Lingoda Review: What You Need To Know For A Positive Experience
Lingoda is an online learning program that gives you the chance to learn a new language in the best way possible: tutoring with native speakers. They offer both group and individual classes and they have classes at all hours, making it easy for you to study at a time that is convenient for you.
One of the most intriguing things about this program is that they offer a wide range of learning plans, some of which allow you to earn back some, or even all, of your fees. Accelerated high-quality language learning with the chance to get your money back? Yes, please!
With such an interesting program concept, I had to check it out. I have not had the chance to try out any of their accelerated programs yet, but I went through their basic classes and am now ready to give you a detailed tour of yet another great language learning opportunity.
Before we get too deep into the details, here are a few of the things that I loved about this program as well as a few of the drawbacks.
Lingoda has three main lesson types: Group, Individual, and Marathon. They also offer two accelerated programs: Sprint and Super Sprint.
Four Lessons Per Month
$56 Per Month
Twelve Lessons Per Month
$138 Per Month
Twenty Lessons Per Month
$200 Per Month
Forty Lessons Per Month
$380 Per Month
Four Lessons Per Month
$132 Per Month
Twelve Lessons Per Month
$312 Per Month
Twenty Lessons Per Month
$440 Per Month
Forty Lessons Per Month
$760 Per Month
Marathon plans allow you to purchase classes in advance for 3, 6, or 12 months at three classes per week. They also give you the chance to win back a portion of your class fees.
With the Sprint program, you take a class every other day for three months. If you attend 100% of your classes, you can earn back 50% of your fees. If you sign up for Super Sprint, you get to take a class every day for three months and will earn back 100% of your fees if you attend every class. The cost for these programs varies by language and they have waiting lists to get in.
Lingoda offers lessons in 4 languages:
English and Business English
Lingoda is only available online, there isn’t an app, so the website is a vital part of the program.
My initial thought upon visiting Lingoda’s website is that they have a very professional platform. The layout is clean and well designed although I did find it a bit too gimmicky. The homepage focuses more on accolades than program details which is off-putting for me.
Once I dove a little deeper into the website I did find more of the details I was looking for, but I had a hard time finding a definitive price list. This isn’t a huge deal, but I like to know what I’m getting into before I sign up so I found it annoying.
The website does include a small peek into the workings of the program including a one-minute long video of a mock class. This won’t give you a proper idea of how the whole program works, but it’s better than nothing.
The page also includes a helpful FAQ section if you’re like me and want to know a bit more about the program before you fully sign up.
Signing Up For Lingoda
Signing up is a fairly simple process. First, you have to decide whether you want to sign up for a monthly subscription or marathon classes. For this review, I chose a monthly subscription. Next, you choose your language and how often you would like to take classes.
You can choose 1, 3, 5, or 10 hours per week. Remember, you have to pay monthly so be realistic in your study goals. You do not want to pay for 10 hours of class per week when you will only have time for 3 or 5.
Next, you decide whether you want individual or group classes. As you would expect, group classes are a bit less expensive. They can also be more fun, so even if you’re a bit nervous about speaking in front of other students, I would recommend at least trying a couple of group classes.
This is the point where you actually get to see the full price list for your plan. You can try a 7-day free trial with any of the plans. If you choose 1-on-1 lessons, you only get one free lesson, but if you choose group lessons you get three free lessons. This is another good reason to try group lessons.
Once you choose which free trial you would like to sign for, you get to create your account. You can use an existing online account such as Google, Facebook, or Apple or you can create an account unique to Lingoda. I chose to use an existing account for expediency.
At this point, you have to re-enter your desired target language and then you can set up your payment information. They accept all the payment forms you would expect including major credit cards and PayPal. You will not be charged until the end of your 7-day trial and you can cancel at any time before that to avoid being charged if you do not like the program.
Getting Started With Lingoda
As soon as the check-in process is complete, you can start learning. You’ll immediately have access to the lesson calendar which allows you to see all the classes that are available at any given time.
If you have a general idea of your CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) fluency level, you could sign up for a class right away. If you’re like most people and don’t know your fluency level, there are a few things you should do first.
