- Quick Overview
- How to Use Mondly
- Lesson Categories
- Conversation & Vocabulary
- Free Vs. Premium
- Monitoring Progress
- Pros & Cons
Mondly – Top-Level Overview
In a nutshell: Mondly is fun, interactive, and engaging.
With 70m users, it's certainly popular. In fact it was voted App of the Year by Facebook and Best New App by Apple.
Mondly lessons have a game-like-appeal. It's very easy to get started and the way the platform is designed makes it very easy to dip in and out of the platform and learn on the fly.
You can learn a couple of words or phrase while you're on a break, then go back to what you were doing, and then jump straight back in where you left off later on.
Mondly uses images to accompany words and phrases, too, which adds a visual recall dimension to the learning.
In addition, there's the option of using voice recognition (you need to activate your microphone) via the chatbot feature. This is particularly useful for practicing pronunciation.
A Free Mondly membership gives you access to any of the 41 languages at three levels of learning: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
When you go Premium you get access to all the languages at the same price. Of course you don't need to learn any others but if your partner is learning Spanish and you're learning Thai, it works out very economically because you can both use the same membership.
I use the platform to practice my Thai, but having access to other languages has tempted me to practice my Italian too.
It's cross platform, so you can learn on your computer or via the Android or iOS apps.
If you want my deeper, more personal insight on this language learning platform, then feel free to read on through my Mondly review below.
How to Use Mondly
You don’t have to sign up for an account to start learning, although it is recommended for data-saving purposes (your learning data, that is).
I thought this was very smart.
It can be annoying when all you want to do is quickly try something out, yet you have to go through the whole registration process.
You know the process: you have to wait for an email to arrive in your inbox, and then activate the link in that email, etc.
Once you’re on the website select your native language, and then the language you want to learn and your current level.
Click ‘Start Tutorial' and you’re all set for your first Mondly lesson.
The first tutorial shows on the following screen, which in my case was a common restaurant scene dialogue.
I find the voiceover very authentic, clear and precise. It's obvious that the company has invested well in good voiceover persons to record the dialogue.
In fact, from the UX through to the voicing, there is a mark of quality to Mondly.
Click ‘Continue' to jump to a sample lesson of the vocabulary used in the dialog.
And that's pretty much how Mondly works. It is that simple.
Once done with the tutorial, you will be directed to the ‘home page' where you can see the different learning categories.
There are about 40 categories, each with approximately 8 lessons, which I’ll elaborate on in the next section.
It's worth noting that at present only 3 categories are offered to users on a Free account. The remaining are exclusively for learners with a Premium account.
If you want to upgrade to Premium anytime in your learning journey, just click on any of the locked categories, the ‘Shop' button at the bottom part of the page, or the ‘Premium' button at the top right corner of the screen.
Free users can still learn more than one language: Just click ‘Settings' and then ‘Select Your Language' to add it to your dashboard, as seen below.
Whether you have two or several languages on your tab, just click on the language you want to learn in the given session, then click ‘Save' to start your lessons.
As mentioned, there are over 40 categories, each containing numerous lessons.
The first three categories – Hello, Chatbot, and Daily Lesson – are offered free. The other categories are locked and only Premium users can access them.
Below is a description of 10 the main lesson categories in Mondly.
- Hello: Words, phrases, and sentences used as greetings and for starting a conversation.
- Chatbot: You’ll chat with a chatbot portraying common scenarios in different settings such as a restaurant and hotel. You’ll be presented with replies you can use, and you have the option to use the keyboard for typing, or your microphone if you prefer speaking.
- Daily Lesson: Mondly provides you with daily lessons based on from previously taken lessons to further enhance and test your language retention skills.
- Core Vocabulary: This section presents commonly used words, phrases and sentences; all language you are likely to use on a regular basis.
- Family: Words for, and phrases and sentences relating to, family members and relatives
- Countries and Languages: Words for, and phrases and sentences relating to, different countries and their languages.
