material.
For example, one exercise asks you to choose the correct translation of a given English word (or whatever language you have chosen to learn from). Another activity, reminiscent of the Scrabble game, asks you to piece together a word from a set of mixed-up letters.
Another type of exercise provides a word in the language you are learning and asks you to select the correct translation from two words in your native language. Another type of drill is a multiple choice exercise that asks you to select the correct translation of a given sentence.
Upon completing the exercises in any part of the lesson, the program notifies you of your completion and provides a summary of the vocabulary you just learned. These words are presented on the screen in your native language, and a speaker pronounces them in the language you are learning.
This is another aspect of the program that is rather sloppily designed; while you can hear the words in the foreign language, the corresponding words are in your native language. This weakens the connection between the symbol and its aural representation, which is not only confusing but ineffective.
Also, while the exercises are designed to promote drilling, memorization, and retention, they do not facilitate active application or immersion of the language. The program does provide immersion (or augmented reality) tools, but they are separate from the main content and lessons.
Regardless of your score, you can always go back and review the lessons you’ve already completed. This includes exercises. Additionally, the lesson review presented at the end of each subsection provides the vocabulary covered in addition to the applied grammar topics, such as conjugations.
Mondly also provides a progress report, tracking when and how often you use the program. In addition, it facilitates healthy competition by comparing your progress to other people near your location who are learning the same language as you. Upon completing an entire set of lessons, you have the option to share your progress on social media (but this feature is rather excessive).
When it comes to pronunciation practice, Mondly is rather limited. While it does offer a conversation module in each section, the recording function may be cumbersome until you become more familiar with it.
Next, we will look at the program’s other features and applications.
Mondly VR Learning
In addition to the regular lessons that target the main vocabulary and grammar topics, Mondly provides a “Daily Lesson” feature that drills you on a preselected set of related words. It is somewhat unique from the regular lessons in this way, but the exercise types are the same.
A similar feature is the grammar drilling module. Yet again, the exercises are presented in essentially the same style as the regular lessons. These extra features promote retention through repetition.
While this may seem effective (and it is to the extent of building memory), these features – as with the program in general – are not just repetitive but redundant.
For example, conjugations for both regular and irregular verbs are spelled out for each individual verb. This is not only unnecessary but overwhelming and possibly confusing, as it fails to consolidate the verb types into recognizable patterns.
Another feature is the chatbot, designed to help you practice speaking the language (particularly in the form of dialogue) so that you can start using it in real-life situations. This feature offers different settings and purposes, such as introducing yourself, to enhance a variety of social skills.
While the intention of this feature is great, it does not offer what it promises. The tool is full of glitches and errors (particularly a contextual or translational misunderstanding on the part of the bot) that are not only annoying but detrimental to the immersion experience.
Fortunately, the program does offer “more suggestions” of responses in case mistakes like this occur. No program is perfect, and given the many nuances and complexities of language, these errors are inevitable.
In addition to daily lessons, grammar drilling units, and the chatbot, Mondly provides weekly quizzes and monthly challenges.
The weekly quiz tests you on vocabulary. It can be accessed once you complete seven daily lessons, which corresponds with about a week of material. Keep in mind, however, that these quizzes are based on the daily lessons – not the regular lessons provided in the main content of the program.
The monthly challenge, in turn, is based on the weekly quizzes. They are accessible once you complete all weekly quizzes in a given month.
Finally, one of Mondly’s extra features that makes it stand out from other language learning platforms is the virtual reality (VR) feature. Mondly is one of the first companies to use this functionality, and while it is far from perfect, it does tap into the immersion experience that is invaluable to language application.
The VR functionality provides three different sub-features: conversation, vocabulary, and multiplayer (Beta). The conversation feature is primarily what Mondly’s VR consists of. The vocabulary feature isn’t provided for every language, and there is not a large enough database of active users to fully support the multiplayer.
However, since the VR feature is still being developed (and, to be fair, it’s still a novel invention), it may improve with time. Although it is not perfect, it is worth a try just to see what the feature is like.
The conversation feature is similar to the chatbot functionality, providing scenarios in which you communicate with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) character. However, these conversations are very limited and certainly not an improvement on the chatbot feature.
Mondly Review: Final Thoughts
While the intentions behind Mondly’s services and features are excellent for language learning, there is a great need for improvement in almost every aspect of the program – from its design to the basic teaching and drilling strategies.
The program is clean and simple on the surface, but this is not reflected in every aspect of the design. For example, the icons used in the lessons and voice recording features are far from inherent. Also, the drilling methods used in the exercises are often redundant and confusing.
Additionally, the explanations could be improved, and overall, the platform lacks the level and diversity of content needed to support long-term language learning.
Mondly is not without its merit; for example, it does a fair enough job of promoting memorization and retention of foundational vocabulary and grammar. However, there is a considerable gap between this drilling and the program’s ability to encourage contextual connections. Ultimately, while Mondly provides the basic facets of language, it is not effective for real-life applications (beyond the most rudimentary conversations).
If you are looking to gain a basic understanding of Spanish for your two-week vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mondly is a great option. But if you want to master Thai for a one-year internship in Thailand, you’re better off buying a dictionary