SpanishPod101 Review: Good content, annoying marketing!
Are you interested in learning Spanish?
Well, then SpanishPod101 might be just the thing for you. Produced by Innovative Languages it features over 1000 Spanish lessons at an affordable rate, that you can conveniently listen to via the app.
Learn Spanish Online with SpanishPod101
SpanishPod101 is a great way to learn Spanish while on the go, commute, or doing other activities where you'd like to put in some study time – but can't open a text book or arrange a call with a tutor.
It's produced by Innovative Languages and features 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 Spanish in a fun and effective way.
Welcome to my SpanishPod101 review – I hope you enjoy it.
SpanishPod101 Review Table of Contents
- The Audio Lessons
- The Lesson Player
- Video lessons
- Mobile Apps
- Prices and Memberships
- Final Verdict
The SpanishPod101 Main Lessons
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 Spanish 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 Spanish.
The Online Audio Lesson Player
Here you can listen to the full track, just the Spanish 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, and access the materials in a variety of ways.
The lesson extras:
- Lesson Notes – including bonus examples and explanations not in the lesson itself.
How many lessons do you get access to?
At the time of writing this review SpanishPod101 has over 1240 audio and video lessons.
That's going to take a while to get through!
On top of the ton of audio lessons, you also get access to a library of video lessons. These aren't an essential part of the method, but provide extra opportunities to sink your teeth well and firmly into Spanish.
SpanishPod101 has a lot of tools and resources to help you learn.
One of my favourite resources are the flashcards they offer. I used to use Memrise, but the SpanishPod flashcards are amazing. Here's why.
- 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 SpanishPod101 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.
Here's what it looks like:
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.
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. I preferred simply downloading the lessons to my phone and then listening to them.
Innovative Languages also have a free flashcard app called “Word Power” for a few languages including Spanish, but to me this felt a bit clunky and I couldn't really get into using it – strongly preferring to learn Spanish online with the web-based version where I could see the example sentences and stream the audio effortlessly.
Memberships and Prices
SpanishPod101 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 SpanishPod101. If you are super motivated and have the money this is a luxury option.
My recommendation is:
- Premium: Starting at $18.75 per month (with the ‘ACTUALFLUENCY' coupon)
You can save a lot by investing up-front, but this is totally up to you. Here's a look at how cheap it can get:
SpanishPod101 Coupon Code
Use coupon code: ACTUALFLUENCY for 25% off!
SpanishPod101 Review Verdict
SpanishPod101 is a great way to learn Spanish online. I've been using the service for a while now and I love the fact that I can learn Spanish 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.
- Value for money: Over 500 lessons to help you learn Spanish online fast
- Great lesson structure with just enough grammar explanations
- Portable and DRM-free: Download all lessons to any mobile device
- Continually updated
- They switch the hosts several times during the 125 main lessons and some of them are better than others.
- Lesson difficulty is not always a gentle increase
- The main lessons spend a lot of time explaining and teaching instead of actually exposing you to the target language. This is good and bad, but make sure you don't get SpanishPod101 just for the immersion.