- Romance: Words for, and phrases and sentences relating to, romantic relationships such as endearments and affectionate adjectives.
- Seasons and Weather: Words for, and phrases and sentences relating to, seasons, weather, atmosphere and nature.
- Preparing a Trip: Words for, and phrases and sentences relating to, trip preparation, public transportation and essentials like tickets and reservations.
- Travel: Words for, and phrases and sentences relating to, travel such as hotels, airport, public transportation and sightseeing spots.
There's tons more lessons, too, like ‘fun', ‘shopping', ‘eating out' and even ‘parts of the body'.
How Mondly Categories Work
Each category provides 6 to 8 core lessons, which include questions about words, phrases and sentences.
Questions are answered in various ways, depending on the type, but the most common is the swipe-up-and-down function.
I enjoy this style because it makes me feel like I'm playing a game rather than studying.
You start with three stars at the top of the screen. If you answer a question incorrectly you'll lose a star!
Below are pictures of the types of questions you'll find in any given category:
I'm learning a language with a different alphabet (Thai). If you're doing the same, consider the above example.
Even if you don't know the Thai alphabet, the images will help you remember what the word looks like.
Of course, going forward you will have to learn the alphabet of your chosen language. That said, this visual recall technique is really good for remembering everyday words you'll see around town in shops and on public transport.
Conversation & Vocabulary Sessions
Aside from the core lessons, each category also has ‘Conversation' and ‘Vocabulary' sessions.
The ‘Conversation' sessions are the most interactive type of lesson offered by Mondly (at least for me).
It's a dialog between you and the chatbot. The interaction revolves around day-to-day scenarios and is really helpful for enhancing your speaking skills in a native way.
The chatbot speaks to you and you record your reply.
Free vs. Premium Membership
Although Free users can access the website and start lessons right away, even without signing up, this, of course, comes with restrictions.
The Premium membership, on the other hand, has plenty more to offer, as featured in the table below.
As can be seen below, the pricing is pretty straight forward.
The best deal is to grab 12 months at £47.99 / $47.99. That's just £4/$4 a month.
They usually have a deal on where you can get all 41 languages for the same price as just your one language.
If you don't want to commit to that straight away, go for 1-month at £9.99 / $9.99.
Monitoring Your Learning Progress
The Statistics section, which can be found at the bottom part of the Home page, shows several details relating to your progress.
- Points: This shows how many points you’ve accumulated since day 1, lesson 1.
- Streak: This pertains to the number of days you have been taking lessons.
- Level: This is your level of learning based on the lessons you’ve taken and your score.
- Brain: One of the coolest features of Mondly, the image of the brain shows neural connections related to your lessons. Tap or click on the connections to review content. Below the brain, you can also find the number of words and phrases you have learned, and the time taken for learning.
- Daily Progress Chart: As it implies, this shows your progress in the form of a chart, so you can easily see your daily scores and how much you’ve improved.
The leaderboard is where you can see your ranking among other learners of the same language.
It also ranks countries based on the points of all learners, by month or all-time, and ranks the learners based on Streak – the number of consecutive days you've used the app.
There are 3 units under the tab Points:
- Friends: This feature encourages learning motivation by letting you compete with your friends, family or anyone else who wants to learn the language. This is a cool feature, particularly if you are going traveling with one or more friends.
- Country: Here you'll find your ranking among other learners (in your country) of the same language.
- Global: In this section, you can see how well you rank in comparison to other learners worldwide.
Mondly: The Pros & Cons
1. Great Graphics & Animation
Mondly is very well designed. It utilizes graphics and animation to create a game-like dynamic.
In the majority of the core lessons, a visual representation of the word being taught assists in enhancing the learning process.
Mondly really understands the importance of visual learning and that some people are wired this way – me being one.
2. Supports Various Languages
Mondly supports not just the most common languages such as Chinese, German, and French, but even the not-so-familiar yet equally interesting ones like Croatian and Farsi, and in my case, Thai.
