Let's Review Lingoda!
Lingoda is a German-based company offering online tutoring services. It has an average 3.2-star rating based on different online review platforms. Yet, the clients often complain about the high cost, somewhat boring lessons, and generic study material. Lingoda is ranked 17th among academic help sites, scoring 3.2 out of 5.
We decided it was time for someone in our team to start learning French, and, right off the bat, we knew who it was going to be ‒ our Emma, who knows a thing or two in French. It's a great chance to improve it even more, right? Without further ado, let's jump into the review and see if Lingoda deserves its ratings!
Our Verdict on Lingoda
Lingoda is a great service if you're just taking up a new language. It has well-structured curriculums for different levels, but
a) You need to buy more than just 5 lessons to feel it (and that's a lot of money, a lot!);
b) The study plans still seem to be shallow. If your level of proficiency in the language is more or less decent, consider looking for another platform.
It's a good platform to practice your speaking skills because Lingoda's teachers are native speakers, and you can see whether you understand different accents. However, the tutors we met in the process didn't encourage the group to speak; it was rather the intention of students to talk, and teachers just maintained the conversation as they could. Feels like some Lingoda's teachers can't fully unlock the potential of working in groups or pairs.
You might consider Lingoda if you have a tight schedule because lessons here are available 24/7. And that's really convenient because you can book your classes in advance whenever you need them. Other than that, Lingoda is a nice platform, but it's too expensive for the services it offers. It still has room for growth, and we hope it won't lose its potential soon.
How Lingoda Works
What is Lingoda in the first place? As we said, it's an online language learning platform offering courses. The variety of languages it offers is not that big: German, French, Spanish, English, and, surprisingly, Business English. There are two ways you can take classes ‒ either in a group or individually. Classes are available 24/7, which means you can align them with your schedule fairly easily.
Before you begin the learning journey with Lingoda, you need to choose the plan and pay. Even if you opt for a free trial, you still need to enter your payment details. The group classes are cheaper, so we chose them. After you're done with that, the service will ask you to complete an assessment in the desired language to determine the level of your proficiency. It's optional, but we still advise you to do that.
When you're done with it, you can finally book a class (in our case, it was group sessions). You choose the date and time suitable for you, and the service assigns you to live lessons that have already been planned that will take place during that time. You're also given the lesson materials in advance so you can prepare and know what you're going to be discussing.
Our Experience With the Service
Here comes the best part of this Lingoda review. The person who secretly represented our whole team was, of course, Emma. She was the one to sit in front of the web camera during the lessons under the alias "Lucy."
It all started with a bummer: for some reason, she couldn't join any of the Zoom meetings the classes were held in. Luckily, Lingoda customer service did a pretty good job and helped her with everything. After about an hour of troubleshooting, she could start the first lesson.
Is there any specific structure of these lessons, you may ask? Yes, the study program for each level (Emma's level was determined as B1) is divided into chapters. These chapters are divided further into 4 types of lessons: grammar, reading, speaking, and communication. Our plan included 12 group classes, but there's a limit per week ‒ only 3 classes.
We're not going to describe how each lesson went, but let's take reading, for example. The first lesson was fine. The teacher was nice, and the whole reading process was rather focused on learning new vocabulary. However, two reading classes with other teachers were not so good and resembled just reading articles out loud.
It was a dry analysis of vocabulary for half an hour and then 15-20 minutes of plain reading. No prepared questions from the teacher, no practicing of the just learned vocabulary ‒ only when a student had some kind of question could they get into a discussion.
And the same goes for other types of lessons. Some of them were great and informative, but sometimes, Emma's teacher could go into explaining the concept of definite and indefinite articles or tenses (let us remind you, it's a B1-level course!). More complicated aspects of grammar that students of this level encounter should've been explained.
The speaking part of the course was nice, though.
One thing that some of the reviews on Lingoda also mentioned was tutors losing their internet connection. That happened to Emma twice, and yes, it is frustrating, especially when you remember how much you paid for the course.
Overall, it felt like the guidelines Lingoda teachers used were too generalized and basic. For the most part, the lessons had a structure, but they reminded us of foreign language classes in the good old school days.
