mondly review

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.

Overview
mondly-review

Name: Mondly

Description: An app that provides short bursts of learning through fun and high-tech methods.

Languages offered: 41 languages including Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Danish, Arabic, Japanese, Greek, Romanian, Vietnamese, Hindi, Hebrew, Polish, Bulgarian and more.

Offer price: Base program is free; premium content available with a monthly subscription at $9.99/month or $47.99/year

7/10
7/10

Summary

Mondly tries to push language learning into the next generation through snappy daily lessons, competitive events and innovative features like AR, VR and chatbots. While this makes for a unique and engaging experience, level differentiation and uneven language instruction hold it back from being the best in its field.

  • User friendliness - 9/10
    9/10
  • Delivers on promises - 8/10
    8/10
  • Authenticity - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value for price - 4/10
    4/10

Pros

  • High-tech, innovative features draw your attention
  • Leaderboards fuel competition and make learning fun
  • All languages can be set as target or native language

Cons

  • Lack of differentiation between the different 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

Contents

A Quick Summary of Mondly

Mondly has been around since 2014, and it’s one of the most popular language learning apps around, covering 41 languages. With a focus on conversational phrases, its lessons take around 5 to 10 minutes each, and it promises to help you reach up to B2 (upper-intermediate) for most languages.

It stands out in the language learning space because of its techy features. You can talk to a language chatbot, use AR or VR to practice ordering food at a restaurant and see the vocabulary you’ve learned by tapping on a brain diagram.

Most people use the Mondly app on Android or iPhone, but there’s also a web version.

The Cost of Mondly

It’s possible to use Mondly for free, but the features are quite limited. You’ll 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:

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  • Integrated into courses for beginners
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  • Duolingo – Mostly free, but starts at $6.99/month or $83.99/year for add-on features 
  • Babbel Starts at $8.45/month or $83.40/year 
  • Rosetta Stone – Starts at $15.99/month or $167.88/year 

How Lessons in Mondly Work

Daily lessons

mondly map of lessons

Mondly places an emphasis on short but frequent daily lessons. 

Once you log into the app, you’ll be shown several options right away. You can have a daily customized lesson that includes reviews. Alternatively, you can choose themed lessons from a map, with topics like core vocabulary, family, seasons and weather or travel. 

Each lesson is followed by a recap and you can review lessons again at any time.

Variety of exercises

Mondly encourages you to learn to translate between a language familiar to you–for example, English–and the language you want to learn:

mondly new vocab exercise

This is done through a variety of exercises, including:

  • Matching words with images
  • Translating a sentence 
  • Fill-in-the-blanks
  • Listening comprehension

This makes it a little bit easier to get into learning than it otherwise would be.

Video player for learners like you
  • Interactive subtitles: click any word to see detailed examples and explanations
  • Slow down or loop the tricky parts
  • Show or hide subtitles
  • Review words with our powerful learning engine
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mondly translation exercise

Speaking practice through speech recognition

Speech recognition plays a major role in Mondly. For every lesson and review, you’ll be asked to speak your answer out loud for some questions (but there’s also the option to skip it if you’re on-the-go). I found this pretty helpful because it forced my pronunciation to be correct–otherwise the app wouldn’t recognize what I was saying.   

You can even do a hands-free version for each lesson, where the app teaches the new vocabulary to you through an audio conversation: 

mondly audio lesson clip

I’ll go into more detail about Mondly’s other features below, but the beauty of Mondly is in the combination of all of these different exercises. You’re never using the exact same method all the time, so you won’t get bored.

Mondly Features

Chatbot

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.

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 since you have to say your answer out loud. 

Master words through quizzes with context
  • Learn words in the context of sentences
  • Swipe left or right to see more examples from other videos
  • Go beyond just a superficial understanding
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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.

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.

mondly review

Mondly AR

This function is a big selling point for Mondly, and you’d need to download a separate app for this. 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

Mondly VR is a pioneering app that’s available on Steam or Oculus. It lets you have conversations with virtual characters in realistic scenarios, with topics like shopping, ordering food or checking into a hotel. 

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  • Start with multiple-choice questions and advance through sentence building to producing your own output
  • Go from understanding to speaking in a natural progression.
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I found this component of Mondly to be great for pronunciation practice and building conversational confidence. 

It’s not 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.

Mondly Kids

If you have children who want to learn a language, 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 review

MondlyWORKS

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.

Accurate, detailed word explanations made for you
  • Images, examples, video examples, and tips
  • Covering all the tricky edge cases, eg.: phrases, idioms, collocations, and separable verbs
  • No reliance on volunteers or open source dictionaries
  • 100,000+ hours spent by FluentU's team to create and maintain
Learn more about FluentU
Learn more about FluentU

It’s an award-winning program for companies that want to help their employees learn another language (with 31 choices!). Along with the usual Mondly features, MondlyWORKS also has 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 English course you might be interested in, in partnership with Oxford University Press.

This course is based on guidelines from the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR) and it includes practice tests for A2, B1 and B2 levels.

It’s meant to be relevant to the topics already on the app, with 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.

Hi, I'm Alan! I became obsessed with learning Chinese, Japanese, and Korean in 2001, and managed to get good enough to work professionally in those languages as a management consultant.

I started FluentU to build a new kind of language app.
Want to learn more about how FluentU got started?

Competitive element

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.

choice of languages in mondly

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 Other Apps?

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.

FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

With FluentU, you hear languages in real-world contexts—the way that native speakers actually use them. Just a quick look will give you an idea of the variety of FluentU videos on offer:

learn-a-language-with-videos

FluentU really takes the grunt work out of learning languages, leaving you with nothing but engaging, effective and efficient learning. It’s already hand-picked the best videos for you and organized them by level and topic. All you have to do is choose any video that strikes your fancy to get started!

learn-a-language-with-music

Each word in the interactive captions comes with a definition, audio, image, example sentences and more.

Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and easily review words and phrases from the video under Vocab.

You can use FluentU’s unique adaptive quizzes to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions and exercises. Just swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you're studying.

learn-a-language-with-adaptive-quizzes

The program even keeps track of what you’re learning and tells you exactly when it’s time for review, giving you a 100% 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.)

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 review

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?

mondly review

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. 

Common Questions about Mondly

Is Mondly actually good?

If you’re a beginner, Mondly is one of the best overall language learning apps around. It’s great if you’re looking for quick, casual lessons to squeeze into your day. For intermediate and advanced learners, though, the lesson material might not be enough. 

Can you become fluent with Mondly?

Mondy actually doesn’t make the claim that it can get you fluent in a language, especially since its 41 languages don’t have the same amount of content. To make the most out of Mondly, you’ll still need to practice conversations with native speakers and supplement with other tools. My estimate is that Mondly will get you to intermediate at most. 

How long does it take to learn a language on Mondly?

Each lesson on Mondly is around 5 to 10 minutes long, and the most popular languages–like Spanish and French–have around 300 lessons. 

What are the difficulty levels on Mondly?

Mondly has three levels of difficulty: beginner, intermediate and advanced, although these aren’t strictly based on the CEFR.  

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.

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