Blended learning that works well but comes at a cost
Chatterbug is a language learning platform and app. It uses a blended approach to learning that offers live classes with teachers and self-study material included in the same platform. Chatterbug found the perfect balance between live lessons and self study, something most other language apps mess up. The lessons are part of the learning course, not just an additional feature that you pay for. All in all, it’s a really help way to learn a language, but it’s not the cheapest.
- Integrated learning approach (lessons and self-study)
- Many types of practice activities
- Native teachers
- Not much content for advanced levels
- Few languages offered
Languages Available on Chatterbug:
Spanish, French, German, English
Table of Contents
Chatterbug is an online language learning platform and app from Berlin, Germany. It features 1-on-1 classes with native teachers as well as material for you to practice independently. It’s an interesting concept because your lessons coincide with your practice material. You can even choose if you want your teacher to correct the writing practices that you complete. Although it’s possible to access the study material without taking classes, Chatterbug emphasizes the importance of live classes for effective learning.
This app is helpful for all levels, but especially for beginners and intermediate learners. Beginners benefit from learning with a teacher and hearing a native speaker from the beginning. They also get the benefit of having practice outside of class so they can advance quickly. The live lessons are helpful for advanced learners, but the study materials aren’t very developed or effective for this level.
Chatterbug offers different plans depending on how many live lessons you want to take each month. Each plan includes access to all independent study practices. The Lite plan offers 1 live lesson every month for $23.00 per month. The Casual plan lets you take 4 live lessons every month for $85.00 per month. The Serious plan lets you take 8 live lessons every month for $160.00 per month, and the Ultimate plan lets you take 31 live lessons for $450.00 per month.
The prices seem expensive, but they’re similar to other platforms that connect you with a teacher, such as italki, Preply, or Verbling. Chatterbug’s price is also worthwhile because it integrates the independent study material with the classes. You can take the lesson with your teacher and practice independently on the same platform. If you want to talk to native speakers without paying the premium price, you can use a free app like HelloTalk or Tandem to find a language exchange partner.
Chatterbug Free Trial
Chatterbug offers a 14-day free trial that gives you access all features of the platform and app. The trial includes one free live lesson so you can see if you like the class style. To take the free class, you have to enter your credit card information. If you show up to the class, you will not be charged. If you miss the class, they will charge you $10.
Chatterbug does not offer any discounts, but they do have a referral program. Once you sign up, you are given a referral code that you can share on social media. If a friend signs up using your code, you receive a $12 credit that you can use to pay for your lessons.
Chatterbug Review: How It Can (or Can’t) Help You
It’s easy to set up your Chatterbug account and get started. You enter some basic information and confirm your email. You only have to enter your credit card if you take a lesson. Once your account is set up, you can choose where you want to start or take a quick placement test. I took the test for French and was placed accurately, in my opinion. If you don’t think the level is right for you, it’s easy to change.
The features that Chatterbug offers outside of the lessons are useful for language learners. It doesn’t have the flashy “bells and whistles” like some other apps, but I liked that. A lot of language apps have features that waste your valuable study time, while Chatterbug genuinely helps you improve.
To show you how it works, let’s take a look at some of the main challenges language learners face, and if Chatterbug can help you overcome them. Or if you’re ready to get started, go ahead and try it for free below!
Challenge 1: Beginning a New Language
Chatterbug is excellent for beginners! It mixes classes with self-study, so you get the best of both worlds. If you are a complete beginner, you can practice by yourself until you feel comfortable enough to take your first lesson. I always get nervous before a lesson with a new teacher, so it was helpful for me to review what we will cover in the lesson beforehand. This also gave more time to practice speaking with the teacher.
Challenge 2: Learning & Remembering New Words
The vocabulary practices were probably my least favorite practice exercise. For each lesson, you work through a set of flashcards that include words or phrases. I learned some new words but didn’t find this method to be particularly engaging. I prefer learning new words by doing other kinds of practice activities. I’d suggest using an app like Drops or Memrise to learn vocabulary words more quickly.
Challenge 3: Understanding & Speaking to Native Speakers
The live lessons are an excellent way to practice listening and speaking to native speakers. All the teachers are native speakers of the language that they teach. There is also a chatbox feature in the lessons if you get stuck and need some help understanding a new word. Overall, Chatterbug will help you feel more comfortable conversing in your new language.
Challenge 4: Making Language Learning a Routine
Chatterbug gives subtle encouragement to keep practicing without being as forceful about it as other apps. Chatterbug recommends you study a minimum of 70 minutes a week and shows you how much time you’ve spent. There’s an Achievements page to check your progress and see how much you’ve learned. In the pic below you can see I’m 62% of the way to completing A1, so I better keep practicing!
Chatterbug currently offers 4 languages: Spanish, French, German, and English. All these languages are on a list of The 12 Most Important Languages to Learn for Success. They’re also some of the most common European languages. Because you are paying per class, you can take classes in as many different languages as you want. With your class subscription, you also get access to all of the independent study material for every language.
Each language has about the same number of lessons, but each language is structured differently. This is good because it’s not just a cookie-cutter format that tries to work for all languages. This is similar to how Babbel structures its courses.
Chatterbug Spanish Review
The Spanish course is pretty extensive and covers the most important skills needed to learn this language. You learn a neutral Spanish that mixes both Castilian Spanish and Latin American Spanish, although the words and grammar are more Castilian. All the voices used in the course have a neutral accent that is easy to understand.
