Mondly Review: Offers Innovative Technology But Won’t Get You All the Way to Fluency
Mondly is a popular language learning app based around a combination of daily lessons, a chatbot and unique augmented reality features.
But is it worth the hype? Our experienced team of language learners decided to put Mondly to the test and see how effective it really is.
This review will cover Mondly’s main features and then take a look at why we found the program to be innovative, but not quite sufficient for completely learning a language.
- A Quick Summary of Mondly
- The Cost of Mondly
- What Mondly Is About
- Mondly Features
- The Pros of Mondly
- The Cons of Mondly
- How Does Mondly Compare to the Competition?
- The Final Verdict: Innovative but Insufficient
A Quick Summary of Mondly
- High-tech, innovative features draw your attention
- Mondly uses leaderboards to fuel competition and make learning fun
- There are 41 languages available on Mondly
- Material for higher levels is not much different from the lower levels
- Need an annual membership for access to multiple languages
- Advanced features can feel a bit forced and unnatural
- Some languages could use more development
The Cost of Mondly
If you take advantage of Mondly’s free features, you will get access to six lessons, one vocabulary section, one conversation section, and one conversation with the chatbot. You will also get a new lesson every day and weekly quizzes to test where you are at.
If you join as a premium user, you will have access to hundreds of lessons as well as conversations, vocabulary builders, a speech recognition feature, and grammar tools. This premium membership is offered at $9.99/month or $47.99/year.
Here is how Mondly’s pricing compares with their competitors:
- Duolingo: Duolingo offers more free features and even their premium membership is less than Mondly at $6.99/month
- Babbel: Babbel offers very limited free access and their subscriptions are more expensive than Mondly, starting at $13.95/month
- Rosetta Stone: Rosetta Stone offers a three-day free trial and then their subscriptions start at $11.99/month
What Mondly Is About
Mondly places an emphasis on short but frequent daily lessons. Each lesson is followed by a recap and you can review lessons again at any time.
The app also notifies you frequently to remind you to be consistent in your studies, which can be useful for those of us that may be a little bit more forgetful. Mondly even lets you know how well you’ve done at maintaining your daily study regimen.
Translation into your L1
Mondly encourages you to learn to translate between a language familiar to you (whether that’s your mother tongue or a secondary language you’re fluent in) and the language you want to learn.
This is done through a mixture of typing, listening, speaking and choosing words from a list.
This makes it a little bit easier to get into learning than it otherwise would be.
Variety of learning methods
Mondly’s model combines daily lessons tailored for you with a “pathway” through the various topics and levels involved in learning a new language. This is combined with innovative features such as augmented reality lessons and a chatbot.
I’ll go into more detail about each of these below, but the beauty of Mondly is in their combination. You’re never using the exact same method all the time, so you won’t get bored!
Weekly quizzes and monthly challenges
After going through a week’s worth of daily lessons, you can take the quiz to review what you learned. Once you complete all the weekly quizzes for the month, you’ll have access to the monthly challenge.
Unlocking quizzes and challenges this way encourages learners to keep up with their daily lessons. I have to admit, I did enjoy that feeling of unlocking a certain number of levels to get to the “boss” stages, and it allowed me to see my progress like I would in a video game.
The language learning chatbot is designed to emulate a conversation, giving you a chance to put the language you’re learning into practice.
The app invites you to respond to conversational prompts, such as a general greeting or a restaurant roleplay. Mondly suggests responses, but you can also reply how you like and the app will still accept it if it’s correct.
Although the conversations themselves are far from realistic, the speech-to-text functionality in Mondly is pretty good, thus enjoyable.
This function is a big selling point for Mondly. Using augmented reality technology, you can generate a CGI teacher wherever you are!
Your teacher will speak to you in your language, before conjuring objects to teach you about them.
My favorite part of this feature is that you can approach something that is being taught and learn more related vocabulary. For example, if the teacher is showing you a lion, you can get closer to the lion and see the word for “nose” when looking at his nose.
While it’s neat, I unfortunately felt like it was more of a gimmick than an effective learning tool. It also was a little frustrating to have to commit a large chunk of time to one of these lessons as you cannot pause them and resume later.
Mondly VR is a pioneer in the digital language learning landscape that is meant to complement the main app. The appeal of this VR component is the conversations with virtual characters in realistic scenarios.
The whole premise of this VR is to immerse you in simulated situations with native speakers such as shopping, ordering food, or checking into a hotel.
I found this component of Mondly to be great for pronunciation practice and building conversational confidence.
From my experience, the speech recognition tool is far from perfect and by no means a substitute for real-life feedback. But it’s not bad as a stepping stone for face-to-face interactions, which can be quite intimidating.
There are slightly fewer language options on the VR app, with 30 to choose from, so that’s something to be mindful of.
If you have children who want to learn a language or need a supplement to their language studies, Mondly Kids has got you covered. It’s an adorable app filled with beautiful illustrations and cool sounds that will keep the little ones entertained and engaged.
The learning pathway guides children through themed landscapes and pictures corresponding to the topics. The learning pathway here is straightforward to give kids more guidance and structure in their language acquisition.
Mondly has also expanded into the corporate world by creating MondlyWORKS, which is currently being used by the likes of Delta Airlines and Canon Medical.
It’s an award-winning program for companies that want to improve communications and relationships internally and externally with partners, clients and customers. Along with the usual Mondly features, MondlyWORKS also had a dashboard that allows managers to track the usage and progress of employees.
