InnovativeLanguage Review 2023
Write a review about this language tool.
- Category: Audio
- LANGUAGES: mul Multiple languages
- Minimum Price: 25 €
What can you do with it?
Getting started, listening practice, vocabulary, phrases, conversation material.
English, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Mexico), French, German, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Chinese (Mandarin), Arabic, Russian, Portuguese (Brazil), Dutch, Turkish, Polish, Hebrew, Swedish, Filipino, Thai, Hungarian, Czech, Cantonese, Norwegian, Vietnamese, Persian, Greek, Hindi, Finnish, Swahili, Danish, Bulgarian, Indonesian, Afrikaans, Urdu, Romanian
Beginner - Advanced
✅ Great content from complete beginner to advanced level, covering many topics
✅ Very practical vocabulary
✅ Content available offline
✅ Personalised learning tasks from a real teacher
I don’t like...
❌ Quizzes might be too easy for some users
Getting started with
Creating an account is very simple. You can do this on the web or download the mobile app for the language you want to learn (see links at the end of this article). The number of lessons varies by language, but some languages have over 2,000 lessons, while more recently added languages have a few hundred. More lessons are being added all the time.
There are different subscription plans in each Innovative Language course, from "
Innovative Language Pod101 Review – Lesson Format
What are Innovative Language lessons actually like?
The courses for every language follow the same format. Each lesson includes:
➡ An audio podcast episode with two teachers who play a recorded dialogue and discuss its related vocab and grammar. Each lesson is about 20 minutes in length.
➡ A PDF file of lesson notes
➡ A lesson checklist
➡ An audio clip of just the dialogue from the lesson (Premium subscription and up)
➡ A line-by-line transcript of the entire lesson recording, even the teachers’ banter (Premium subscription and up)
➡ A quiz on the lesson material (Premium subscription and up)
➡ A recording tool to record your voice and compare it to a native speaker (Premium subscription and up)
Innovative Language Lessons as Podcasts: How Do They Work?
Audio podcast lessons are the heart of Innovative Language’s teaching method. For 10-20 minutes, you get to listen to two (or sometimes three) teachers talk to each other, and to you, about the content of the dialogue, the meaning of the vocab, cultural references, and the grammar that is illustrated in the dialogue. These lessons are very informal, yet structured. The teachers get quite a bit of freedom in deciding how to present the content, but the general framework of every lesson is as follows:
➡ The teachers explain what you’ll be learning in that lesson, and what the dialogue will be about
➡ You listen to the dialogue first at normal speed, then (for less advanced lessons) at a slower speed
➡ The teachers list key vocab from the dialogue with English translations. For certain words, they’ll give more examples of usage than what you heard in the dialogue
➡ The lesson ends with one final playing of the dialogue
➡ Relevant cultural facts or trivia related to the dialogue
➡ Grammar explanation, where the teachers discuss the main grammar rule featured in the dialogue, with examples
The Pod101 Dashboard – Navigating to Your Lessons and Tracking Your Progress
When you log in, you’re brought to your personal dashboard.
Here’s what mine looks like:
Reviewing Pod101 Material when You’re Not Completing Your Lessons
There’s way more to Innovative Language courses than just individual lessons. However, you’ll need a Premium subscription or higher to access them. Some of the highlights of the extras you get with a Premium subscription include:
➡ Flashcards with text and audio. You can add words from your lessons to an SRS flashcard deck for review (Note: This feature is only available when you log-in on the website)
➡ Dictionary (or the dictionary for the language you’re studying)
➡ Vocabulary and grammar databases
➡ Core word lists for studying the most common and useful words in the language (100 words in the Basic subscription, 2000 in Premium and up)
➡ A personalised study programme with 1-on-1 attention from a human teacher who will answer your questions and grade assignments (Premium Plus subscription only)
My Experience with Pod101: The Good
There’s so much to love about this programme. I’ll try to be brief, but there’s a lot to say.
Super High Quality Lessons
This is the number 1 reason I kept coming back to Innovative Language, even after finishing my review. Each lesson teaches you a nice manageable chunk of your language. It’s easy to listen to. And the teachers have personalities! Too many audio language courses have teachers that sound robotic. The vocabulary was easy to remember because it was always taught as part of a complete sentence. If you follow all of the notes and the checklist with each lesson, you’ll come away knowing the dialogue inside and out.
Huge Breadth of Content — Covering (Nearly) Every Topic Imaginable
The lessons cover nearly every topic and situation I could ever expect to encounter in a foreign country. Here’s just a sampling:
➡ “Classic” situations like how to order in a restaurant, give directions or buy a bus ticket
➡ How young men are chosen for military service
➡ Office politics
➡ Gay culture
➡ How to behave at a temple
You also get to learn all the different levels of formality of the language. Most language courses – and this goes for European languages too – teach only the most formal way to address people. But Pod101 covers it all: super polite language used with elders, formal ways to speak with strangers, informal ways to address your peers, and right through to vulgar and impolite language used only with close friends. This is true for all Innovative Language courses.
Real-World Relevance — Learn Vocabulary You’ll Actually Use
Finally, a language course that doesn’t focus on lists of colours or obscure office supplies. You do get exposed to this vocabulary in certain lessons, but if it’s not relevant to you, you can just skip to the next lesson. There’s no rule about completing lessons in a certain order. In the screencap below, the dialogue is about buying a bus ticket. It even contains the filler words “um” and “well then”, so you can learn how to say these in the language you are learning. It might not be “proper”, but it really is real-world!
Content is Available Offline — So You Can Learn-As-You-Go
This is a huge plus. I could download a bunch of audio lessons onto my phone with the mobile app at home, then go for a long walk and play the lessons without using up my mobile data.
Personalised Learning Assignments from a Real Teacher
The big selling point of Premium Plus, the top-level subscription, is the 1-on-1 instruction with a real teacher. She sent me weekly assignments to complete, like the one below:
The assignments were a great idea. They really brought me beyond the standard lesson material and made me think more independently in my target language.
My Experience: What Could Be Better
Overall, my experience was excellent, and it easily achieves the highest rating possible for this review. That said, there were some niggles. With the Premium Plus subscription, I would have liked the tutor to have considered my time and availability, as well as my learning needs. The assignment topics were ideal for me, and appropriate for my level of learning. That said, they were sent weekly, and some weeks I was too busy to complete them. It would be cool if they could ask “When would you like to receive the next assignment?”. Flashcards are desktop only, unless you download an extra (paid) app. I love using Flashcards to study on my phone, and I would like to see mobile flashcards become a core Pod101 feature. The quizzes were sometimes too easy for me, and for this reason I eventually stopped using them. I like to be challenged when I’m learning a language. Overall, these are small niggles in a world class language resource.
Innovative Language Pod101 Review: Final Thoughts
How to Join
Innovative Language Pod101
As promised, here are the links for all the Innovative Language courses. Click on any language below to sign up for the Innovative Language Pod101 course. All courses come with a 7 day free trial of Premium features:
Most popular languages:
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