Babbel becomes an even better language lab for iPhone
Language learning app and service Babbel has added a new podcasting feature to its app designed to complement existing interactive linguistic teaching in order to deepen the experience.
Get more natural with language
The idea is that you can listen to ad-free podcasts in both your native language and also in the language(s) you are trying to learn in order to get more natural and confident when you speak it.
The in-app podcast player is tailored to the native language of the user and provides 70 episodes and over 50 hours of content as bilingual podcasts in talk-show, storytelling, and music-show formats.
Podcasts for Italian, Spanish, English, and French learners, are available, with additional content specifically for English and German speakers.
Building confidence through exposure
The podcasts support strengthening speaking skills by hearing native speakers interact when using their language.
Babbel’s goal is to get learners out of the app and into real-life conversations. With this in mind, it claims 73% of participants say they felt confident enough to hold their first easy conversation after just five hours with Babbel.
This isn’t a particularly new approach, of course. I see it as a good way to recreate the interactive video/audio-based elements of language learning that were once only available to language learners in a language lab or via very expensive courses. It’s a good step to democratise learning.
What the Babbel say?
Geoff Stead, Chief Product Officer at Babbel:
“With our app’s new podcast player we are reacting to feedback about two main user needs: supporting real-life conversations and providing the flexibility to learn a new language on the go, therefore maximizing their downtime.
“Of course, we didn’t just focus on the best possible linguistic content, but created an entertaining setting to provide cultural information, anecdotes and country-specific stories that provoke a deeper connection and give the learner the confidence to speak in and understand a new cultural surrounding.”
What learning methods are used?
The podcasts combine a variety of different learning methods:
- Stories and conversations.
- Anecdotes and narratives.
In talk-show formats, the focus is on the teaching aspects: Here learners can listen to conversations between native speaking teachers and students.
Stories and conversations
Stories and conversations are tied into a cultural context, so listeners get closer to and a deeper understanding of the language’s culture.
Anecdotes and narratives
Listening to anecdotes and narratives in the learning language makes learners understand the context and pronunciation faster.
The podcasts also focus on the learning environment by language expert hosts, giving tips on language learning while adding context and explaining concepts.
Babbel’s podcasts are also available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, but seem to benefit from being used beside dedicated teaching resources.