Fluenz Review: Best for serious language learners

(Last Updated On: June 24, 2022)

Discover the ins and outs of this online course in our Fluenz review.

Our Verdict

star
star
star
star_border
star_border

Fluenz is unique in that it aims to simulate the experience of a one-on-one classroom experience using video tutorials. However, looking beyond its high-tech interface, Fluenz fails to deliver on a number of levels. You’ll need to invest a lot of time (and money) into this course, due to its slow pace and unnecessarily lengthy explanations. 

This is great if you prefer the classroom approach to learning a language and enjoy taking your time when you study a new language. However, if you’re the kind of language learner that prefers gamified learning and quick results, I’d recommend steering clear of this one.

TL;DR Fluenz Review

For any readers short on time, here’s a quick list of the pros and cons we found while putting together this Fluenz review.

PROS

  • Podcast offers a way to learn on the go.
  • Videos are engaging and very high quality. 
  • Clear and concise grammar explanations – great for beginners.
  • Good mix of language immersion and self-study instructions. 
  • The tutorials (video lessons) are very informative.

CONS

  • Activities can feel repetitive and boring if you’re used to gamified learning.
  • Very expensive compared to other courses out there. 
  • Lots of explanations but a lack of grammar practice. 
  • Quite a slow pace – you won’t learn a language quickly using Fluenz.

What is Fluenz?

Fluenz was developed by language students who felt they were let down by the education system. After years of bad teachers, poor teaching, and uninspiring programmes, these students wanted to take language learning into their own hands.

They set out to create a course that accounted for all of the essential blocks of language learning while ensuring that the elements they disliked in their previous courses weren’t included. The first course they produced was for Mandarin, and years later, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese followed. 

What Can You Do on Fluenz?

Fluenz provides a one-on-one instruction experience in both your target language and English. Each language consists of five levels, and each level is broken down into 30 sessions which last around an hour each.

Unlike a lot of language learning apps, the exercises don’t feel like games, they’re more like teaching exercises. There’s no time limit, no points, no fun animations: just simple and clear exercises to help you practice what you have learned. 

Here’s what you get from Level One Fluenz Italian:

Let’s take a look at some of the main features you’ll get when you invest in Fluenz.

Fluenz Sessions

Language courses with Fluenz are very clear and easy to follow. Each lesson is broken down into short sessions that include the following:

  • Introduction. Summarises what the lesson will be about and introduces one of the new concepts you’ll be learning. This is normally recorded by Fluenz’s founder, Sonia Gil.
  • Video tutorial. Next, you’ll find a video tutorial, some of which are recorded by a native speaker and teacher, others by Sonia Gil. This is where you’ll learn the nitty-gritty of today’s content and complete some exercises to test what you’ve learnt. These cover everything from grammar and vocabulary to syntax.
  • Conclusion. At the end of each session, you’ll find another video that recaps what you’ve done in today's lesson and gives you a few wise words of motivation.

You’ll also find handy progress markers to keep track of your learning, and if you leave the app/desktop course during your session, you can resume where you last ended. 

Fluenz Exercises 

The exercises on Fluenz don’t differ too much from other language learning platforms. In fact, they err on the side of boring. Most include a word or phrase that you have to type out or translate based on what you read or hear. Other exercises include a ‘click and drag' feature to match the words or phrases with their meanings or an exercise to match the words with the correct image. 

We found that Fluenz wasn’t as lenient when it came to scoring your answers on the exercises. While we appreciate the accuracy, there were times when it became frustrating as missing even one small accent marked your answer as incorrect. We’d also appreciate it if the program pointed out where you went wrong.

AI Conversations

One of the other ways to test your knowledge on Fluenz is to participate in an AI conversation. This is a pretty cool feature that allows you to ‘have a conversation’ in your target language with, what is essentially, a robot. 

When you start the conversation, the program will record your voice until you select ‘stop recording’. Then it’ll say its part and so on until the dialogue is over. While the computer won't give you any personal feedback on your pronunciation, you can listen to the whole conversation yourself and compare it to the original dialogue to see if there’s any room for improvement. 

