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Learning with Babbel develops Spanish speaking, vocabulary and grammar skills

  • New findings show that less than 10 hours learning with Babbel leads to measurable improvement in second language conversational ability

Babbel, the world’s top-grossing language learning app, today released results of an academic study, “Learning Spanish with Babbel”1 conducted in collaboration with a research team at Michigan State University (MSU). The study evaluated the effectiveness of Babbel’s pedagogical method, providing empirical evidence that learning with Babbel leads to improved speaking ability in a second language.

After learning Spanish with Babbel over approximately 12 weeks, nearly all participants who completed the study made statistically significant gains in oral proficiency, grammar knowledge, and / or vocabulary knowledge. Furthermore, both true novices and more experienced Spanish learners made gains via using the app.

“On the whole, learners in this study increased their oral proficiency, as measured by an improvement on a well-established and valid speaking test, the Oral Proficiency Interview,” commented Dr. Shawn Loewen, the study’s lead investigator and Professor of Second Language Studies at Michigan State University. “These results establish that using Babbel can facilitate the development of oral communication skills, and not just grammar and vocabulary acquisition, as a previous study had demonstrated. Despite the fact that millions globally are already using language learning apps, there is a lack of published research on their impact on speaking skills. This robust and methodologically rigorous study therefore makes an important contribution to the field.”

The study could provide a model for how language learning apps can work with applied linguists and second language acquisition experts to establish the efficacy of their pedagogical methods.The approximately 12-week study consisted of 85 MSU undergraduate students, 54 of whom completed all study procedures. Participants studied Spanish on Babbel as often as they liked and had free choice of which Babbel Spanish lessons and courses to access. Overall, 59% of study participants measurably improved their oral proficiency. 97% of study participants who logged a minimum of 10 hours with Babbel saw better test scores on grammar and vocabulary tests and 73% became better speakers.

“Babbel’s mission is to get learners speaking their new language right away, and empirical studies like this provide transparency regarding our app’s efficacy in doing exactly that,” said Babbel CEO U.S. Julie Hansen. “Particularly telling are the meaningful development in functional communication skills - the ability to express something complex that learners weren’t able to before. We now have further proof that Babbel’s method allows for true, conversational connection without a huge level of time invested.”

For a in-depth overview of how study participants’ speaking ability and grammar and vocabulary skills improved after using the app, please see the white paper Learning Spanish with Babbel: Oral Proficiency Outcomes in App-Based Foreign Language Learning.


1 Loewen, S., Isbell, D. & Sporn, Z. (2018). Learning Spanish with Babbel: Oral Proficiency Outcomes in App-Based Foreign Language Learning


About Babbel

Babbel – the app that helps you speak a new language like you’ve always wanted to. When learning a language, nothing is more rewarding than a real conversation. 73% of surveyed customers feel that they’d be able to hold a conversation within five hours of using the app.

The Babbel language learning app for web, iOS and Android makes it easy to learn 14 different languages from 7 display languages. Bite-sized lessons fit into everyday life and are split into useful real-world topics, from introducing oneself, to ordering food and making travel arrangements. The app’s effective game mechanics ensure that learners stay motivated to achieve their goals, with the average user continuing to learn with Babbel for more than 12 months. Uniquely, every course is created specifically for each language pair by a team of education experts, linguists and language teachers. Fast Company Magazine recognised Babbel as the most innovative education company of 2016.

Babbel was founded in 2007 by Markus Witte (Chief Executive Officer) and Thomas Holl (Chief Technology Officer). Since then, the team has grown to over 700 people from more than 50 nations, spread between Berlin and New York. With no ads, and a transparent, subscription-based business model, the company’s focus remains firmly on getting learners conversational fast.The company recently surpassed 1,000,000 active paying subscribers.

For more information, visit www.Babbel.com