Chatterbug is an excellent way to learn Spanish, but there are also some other Spanish apps you can check out if it’s not your style.
Chatterbug French Review
The French course follows a similar structure as the Spanish course but it focuses on important topics related to French, like the indefinite pronouns. There was a lot of availability for teachers too, which was convenient. I could take a class the same day or at any time I wanted the next day so you don’t have to book your class that far in advance.
There are a few French learning apps out there that offer more extensive lessons, but Chatterbug is still an excellent choice.
Chatterbug German Review
Since Chatterbug is a German company, their German language course is very developed. German also has the most Chatterbug Streams available. Because German pronunciation is difficult, a lot of the Streams focus on this aspect. All in all, if you’re a German learner, Chatterbug is one of the best apps available. There are other apps to learn German that can fill in some of its holes though, like vocabulary.
Chatterbug Review: Overall Learning Experience
I enjoyed using Chatterbug. The blended approach they use is what I prefer when learning a language. I think there is no substitute for live classes, but I can get much more out of the classes by practicing and reviewing independently. And since live lessons are expensive, studying on your own time also helps to save money.
I also like that Chatterbug tries to cover all skills that are essential for learning a language. In class, the focus is on speaking and listening. But on your own, you can practice other skills such as grammar, vocabulary, reading, and even writing. Very few other apps integrate writing practice. And with the new Chatterbug Streams, you can also practice for free with videos.
Chatterbug Review: Areas of Improvement
Chatterbug is a top-notch option for learning a language. As with any app or platform, there are some areas can be improved. The biggest one is the lack of content and structure for advanced learners. This is a frequent problem in many language apps because there just aren’t as many advanced learners as beginners. For more advanced practice, you can try apps like Clozemaster, but even that has its limitations.
The advanced level focuses on topics instead of following a set course structure like in the other levels. It seems like they just threw in some reading excerpts and found some videos. There is not much to actually “practice” so you have to rely more heavily on your teacher for additional practice material. I think the more advanced levels of apps like Pimsleur are a little better. You can also check out immersion apps like LingQ and MosaLingua.
Chatterbug Review: Alternatives & Competitors
If Chatterbug doesn’t seem like the right choice for you, there are tons of alternatives out there. If you like the idea of taking classes with a native teacher, you can look at Preply, italki, and Lingoda. Baselang is another good alternative but only offers Spanish classes. If you like the idea of incorporating classes and self-study on the same platform, Babbel and Rosetta Stone now offer live classes. If you aren’t ready to take classes yet or the idea doesn’t interest you, you can use an app like Pimsleur or Rocket Languages to learn on your own.
Chatterbug vs Lingoda
Chatterbug and Lingoda offer the same 4 languages: English, French, German, and Spanish. Lingoda is another platform that connects you with a native speaker. The biggest difference is the incorporation of additional learning materials on Chatterbug. Lingoda’s price per class is significantly lower than Chatterbug’s too.
If you are starting a language, I recommend Chatterbug so you´ll have all the material you need in one place, but if you know how to learn a language, the cheaper price of Lingoda might be a better option. If you want to learn more about Lingoda, you can read this review.
Chatterbug vs Baselang
Baselang lets you take language classes on your schedule with a native teacher. However, Baselang only offers Spanish right now. Baselang sets a monthly price and you can take as many Spanish classes as you want. If you only want to take a few classes a month, Chatterbug will be cheaper, but if you plan to take a lot of classes, then it will definitely be Baselang.
If you are learning Spanish, I recommend Baselang because it’s their only language and they have a very well-developed curriculum. To see if Baselang is right for you, you can read about it in this Baselang review.
Chatterbug vs italki
italki is another good option if you want to take classes with a native teacher. The platform lets you choose your teacher by looking at teacher profiles, while Chatterbug assigns you a teacher based on your availability. italki lets teachers set their prices so there is a wide range of prices available. In general, the hourly rate is similar to Chatterbug, but there are some teachers on italki, especially new ones, that have lower rates. I would choose Chatterbug over italki because the class rate also includes access to their additional study materials. To compare the two more in-depth, check out this italki review.
Chatterbug vs Pimsleur
Pimsleur is a language learning app that you can do independently. You listen to a lesson and then practice with different activities. A large focus of Pimsleur is on pronunciation. Because you are using an app and not speaking with a person, it’s cheaper per month. Pimsleur is a good choice if you don’t want to take in-person classes, or only have a few minutes per day to dedicate to language learning. You can learn more about it in this Pimsleur review.
Frequently Asked Questions
Chatterbug offers Chatterbug Streams on its mobile app for free. To access all other content, including live lessons and study materials, you need to subscribe to a plan.
Currently, Chatterbug offers 4 languages: German, French, Spanish, and English. It’s unclear if the team is working to add more languages.
To use Chatterbug you create an account through their website. After you pick a plan, you can attend live lessons, complete practice exercises, or watch Chatterbug Streams help you learn a language.
Chatterbug is a language learning platform and mobile app. It connects you with native teachers for 1-on-1 classes. There are additional features such as practice activities and Chatterbug Streams.
About This Chatterbug Review
This is an independent Chatterbug review, and the company has not sponsored this article. To write this review, I used the 14-day free trial and used it for a few hours to thoroughly test its content and features. I also found additional information on the Chatterbug website to verify my findings.