Why is Babbel such a good app for teaching a new language? Belén Caeiro directs Babbel’s product marketing and explains the secret of the success of this application.
The idea of learning a new language online may seem strange at first glance because our concept of a school lesson shapes how we understand learning – with pencil in hand and notepad open. However, once out of school, we run into an everyday life that doesn’t have to fit in with a regular learning appointment in larger groups.
When I recently flew to Poland for the weekend, I realized how uncomfortable I felt not knowing Polish. I was very ashamed not to be able to say thank you. Fortunately, my reaction was obvious: my mobile phone with the Babbel app.
I am often asked why Babbel is so good at teaching a new language. To answer this question, I spoke with Belen Caeiro, a polyglot. Belén is in charge of product marketing at Babbel and knows the app by heart. She explains to us why online language learning with Babbel is so effective.
Babbel’s secret ingredient is based on three pillars
Belén considers herself to have been a lucky girl. Her parents helped her obtain an international education at an early age. She has lived in Spain, Singapore, the Philippines, the United States and the Netherlands before coming to Berlin. Her past experiences confirm that Babbel is the right place for her:
“I know that all the good things that happen to me in life are possible thanks to having learned a new language.”
There is no doubt in Bethlehem’s mind that today, perhaps more than ever, we need to learn a new language to understand ourselves and integrate new perspectives into our thinking. The first of the three pillars on which Babbel’s online language learning is based is to make this possible.
The first pillar: at Babbel everything revolves around conversation
“We are learning a new language to relate to. To make this possible, our product offers some special characteristics ”, explains Belén. She opens the Babbel application on her computer and shows me all the available courses and lessons. “At Babbel we structure language learning based on relevant topics. Depending on the language you are learning, in Babbel you will find the cultural peculiarities and the most frequent topics of conversation from the beginning. Using public transportation, ordering food, and making wishes are at the top of the list.
Belén points out that all the learning content is related so that orientation is easy. However, if you only want to review one topic, you can start with whatever you want. Belén clicks on the next lesson and touches the microphone icon: “We use feedback from our users to constantly optimize our product. Thanks to our customer service, but also to the meetings we organize, we know that our users want to train their pronunciation. Our product supports the voice recognition function. ”
Online language learning with Babbel is also based on tried and tested learning exercises, such as white text, that show examples in a realistic way. Bethlehem illustrates the principle:
“In Babbel, the so-called dialogue coach simulates the course of a real conversation: it is like swimming in an empty pool. This is how the new vocabulary is consolidated and the idiomatic expressions in natural use are practiced ”.
Belén concludes that even the way we teach grammar is ultimately based on the focus of the conversation. Therefore, the product offered by Babbel is designed in such a way that users can converse in real life as quickly as possible. In comparison with other applications , Babbel is not so focused on entertainment. Babbel doesn’t offer the gaming aspect that can make other apps more fun. “But this is a clear decision on our part,” explains Belén.
“We want our students to put down their cell phones and experience the success of their language in real life .”
Belén emphasizes: “We believe that this interpersonal experience is a much greater motivation than a more attractive screen could be – and we see that this is exactly why our users return and continue learning.”
The second pillar: Our experts are people, not machines
Babbel is known for its 150 experts in language learning who are dedicated to teaching new languages and cultures. All of the experts are multilingual and most have already taught in schools, universities, and evening classes. They face new challenges, like teaching French to their peers in three weeks or mastering sign language in one month.
These crazy ideas are not to be ridiculed under any circumstances – even our experts are delighted to successfully overcome a new obstacle. Therefore, this is the main objective of these acrobats of the language: that they themselves return to be in the position of the student. Only as we learn do we realize what is really useful in learning.
“Our trained experts are the driving force behind the product. We trust in this guarantee of quality to prepare each course depending on the mother tongue and the language of learning ”.
The linguistic knowledge that distinguishes the Babbel product is based on the linguistic affinity between the different languages. For example, French is more closely related to Italian and therefore there are many more similarities than between French and German. Belén sees these similarities as “shortcuts” in learning:
“With Babbel you learn effectively, as our language experts know exactly these shortcuts and incorporate them into the product.”
Belén also points out that the shortcuts used in the product demonstrate its effectiveness in learning.
The third pillar: thanks to user-oriented design, the path to learning is the center of attention
Learning languages online with Babbel has the advantage that learning is based on you. Whether you are a night owl or a traveler, Babbel is always accessible from the device of your choice, even offline if you have previously downloaded the lesson.
“The Babbel subscription system offers you a constant learning experience,” says Belén:
“Once you have acquired access to the product, you can freely use any learning materials you want, so you don’t have to re-unlock the exclusive content later.”
The product is even regularly expanded with new learning content from our experts, so you will receive freshly baked courses.
Belén is proud that not only the product itself, but also the functions within the product are completely student-oriented:
“Your motivation to learn is the driving force behind subsequent success. That is why we have developed a feature that allows the learning content to be personalized for each user ”.
Is your motivation for learning a new language traveling? Voilà , thanks to the motivation selector, you will already have the correct content that we have suggested. “Of course, it’s not just that,” laughs Belén. With Babbel you will feel that we understand you:
“We know exactly what impulses ( triggers ) are needed to ensure successful learning.”
In this case, the replay system plays a central role. To learn a new vocabulary, you have to practice it over and over again, using longer time intervals. The replay system does it automatically! As a user, you can even add your own vocabulary.