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Verbling Review: Online Language Classes and Tutoring

By Jesse / August 17, 2015

Review of: Verbling

Use: Professional Online Language Lessons and Group Classes

Effectives

Verbling only uses experienced teachers

Price

Group classes are very affordable, but some Verbling teachers are cheaper on Italki 

Time Commitment

Lessons available in 30 min or 1 hour sessions. Classes are 1 hour

Ease of Use

A very straight forward and easy site to use

Structure

Professional teachers and classes provide more structure than informal tutoring

I Like

  • The group class option
  • Good selection of Spanish teachers
  • Unlimited trial lessons
  • Interesting free features

I Don't Like

  • Generally more expensive than Italki
  • Limited selection of teachers for other langauges

Summary: Verbling offers two ways of learning a new language: online group classes or one on one tutoring with a teacher.

Verbling's group classes are a great way to practice and learn Spanish or English, but they aren't offered in other languages yet. Prices for classes can be as low as $2 for a one hour class. They are a fun way to help you practice what you've learned.

Verbling has teachers for many different languages but outside of English and Spanish their selection isn't very big. Verbling's teachers are also vetted and must have teaching experience before they can teach. Thus the quality of teachers on the site is higher than Verbling's competitor Italki. Just be mindful that the higher quality can bring a higher price.​ 

Group classes starting at $2 and Tutoring from $8-30+/hour (Free trial lesson)

Is Verbling Right For You?

Verbling is for anyone who wants to learn a foreign language through either one on one lessons with a professional teacher or through online group classes.

The selection of Spanish and English teachers on the site are very good, but other languages have significantly less teachers. 

Video Review of Verbling

My Experience With Verbling

Group Classes

I tried out the regular learner plan which includes one free half-hour tutoring session and 10 group classes per month. 

The classes were great. They are a great way to practice and learn at the same time. All of the teachers did a great job of teaching and including all the students in a class. Because I was in a class with other people I payed careful attention to what was going on in class, because at any moment the teacher would call on me.

My first class was a little rough. I picked a class at the Upper Beginner level and thought I'd do fine. The class involved describing certain pictures that the teacher would show us. I could talk all day about my hobbies, my job, and where I lived, but I couldn't for the life of me describe those pictures!  ​

A recording of a live group class on Verbling

Nevertheless the teacher was great and the class was fun. I think the great benefit of Verbling's classes is that you can practice what you've learned. If you have any weak spots in your new language they will show up, and this is a good thing. 

The classes are very specific and center around vocabulary, skills (like listening, writing or speaking), or topics. With the monthly subscription it's a cheap and easy way to practice and learn Spanish.

One on One Lessons With Verbling

Format

Verbling's online lesson format is very simple and straight forward. You can browse teachers by language, price and availability. You can also read feedback from a teacher's previous students, as well as watch a short introduction video.

Price

Pricing is one point where Verbling falls a little short.  As a whole, the prices of Verbling's teachers vary and are comparable to other professional online lesson sites like 123SpanishTutor or Italki at $9-25 per hour.  

However I recognized some of the teachers on Verbling from Italki. As it turns out it's not uncommon for a language teacher to teach on both sites.  One thing struck me as odd: a teacher who was on Verbling and Italki was usually cheaper on Italki.

The difference was typically only a dollar or two per hour, but sometimes it could be more. I emailed Verbling and asked them why this was the case. Here's what they said: 

​"Hi Jesse,

Thanks for reaching out! Teachers do set their prices on Verbling. One of the reasons why prices could be lower on Italki is because there is greater competition among teachers. Italki doesn't screen teachers as rigorously as we do, so anyone--even people who have never taught before--can teach on Italki. Thus, prices plummet. This is great for students who want to learn English at a low cost, and don't necessary care about quality..."

Sometimes the prices between Italki and Verbling can vary greatly for the same teacher

I found this pretty interesting. The teachers also set their own prices on Italki as well. Italki's huge selection of teachers means they have to lower their prices to get students. Verbling has a higher quality of teachers, but also a smaller selection which usually means a teacher will charge more. 

If you are more concerned about the quality of your teacher more than you are the price they charge, then Verbling is probably the site to go with. Still, if you find a teacher you like on Verbling it's a good idea to check and see if you can find them on Italki for a cheaper price.

Selection

If you are learning Spanish Verbling has a good selection of professional teachers that is somewhat comparable to Italki's. At the time of this post Verbling has 93 professional tutors and Italki has 160. Verbling also has a good amount of English teahers as well.

If you are learning a language other than Spanish or English you won't  have as many options. Some other popular languages like French or Italian may have anywhere from 10-20 teachers, but there are also some other popular languages that may have much less like German (5) or Japanese (2). 

Free features

Verbling has a couple features that anyone with a free  profile can use. The first are its language practice groups. These offer you the opportunity to join a video chatroom with other people who are learning your target language.

The groups are sorted by language and level, so whether you're a beginner or advanced learner you can practice with people who share your degree of fluency.  

Verbling also allows you to watch its group classes for free. No one in the class can see or hear you so you can't participate. Even so, it's a great way to see what the classes are like and maybe pick up some Spanish as well.​

Alternatives

With over 1,000 teachers in well over 40 languages Italki is the largest online lesson site for language learning. Choose from professional teachers or informal tutors.

A site dedicated to only online Spanish lessons. 123SpanishTutor handpicks their tutors. While they only have 6, all of them follow a specific method that centers around task based communication that you'd use is real life situations. This site chooses quality approach for providing teachers over quantity.

Conclusion

​Verbling's group classes offer an effective and inexpensive way to practice and learn a foreign language, but so far they are only available in Spanish or English. Likewise Verbling has a good selection of Spanish and English teachers who offer one on one online lessons, but with other languages your selection is more sparse. 

Unlike teachers on Italki, Verbling teachers much have experience teaching a foreign language in order to teach on the site.  This helps insure a greater quality for lessons, but the prices on Verbling can also be a little higher as a result. ​You may be able to find a Verbling teacher on Italki for a cheaper rate.

All in all Verbling offers some great options for anyone learning Spanish or English as a foreign language​. Learners of other languages may want to check it out as well.

About the author

Jesse

Spanish learning aficionado and cofounder of Spanish Hackers.

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