Fact-Check & Editorial Responsibility: Kris Broholm
Lingoda connects language learners to native speakers in small group classes or one-on-one sessions following its syllabus.
So, is it worth it?
In this Lingoda review, we’ll dive into the course, its features, and our impressions. You’ll learn how much it costs, what to expect from the lessons, and how it compares to some other major language platforms.
Lingoda is an excellent platform for learning four of the most popular European languages; Spanish, German, French and English. With the help of a native-speaker, regular online lessons with no more than five students, and a handy 30 page PDF, Lingoda is ideal for learners of any level.
The platform may come with a high price tag, but we think it's worth it. Plus, there's an opportunity to get all of your lessons absolutely free with Lingoda's popular Language Sprints.
TL;DR Lingoda Review
Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the ups and downs of Lingoda:
- Excellent quality, native-speaking teachers.
- Useful, engaging curriculum.
- Small group classes provide a crucial social element.
- Language Sprint™ options offer incredible value if you commit!
- Popular lesson times need to be booked way in advance.
- If you miss a lesson, you missed it–no do-overs.
- Live tutors come at a cost; Lingoda is pricey.
- Sometimes you’re at the mercy of slow/underprepared classmates.
What is Lingoda?
Lingoda is an online language learning ecosystem that pairs learners of French, German, Spanish, English, and Business English with native-speaking teachers for Zoom group classes that follow a pre-determined syllabus.
It focuses on developing reading, speaking, and listening skills with its students and the added social interaction makes for a nice bonus. Lingoda operates through a website that opens your classes in Zoom, so it’s possible to use it on a mobile device, though a computer worked much better.
So, what’s it like? Let’s dive into this Lingoda review!
What can you do on Lingoda?
You’ll spend most of your time on Lingoda in small group classes. Anywhere from 1-5 students meet for an hour with a native-speaking teacher who guides you through the syllabus material.
In my classes, the instructors spoke primarily in the target language while sometimes using English or another language to clarify a point. This impressed me and helped get me into the flow very quickly.
I also loved having other language learners in the Zoom call. Not only did it make me feel better about my language skills (we were at very similar levels), it helped me to learn how to answer questions better by studying what they said. Your brain takes in what your peers do and translates it into learning for yourself.
That social learning aspect is easy to understate but crucial: Learning from peers is, in many ways, what humans do best.
One caveat: sometimes, if a fellow student winds up at the wrong level or has not prepared, it slows down the class and makes for a frustrating lesson. This happened pretty rarely in my experience.
A Note on Scheduling
While the group classes are genuinely excellent, scheduling them can cause a decent amount of frustration.
Many of the most popular times to learn (eg. 6-8 pm) book up first, meaning you’ll need to get on these classes far in advance or settle for less popular learning times late in the evening or early in the morning.
Also, the higher your CEFR level at any given time, the fewer fellow students you’ll have and, as a result, fewer classes offered. You may struggle to find B2-C2 classes more than you would in A1-B1.
Lingoda also offers One-on-One tutoring with some of their instructors. You’ll still cover the lesson topics, but this time with just you in the class.
If you know from previous lessons that this is how you learn best, by all means, go this route.
While class sizes can be as many as 5, while researching the platform for this Lingoda review, I never found myself in a lessson with more than three people. Occasionally you’ll even get a discounted private lesson if others don't show up!
Lingoda offers structured learning content for each lesson; basically, a PDF of material you’ll go through with your instructor.
Coming from other tutoring programs that are more freeform, I liked the idea of having a syllabus and knowing what I’d be studying each day.
In terms of content, there’s not much new under the sun. You’ve got vocabulary, reading passages, and comprehension questions.
You’ll get a ton more out of your lessons if you take the 15 minutes beforehand to scan through the text, looking up any words you’re not familiar with and preparing a few topics you might cover in the questions. This pre-work makes your in-class time count.
I found that we didn’t end up getting through the entire 30+ page documents in most classes. That’s okay, they exist to guide lessons, not replace them, and it’s better to go a little too long than for you to run out of material with your instructor.
What Other Features does Lingoda Have?
Lingoda has become somewhat famous for its language sprint courses.
What are they?
If you commit to taking at least one class every two days for three months, Lingoda will refund 50% of your tuition to you.
If you take one class each (and every!) day for their ‘Super Sprint?’
I found this quite brilliant on Lingoda’s Part: many learners won’t quite make it to the end and will end up paying (for excellent instruction!), and those who do make it will almost certainly become evangelists for Lingoda and the benefits of their method. Pretty smart.
If you’re the kind of person who can commit to doing something every day and scheduling classes out weeks ahead of time, this could be an incredible opportunity for you to learn at a deeply discounted price. Like, free.
If your schedule changes often or you have inflexible time slots, this might not be the best option.
