Mondly Review: Excellent App But Fails In Some Areas

  • Lara Scott
    Written byLara Scott
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A real trailblazer in augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) for online language learning.
Try Mondly
Mondly

Mondly
Mondly
Pricing: $9.99 per month or $47.99 per year
Positives
  • Beautifully designed
  • Only language company to focus on VR and AR
  • Huge language selection
  • Very affordable
  • Also caters to children
Negatives
  • Some aspects feel like a clone of other apps
  • No option to slow down audio
  • Lacks detailed grammar and mainly limited to vocabulary
  • 'Tough luck' refund policy

Summary

Mondly has trailblazed augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) for online language learning, and remains one of the few language apps to cater to both adult and children learners. It's a well-designed and popular app, but still has some flaws.

Note: I often recommend a personal favorite (and more course-like) alternative to Mondly.

Select a language here:

Make sure to check out my Essential Language Learning Tools page as well for other resources and recommendations.


Mondly has really been a pioneer in augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) for online language learning.

While grammar instruction is limited and advanced content is lacking, the app provides a fun way to learn and quiz yourself on vocabulary words.

You get a “teacher” which is powered by artificial intelligence to make the experience more real (see below).

Mondly is probably better suited as a companion resource for serious language learners, but it offers 33 different languages in one subscription for a low price.

What makes Mondly different is it makes the learning experience interactive by combining it with speech recognition, augmented reality and a virtual artificial intelligence (AI) teacher.

The free trial is basically a “freemium” version giving you continual access to a handful of lessons.

Available on Google Play and the Apple Store for mobile, but the Mondly web app can be used in any browser.

 

In this Mondly review, I’ll break down the differences between the free and paid versions of Mondly, and share my thoughts on where it shines and where it suffers.

What is Mondly? 

Mondly, developed by ATi Studios, is an EdTech company with the goal of “making technology-based learning easier”.

Current published data put the app at over 60 million users.

It started with a small team in Romania, and has grown to have larger teams in Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Mondly launched its first virtual reality language app in 2017, MondlyVR, along with MondlyKids for 5-12 year olds.

In 2018 Mondly released MondlyAR, which is now the world’s first augmented reality language app featuring speech recognition. With a focus on bringing innovative tech features to the digital language study experience, it appeals to users looking for an alternative to classroom study.

VR/AR and kids app

Mondly’s a language learning company with a virtual reality (VR) app, augmented reality (AR) app and an AR app for kids.

So it’s important to be specific about which Mondly app you’re talking about. :smile:

The VR app requires a VR headset (e.g. Oculus), but anyone with a smartphone or tablet can use the Mondly AR app. It has a free lifetime version and a paid version you subscribe to monthly or annually. You can try most of the features in a freemium account, but premium accounts get 250 lessons categorized by beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

All your activities are saved on the cloud, and there’s a search feature for you to access different lessons based on topics.

Mondly’s learning experience looks a bit like an amalgamation of Rosetta Stone, Busuu and Babbel, in that it gives you multiple choice options for identifying vocabulary words based on the images you see.

It goes beyond, however, by providing you a virtual AI-enabled teacher to engage with.

The idea is to practice your speaking skills with the teacher with the help of its speech recognition function. 

Mondly app features

When you open the Mondly app and login to your account, the home screen gives you a side-scrolling menu.

While this is pretty to look at, it actually feels a bit counter-intuitive scroll horizontally. Personally, I’d prefer a vertical lesson map like Duolingo or Babbel over this (but at least it’s unique!).

You then choose from various lessons with different learning themes/topics which can help you tackle real-life situations using the language.

Mondly lets you open and complete the activities in any order so there’s no progression locks like Duolingo.

Daily lesson

The first option you’ll see is the Daily Lesson.

This is updated each day for you, and takes about eight minutes to get done. This is the one place you can’t skip ahead to get to new content, and it’s designed to keep you on track.

Through the games in each daily lesson, you’ll learn new vocabulary required for the other exercises in the app.

Chatbot 

The chatbot inside the app lets you practice speaking the language with a virtual speaker who gives you conversational prompts.

You can respond to the bot and it will correct your replies if needed.

If you don’t know how to respond, you can look at a suggested response.

Lessons

When you open a lesson, you’ll see between six to eight different exercises appear.

You can complete them in any order. One of the exercises involves speech recognition software to help you work on your pronunciation. Upon reading a sentence and hearing it spoken, you record yourself saying it.

This way the app can check whether your pronunciation is correct and tell you if it’s not. 

Stars appear to track your progress as you complete the lessons.

A lesson can only be marked as complete when you’ve gone through all the exercises and done them without too many mistakes. If you get to the end but made a number of errors, you may be asked to do the lesson again before you can move on.