It’s pretty clear that Fluenz loves repetition and relies on it a lot in its courses. When a new word or phrase is introduced, you read it, hear it and write it as many times as possible in your current session and future lessons. If you get bored easily, this probably isn't the course for you.

Fluenz Dialogue

Most of the exercises available on Fluenz include a dialogue, which is played three times:

  • First, you’ll hear the dialogue with English subtitles.
  • Secondly, you’ll hear the dialogue with subtitles in your target language.
  • Thirdly, you’ll hear the dialogue without any subtitles.

After each dialogue, Fluenz gives you a list of key phrases and vocabulary to remember, which will also be stored in the flashcards. More on that now. 

Fluenz Flashcards

As well as the regular sessions, you also have access to a flashcard feature, which comes in handy if you struggle to remember vocabulary. You can select which vocabulary you would like to practice based on the sessions and lessons you’ve already completed, or you can select a “random” to shuffle all the vocab together. 

This isn’t anything super new – it’s a little like what you’d find on Memrise or Duolingo.

You can either use the “old school” method, which mimics flashcards you’d use in real life, or if you want to mix it up a bit, you can choose to incorporate writing exercises into your flashcards as well. 

Fluenz Community Forum 

The Fluenz Community Forum is a great place to meet other language learners that are also using the same course. You can ask questions, get support for the program, ask for guidance and advice, or look for supplementary resources to help you with your learning. A downside is that the forum isn’t used widely by the community, and engagement is pretty low. Hopefully, this is something that will improve in the future. 

Fluenz Blog

The Fluenz Blog is a good place to find some extra inspiration and motivation. All of the articles published are based on the languages they offer. Some recent articles include:

  • The Coolest Way to Learn a New Language
  • “Good Morning” in Spanish and other Useful Spanish Greetings and Phrases 

Unfortunately, at the moment, most of the articles are about Spanish, and they are published too infrequently to rely on completely. 

The Fluenz Podcast

Once you’ve completed each of the five levels for your target language, you’ll be prompted to listen to the Fluenz podcast that covers pronunciation and comprehension. 

We thought this was a really useful addition, as most courses forget how important pronunciation actually is when it comes to learning a language. Similar to the lessons, each podcast includes a scripted dialogue, which is then broken down into bite-size chunks and translated into English.

An added benefit of the podcast is that you can download it and listen to it offline – ideal if you enjoy learning on the go.

What Does Fluenz Look Like?

Fluenz founder, Sonia Gil, said: “our program recreates the experience of a personal tutoring session”. For a large part, this is very true. Fluenz tries, and more or less succeeds, at mimicking a classroom-style teaching experience on your computer screen. 

One of the benefits of Fluenz is the beautiful and culturally relevant photos they selected to appear on their platform. Most language learning apps offer a fairly bland and uninteresting interface, but that is not the case with Fluenz. If you're planning a trip to the country where your target language is spoken: whether it’s China, Brazil, Spain or Germany, you will feel like you're already there! 

Who is Fluenz Best For?

Fluenz was initially created for beginners struggling to find a course that covered their target language in-depth, and we'd certainly agree that it's better for those who are starting from scratch.

The platform offers a clear outline for students, with easy to follow activities and instructions. There’s a lot of focus on the important elements of language learning, such as speaking, listening, reading and writing.

However, the Fluenz style of learning isn't for everyone: it's slow-paced and quite serious.

Since Fluenz aims to mimic a tutoring experience, it takes as long to learn a language as it would with a language tutor by your side. There is less content included in each lesson, and it is repeated a lot more than average.

The team at Fluenz says: “We know that learning a language isn’t easy (…) we'll be honest about the real challenges and we'll work with you to get through them”.  

If you are looking to learn a language quickly: Fluenz probably isn’t for you. 

What Languages can you Learn on Fluenz?

Fluenz is available in seven languages, all of which are taught in English: 

  • Mandarin Chinese
  • French 
  • German
  • Italian 
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Latin American Spanish and, 
  • European Spanish. 

How Much Does Fluenz Cost?

Fluenz is expensive and really only for those who are happy spending big bucks to get a classroom-like experience. The price can range anywhere from $187 to $408, depending on how many levels of each language you want to purchase.