Emma made a good point ‒ there wasn't much in the material Lingoda tutors "taught" her that she couldn't learn on her own with a French textbook.
How Skilled Are the Teachers?
The thing is, being a native speaker doesn't automatically make you a good teacher. We believe that applies to 75% of the teachers Emma met during the course. The majority of positive lingoda.com reviews emphasize the exceptional qualities and skills of tutors, and we agree ‒ they are very polite and knowledgeable people who most likely will answer anything you're interested in.
But the problem is that they lack organizational skills. The majority of the lessons were just boring. Teachers didn't offer much exercise to consolidate the lesson ‒ there was no pair or group work or any kind of interactive mini-games. For the most part, Emma's group had to listen to a lecture, answer one by one, and wait for their turn to answer again.
Maybe that's just the specifics of studying in a group. But we think it's the teachers who can't engage their students in the process. They seem to have a lot to say and teach, but they just don't know how to do it properly.
Lingoda Prices and Credits System
Lingoda has a clear pricing system. The service works based on a paid subscription model, and it goes for both individual and group classes. But how much does Lingoda cost? Let's see...
There are 4 plans available: 5, 12, 20, or 40 group classes per month for $80, $160, $230, and $430, respectively. Individual classes are more than twice this price: 40 one-on-one classes will cost you a whopping $900 ‒ that's $22,5 per lesson!
It's quite high, to be honest. At Italki, another very popular service, you can get a single lesson starting from just $5, with the average being $10-12. Sure, Italki is more of a freelance platform, while Lingoda markets itself as an online school, but it's still a lot.
The service uses credits, which you can use in turn to book classes. The credits are obtained by buying a subscription or by just paying for them additionally. The payment methods range from credit cards to PayPal and European Sofort.
The problem is you can't use the credits without an active subscription. So, even if there are extra credits left and you want to book a few classes, you need to buy a monthly subscription again. After you do so, you get extra credits for the purchase, and now, you're in a loop ‒ you can't spend the rest of the credits whatsoever. People complain about it a lot, and we agree this looks like a scam.
The policy of the service is too harsh in our opinion. It has so many nuances and different conditions that, technically, you can get a refund, but in reality, there will always be something to prevent you from doing it.
For example, you can cancel your subscription. But the terms of the refund depend on the time you canceled it and the type of your subscription. In addition to refunds not being available for all types of cancellations, the credits you buy for classes are also non-refundable.
If you cancel a booked class with less than 72 hours notice, you can't return the credits you spent. You might say it's a common practice, but people in Lingoda reviews often complain about that, and we understand them.
One good way to get your money back that Lingoda offers is so-called "sprints," where you can get half of your money or even the full price back. Lingoda Sprint is a 60-day challenge where you need to complete 30 (regular one) or 60 (Super Sprint) classes. It may not be the easiest task, but Lingoda actually refunds the money for successful completion. Just don't forget to cancel auto-enrollment for the third month ‒ that's another sneaky trick the service has for you.
Flexibility and Convenience
Is Lingoda good in terms of flexibility and convenient scheduling? Oh yes! In this regard, it compares favorably with other services of this kind. The fact that classes are accessible around the clock is a blessing. Whether it's day or night, any lesson is available every hour because the service hires teachers living in different time zones.
Let's say it's Sunday, and you have a few free hours you'd like to spend learning a language. Lingoda is perfect for spontaneous decisions like this. You'll 100% find a class for your specific time window there. The curriculum is also flexible, so you can choose the classes that fit your learning goals and pace.
The website has a lot of different features and a good user interface. When it comes to convenience and flexibility, Lingoda is definitely a win.
Pros & Cons
Lingoda obviously is not the only online language school, and we often encountered search requests like "Lingoda vs Italki" or "Lingoda vs Baselang." Yeah, no wonder; these two are probably the service's main competitors, and the competition in this industry is really strong. So, let's see what Lingoda does better than others and where it loses out.
We made this list based on not only our personal experience but also other lingoda.com reviews. So, here it is:
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