Statistics

Mondly tracks your performance as you complete the daily lessons and available exercises.

By tapping to the “Statistics” tab at the bottom of the screen, you can go to the section where your metrics are displayed, including a score that determines what level you’re currently at.  

It displays the consecutive days in a row you’ve logged on to use the app and the hours you’ve spent learning. It also keeps track of the number of words and phrases you know, each of which help measure the progress of your course level completion.

There’s also a diagram of a brain on the Statistics page, and it has recent vocabulary words and phrases you’ve learned suggested for your review.

Leaderboard

The fourth tab at the bottom of the screen is the “Leaderboard” section, which shows you your rank both for your country and internationally.

Compete directly with other app users for a higher ranking to motivate your higher scores.

Free vs. Premium subscription

The amount of content you have access to depends on whether you have a free subscription or paid.

You can hold onto your free account as long as you like, but there’s no way to get new lessons without upgrading to the premium version. 

Free

With a free account you get 1 vocabulary builder, 6 lessons and 1 conversation with the AI chatbot.

However, speech recognition isn’t available with a freemium account, so you can’t have your pronunciation checked or engage in a dialogue with the chatbot. 

Premium

When you sign up for the premium subscription to Mondly, you get access to the entire collection of 250 lessons in every language.

You also get 33 conversations with your chatbot teacher for practicing your fluency in a dialogue. With over 1300 daily lessons available, premium access lets you incorporate Mondly language learning into your daily routine.

There are also grammar features like conjugation tables. Plus, you get 36 vocabulary builders.

Another feature in the app only available to premium members is the speech recognition function, which “listens” to your pronunciation and provides corrections when needed.

For $9.99, I’d say one month of premium is a better way to trial Mondly than staying free (which doesn’t show you enough).

Problems with the Mondly app 

Mondly offers a lot for a low price.

And it’s true that there’s a lot of vocabulary to learn, and the AR/VR aspects makes it very unique. It also helps that you can have your pronunciation corrected.

My biggest issues with the platform are as follows:

  1. Cookie cutter (in other words, all language courses seem to follow the same set pattern/trajectory)
  2. Courses lack real depth
  3. Some languages (e.g. Arabic) use formal language which isn’t practically useful
  4. Insufficient explanation on grammar and structure (not a huge problem but would be nice to have)

Like all language apps, using it alone isn’t going to get you fluent. And by no means should it be considered an all-in-one language course. 

If you’re already an intermediate or advanced speaker, there may not be much for you to learn.

In fact, the beginner, medium and advanced levels don’t seem to be sufficiently different from each other.

The exercise style doesn’t change as you advance, and the order the topics go in doesn’t necessarily make sense. While it’s great for beginners to learn new vocabulary in a fun and memorable way, Mondly would benefit from some more advanced level material.  

The speech recognition feature in the Mondly app doesn’t function particularly well (though to be fair, this is the case with most language apps). It can get frustrating when using it to communicate with the chatbot.

Unfortunately, freemium users don’t find this out until they sign up for a premium account, since speech recognition isn’t available in the free version.

Another issue is that you can’t slow down the audio when you’re listening for comprehension. When learning to pronounce new phrases it helps to listen more slowly, but that’s not an option on the Mondly app.

Pricing and refund policy

Mondly is priced appropriately, I feel.

There are different options for pricing, depending on whether you want to commit to an annual payment term or monthly one. One excellent aspect of the pricing is that you can access all languages through one subscription.

You’ll save money signing up at $47.99 per year.

Otherwise, you can use all the premium features for $9.99 per month, which is a relatively low rate compared to some language course apps. The downside, however, is there’s a no refund and no return policy.

Once a subscription payment has been processed, there’s no way to change the status of your account until the payment term is over. 

Mondly review summary

Mondly’s a stunning app that covers 33 languages with unlimited language pair possibilities, and is a pioneer in AR/VR language education.

While the app has many unique features, it also feels a little too much like a clone or amalgamation of other major competitor brands in some aspects.

In terms of course content, it can definitely help beginner language learners explore new vocabulary and get quizzed on key terminology, but depth is its weak point.

The topic search feature and augmented reality experience make it stand out. The chatbot AI speech conversation sounds like a great feature, but the software may be in an early stage of integrating effective speech recognition.

All in all, Mondly is priced affordably and competitively, and there’s nothing quite like it on the market (the MondlyKids app is also really good).

Since you get to trial it for free, there’s no risk trying it out.


Have you used Mondly? Share your thoughts below!

Mondly
Pricing: $9.99 per month or $47.99 per year
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Donovan Nagel
Donovan Nagel - B. Th, MA AppLing
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
Currently learning: Greek
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