So, why do the prices fluctuate so much? This is because every language is broken down into levels. You can either purchase each level individually or purchase them all together for a lump sum. 

Below are the levels available and their corresponding prices: 

  • Level 1: $187 
  • Level 2: $187
  • Level 1+2: $258
  • Levels 1+2+3: $308 
  • Levels 3+4+5: $320
  • Levels 1+2+3+4+5: $408 

It's important to remember that Fluenz doesn’t offer subscriptions but only one-time payments. Once you purchase your level, it's yours for life! Additionally, when you buy Fluenz, you get access to their online platform and their mobile apps (available on both Apple and Android devices). 

What are the Pros and Cons of Fluenz?

Pros: 

  • Podcast offers a way to learn on the go.
  • Videos are engaging and very high quality. 
  • Clear and concise grammar explanations – great for beginners.
  • Good mix of language immersion and self-study instructions. 
  • The tutorials (video lessons) are very informative.

Cons:

  • Activities can feel repetitive and boring if you’re used to gamified learning.
  • Very expensive compared to other courses out there. 
  • Lots of explanations but a lack of grammar practice. 
  • Quite a slow pace – you won’t learn a language quickly using Fluenz.

Are there any Fluenz Alternatives?

Fluenz vs Rosetta Stone

Fluenz is similar to Rosetta Stone in that it offers a structured and classroom-esque approach to learning and is relatively expensive. However, there are some differences in the courses’ methodology. Rosetta Stone wants to teach its students through immersion, using as little English as possible, whereas Fluenz uses a combination of both to explain tricky concepts. We lean more towards Fluenz, mainly because its video lessons make learning much more accessible.

Fluenz vs Babbel

Babbel offers a more casual learning experience compared to Fluenz, offering high-quality courses in more than 14 languages. It may not be as comprehensive as Fluenz, but if you’re looking for less of a classroom experience and more of a gamified method, Babbel might be for you.

Discover more in our Babbel review.

Fluenz vs Duolingo

Fluenz and Duolingo don’t have a lot in common, aside from the fact that they both teach languages. So, which one would we recommend? Well, Duolingo is a free platform, that teaches through games and engaging graphics. It offers a fun and laid-back approach to learning compared to Fluenz and is great if you don’t want to spend too much money on learning a language. Fluenz tends to attract more serious learners due to their academic style of teaching and their high-end prices. 

Check out our Duolingo review for more information.

Fluenz vs Rocket Languages

Rocket Languages is a program designed for new students (with no experience in their target language) who want to become proficient in that language. Similar to Fluenz, it provides sessions focusing on audio lessons that include pronunciation practice and vocabulary exercises using flashcards. It sits somewhere between Duolingo and Rosetta Stone. It’s a lot cheaper, and it also appeals to a more casual student. Rocket Languages has short bite-size lessons, while Fluenz has lessons that can take up to two hours to complete. 

Take a look at what Rocket Languages has to offer.

Fluenz vs Pimsleur

Fluenz and Pimsleur both attract serious students hoping to improve their language skills, and they both share a similar reputation in the language learning community.  Both platforms are designed to introduce you to grammar, new concepts in your target language and practise your comprehension. So how are they different? Well, Pimsleur focuses on actively participating in language learning; they don’t want you to simply memorise content. Instead of passively participating in the games, you have to repeat and respond to the native speaker on the platform. 

Find out more in our Pimsleur review

A Round-Up of our Fluenz Review

Fluenz competes with the likes of Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur: platforms that have been around for a long time and appeal to serious learners willing to fork out for expensive courses. 

Despite its faults, the course is extremely well presented, and the interface runs smoothly; you can tell a lot of effort was put into the making of it. Additionally, the course provides a lot of resources and materials for studying with your tutor and self-study. 

However, we find it difficult to justify the higher-than-average price tag, especially as we don’t believe it is sufficient enough course to guide you to fluency alone. 

Kris Broholm

Kris is the founder of Actual Fluency, and has spent the last 8 years becoming an expert in language learning software, methods, and techniques.

Originally from Denmark, he now lives in Portugal and speaks 5+ languages at varying levels. His other interests are Wine, Online Marketing, and Travelling.