Turkish in a week? Romanian in an hour? We’ve made some pretty crazy claims when it comes to language learning. In our Turkish, French and Romanian Challenges, Babbel’s resident language experts battled it out to see who could make the greatest language gains in insanely short amounts of time. And while the results were certainly impressive, these lightning-quick learners were language aficionados, speakers of 3, 4, 5, or 9(!) languages and experts who’ve made it their lifelong goal to master as many languages as possible.
So where does that leave the rest of us? How much progress can I, the average learner, really make in his first weeks of study? As it turns out, quite a bit.
Back in November, we did a study that found (surprise) that Babbel ranks as one of the most efficient ways to learn a language. The independent study was conducted by researchers at the City University of New York (CUNY) and the University of South Carolina, and evaluated the overall efficacy of Babbel Spanish courses, examining the progress of 391 randomly selected learners and assessing participants’ knowledge of Spanish at the beginning and the end of the study.
So what did they find out? Turns out, novice users with no knowledge of Spanish only need about 15 hours of study over a two-month period with Babbel to cover the requirements of one beginner’s college semester of Spanish! Not bad, huh? (Actually, that’s really good.)
To put these findings to the test ourselves, we asked 15 of our hardest working Babbelonians to learn Spanish with Babbel for three weeks. None were expert learners, and few had very much free time to dedicate to language learning.
Though results were a bit varied, the consensus is in: three weeks with Babbel is ample time to start speaking a new language. Here, we take a look at some of the key findings from the study, and see if the experiences of our language learners reflect the results.
STUDY FINDING #1: “Truly novice users with no knowledge of Spanish need on average 15 hours of study in a two-month period to cover the requirements for one college semester of Spanish.”
WHAT OUR CHALLENGERS SAY: Our participants were definitely novices, and while we didn’t exactly cross-check results with a college Spanish syllabus, it’s pretty clear that they made big gains in a very short amount of time. Plus, they expanded their vocabularies beyond “Quiero burrito.” Muy bien.
STUDY FINDING #2: “The average study time for the final study sample was about 19 hours, or a little over two hours a week.”
WHAT OUR CHALLENGERS SAY: Actually, yes: Our challenge participants spent an average of 2-3 hours per week learning Spanish (not bad for a group holding down full-time jobs). And, as you can see from the videos, these few hours per week were more than enough to really start speaking the language.
STUDY FINDING #3: “The Babbel app works similarly well for people with different gender, age, native language, education, employment status, etc.”
WHAT OUR CHALLENGERS SAY: We got this one in the bag. Challenge participants, who all made pretty similar gains during the challenge, were men and women, speakers of different native languages and had different (though only slightly) levels of education. The thing they have in common (aside from a shared love for Tapatío)? Why, Babbel of course!
Learning a language is about speaking a language, and with the help of Babbel, our novice challenge participants were able to start having conversations in just three weeks time, proving that Babbel is, indeed, the shortest path to a real-life conversation. Period.