Introduction to Busuu
Busuu is a learning platform where you can learn a new language, focusing in particular on developing your speaking skills with the help of a speech recognition tool.
The platform concentrates on listening to dialogues and makes you involved in other learners’ journeys.
The basic learning method in Busuu is the digital flashcards, which are a very popular way of learning as you can interact, entertain and move quickly in the learning process. On the other hand, digital flashcards are not really inclusive, so they are not enough in the journey of learning a brand new language.
The Busuu app
Busuu is actually an app, and most of its benefits lie in its paid Premium subscription, which we will discuss later in this review.
You can download the Busuu app for your iOS and Android devices to start learning. No matter what language you have chosen to learn, you can take your lessons with you wherever you go. You can also download some extra practice to continue learning offline, in case you do not have an internet connection.
How to join Busuu
To join the Busuu app as a learner you need to choose the level where you are starting to continue learning which are:
- Beginner A1.
- Elementary A2.
- Intermediate B1.
- Upper Intermediate B2.
At this point, you also need to determine your learning goal, for example: learning how to ask for directions, basic conversations about your last week, or vocabulary in a particular field.
Another way to begin is to simply choose what you are interested in, for example, travel, culture, religion, or business
Based on your goals and your learning time per day, Busuu will then set for you a curriculum that will help you in the learning process.
In case you are using the free version, your learning process will start with the flashcard style.
The flashcard style has vocabulary, pictures, and short dialogues. You will have new words written with spoken audio and an example sentence. As a learner you will need to match the audio clip with the correct picture, words with their definitions, fill the missing words in short dialogues.. etc.
If you have bought a monthly subscription, you can access some grammar lessons and needed content. As soon as you get some practice, you will be able to start speaking to both of some native speakers of the language you are learning and other learners that are already using the Busuu app.
If you are seeking more guidance, you can benefit from the personal tutoring service which is called “Busuu Live”, which allows you to learn with a teacher using Busuu’s already created content, dig into more explanations about the lessons in the Busuu program and try to speak your new language with this tutor. You can schedule these lessons for 30 minutes at your preferred time.
Who should use Busuu?
If you are planning to learn a new language and you are:
- A person who is interested in interactive apps. Busuu free subscription is based on flashcards which let you practice the language with some pictures, audios, and other interactive exercises.
- Interested in improving your speaking skills. Busuu has a speech recognition tool, which is perfect if you are not able to speak to a native.
- A busy person. You can adjust to only 10 minutes lessons that will fit your full schedule and have an effective learning process.
Pros of Busuu
As a language learner, Busuu is recommended for you because:
- You can go through placement tests on it.
- Lessons on the platform are written and corrected by native speakers.
- All Busuu’s courses are clear, accurate, and have a very good structure.
- Busuu’s system provides goal setting for a continuous learning process.
Cons of Busuu
As a language learner, you may face some difficulties in learning in Busuu because:
- It has a small range of languages to learn
- It has different dialects which may not be what you are looking for.
- It contains boring typing exercises.
Busuu prices and refunds
Busuu has three plans of payment:
1- Basic plan, which is free.
2- Premium plan for about 6.85 USD per month (billed annually).
3- Premium plus plan for about 7.85 USD per month (billed annually).
Your subscription will renew automatically each month. And according to a 14-day money-back guarantee, you can cancel before then and you won’t be charged.
The following table shows you the benefits and features you can get with each subscription according to the Busuu website:
|Basic plan||Premium plan||Premium Plus plan|
|1.||Available languages to learn.||1 language||1 language||12 languages|
|2.||Ability to reach your learning goals using a personalized Study Plan.||No||No||Yes|
|3.||Ability to pass tests and get certified by professional teachers.||No||No||Yes|
|4.||Communicate with native speakers and get their feedback.||No||No||Yes|
|5.||Use the offline mode and learn anywhere anytime.||No||Yes||Yes|
|6.||Ability to build sentences with grammar lessons||No||Yes||Yes|
|7.||Get benefits from AI-powered reviews so you will not forget what you have learned.||No||Yes||Yes|
For private lessons with professional tutors, prices start at 15.99 USD. However, you can get a discount of 60.99 USD if you pay for five lessons at once.
What can you get with each plan?
1. Busuu basic free plan.
As you saw in the table, the features of the free plan are quite limited, but you can still benefit from it with the available exercises, as it offers:
- Interactive flashcards. As we mentioned above, it includes pictures, audio clips, missing words exercises, and many others.
- Simple short dialogues are actually “examples” of how to use some words.
- Introduction to the culture of the language.
2. Busuu premium plan.
In addition to the features mentioned above, with the premium subscription, you can boost your skills in the language you are learning by going through quizzes and then getting an AI vocabulary review based on your quizzes’ results.