Firstly, you should familiarize yourself with the platform. When you first open your account, there is a quick tutorial that will show you around the site and introduce you to all of the tools available to you. The main page is well laid out and easy to navigate, so you should have no trouble finding your way around.
You can also do a quick system check to make sure that your computer and internet speeds are sufficient. The classes are held through Zoom, so if you’re not familiar with that program, you may want to check that out in advance as well.
Lastly, you should take Lingoda’s quick fluency quiz. Lingoda bases their courses on CEFR levels, which you may or may not be familiar with. The levels go from A1 (beginner) to C2 (master). The courses are split into units based on these levels, so the fluency test will just help you figure out which course to start with.
These courses are one of the features that set Lingoda apart from other online tutoring services. The courses allow you to follow a specific learning plan as opposed to the random conversational lessons that you get from other similar services.
Each unit has 50 to 75 lessons focused on different language learning skills. About 40% of the lesson plan focuses on speaking skills, but they also include segments to improve your reading, writing, grammar, and listening skills.
The lessons are divided by subject, making it easy for you to find specific topics to brush up on. You can bounce around between lessons as much as you want, but the course plan is well-structured, so you may be better off completing them in order.
This structured learning pathway is helpful for multiple reasons. It not only helps you keep on track with your learning goals, but it also helps the tutors to better assist you.
Like most online tutoring programs, Lingoda has a wide variety of tutors to choose from. If you take your lessons at different times or on different days, chances are you’ll have a lot of different tutors. The lesson plan can help to prevent you from having to go over the same subjects over and over every time you get a new tutor.
Another benefit of this lesson plan is that Lingoda tracks your progress and provides certificates of completion for each CEFR level. After you complete a full unit, you can take an online quiz to prove proficiency. You can then add your certificates to professional online platforms such as LinkedIn and Indeed.
Once you know what level you should be studying, you can schedule your first lesson. Although this program does offer lessons 24/7, there is no guarantee that the lesson you want to take will be available at the time you want to take it. This is one of the few drawbacks to following a lesson plan.
That being said, there are a lot of classes available at any given time so even if the specific class that you wanted isn’t available, you can probably find a similar one. Just be sure to choose classes within your level.
You can sign up for any of the classes, no matter where you are in the lesson plan, so there is the risk of accidentally signing up for a class that is above your fluency level. Although the teachers are very helpful and would still be able to teach you something, you may not get much out of the class.
The group classes are surprisingly fun when everyone is at about the same fluency level. Each class can have up to five students, so even with a full class, every student gets a fair chance to practice speaking. Having the classes divided by fluency level helps each student get the most out of every tutoring session.
The actual classes are what you would expect from a professional tutoring program. The teachers are clearly teaching pros who enjoy what they do. All the tutors that I spoke to were very helpful and encouraging.
All of these tutors are licensed professionals who teach for a living. If you take enough lessons you are sure to find some teachers who you like better than others, but you would be hard-pressed to find a bad tutor on this program. Knowing that you are basically guaranteed to have a quality learning experience every time you take a lesson is very motivating.
One of the things I noticed right away was that every teacher spoke the target language almost exclusively throughout each lesson. They would stop and explain things in English if we were clearly struggling to understand, but on a whole, they taught in their native languages.
This type of immersion learning is by far the best way to master a new language. Not only do you get to listen to a native speaker, but you can get immediate feedback from them. They can help you perfect your pronunciation and correct grammar mistakes before they become a habit.
Another good thing about this program is that they have teachers from all over the world, so you will have the chance to hear your target language spoken in a variety of accents. This is especially helpful with Spanish since Spanish differs so much from country to country.
Group Classes Versus Individual Classes
As I mentioned earlier, I recommend trying the group lessons first. Not only will you get three lessons for your free trial period (as opposed to a single individual lesson), but you will also get to experience the most interactive element of this program.
The group lessons gave me a chance to interact with other language learners which was both fun and informative. They asked some good questions that I hadn’t thought of and vise versa. Although there were a few challenges with varying internet speeds and less fluent classmates, the good far outweighed the bad.
