Live Lingua Overview
Live Lingua is an online language learning service that offers the best type of language learning assistance: one-on-one lessons from a pro! Although there are other programs that offer this type of teaching, Live Lingua is a little different.
This program focuses on pairing you with a native speaking teacher who will best fit your learning style and needs. The concept is great, but it does have a few shortcomings mixed in, so come along with me while we take an in-depth look at this language learning service to see if it is the right one for you.
Before we get too far along, here are a few of my initial likes and dislikes:
The price per lesson depends on the number of hours you purchase in advance.
Live Lingua pricing:
Live Lingua Languages:
Upon first looking into Live Lingua, I was very impressed with the concept. Their tagline is that they are a boutique tutoring service, meaning that they specialize in matching language learners with highly experienced teachers.
All of their instructors have degrees, some even having PhDs in language and teachings. Their website states that their teachers have an average of at least five years of experience, so you know that no matter which teacher they match you with, you will be getting someone with experience.
Unfortunately, the website is a bit clunky, so getting started takes a while. The front page is cluttered and makes it seem a bit scammy, but that might just be me. Once you look past the slightly cluttered layout, there is a lot of helpful information here. Let's take a closer look!
Getting Started with Live Lingua
The full sign up process is a bit cumbersome, there are approximately ten steps from signing up to reaching your first full language lesson. Thankfully, they do have a step-by-step guide laid out in the “How It Works” section of the website so you can know exactly what to expect.
The first step is pretty obvious, you have to fill out some basic information such as your name, contact information, what lessons you would like to take, and a few additional things such as whether you prefer a male or female teacher.
This is where I found one of the more impressive elements of Live Lingua: the course list. It depends on the language you want to learn, but there are multiple course options for each language. There are even courses specifically designed to help you earn language certifications, a particularly helpful feature for serious language learners.
Once you’ve provided the required information, you just have to wait for your personal class coordinator to contact you, which should happen within 24 hours.
Between sending your initial information and waiting for a response, you can provide Live Lingua with even more personal information by filling out a short survey. This survey serves to tell them a bit more about your learning style as well as collect the normal website survey information like: “How did you learn about us?”
The Email Train
The next part of the process requires a bit of emailing back and forth, but it is for a good cause. These emails are used to inform students about the registration and lesson process and to request more information about the student, no spam or salesy stuff.
Anyway, the email process starts with a welcome email and a request for your scheduling information. After telling them what days and times are the most convenient for you to take lessons, they will respond with a list of three teachers for you to choose from.
This is the most beneficial thing about this in-depth sign-up process. Unlike programs like italki and Baselang, which have tons and tons of teachers to sort through, Live Lingua provides you with a shortlist of teachers who are specifically matched to your level of learning and your learning style.
For those of you who have tried other online tutoring services, three teachers may sound a bit limiting, but it can also be very time-saving. If you’re like me, you could spend hours on italki, just looking through teacher profiles. This is entertaining in the moment, but it does not aid you in the language learning process.
When you are presented with only three teachers to choose from you do not have to waste tons of time choosing between them. Plus, you know that they all have quality teaching experience helping language learners just like you. This lets you rest at ease knowing that you are nearly guaranteed to have a good learning experience.
Now that you have chosen your instructor you simply have to settle on a date, then confirm with your instructor. They will reach out to you, add you on Skype, and making sure that you are ready before your first class. At this time you will also have the chance to contact your instructor with any questions you may have.
Be aware that you could receive upwards of eleven emails before your first lesson takes place and some of them come from different email addresses, so some ended up in my spam folder and I had to go looking for them. Just keep an eye out if something seems to be missing.
All of the emails contained helpful information, but it was still a bit over the top for me. I feel like a lot of the information could have been compressed and provided on the website instead of having to sort through so many emails. I think the staff at Live Lingua is probably just trying to cover all the bases which some language learners may find reassuring.
