In this ItalianPod101 review I take a look at how the Pod101 resource helps Italian learners reach fluency quickly. The lessons are primarily audio, and can be taken with you anywhere.
Italian is a fantastic language spoken mostly in Italy, and also a fan favourite of the polyglot community. With the rich history and culture, learning Italian is an amazing return on investment.
ItalianPod101: Italian Lessons Online
ItalianPod101 is a great resource to learn Italian online. In this review I'll take a closer look at it.
It’s produced by Innovative Languages who also produce 33 other languages, including German, and offers high quality audio and video lessons, plus a lot of bonus features that I will cover later in this review.
At the core of the Pod101 programme we find the lessons. Audio and video lessons tailored to help you learn Italian in a fun and effective way.
Welcome to my ItalianPod101 review – I hope you find it useful to determine if the service will suit your learning style.
ItalianPod101 Review: Table of Contents
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The main lessons are available in audio format and feature a native speaker and a non-native speaker. The lessons are short and to the point (about 10-12 minutes) and usually follow this pattern:
- Dialogue at normal speed
- Dialogue slowed down
- Dialogue with English translations
- Vocabulary discussion
- Grammar discussion
- Cultural pointers
They have a good balance and by listening to them you get a greater understanding of not only the language, but also the culture behind Italian.
The Online Lesson Player
(Note: You can download all the lessons to listen on your computer or device as well.)
This is what the online audio lesson player looks like. Here you can listen to the full track, just the Italian audio or even review it with the review track. This track helps you practice your own pronunciation or listening skills.
You can also download lesson extras in the form of PDFs.
The really cool part is that they offer dialogues for both informal and formal speech, so you can learn how to speak to your boss and your friend at the same time.
The lesson extras:
- Lesson Notes – including bonus examples and explanations not in the lesson itself.
Grand Total: +575 audio lessons included in your pod101 membership
Just like the German version you get the 575+ audio lessons AND you also get access to 200+ video lessons. These are very short videos that enhance your skills by having you practice answering questions, listening to sentences and more.
This means that you get access to over 890 lessons to learn Italian online when you become a member. I won't spend too much time in this Italianpod101 review to discuss the videos, as I consider them mostly bonuses.
Your membership also comes with a lot of tools and resources to help you learn.
One of my favourite resources are the flashcards they offer.
I' a regular user of Memrise, but the ItalianPod101 flashcards are amazing. Here's why.
- They're based on spaced repetition theory, which just works.
- They are the same vocabulary you hear in the main lessons, so you get to hear them being used in practice and you get more exposure to them.
- The main word bank features 2000 words with pronunciation and example sentences for all entries. If you know 2000 words you're quite fluent in a language, usually. Once you've mastered the 2000 words on ItalianPod101 you can “graduate” to getting your vocabulary from native material such as books, newspapers and television.
- The interface works fine. It's not as good as Memrise, but I can live with it.
Innovative Languages focuses a lot on portability, so if you’re the type to learn languages on your commute, while doing chores or basically anytime you’re not in front of the computer you have a few options on how to best make that happen.
- You can download ALL episodes in DRM-free mp3 format and simply transfer them to your mobile device.
- You can download the Innovative Languages app from the app store and stream any lesson.
This is what a lesson looks like in the app.
The app is quite convenient and allows a truly mobile experience of the lessons.
This is perfect if you have good connectivity and would like to be hands-on with the learning.
By using the app you have access to all the features on the go which is FAR superior to just downloading the audio files as I was doing for a while.
Innovative Languages also have a free flashcard app called “Word Power” for a few languages including Italian, but to me this felt a bit clunky and I couldn’t really get into using it – strongly preferring to learn Italian online with the web-based version, where I could see the example sentences and stream the audio effortlessly.
What does it cost?
ItalianPod101 offers 3 levels of paid membership. Note you can still get a lot of their superficial lessons and word of the day for free.
- Basic: Grants you access to all the lessons for a few bucks per month. You get no access to full transcripts and the many tools they have, but in terms of value for money this is incredible.
- Premium: Gets you access to all the lessons, including everything from comprehensible transcripts to a vast array of tools you can use to make your learning more fun. The recommended level.
- Premium+ is like Premium, but you also get access to a teacher from ItalianPod101. If you are super motivated and have the money this is a luxury option.
My recommendation is:
You can save by investing in more months upfront, check this out:
Extra discount:A 25% off all plans coupon code is automatically applied when you use any link on this page.
ItalianPod101 Review Conclusion
ItalianPod101 is a great way to learn Italian online. I've been using the Hungarian and Russian version for a while now and I love the fact that I can learn languages while I do the dishes, walk to the shops or even while working out in the gym.
The lessons are well-structured, not too long and contain the grammar you actually need without boring you to death. They also teach you about cultural norms, including when to use the formal language and what the social norms are such as etiquette, tipping and just about anything else.
The hosts also do a bit of banter, albeit sometimes very scripted, to loosen up the mood.
What I like
- Value for money: Over 850+ lessons included in the membership
- Great lesson structure with just enough grammar explanations
- Portable and DRM-free: Download all the lessons
- Great extra features like the word bank, flashcards, and study tools
- Detailed lesson notes (PDFs, cultural notes, additional grammar information)
- Teaches Italian culture as well as the language
- Continually updated
What I don't like
- Aggressive email marketing even to existing customers
- Bonus lessons are very short
- The lessons use a lot of English to explain concepts (not an immersion resource.)
Highly recommended. Thanks for reading all the way to the end of this ItalianPod101 Review.
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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.