3. Transliteration & Voice Over
Mondly gives you the option to toggle between the transliteration and the script (or any language you choose). This is very useful for learning Thai or Chinese.
The transliterations match up well with what the speaker is saying, so it is easy to recognize the word on the screen.
This and the visual representation mentioned earlier ultimately make it easier to remember the words.
4. Speaking with a Native
The biggest downside to learning a language using a language learning platform is not having a native speaker to practice with.
Mondly doesn't quite give you that, but what it does give you is a level of interaction with a native speaker via a chatbot.
This virtual reality-type feature creates a real-life scenario, which adds that bit of pressure you need to ensure your language skills translate to real-life situations outside of the learning program.
5. Free Membership
Mondly offers free lessons to everyone. Although this comes with restrictions, it can be a help to those who want to have some fun and learn a few “holiday words”. The free membership never expires.
It's also super-quick to get started. There is no sign up process required to jump in and take a lesson straight away.
Generally speaking there is always a good deal on, either a yearly deal or a lifetime membership deal.
The Not So Great
The Mondly system is just that, a system. You'll find the same format across all 41 languages.
Unlike a platform that is designed for one specific language, where the features are built around specific characteristics of that language, the Mondly system is templated across all languages.
This isn't really a bad thing, but if you're learning more than one language then perhaps you'll get bored of the format after a while.
However, I think this standardized format works well enough and it is what has made Mondly popular.
The repetition is offset by progress. You will learn fast with Mondly, no doubt, and it's exciting to jump in an get started because you find yourself saying words immediately.
I personally feel that this kind of system isn't aimed at those who want to sit down and study for an hour or more in one go.
When using Mondly, I find myself doing a maximum of say 15 minutes and then going off to do something else.
I will come back at another time in the day and do another 15 minutes or so.
It's designed in that way. Like playing a game on your phone, it's a dip in and out system, with purposeful repetition that will help you speak an impressive number of words and phrases in a short amount of time.
2. Additional Learning (non-romanized languages)
Depending on the language, you may require additional learning tools.
Certainly with Thai, which I am learning, you need to have an understanding of the Thai alphabet to read the words.
It is possible to memorize what the words look like, and Mondly does makes this possible with the accompaniment of imagery.
However, to become competent in the language, you will need to learn the individual consonants and vowels. This isn't a problem with languages that use a Romanized alphabet.
I think if you are going for a long-term learning plan that leads you towards fluency, you would use Mondly in addition to learning the alphabet (script) separately.
3. Paid Membership
For you to take advantage of the full features of the platform, you'll need to get premium.
The free option is good enough for you to test drive the platform and get a feel, but you'll run out of lessons and hit a wall pretty quickly.
I don't think it's expensive, at least not if you go for the 12-month option. Even on a monthly basis it only costs a couple of Starbuck's coffees.
Like most tiered payment options these days, you get a considerable discount for locking in for the long term.
Mondly is fun. It's really easy to get started and you'll learn words and phrases quickly.
In terms of an on-the-go learning platform, it's certainly a leader in its class.
If you intend to learn as you travel, you'll love this. It's designed to be dipped in and out of and all your progress is saved for you to come back to.
I can't fault the design and navigation. Anyone of any age could jump straight in and get on with the interface.
I would recommend Mondly to anyone who wants to learn words and phrases for travel purposes, study purposes, working abroad or migrating to another country.
It is also a great platform for aspiring polyglots to learn additional languages, and to test themselves on languages they already have a grasp of.
If you are a visual learner with a low attention span (I mean that in the nicest possible way), then Mondly is a good option.
It's ideal for short bursts of learning, as it is fairly repetitive and has a very simple app-like approach to delivery.
Is it a comprehensive single language learning platform, I wouldn't say so, but then very few are. It's always good to use multiple learning tools and to immerse yourself in real-world conversations.
Additionally, if you are learning Thai, Mandarin, Japanese or any language with a non-Romanised alphabet, then you will need to work outside of Mondly to better your grasp of the alphabet.
In summay, it's very well designed and pretty addictive.
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