AIL Madrid is probably the most innovative specialized Spanish language School, so from 2015, our teaching team has been creating learning materials, interactive exercises and communicative activities to move the fun and effectiveness of face-to-face teaching into the virtual classroom.
When the pandemic started, AIL Madrid was already in perfect position to launch its hugely successful live online classroom. Along the last 12 months, the virtual classrooms have been so refined that the AIL Madrid virtual classroom now all but matches the full immersion courses enjoyed by Spanish language students who travel to the country in which the language is spoken in its native tongue
One of AIL Madrid’s principles is to help its Spanish language students to help themselves; and as a market leader in Spanish language teaching, AIL Madrid have drawn up a list of some of the best apps to help learn Spanish that may be useful as a supplementary aid for students learning Spanish.
Not even the best Spanish language app is going to teach you Spanish anything as effectively as learning either in school or in the live online AIL virtual classroom. However, there are a number of pretty decent apps that can assist with different learning objectives.
Apps to learn Spanish we recommend
50langauges is one of the best apps to help learn Spanish for beginners. For basic vocabulary, grammar and simple phrases, this free app works pretty well. Pronunciation lessons, vocabulary, and memory games such as pairing up pictures to words make 50langauges a simple to use, enjoyable app that offers good supplementary value and costs nothing!
Drops is a well-designed language learning app that uses word puzzles and mnemonic association to make it feel like you’re playing a game rather than tackling a chore. Drops is helpful for improving vocabulary and offers a broad range of topics to choose from. The quality of sound and pronunciation are good, and the hand drawn images for picture/word matching are appealing on the eye and helpful for the user to memorise vocabulary. One problem with Drops is that unless you’re willing to pay for the app, you’ll only be able to use the free version for five minutes a day to access content. The paid for version of the app allows users to spend as much time as they like on Drops and it’s currently priced at around 10 euros a month. Also, Drops only teaches you one verb form, so you’ll have to use other apps to conjugate verbs in Spanish.
Duolingo is probably the best-known language learning support app on the market but not necessarily the best. You can either buy the ad free version of the app for around 10 euros a month, or just go for the free ad supported version. Duolingo has far less content than Babbel (see below) and as it relies on volunteer contributors for supplying content, it can, at times turn up some rather weird Spanish translations! Duolingo uses listening exercises, flashcards, and multiple-choice questions to help students remember or learn words and phrases. It also includes a handy community feature that enables users to connect with fellow Spanish language students.
Babbel is a reasonably good app for helping students to memorise Spanish words and phrases. It works by getting the user to repeat the same word or phrase over and over again until it becomes fixed in the memory. Such constant repetition can frankly become a little boring over time! But Babbel is quite effective at drumming in various useful day to day Spanish words and phrases. Its interface is quite similar to the Duolingo app and heavy advertising has made it popular among Spanish language students as a supplement to their face-to-face Spanish learning either in class or live online in the AIL virtual classroom. The Babbel app contains a lot of content and is a useful aid for beginners and more advanced Spanish language students. The app currently costs around 10 euros per month. Just bear in mind that matching words to images and repeating this over and over again can become just a bit dull!
Memrise is essentially a vocabulary app, though some of its features, such as flashcards and listening features, are similar to Duolingo. One of Memrise’s most appealing aspects is ‘Learn With Locals’ that pairs words and phrases with videos of native Spanish speakers talking. The Pro version costs around 10 euros per month, but if you’re prepared to put up with the adverts, you can download it for free, although users of the free app aren’t able to access all the activity features of the Pro version.
The best apps to help learn Spanish are a useful supplement to face-to-face in-school or live online Spanish classes. They can all help in their different ways by improving students’ vocabulary and providing students with useful phrases. However, don’t be deceived into thinking that you will ever learn Spanish by using an app alone. You won’t! The best apps to help learn Spanish will never replicate or match the specialised, teacher taught, live Spanish language courses available to students at AIL Madrid. Language apps must always be considered a secondary language resource, as in order to learn Spanish, it is essential that all four language learning objectives are met: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Only in the classroom will students learn to master each of these.