Lingoda review: maybe not what you are looking for

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If you are looking for a Lingoda review to learn German, it could probably mean one of the following things:

  • You are finally ready to take on the next step in your language journey.
  • You’ve exhausted all options offered by apps.
  • You don’t have access to German classes around you.
  • You current schedule makes it hard to fit it all.

Whatever your situation, this Lingoda review aims at giving you insights about the learning experience on the platform. By the end of this post, you will know if it is for you or not, and if it’s worth the money.

Lingoda review to learn German

The basics of Lingoda

Lingoda is a platform connecting students to teachers through an online interface organizing classes into topics, levels & chapters.

As a student, you are placed into a level (A1 to C2, normal CEFR stuff) which offers a curriculum developed through real-world material. You can explore this material freely and book chapters/classes in whichever order you would like. Each class has a different focus: writing, speaking, communication, reading, grammar. In small groups, you interact with teachers & students.

All of the above describes an ordinary language school; what sets Lingoda apart? Lingoda is special because of the following:

  • Classes around the clock: because teachers are based in differents parts of the world, classes takes place at different times during the day. Perfect to fit into your schedule.
  • Relatively cheaper prices: thanks to its digital-only model & its direct work with teachers, Lingoda is able to offer a price that is often competitive with physical classes in Europe. Depending on where you come from, that statement may not be not so true though.
  • Marathon/Sprint plans: if you manage to attend ALL of your classes during this intensive set of classes, Lingoda refunds 50% to 100% of the fees. That’s quite unique across the industry.

Lingoda’s pricing structure is based on the amount of classes you want to book during a given month, and whether you want group classes or private classes. :

Full pricing to learn German with Lingoda per month

  • 1 class a week: 56€ in groups or 128€ in 1-to-1.
  • 3 classes a week: 138€ in group or 312€ in 1-to-1.
  • 5 classes a week: 200€ in groups or 450€ in 1-to-1.
  • 10 classes a week: 360€ in groups or 760€ in 1-to-1.

Be aware that it’s a subscription: you can billed every month. You can cancel or change plans any time. That’s the “normal” model. You can also sign up for a Marathon/Sprint, which has its own pricing.

Lingoda features review

Browsing – classes & teachers

Lingoda does one thing very well: letting you see the learning possibilities offered by the platform. You will spend a lot of your time looking at classes you would like to take. Lingoda does not enforce any order or level. You are free to pick.

On the “Book classes” screen, you have an overview of the upcoming classes, together with a set of filters to narrow done the relevant ones. You can filter classes by time/day, level, group vs private & material/chapter. It’s super easy. You can even book a personalized lesson from there.

From there, you can just select the class that you want, on the class details screen:

This detail screen includes all the info you need to join & prepare the class.

Review of material before class

Once you have booked your class, you will have access to a PDF file which will contain the material to cover for your class. The layout is pretty modern & colorful. It’s engaging, as far as PDF files go. Here is an example.

Review of material after class

Once you have gone through the material during class, you have the opportunity to take a quizz and test what you have learned. This is a great little feature that extends the learning experience after class is over.

CEFR certificate generation

Lingoda tracks in real time your progress and how many lessons you have completed. This enables the platform to generate certificates which can be required to apply for a visa or a university. In your profile section, you can download certificates for that.

Class reports

After each class, you will be invited to rate the teachers’ performance. In return, you will have access to a short summary of how the class went, written by the teacher. You can also download the group chat.

Add to calendar shortcut

Simple & handy. With one click, you can automatically add classes in your Gmail, Outlook calenders. That’s a nice feature to make sure to complete the sprint/marathon & score that cashback!

Lingoda strengths

Small classes

Small classes are a pre-requisite to make sure you get the most out of a class. There is no hiding in the back-row when there is only the 3 of you! Lingoda delivers on this by never having more than 5 students in any given class. Honestly, I don’t think how else it could be possible via Zoom. Large video calls are always a nightmare.

It also enable the teacher to let each student participate in the class.

Cool material

Look, I know you can only go so far to make language learning material cool. It won’t be a page turner but Lingoda really does a good job at crafting bite-sized lessons in a visual way. That takes skills & experience in UX/UI. Kudos for that.

Ultimate flexibility

This Lingoda review for German learners won’t skip this great benefit: the ability to connect with live teachers at any time & any place. It does this better than other platforms to learn German with live classes. You are always sure to find a class or teacher that suits you needs, at the right time. It’s a massive accomplishment!

That’s great because it means you don’t need to work around your German classes. No need to do extra-commute, or stay extra-late at work to go to late-classes.

Booking a private class on demand

This feature is a bit hidden in the interface and it’s not really advertised by Lingoda but you have the possibility to ask for a custom class if you wish! That’s the power of a rich talent pool of teachers available globally. I don’t think it exists in this form elsewhere. Pretty nice to prep for an important interview or visa appointment!

That cashback option

If you are like me, you may love money. We all like a good deal to save some. In that regards, Lingoda’s unique positioning with marathons/sprints is a real strength. Not only can it bring your total costs way down, but it also motivates you to have discipline and really put the efforts to attend. It’s a great boost.

Lingoda weaknesses

No Lingoda review to learn German would be complete without mentioning the limits of Lingoda’s model.

You pick & choose your curricular

To be honest, I don’t know whether to put this in the strength or weakness part of this Lingoda review. Depending on your learning style & personality, this might play differently for you.

Learning German is difficult and it’s sometimes nice when you have a bad cop deciding for you what painful classes you need to make progress. Lingoda doesn’t enforce a particular level, theme or focus. You are free to decide what to pursue, but it means you might ignore things you don’t like to do, like grammar.

If you lack discipline, Lingoda won’t punish you for it.