I did not try an individual program through this platform, but I can easily see how they would be good. These classes are more expensive, but they would probably be a great option for those who are at a higher fluency level and those who are trying to accelerate their learning.
Individual lessons would give you the chance to focus solely on what you need to learn instead of sharing class time with others.
Each class follows a lesson plan that is laid out in the course materials. You can find all the course materials under your lesson profile.
These materials are mainly PDFs that you can either read online or print out to use during class. The documents themselves are not particularly helpful outside of the context of a class. You may want to read over them before class starts, just so you know what to expect, but they won’t help you without a teacher to expand on the limited materials.
Some of the teachers will refer to these materials a lot, even suggesting notes that you should add to certain sections. For this reason, I found it a lot easier to print them and have them on hand for class time. If you don’t have a printer or simply don’t want the extra paper around, you may want to download a PDF editing program so you can add your notes digitally.
Some teachers will also use slideshows and other documents as teaching aids. Most of these are also available for download if you want to keep them to review later on.
In the limited lessons that I tried, the teacher was able to stay fairly close to the lesson materials. This gave the entire experience a more structured feel than other tutoring programs that I have tried.
Drawbacks To Lingoda
Overall, this is a high-quality program but like every language learning platform, Lingoda does have a few drawbacks.
Lack Of Reading And Writing Practice
The biggest drawback is the lack of reading and writing practice. They do have lessons that provide some reading and writing practice, but you will definitely have to do some supplemental learning if you want to have a well-rounded knowledge of your chosen language.
Although one of their biggest selling points is that they offer lessons 24/7, the lessons you want are not always available. It’s understandable to some extent. They have teachers and students from all over the world, so some time slots are bound to be busier than others. That being said, there were a few times when I wanted to take a lesson, but there were not any available for my learning level.
Lack Of Independent Learning Materials
The learning materials they provide are useful for class, but not for independent study. Although some students may just want to attend live lessons, many language learners enjoy independent study. Unfortunately, this program does not offer adequate materials and you would need to supplement your learning with other outside materials.
Like many language learning platforms, this is a subscription-based program. This is nice for some students, but the hefty monthly payments may be a bit steep for others. If you purchase the biggest group lesson package (40 lessons for $380), the cost per lesson is only $9.50. That is a great price for live tutoring, but you have to commit to taking all 40 lessons, otherwise, you’re just wasting your money.
If you are eager to learn at an accelerated rate, you could try the Sprint program and earn your fees back, but lessons every day simply isn’t feasible for most of us.
This is a quality program and, in my opinion, the lessons are worth the cost, just be prepared to pay a bit extra for higher quality.
If you like the idea of live lessons but aren’t sure if you want to commit to a set number of lessons each month, you should try italki. italki is an online learning program that offers lessons from native speakers around the world. The lessons aren't as structured, but they have a much wider range of languages to choose from and you can pay for individual classes instead of buying packages.
For those trying to learn Spanish, Baselang is the way to go. They have an incredible course structure that can quickly take you from being a newbie to becoming a master. It is a bit pricey, $149 per month, but it is worth every penny if your goal is quick fluency.
Busuu is another quality language platform that offers live classes. This was a language app first, but it has grown into a more comprehensive program with both app activities and live lessons. They offer a wide range of languages for a reasonable subscription price.
Lingoda Review: Final Thoughts
Overall, I would recommend Lingoda, but only to truly committed language learners. It is simply too expensive for casual learners who only want to take a few lessons every now and then.
The best thing about this program is the quality of their instructors. All of their tutors are professional teachers who know how to teach on a fundamental level. They are patient with newcomers and motivating for those who need to be challenged.
The structured courses are also a huge benefit. Having a course schedule to follow makes it easier for you to track your progress and easier for your tutors to see where you are in your learning. On top of that, this also allows you to earn CEFR certificates which are internationally recognized and can be used to improve your resume.
Like every language program, this one does have its downsides, but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. I would highly recommend trying out the week-long free trial to see if this is the program for you. No matter what program you choose, just remember to keep at it! You’ll never regret time spent learning something new.