Oxford English language tests
If you need to learn English and are planning to take a proficiency test, Mondly has a new Oxford English course you might be interested in.
In 2020, Oxford University Press partnered up with Mondly to create a new English module on the app. This course is based on guidelines from the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR) and it also includes practice tests for A2, B1 and B2 levels.
This course has been customized for Mondly users, meaning the questions have been modified to be relevant to the topics already offered on the app. The module contains over 3500 questions and 108 English language progress assessments for each available language.
The Pros of Mondly
Innovative features to keep you interested
Language learning software is an increasingly competitive field, so even when it doesn’t quite hit the mark, it’s good to see the developers of Mondly being somewhat innovative in their features.
There’s a certain “wow” factor to the augmented and virtual reality features—and a real bonus that it works in every language—while the chat tool and effective speech-to-text software offer a varied and engaging experience.
By completing lessons on Mondly, you earn points. These affect your place on a leaderboard, both against all other users in the world and any of your friends who you may have on the app.
A bit of competitive spirit helps get things going for me, and there’s nothing like sitting below your colleague on the board to motivate you to do a few more lessons!
Lots of language options
Mondly boasts 41 languages, all of which can be used as either source or target languages. That means it’s just as easy to be a French speaker learning Afrikaans as it is to be a Mandarin speaker learning Italian.
The Cons of Mondly
Lack of differentiation between levels
A huge drawback of Mondly is that it’s too heavily aimed at lower levels. I tried two different levels in different languages and found the classes and materials were the same.
Mondly might be a good way to get an entry into a new level, but it’s no match for platforms that use authentic materials aimed at all different levels.
For those looking to deepen their understanding and usage of a language they already somewhat know, Mondly is far from ideal.
The monthly fee covers only one language
While there’s a free version that allows you to try some features of Mondly, access is extremely limited. To really take advantage of Mondly, you must pay for a premium membership, and packages start from $9.99 per month.
Not only do you have to pay to access the best of Mondly’s material, but if you choose to pay by the month, you can only access one language. If you want access to all the offered languages, you’ll need to commit to paying for an entire 12 months for $47.99.
Some features feel forced
While I appreciate Mondly’s attempts at innovation, the result is often something that feels a long way from natural. The conversations in the chatbot are stilted, while the augmented reality function really just replays set pieces in a way that captures your interest at first but loses its impact as the novelty fades.
I found Mondly VR better for conversation practice, though the interactions were still predictable. It’s also unfortunately limited to learners with VR headsets.
Some languages could use further development
While it’s great that Mondly offers so many languages, the courses are not all at the same degree of quality.
Some of the languages could do with further development. For example, the alphabet switching wasn’t perfect when I was learning Arabic, and it caused some of the options to jump around in translation exercises.
How Does Mondly Compare to the Competition?
Overall, Mondly shares a lot of features with many other popular language learning apps. This video covers what a polyglot thinks of some of the most popular language learning apps. You will see that most programs have very similar characteristics and setup to Mondly.
Is Mondly better than Duolingo?
Taking away the AR and VR component of Mondly, one difference between the two gamified formats of Mondly and Duolingo is the learning progression. Duolingo takes on a structured, more linear path, while Mondly gives some control in the order of topics you cover.
And even though both are free apps, a free account with Mondly grants you very limited access to their content. Duolingo is completely free, but you can upgrade to a paid subscription to remove ads and download lessons.
Is Mondly better than FluentU?
Given that Mondly takes a different approach to language learning from FluentU, it’s hard to say if one is superior to the other. Your preferred learning method might sway you to a particular program, but it’s possible to make the most out of the two, no matter what kind of learner you are.
The FluentU program, also available as an app on Android or iOS, can help you with all four language skills through authentic content, such as movie trailers, music videos and other media clips. With tools like interactive subtitles, a video dictionary and multimedia quizzes, FluentU offers an immersive and comprehensive learning experience.
To really make the best of both programs, you can use FluentU to round out your language skills, then put them into practice through conversation on Mondly. By pairing the two programs together, you can tackle both receptive and productive language skills to ultimately boost your conversation abilities.
Is Mondly better than Babbel?
Mondly also has a lot in common with Babbel. Both offer a sense of freedom in your learning path, and you can learn your target language according to your L1 (as long as your mother tongue is one of the languages offered on each app).
Mondly also has 41 languages available compared to Babbel’s 14 (mostly European) languages. Although Mondly may have variety, it’s heavily focused on beginner content, so Babbel is a step ahead in that respect as they offer material for more advanced learners.
Is Mondly better than Rosetta Stone?
Rosetta Stone’s teaching philosophy is a stark contrast to Mondly’s. While the latter allows you to learn through your native tongue, the Rosetta Stone immerses you in your target language right away.
Typically immersion is a great learning tactic, but if you’re a beginner, you might be overwhelmed by a program like this.
You’d have to be at least pre-intermediate or a false beginner in your target language to reap any kind of benefit with Rosetta Stone, while true beginners are better off sticking with Mondly to build that foundation.
The Final Verdict: Innovative but Insufficient
While Mondly makes some interesting moves in the field of language learning, it’s hard to escape the feeling that the areas in which they’ve tried to innovate still need some work.
Overall, Mondly is probably not the all-encompassing program that will propel you to fluency. There are certain features of Mondly that can help you along your language learning journey, but the program is not enough to get you to that point.
And as it turns out, other users share the same sentiments. Check out what this reviewer had to say about Mondly.
It’s still worth giving the free version a try if you’re a beginner and subscribing to a premium membership if you like Mondly’s features.