Again, they offer ~90 hours of language instruction from native speakers for free if you complete the whole thing, so I'd strongly consider getting on the waitlist if you’re up to the challenge!
Somewhat like Busuu (you can read my review here), you're offered the chance to get a language certificate once you attain a certain CEFR level in the course.
This may benefit you if you need proof of languages for work, or if you find earning certificates a great motivational tactic.
Course Placement Test
A nice and necessary feature that I found during this Lingoda review, is the handy placement test. This helps to estimate where you fall in their curriculum. I tested into B1 German and felt that it was a quite accurate reflection of my current skills in the language.
While it is theoretically possible to follow a single instructor and only take their courses, I’d encourage you to branch out and sample the many accents and styles Lingoda teachers have to offer! This is truly a strength of the site, in my opinion. All of the instructors I came across were incredibly helpful, professional, and fun to work with.
What Does Lingoda Look Like?
Once registered, you’ll spend most of your time either scheduling or taking lessons.
The lessons themselves are essentially a Zoom conference call with your instructor, where they’ll share their screen and go through the PDF with the class, annotating and making marks for emphasis as you go.
To be perfectly honest I got so carried away by the lessons I forgot to get a screenshot! It's a high quality Zoom call, something most of us can probably envision.
Scheduling is decently intuitive, and the one-click booking feature (not pictured) is a nice touch.
The learning material consists of essentially what you’d expect: a PDF with exercises for the class.
Who is Lingoda Best For?
Lingoda works well for students across the language spectrum. Still, I think intermediate and advanced is where it comes into its own.
The depth of material you can cover goes beyond simple “Hello, my name is” conversations. You’ll start picking up the subtleties of inflexion and word choice that are harder to learn when you’re just getting a grip on vocabulary and grammar basics.
Lingoda is also excellent for anyone who wants to learn quickly and deeply, especially if you can take advantage of its Language Sprints, as noted above. Because you are spending an hour a day with a native speaker, your progress towards fluency will accelerate rapidly.
Lastly, Lingoda is perfect if you have some cash to invest in your language learning. It’s a premium product, so you’re going to pay a reasonable price for it. If you’d rather engage more casually with language learning, check out apps like Duolingo that get you off the ground at no cost.
What Languages Can You Learn on Lingoda?
Lingoda currently focuses on the following languages:
- Business English
How Much does Lingoda Cost?
Free Plan – Actually a Money-Back Guarantee
Instead of offering any part of their courses for free, you have the option to try a 7-day money-back guarantee period. You can take three classes in your first seven days and if you’re not convinced, they’ll refund your fee.
You can try out the platform this way; just be sure you to a reminder in your diary to cancel before the seven days close–they’re quite strict about this, for understandable reasons.
Lingoda’s premium plans generally sell monthly packages of lessons, with discounts scaling up as you purchase more. The prices do depend on the language you choose, so check out the site to see the rate for your target language.
For example, here are the prices for their German lessons:
For a more in-depth look at how these sprints work, see my section above.
The pricing is pretty comparable to their standard packages; they’re not up charging you for the sprint much, if at all. You’ll pay for each of the three months, though, so be sure you’re willing to commit!
What are the Pros and Cons of Lingoda?
- Great instruction from native speakers from varied backgrounds.
- Syllabus is useful for everyday life.
- Small groups work great most of the time.
- Incredible value in Language Sprint™ option!
- Lessons can be difficult to book.
- You need to show up for your lessons; rebooking is messy.
- It’s a premium product charging a premium price.
- Classmates of a low level might slow the class down.
Are there any Lingoda Alternatives?
There are many programs that provide lessons with native speakers, and we can’t compare them all here. Let’s check out Lingoda vs perhaps the most well-known tutoring service, iTalki.
Lingoda vs iTalki
The biggest difference here: the syllabus and the group size.
On iTalki you'll work one-on-one with your tutor whereas on Lingoda you'll work primarily in small groups. One-on-one instruction is great, but I really felt like I got a lot out of the small group format, and it helps keep the cost more affordable.
Lingoda's syllabus worked well for me. On iTalki you'd work with a professional tutor to create a syllabus of learning material tailored to you, but likely at a higher cost. If you have the coin to spend on that, iTalki is probably better, but I think most people will be quite pleased with what Lingoda has to offer in their syllabi.
We spent some time on iTalki, and reviewed the service here.
A Round-Up of Our Lingoda Review
On the whole, Lingoda provides excellent language instruction at reasonable rates, and the small group format worked for me. I believe language learners of any level can gain a lot from Lingoda's offering, but intermediate and advanced learners will probably see the biggest benefit.
If you like structured content taught by live, native speakers, this just might be the service for you! What's more, if you can commit the time, their Language Sprints are an incredible deal, and highly recommended.
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.