Mondly is a language learning app that has a lot of buzz surrounding it, especially after winning a few awards when it burst onto the scene a few years ago.
It’s based around a combination of daily lessons focused on games and translations into your language, a chatbot and unique augmented reality features. There’s even a virtual reality app!
But is it worth the hype? Let’s dive into Mondly’s main features and then take a look at what the program does well—as well as what needs improvement.
The Key Principles of Mondly
Like many other language apps that you can carry in your pocket, Mondly places an emphasis on short but frequent lessons. It prepares a “daily lesson” for you, with sentences and new vocabulary that you can learn in your target language. Everything you learn is then recapped at the end of the class, and you can go back and review it at a later point. Alvin Parker wrote Mondly review, What’s more, you get daily reminders as notifications. You can set these to appear at a time convenient to you. So, if you prefer to learn first thing in the morning, you can ask the app to remind you at 7 a.m.; on the other hand, if you want to do some studying on your lunch break at work, set it to 1 p.m.
As you continue your language learning journey, Mondly keeps you informed of how well you’ve been maintaining your daily study regimen.
Translation into your L1
Unlike methods of learning which focus purely on the target language, Mondly encourages you to learn to translate between your mother tongue or a language you already speak well and the language you want to learn.
This is done through a mixture of typing, speaking and choosing words from a list. You can also hear the words spoken in your target language so that you start to associate the written word with the spoken one.
In practice, this means that it’s a little bit easier to get into learning than it otherwise would be. Mondly prides itself on having a large number of options for the base language, and you’ll find yourself processing the information well, especially at the early stages
Variety of learning methods
We all know that learning a new language can feel like a bit of a slog at times. That’s why mixing it up is important!
Mondly’s model combines daily lessons tailored for you with a “pathway” through the various topics and levels involved in learning a new language. This is combined with innovative features such as the augmented reality lessons and a chatbot.
I’ll go into more detail about each of these below, but the beauty of Mondly is in their combination. You’re never using the exact same method all the time, so you won’t get bored!
The way Mondly gets you to keep up your language practice is by providing you with daily lessons. Each day, you’ll get a notification reminding you that your lesson is available.
Through “game-like” exercises, you’re introduced to new vocabulary and relevant phrases for a given topic. For instance, you might have a daily lesson about travel, in which case you’ll learn the words for “airport,” “passport” and a way of saying “I’m here on business.” At the end of the lesson, you’re reminded of the new words and phrases you learned in that session.
For those who have used an app like Duolingo, these daily lessons look very familiar. In fact, the format and style of the lessons are almost exactly the same. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it’s a format that works. But what makes Mondly more unique? That’s where the other features come in.
Weekly quizzes and monthly challenges
After going through a week’s worth of daily lessons, you can take the quiz to review what you learned. Once you complete all the weekly quizzes for the month, you’ll have access to the monthly challenge.
Unlocking quizzes and challenges this way encourages learners to keep up with their daily lessons. This, together with the leaderboard, is all part of that gamified format. I have to admit, I did enjoy that feeling of unlocking a certain number of levels to get to the “boss” stages, and it allowed me to see my progress like I would in a video game.
Oxford language tests
If you need to learn English and are planning to take a proficiency test, Mondly has a new Oxford English course you might be interested in.
In 2020, Oxford University Press partnered up with Mondly to create a new English module on the app. This new language course is based on guidelines from the Common European Framework of Reference for Language, or CEFR, and it also includes practice tests for A2, B1 and B2 levels.
Based on the Oxford 3000 (the 3000 most important and useful words in English) and the Oxford Practice Grammar Tests, this course has been customized for Mondly users, meaning the questions have been modified to be relevant to the topics already offered on the app. Plus, the tests are available in all 33 languages.
The module contains over 3500 questions and 108 English language progress assessments for each available language. Overall, this module is definitely useful as test prep, no matter what your mother tongue is.
The language learning chatbot is designed to emulate a conversation, giving you a chance to put the language you’re learning into practice.
The app gives you a virtual interlocutor and you’re invited to respond to conversational prompts, such as a general greeting or a restaurant role-play. Mondly suggests some responses to these, but it’ll also accept other correct replies.
Although the conversations themselves are far from realistic, the speech-to-text functionality in Mondly is pretty good, so I found it enjoyable. At first, you can just go with the suggested responses, but it’s nice to try and think about what else you could say, too!