Getting To Your First Lesson With Live Lingua
Once the long email train is complete and you have confirmed the date and time of your lesson, it is finally time to experience your first Live Lingua lesson. The first lesson is free and it is a full 60 minutes, which is awesome! Many other tutoring services offer trial lessons, but these trail lessons are usually shorter and they charge for them.
The downside to this is that the instructor does not get paid. You read that right, your instructor will be donating an hour of their time for free. With that in mind, please be mindful and don’t sign up for a free lesson unless you’re really serious about following through with more lessons. You can cancel your lesson if you need to, but they ask that you do so at least 24 hours in advance, which I think is only fair.
If you happen to be bad about keeping your appointments, you don’t have to worry about forgetting a lesson with Live Lingua. You will get three reminder emails, one the day before, one the day of, and one shortly before your scheduled time, so your chances of forgetting are slim to none.
You do not want to miss a minute of your lesson, so it’s important that you double-check your computer to ensure that you’re ready for your lesson. This will come as no surprise, but that they will send you a preparation email as well. All the lessons take place on Skype and we all know that Skype can be a little difficult, so you may want to test out your system before lesson time.
Like most online language tutoring services, Live Lingua does not provide a standardized lesson plan for their instructors to follow. The instructors have to provide their own lesson materials and create their own lessons. This may make some students a little nervous, but keep in mind that these are experienced teachers, so lesson planning is what they do.
I’m sure each teacher is a little different, but you can expect to learn a lot from these tutoring sessions. One-on-one time with a native speaking instructor is, by far, the best way to practice your language skills and build your speaking confidence, so even if your first instructor isn’t quite right for you, you’ll still learn something from the experience.
The lessons usually involve a lot of talking as well as some reading and writing practice, making the lessons pretty comprehensive. Since Live Lingua is focused on measurable progress and quality teaching, it only makes sense that their lessons would cover all the foundational steps involved in learning a new language.
Continuing Your Language Journey
You will be happy to know that once your trial lesson is complete, signing up for future lessons is much easier! You can pay in advance for as few or as many lessons as you want, but keep in mind that the more lessons you buy, the less expensive they are.
Once you have purchased some tutoring time, you will be given access to your instructor’s calendar. From there, you can simply schedule lessons whenever they have time available.
This makes one wonder why you couldn’t simply schedule your first lesson this way, but I think this has a lot to do with what I said about the instructors not being paid for trial lessons. The complicated registration process may just be a way to discourage people from taking advantage of the free trial lessons. With such a complicated sign-up process, very few people would have the inclination to go through that repeatedly.
Measuring Your Progress
One interesting feature that I found helpful was that they give you an evaluation after your first lesson. The instructor will provide feedback about your speaking abilities and rate your language skills including speaking, listening, reading, and writing. This is a great way to determine where you are in your language journey as well as a cool thing to look back on as you progress.
Speaking of personal evaluations, Live Lingua also uses standard evaluations to measure your progress as you learn. This is not something that I have seen in many other tutoring services, so I appreciate their extra effort to ensure that their program is effective.
These language level assessments are based on the standards set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), so you know that the results will provide quality insight into how far you’ve come.
Your instructor will give you the assessment after every 20 hours of tutoring, giving you another opportunity to see how far you have progressed and what you need to focus on in the future.
As I mentioned earlier, Live Lingua’s course list includes courses that focus specifically on gaining language certifications. These courses plus periodic standardized assessments may be the perfect recipe for success when it comes to students who want to study languages on a professional level.
Who does not love extra features? For language learners, finding extra resource material is always a bonus, especially when that material is completely free! Well, prepare yourself for some nerdy excitement because this website is full of study materials that you can view without having to sign up for anything.
Don’t believe me? Go to their homepage and scroll down a bit until you reach the list of languages. Click on your target language and you will be taken to the main page for that language. Then click on “Learning Tools” in the upper toolbar. Tada! A mass amount of study materials for free!
The free materials are different for each language, but I thought I would give you a quick rundown of what I found while looking through the Spanish Learning Tools. These includes:
This section gives you the opportunity to read about verbs and how they work within the Spanish language. You will also be able to practice more than 600 verbs through mini multiple-choice quizzes.