3. Busuu premium plus plan.
This plan gives you full access to all Busuu features including a personalized study plan and the ability to get an official certification. However, it is only available for English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese languages.
The available languages to learn in Busuu
One of the weak points at Busuu is the lack of available languages to learn. Here they are:
Live Lessons in Busuu
You can choose a private tutor on Busuu, and have with him\her a 30 minutes one-to-one lesson. To do that you need to buy 1, 3, or 5 Live lessons at once, then schedule them as often as it is convenient for you. As soon as your lesson is booked, you will receive a booking confirmation. Eventually, you will get three reminders: 24 hours, 30 minutes, and 5 minutes before the lesson. At the scheduled time, you click “Join lesson” in your browser and get started.
Why are live lessons recommended?
Live lessons are recommended and available no matter what is your level in the desired language to learn.
Busuu creators believe that speaking practice is an important part of your journey of learning a new language, so that is why live lessons are needed.
During a live lesson, you are communicating directly with a native speaker and determining your strong and weak points in the process of learning.
Teachers in Busuu
Whatever the language you are learning is, you can find in Busuu a perfectly qualified teacher with a lot of teaching experience.
You can have your lessons based on Busuu app courses or ask your teacher for different\additional materials that are exactly what you need.
Busuu teachers are also qualified to help you with your preparation for an exam or a job interview.
Requirements to start teaching live lessons in Busuu
Teachers on Busuu are chosen carefully and sourced from the online language learning platform Verbling. Teachers’ selection is based on their teaching experience on Verbling (+100 lessons already done), in addition to reliability which means that they have:
- Low reschedule rate.
- 0% missed lessons.
- 0% cancellations.
Another important condition to join Busuu is to carry a language teaching qualification.
Starting live lessons as a teacher
To start your Live Lesson as a teacher you need to:
- Log in to Busuu (www.busuu.com).
- Go to the button “Practice” on the left side of your page, which will take you to your dashboard.
- Under the bottom “Upcoming”, find your lesson.
- 10 minutes before the lesson, you will see the “Join lesson” green button across your dashboard.
- After you enter your lesson, choose your preferred camera and microphone settings, then click “Apply” and start your lesson.
Weak points at Busuu
There are two main weak points at Busuu:
Limited available languages. The language range on Busuu is limited, as you can choose one or more of the only 13 available languages to learn. Using the free or premium versions, you will need to choose only one language. However, you need to upgrade to the Premium Plus subscription to learn more than one language at once.
Different quality while learning different languages. There are so many things to do during the process of learning a language, but some courses are better than others. On the other hand, the quality of video and audio could be different when choosing a different language.
Furthermore, placement tests on Busuu are only available for English, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and French.
Learning Arabic in Busuu
Comprehensive Arabic courses. No matter what you are planning to learn on Busuu: Arabic Alphabet, basic Arabic vocabulary, or phrases to discuss complicated topics, you can find an appropriate course, and this is the fastest and most effective way to learn, as mentioned on Busuu website.
Intensive Arabic course for traveling. This course is dedicated to helping you while traveling to an Arab country. It will help you to learn all the essential phrases for traveling such as asking for directions, buying stuff, or reserving in a hotel. This course includes:
- Setting your own Study Plan (when and for how long you want to learn Arabic), in order to organize your learning process and make it efficient.
- Using “Vocabulary Review”, which is a feature that helps you to memorize all the Arabic vocabulary you learned.
- Practicing Arabic with a native speaker in a community of over 100 million native speakers, then getting feedback.
A conclusion about Busuu
Busuu is among the best websites and apps to learn languages, although the free version has limited features you can still learn something, while the premium and premium plus versions give you a wide range of options, courses, and features, in addition to an active community of learners and native speakers that you can communicate with and get feedback.
Furthermore, Busuu is an app that is attractive and easy to use.
On the other hand, Busuu has struggled at some points such as a very limited amount of available languages to learn and -in some cases- the lack of pronunciation and speaking exercises, but that does not make it any worse app.
Frequently asked questions about Busuu
1- Can I become fluent by using Busuu?
It is difficult to become completely fluent after using Busuu. However, you can improve your language skills when you use them regularly. The app is dedicated to learners at the beginner to upper-intermediate level.
2- Is Busuu worth paying for?
Yes, as Busuu is one of the best free language learning apps, and the Premium subscription opens for you more opportunities in learning.
3- Can I share my Busuu account with someone else?
No, Busuu does not give you this option, so you can not share your subscription with your family members.
4- Can I use Busuu offline?
Yes, the Busuu app provides an offline mode, so you can learn a language without having Wi-Fi or an internet connection.