Lingoda Review: A Virtual Classroom in Your Pocket
In a world where online tutors are a dime a dozen, it can be hard to find an option that stands out in the crowd.
Lingoda is an online teaching service that does things quite differently from others like it. Insead of working with one tutor, students are thrown into many different classrooms with various teachers, working with them through a well-crafted curriculum.
I found Lingoda to be the closest approximation to an online small-group college course than any other program I’ve tried. It has its issues, like the limited language selection and inability to choose a specific teacher to work with, even when booking one-on-one lessons.
But overall, Lingoda is a truly student-driven, online immersive course that gets you speaking in your target language.
Read on to see my full review of Lingoda and discover what it has to offer.
Description: An online teaching service that emphasizes immersive communication and a structured curriculum.
Languages offered: German, English, Business English, French and Spanish.
Offer price: Starting at $8 per group class and $15 for private classes; scales with number of classes bought
Lingoda places students in virtual classrooms with various experienced teachers, working with them through a well-crafted curriculum. Classes are either small (no more than five people) or one-on-one and work similar to a small-group college class. It has its limits, like the limited language selection and inability to choose a specific teacher to work with, even when booking one-on-one lessons. But overall, Lingoda is a truly student-driven, online immersive course that gets you speaking in your target language.
- User friendliness - 8/108/10
- Delivers on Promises - 10/1010/10
- Authenticity - 10/1010/10
- Value for Price - 9/109/10
- Immersive lessons use mostly your target language
- Many chances to practice speaking and pronunciation
- Very flexible shedule
- Exposure to native speaking teachers from around the world
- Well-designed curriculum with supplementary material
- Limited to beginner and intermediate learners
- Only a few languages are offered
- What Is Lingoda?
- How Does Lingoda Work?
- A Closer Look at Lingoda’s Features
- And One More Thing...
What Is Lingoda?
Before it became Lingoda, the program was known by another name: Easy Languages. The online tutoring service came into existence in 2012, founded in Berlin, Germany by brothers Fabian and Felix Wunderlich. In 2013, the company rebranded as Lingoda and started presenting group classes in addition to one-on-one sessions.
The company started small, offering only German and English classes, but soon grew to include French and Spanish, as well. In 2020, online language learning exploded in popularity, bringing a new customer base to Lingoda and helping them to grow and improve their methods and curriculum.
How Does Lingoda Work?
Lingoda lessons operate much like a traditional language school, but with virtual learning in mind. All hour-long lessons are held online, either in small groups of up to five people, or one-on-one.
Each lesson is guided by a central curriculum and is led by an experienced teacher. Classes also have additional study materials for reviewing before and after the lesson.
Unlike many other online teacher-driven services, you pick the lesson topic but not the teacher. Classes are available 24/7 in German, English, Business English, French and Spanish.
A Closer Look at Lingoda’s Features
When I first signed up, Lingoda took me through a series of questions about why I want to learn the language (I chose Spanish), my level with it and more details about my language learning journey. This sets the program up as a student-driven experience right from the get-go.
At first glance, it may look as though Lingoda is like any other online language tutoring website. Look closer, though, and you’ll see that it works less like a tutoring service and more like a virtual classroom.
Classes are held either one-on-one or in a small group of up to five people. Each class begins with a brief greeting and a casual chat as students arrive, setting up a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Students are given plenty of opportunities to speak and participate, making this an ideal option for anyone who’s stuck in that stage of learning where it’s difficult to start actually talking and using the language.
Classes are structured–you know exactly what content you’ll be learning before you log on. But they’re also loose enough that teachers can easily modify their pace and methods to acommodate their current group. In every instance I observed, teachers are experienced, comfortable with their role and very welcoming to all skill levels.
The one-on-one classes are even more student-driven, since it’s just you and the teacher, allowing you two to go at whatever pace is comfortable for you. You can also request custom lessons about a specific topic that you want to learn. While you can’t choose your teacher, you can ask for a lesson on World War II in Spanish or how to deliver a presentation about a specific English book for your literature class, or whatever it is that you need to learn.
When you join your virtual classroom, you’re greeted and taught entirely in your target language. This might seem intimidating if you’re a beginner, but it’s an incredibly effective way to overcome the beginner’s speaking jitters and start conevrsing in the language immediately.
Teachers are adept at making sure they’re being understood, since the small-group environment makes it easy to check in with everyone. Teachers enunciate clearly and speak at a comfortable speed for everyone to follow along and no one gets left behind.
Research on immersion learning has shown it to be an effective way to really learn a language, which is why programs that use authentic content like FluentU work so well.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Lingoda does immersion right. Not only is each lesson held almost completely in the target language, but all supplementary material features no translations. This ensures that you don’t lean too hard on translations and really focus on the language being taught.
Strong Focus on Communication
I’ve found that many other language learning programs are great at teaching the building blocks of the language—vocabulary, grammar, etc.—but not so good at teaching how to actually use it. Lingoda tackles this head on by encouraging students to start using their target language from the very first lesson.
Students are given many chances to speak and encouraged to ask questions, participate in debates and generally engage with the class. In fact, each 60-minute class factors in open conversation time to practice what you just learned.
