Babbel Live is the latest addition to Babbel’s blended learning platform. Now employees can complete Babbel lessons individually and strengthen their language skills in live group lessons online. Read on to discover why this combination is so effective.
Babbel’s new group lessons will give learners the opportunity to practice the skills they’ve learned in the language learning platform in a real-life setting. So when you choose a Babbel Live subscription for your team, every learner will have access to Babbel Live lessons, where they’ll join up to six participants to learn either English, Spanish, or German with a certified teacher.
Carlos Alvarez is project manager in the didactics team for Babbel for Business and has helped build the curriculum for the German Babbel Live lessons. The didactics team created the business courses on the Babbel platform, applying their linguistic knowledge to create effective, practical business courses. Carlos himself used to be a German teacher, so he understands how to effectively learn a language. He believes that the combination of in-app learning and classroom-style lessons is the ultimate way to master a new language.
Why is Babbel Live so effective?
“With Babbel Live, learners join a video call to learn the language with a professional teacher and up to five other people,” Carlos says, speaking from his home office in Berlin. This group aspect is a particularly effective tool during the pandemic as it keeps your employees connected to other learners and keeps them motivated while working from home. “It’s also interesting to speak to people you don’t know because you’ll meet people from different backgrounds,” Carlos says. “You’ll learn about their country and their language and it’ll help with motivation and having fun.”
However, Carlos says the Babbel Live classes are best for one aspect of learning in particular: “Online tutoring forces you to speak,” says Carlos. “You practice speaking with people you don’t know and are therefore able to strengthen your confidence to speak to people outside of the classroom, like clients, business partners or colleagues. It’s a great way to overcome your fear of speaking a new language.”
Besides that, employees can book their lessons based on topic, which ensures that they practise the vocabulary most relevant to them, at the time that suits them best and from the comfort of their home. This flexibility is a plus, especially in these uncertain times, as classes aren’t affected by health measures or the changing regulations caused by COVID-19.
How does it work?
Babbel Live classes have a similar set-up to classroom lessons. You can select your level — from A1 up to C1 — and if you’re unsure, you can take a test to determine which class would be the best fit. Each learner will receive a certain number of credits, with one credit equal to one lesson. Carlos recommends that learners not use up all their credits at once. “If you have ten credits, don’t use them all in one week,” he says. “You’ll be exhausted.” Instead Carlos recommends pacing yourself to complete a course — A1.1 for example — over a couple of months.
The way it works is simple. Learners receive an e-mail from Babbel with a link where they can see an overview of the available classes and their credits. They simply choose a time, day, and teacher and click on the class to book it. They’ll get a reminder the day before and a follow-up e-mail afterwards with recommended reading and takeaways from the lesson. “We use Zoom for the classes because it’s really easy to use and has a lot of cool gimmicks which makes the class more engaging,” Carlos says.
What is the didactic methodology?
From a didactics perspective, Carlos believes it’s the style of teaching that really sets Babbel Live apart from in-class lessons. Babbel’s online lessons use a concept called Flipped Classroom. “When you go to school, the teacher talks about grammar, vocab, sentence structure,” Carlos says. “But the way it’s structured, the students don’t get to practice speaking a lot. The way we’re doing it, the students talk a lot in class, and study vocabulary and grammar in the Babbel platform.”
Carlos says that it’s crucial learners use their lesson time to speak and apply everything they’ve learned through the learning platform into a true-to-life scenario. “It’s called blended learning,” Carlos explains, “and it’s been growing in popularity over the last decade, and especially since COVID.”
During the creation phase of Babbel Live, Carlos found this blended learning approach endlessly fascinating. “I enjoyed the research and seeing how all these different resources could be combined into one product. We use movies, podcasts, articles, cultural knowledge, apps, and Zoom to teach language.”
All of the Babbel Live teachers add their own unique flair to the class and are encouraged to share their cultural knowledge with the learners. “The teacher doesn’t just explain how language works — they also explain the culture of the country,” Carlos says. “This is really important, because being able to speak with native speakers and develop cultural competence is a big motivator when learning a language.”
Flexible, affordable, and fun
Lessons with Babbel Live are more cost-efficient than classroom lessons because it’s all done remotely, which means less overhead. Classroom lessons require the person to be on-site at a specific time, over a prolonged period. Lessons with Babbel Live are much more flexible, with participants able to choose 9 am on a Monday, or 7 pm on a Tuesday, or lunchtime on a Wednesday, depending on their schedule that week, which means there will be no more excuses to miss a class.
Babbel for Business will continue to offer live 1:1 lessons as part of the Babbel Intensive solution. These lessons are best suited to individuals who need to learn quickly and in a short amount of time. “One-on-one classes are great if you need to improve fast,” Carlos says. “Group lessons are a little less intense because there are more people involved, so not all of the attention is on one person. There’s a strong social element too.” Carlos says that group lessons will get learners feeling confident speaking in groups and will help get them out of their comfort zone. He says that 1:1 classes are perfect for speedy, intensive learning, while group lessons are great for consistent, long-term results.
Who benefits from Babbel Live?
“I think every company would benefit from it,” Carlos says. “The combination of different learning methods is not only effective, it’s motivating and fun. When you’re in a class with other people you think wow — this guy is really good, I want to be like him, so you study more.”
Using Babbel Live alongside the Babbel learning platform will provide a fun and holistic learning experience. “We have hundreds of hours of lessons where you can practise vocabulary and grammar individually in the app. You can also practice speaking, especially pronunciation individually with our speech recognition software, but being able to get conversational in group classes makes a big difference. In a group class you’re forced to speak and listen to different accents and apply what you already know. It helps you improve really fast.”
If you’re interested in finding out whether Babbel Live is right for your team, just get in touch with us. We’d be happy to help you find the right solution for your team.
Lilly Miner, Expert for Digital Learning
Lilly focuses on different learning methods. Whether online learning or blended learning – the motivation of the learners is particularly important to her.