Verb Conjugation Practice
This section provides information about the often-feared, but very important subject of verb conjugation. The main page offers an explanation of what verb conjugation is and how it works. Once you have the idea, you can test your knowledge through 20-question multiple-choice quizzes.
This section is similar to the first two sections, but the focus is on grammar. There are neatly organized categories so you can focus on the grammar elements that you need to practice the most.
This is a great resource for those who want to start building up their vocabulary words. There are more than 30 lists of vocabulary words organized by subject. You can download individual subjects or you can simply hit download all and have over 30 PDF files of vocabulary words to practice.
Learning Style Quiz
This section is exactly what it sounds like! A quiz to help you determine what type of learner you are as well as your personality type. Everyone learns in different ways and knowing your learning style can really help you to better focus your study choices. This information can also help your tutor, so you may want to share your results with them.
This might be my favorite section because it contains a bunch of multi-media study materials. These are actual courses that you can complete for free. For the Spanish resources, there are 20 courses, 20 ebooks, and over 800 audio clips you can listen to for free. How cool is that? This is a great resource for all language learners, not just those with a limited budget.
Live Lingua Project
This is all part of what is called the Live Lingua Project. This is a project based on the idea that everyone should have access to quality language learning materials whether they can afford a tutor or not. A mindset that I fully support!
As I mentioned, each language offers different amounts of free material, but you can find videos, ebooks, and audio lessons in all the main languages that they offer as well as materials in over 150 other languages.
I found this very intriguing, so I started looking through some of the other languages that they offer and I was very impressed by the amount of material I found, even for less sought after languages such as Hungarian. They have 14 free courses for Hungarian if you’re interested.
They just recently added all the resources from the Internet Polyglot Initiative to their banks of language learning resources, which is pretty cool. This study material will help non-Engish speaking language learners to take advantage of free language materials,
You should be made aware that some of these free materials are a little dated and I did find a few small spelling errors in the Spanish material directly from Live Lingua. That being said, there is still helpful information here if you’re willing to take the time to go through it. Look around a bit, you will surely learn something useful!
The last of their free resources isn’t quite as exciting, but still worth a mention. They have a useful blog full of articles about language learning and the best ways to boost your learning potential. They quite wisely sort this blog by language so you have the option to only view the posts that pertain to your target language.
Although Live Lingua does have its benefits, there are a few other online language tutoring programs that you may find more to your liking, such as italki, Baselang, or Chatterbug.
italki offers a massive number of tutors to choose from, which can be frustrating, but it can also be enjoyable. They provide lots of extra learning materials and the prices for lessons are very reasonable in most cases. The best feature about italki is that it provides free access to a huge community of language learners who support and help each other.
Baselang is a very popular tutoring program among those who are serious about language learning. Instead of paying for each class individually, you pay a flat monthly fee to access unlimited classes. Baselang is a bit expensive for some, but it is a great resource for those hardcore language learners who want to take a lot of classes every month.
Chatterbug is an app that combines quality one-on-one lessons with fun learning exercises. The tutors on Chatterbug offer more structured lessons with a set curriculum, which some users may find more comfortable.
Live Lingua Review: Final Thoughts
Overall, I would say that Live Lingua is a good program for a specific type of language learner. The highly educated teachers and the language assessment process make this a good choice for those who do not mind paying a bit extra for subject-specific lessons and certification assistance.
The best thing about this program is the Live Lingua Project. Anytime a group wants to provide free study materials, I have to support it.
I like that you can access this information without ever having to sign up for anything. This proves that they really mean what their website says about supporting language learners, no matter whether a student can afford lessons or not which is a commendable idea.
That being said, I feel that there are other resources that may work better for many language learners. Not that Live Lingua is a bad program, far from it, but it is a little expensive and restricting compared to other programs.
If you are a more casual language learner and you just want to practice your conversation skills, you would probably be better off choosing a less expensive option. In the end, it is all up to you and your learning style.
No matter what program you choose, keep up the good work and never stop pursuing your language goals. Happy learning!