This strong focus on communication will appeal to learners who are eager to put their skills to use and get conversational, fast.
The lessons are also built around specific topics that you’d actually encounter and use in real life, like “I can order coffee,” “I can talk about cause and effect” and “I can go shopping for groceries.” And since you can choose which topic you study, you’re always learning information that’s useful to you and your learning goals.
Native Teachers from Around the World
Lingoda’s teachers are all native speakers with teaching certificates and experience. They’re located all over the world, which means that you’re exposed to a variety of regional accents and teaching methods.
Instead of booking lessons with one specific tutor, you can only sign up for lessons based on the topic or your schedule. But since you can see who each class is taught by, you can also choose a teacher you’ve enjoyed working with. The program encourages that you work with as many different teachers as you can, though, to increase your exposure to different ways of speaking in your target language.
I have a hectic schedule, and I’ve had trouble on other platforms finding classes that can accommodate it. But when I logged on and checked class availability, I discovered to my delight that there’s a class happening nearly every hour.
In fact, since teachers are from all over the world, Lingoda boasts that classes are held 24/7, making it easy to book lessons that work for your schedule.
Well-designed but Limited Curriculum
Lingoda follows a set curriculum that was designed by language and teaching experts. Each lesson you can book is focused on a specific topic, and you can see before you sign up what vocabulary and grammar points will be covered.
You can view the entire course and choose any topics you’re interested in. The format reminds me of a guided textbook, with each lesson taking you through one chapter at a time.
At the beginner level (CEFR levels A1 and A2), information is presented in English (or the language you set as the default), but once you reach intermediate level (CEFR levels B1 and B2), everything is entirely in your target language. English and German have lessons all the way up to the advanced level (C1 and C2) and even have some “open discussion” classes where students can talk about different topics like current events, movies and TV shows and other interesting topics.
However, the other languages on offer at the moment only go up to high intermediate level, so you won’t be able to take your studies all the way through to advanced level.
Additional Learning Materials
Your learning doesn’t stop at the end of the virtual classroom. Browsing the website, I found a number of other useful features, many of which I could access and interact with even if I wasn’t planning to book that specific class. I love this feature because it means I can avoid signing up for a class that I’m already familiar with the content it teaches.
A vocabulary trainer lets you go over key vocabulary for each lesson, both before you start and as a review after a lesson.
A full PDF overview of each class is also available for anyone to look over. In fact, students are encouraged to spend five to 10 minutes reading over what will be covered in class to prepare before the session starts.
Some lessons also have a vocabulary list, additional flashcards and reading material to help you along before and during the class.
Small Roster of Languages
Lingoda currently only offers classes in German, English, Business English, French and Spanish. This is a fairly small number compared to competitors who often boast 20+ languages taught. This is understandable since each language requires the development of a curriculum and gathering of certified teachers, but it does mean that Lingoda might not offer the language you want to learn.
Another issue I encountered was that you can only learn one language per account. I wanted to browse the Spanish and English offerings for this review, so I had to create two separate accounts for this. If you’re an aspiring polyglot, you’ll need to have several email addresses on hand for your studies! This is a minor inconvenience, but it would have been nice to be able to see all the classes available for every language I’m learning in one place.
The Lingoda Sprint
Are you feeling up for a challenge? Try joining a Lingoda sprint. A spring lasts two months and students can commit to completing either 15 or 30 classes within the time limit. Not only do you get a crash course in your target language, but you also have a chance to get a discount: Successfully completing a spring gets you 50% of the sprint’s price back (or even more in class credit).
And if you’re not sure you’ll make it through the entire sprint, you can cancel it for free before the first month’s payment is charged. It’s a fun way to hold yourself accountable with an intensive course.
I’ve tried different tutoring programs in the past, and the price tends to vary wildly based on each teacher’s experience and how new they are to teaching online. This also means that teacher quality on those other programs can fluctuate a lot. I like that Lingoda takes the guess-work out of choosing a teacher by setting a fixed price and guaranteeing teacher quality all around.
Price depends on whether you’re signing up for 1-on-1 classes or group ones, and how many classes you’re paying for in one go. The more classes you buy, the cheaper they are, with the lowest falling to just $8 for a one-hour group lesson. This is a fantastic value (if you can afford the up-front charge of buying a lot of lessons in one go).
You can try the program out before you commit, with a seven-day free trial that allows you to take one free class within the trial’s time limit.
If you’re looking for a structured classroom-like environment where you can practice using your target language in a safe and supportive space, it might be just right for you. And, thanks to this Lingoda review, you now know what to expect when you hop onto your first lesson!
And One More Thing...
If you dig the idea of learning on your own time from the comfort of your smart device with real-life authentic language content, you'll love using FluentU.
With FluentU, you'll learn real languages—as they're spoken by native speakers. FluentU has a wide variety of videos as you can see here:
FluentU has interactive captions that let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, audio and useful examples. Now native language content is within reach with interactive transcripts.
Didn't catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions.
You can learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU's "learn mode." Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You get a truly personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)