Little group dynamic, little mentoring

Learning a language is a social experience. You need interaction with others to improve. This is done in part thanks to little group but there is huge drawback to offering ultimate flexibility: you don’t stick with a group of students.

With every new class, you have a new group of students. Sure, you might meet again, but not a single defined group. In my opinion, that does a disservice to the learning experience because as students, we often get motivation from people we like, from people we know. In IRL classes, you tend to partner up with 2-3 people you like. You go through pain & successes together, maybe have fun along the way. With Lingoda, there is unfortunately little room for that.

Same goes for teachers. In IRL classes, you often benefit from having the same teacher repeatedly, especially when you like them. They can work as a motivation force, as a mentor sometimes. In Lingoda, this is quite limited, even if you can meet teachers again and even if you can sort classes by teachers.

Placement test: just a simple questionnaire

For all the tech used to make Lingoda’s service happen, I was baffled to realize that the placement test was a simple Typeform questionnaire. It’s a pretty basic implementation, surprisingly. Results may vary & there is a chance you end up in the wrong classes the first time (especially since it’s mostly grammar-based).

Class reports are useless in groups:

I also found that the class reports pretty irrelevant when taking group classes. A teacher cannot give you proper feedback on how you did because the feedback is about the whole group, not you personally. Not so useful.

That’s of course not the case for a private class. That’s where this feature really shines.

Think about IRL group classes vs IRL tutoring: no teacher is giving feedback to the whole class after a single session, but a tutor would.

Zoom is a disappointing choice

From a technological point of view, I was pretty disappointed with Lingoda’s choice to use Zoom to let teachers conduct classes.

Zoom is a poor choice because it doesn’t allow for bilateral/multilateral interaction. There no whiteboard/quiz/activity function to let students work on something in real time,”see” each other, “manipulate” items & concepts via their mouses and keyboards. In this case, it’s just the teacher sharing their screen. It’s not very collaborative.

If Lingoda does innovate when it comes to bringing teachers, students & material together, it does not innovate on the online learning experience itself so much. That’s something competitor Chatterbug is better at for example.

My experience with Lingoda

I attended a few Lingoda classes in preparation for this review. I am a fairly advanced speaker but I do struggle in informal conversations, when the topic is “moving” or when the communication situation is not clearly established.

In the past, I have used apps to learn German & I have attended IRL classes. Coming from those experiences, I was positively surprised by the onboarding experienced. Lingoda makes it super easy for you to find classes that fit for you. The possibilities are really limitless.

I was also delighted by the quality of the learning material, which is quite up-to-date, in tune with real world issues and topics that are genuinely stimulating. It’s a nice touch.

One typical session: My teacher Benjamin was really nice. He was actually dialing in from Mexico, where he also farms some land. He was patient, providing a good balance between fun lecturing times & grammar explanations. He made sure there was a pace & a dynamic to the lecture.

During my time with Lingoda, there were always students in different time zones, eager to participate and learn. There was always a good atmosphere. You get to chat a little bit, do exercises together, but no prolonged interaction. Zoom limits the amount of interactions possible too.

Learning German - Lingoda review
Here is how a Lingoda class looks like on Zoom

To put into it a nutshell: I am convinced by the value Lingoda brings to the table. It can be a great choice to continue your language learning journey, even the best the choice in some situation. Pricing is fair too. I just think it can’t beat IRL classes on some aspects.

Lingoda reviews: what do other customers say?

Lingoda reviews on Trustpilot:

Reviews offer different perspectives on the service for beginners or long-time users of the platform. Almost all of them praise the platform’s ability to make their learning experience easier and to connect them with great teachers. Most negative comments have to do with Marathon/Sprints conditions. It seems like qualification rules are not always clear. Make sure to read the fine prints on that.

Google reviews:

It looks as equally good on Google reviews, with 4,4 stars as of now. People praise the quality of teachers & the flexibilty.

Be aware that all those are not necessarily Lingoda reviews to learn German, it can also be about other languages Lingoda is offering.

Lingoda review conclusion: who should consider it to learn German?

Doing a Lingoda review is not an easy task, one can of course not ignore the innovation offered by the platform: Unlimited small group classes accessible anywhere with good material, the value is truly astonishing. Can’t beat that cash back offer!

However, because learning is also a social experience, I do have to worry about the limits of a remote only platform: the lack of group synergy & dynamic, the inevitable weak(er) relationship with teachers, the impossibility to connect with students met in the group. Those are all benefits that cannot be replaced by a platform like Lingoda.

Like for apps to learn German, it’s my strong opinion that Lingoda is best used in the following cases:

  • As an intensive prep-marathon before a long stay in Germany, to get up to speed.
  • As a way to quickly obtain the desired language certificate/level in order to apply for a student visa in Germany or a permanent residency
  • As a more formal learning experience in addition to the more casual one of being in Germany, interacting with situations & people in everyday (while immersing yourself in the country).
  • As a way to keep in touch with the language, if you don’t have access to good classes where you live.

In those situations, Lingoda is the perfect learning companion and great value for the money.

In other cases, if you have access to physical classes divided in small groups, I’d rather put my money there. The learning experience will be more rewarding long-term and you will probably make friends along the way. That is also a reason why I would not recommend it to learners who thrive on social connections.

I hope this Lingoda review was useful and insightful to you. Feel free to ask questions about my experience or about the platform in the comments.

Bastien

Lingoda review to learn German – FAQ

How is Lingoda different from platforms like Preply or Italki?

All platforms do connect students with tutors/teachers. However, Lingoda is different from Preply or Italki because it also provides the infrastructure and the material for students & teachers to work with. It gives you access to a wide variety of teachers for a fixed cost.

Can Lingoda deliver CEFR certificates?

Lingoda is also able to provide CEFR certificates, like a language school should.