EF English Live vs Babbel

With the rise in popularity of online learning and the number of educational resources readily available on the internet, learning English is now more accessible than ever. As part of EF, we celebrate the fact that the world is growing ever more connected through education and English.

When we first launched our online course back in 1996 as Englishtown, we were truly pioneers of the concept of an online English “school” led by live teachers. While we’re proud to continue to be at the cutting edge of online learning, we know that today’s students have a lot of choice when it comes to selecting an online English course.

To help new students to make an informed decision about which English course is right for them, we’ve looked at how our school compares to another popular online language course: Babbel. The chart below provides an overview comparison of our offerings. We’ll also examine in detail how our courses compare in five key areas: learning methodology, courseware, live teaching, student support and academic credibility

BabbelEF English Live
Live teachers, available 24/7v
Group Conversation Classes with Live Teachersv
1-to-1 Private Classes with Live Teachersv
Level Placement Testv
Online Coursewarevv
Personalised Study Planv
Speech Recognition Softwarevv
Mobile App vv
Real teacher feedback on written exercisesv
Beginner through Advanced levelsv
Courses available for Business Englishvv
Courses available for TOEFL/TOEIC exam prepv
Courses available for languages other than Englishv
Trial period availablevv

Methodology: Babbel (self-directed) vs EF English Live (live teaching + self-study)

Babbel is an entirely self-directed online language course, which offers English learning as well as several other language options. Users learn new vocabulary and grammar concepts through online exercises that test listening comprehension, speaking, spelling and writing skills. Vocabulary memorisation is achieved through prompted revision and repetition of new words.

EF English Live offers an online course with a blended learning methodology, focusing solely on English language training through a combination of self-study lessons and online classes with live teachers. Self-study lessons focus on building the four key elements of English fluency: reading, writing, listening and speaking, while certified English teachers live lead structured online conversation classes to further develop real-world communication skills. Our experienced live teachers are what sets EF English Live apart.

Courseware: Babbel vs EF English Live

Both courses are structured in a user-friendly way and offer lessons online as well as via a mobile app. To start learning with Babel, you must select your own level: Beginner or Advanced. Interactive learning activities help you to learn new vocabulary words and memorise them through the Review Manager. Integrated speech recognition helps you to practice your pronunciation.  You set the pace of your own learning and can study beginner or intermediate English up to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level B2. Babbel users can also choose additional course lessons such as Business English or targeted grammar exercises.

Like Babbel, EF English Live’s course lessons are aligned with the CEFR, however, EF English Live offers 16 levels from beginner (A1) all the way through upper advanced fluency (C2). Students can self-select their level or take a comprehensive placement test at the beginning of the course. Each self-directed lesson devotes time to listening, reading, writing and speaking skills, teaching useful new vocabulary and grammar in context through varied interactive exercises, video-based lessons and speech recognition software. Students can also choose additional specialised courses such as Business English, Travel English, TOEIC and TOEFL exam preparation.

Live Teaching: Babbel vs EF English Live

Again, live online teaching is the primary way in which EF English Live differs from Babbel’s course offering. Babbel is entirely self-directed, whereas live teaching is an essential component of EF English Live. EF English Live has over 2,000 native-speaking teachers. Each is officially TEFL or TKT certified, and live classes are available 24/7. Students can choose to learn one-to-one in Private Classes or practice their listening and speaking skills in teacher-led Group Conversation Classes.

Student Support: Babbel vs EF English Live

When it comes to student support, EF English Live also has the edge over Babbel. Because Babbel’s course is self-led, it requires students to be highly self-motivated. EF English Live supports students not only through dedicated teaching but also through the Live Help section of the school, which allows students to contact Study Advisors if they have questions or need help. A fully-personalised Study Plan and Progress Report with regular feedback from teachers keeps students motivated and on track to meet their goals.

History & Academic Credibility: Babbel vs EF English Live

Both courses have been developed in collaboration with an academic team of researchers and linguists. According to their website, Babbel was founded in 2007 by software experts who were initially hoping to develop a platform for musicians to collaborate. Instead, they saw an opportunity to create a language learning platform, believing that the future of learning is online, and so Babbel was born.

EF English Live was launched in 1996 as Englishtown, with the mission to use technology to create a fundamentally better way of learning English. The academic team behind EF English Live has driven years of research in collaboration with the world’s leading linguists and top universities. As part of EF Education First, EF English Live draws on a 50-year tradition of providing world-class language learning, with an online method that has been used by millions of students worldwide as well as global companies like HSBC and Nokia.

Conclusion: Babbel vs EF English Live

Both online courses are flexible, user-friendly and available online and on your mobile. Babbel is self-directed for English learners up to the intermediate level, focusing on building vocabulary and an understanding of grammar intuitively. This can be useful for high-motivated beginners who are looking to learn new English words and improve their listening comprehension.

However, the primary consideration a prospective student needs to think about is the importance of learning support. EF English Live firmly believes in the value of quality live teaching, which is why teachers are at the heart of our online school and student support and motivation is a fundamental part of learning with us. We’re also proud to cater for all levels of English learners, from beginner to advanced.

Try it for yourself

The best way to know which course is right for you? Try them. Both Babbel and EF English Live offer a trial period for new students.

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