Spanish, a Romance language that developed in the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain) of Europe, is the native language of about 460 million people.
If you’ve considered learning to speak this useful language, read our review about SpanishPod101—one of the most comprehensive language-learning programs by Innovative Languages.
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SpanishPod101 Review: Summary
If you are looking for a quick and entertaining way to take on learning to speak Spanish, SpanishPod101 might be the right program for you. It includes one of the most extensive collections of Spanish lessons of any program. The best part is that when you sign up, you automatically get a free 7-day Premium subscription trial.
Along with access to hundreds of video lessons and podcasts, you will find downloadable lesson plans to print out and go over later. Other features of your free Premium trial period include:
- Access to over 300 hours of Spanish lessons
- Access to the SpanishPod101 app for mobile use
- Lesson notes with detailed explanations of grammar
- Multiple learning paths including the guided comprehensive pathway
- Daily mini-lessons and Word of the Day
- Variety of learning tools including flashcards and quizzes
Ultimately, you can choose between three monthly subscription levels including Basic, Premium and Premium PLUS. Each level grants access to more features including learning tools, voice recordings and even one-on-one instruction.
Pros of SpanishPod101
Pro #1: Huge Lesson Library
You will not run out of or want for more lessons. SpanishPod101 has massive amounts of lessons from which to choose resulting in hundreds of hours of videos and podcasts. This is one of the largest collections of lessons in any language program.
Pro #2: Grammar is Emphasized
Learning another language without learning key concepts of grammar does not make much sense if you truly want to speak the language. Not only do instructors provide details about correct grammar during lessons, but you can also find lesson notes for further explanations.
Pro #3: Spanish is Increased as Lessons Advance
As you advance through the lessons, less and less English is used until most of the Advanced lessons are taught primarily in Spanish. In this sense, the lessons grow with you in your understanding of Spanish. Another perk is that you’re introduced to both Latin American and Iberian Spanish.
Cons of SpanishPod101
Con #1: Geared Toward Beginner to Intermediate Speakers
SpanishPod101 does not have as extensive a library of lessons for more advanced speakers. If you are wanting to enhance fluency or learn more about different aspects of Spanish cultures around the world, it will be harder to find here.
You can see the somewhat limited (at least in comparison with Beginner/Intermediate) selection for Advanced learners here:
That said, we recommend that Advanced learners graduate to consuming native material on a regular basis, so this may be a non-issue.
Con #2: Non-Essential Information Within Lessons
Both video and podcast lessons offer a decent amount of explanation and translation, but the instructors often chitchat amongst themselves. This can make lessons a bit more intriguing for some, but for others it can become monotonous.
Features of SpanishPod101
Dashboard and Pathways
You will be taken to your dashboard whenever you log into SpanishPod101. This is where you can keep track of your progress, upgrade your learning level, change your monthly subscription, access learning pathways and find the latest news.
Learning Pathways are sets of similar lessons grouped together for easier studying. You can choose to start with the curated pathway that guides you in an orderly and consistent manner, or choose from many of the other pathways including 3-Minute Mexican Spanish, Dining Out: Iberian Spanish or Life in Spain. Add as many pathways as you wish to your dashboard for easy access anytime.
Spanish Podcast Lessons
Audio lessons, or podcasts, offer a great way to hear the pronunciation of Spanish as it is in real life. Words and phrases are pronounced slowly so you can decipher individual syllables, and then faster for a better idea of how a native speaker talks. You will find lesson transcripts with notes following the lesson, so you can see what you have just heard.
Spanish Video Lessons
Video lessons allow you to watch and hear Spanish pronunciations. Words are brought up on the screen as they are spoken, so you can also see how they look. Speakers talk slowly in beginner lessons and faster in advanced lessons. Like audio lessons, you are given transcripts to go over after the video.
Other Learning Tools
Interactive flashcards offer a fun way to beef up your vocabulary. You will hear a word spoken in Spanish and see a picture depicting the word. You are to determine its English equivalent. You can keep track of which ones you got right or wrong.
Word and Phrase Lists
These lists provide you with up to thousands of common Spanish words and phrases and offer you a quick reference guide.
You can record your own pronunciation of words and phrases to compare alongside the instructors. This can help give you an idea of where you need to improve.
As mentioned, you will find transcripts at the end of each and every lesson to review. This is an excellent method to help cement the lessons into your mind.
Who Should Buy SpanishPod101?
SpanishPod101 is a great starting point for most people wanting to learn Spanish. Those who would find SpanishPod101 the most beneficial include:
- those who want to begin speaking Spanish quickly for business or travel
- those who are highly motivated, self-starters
- those who are comfortable with independent study
- those who do not have time to attend a regular class
Who Shouldn’t Buy SpanishPod101
Since everyone learns in a different manner, it is hard for one single language program to work for everyone. People who might not benefit from SpanishPod101 include those who:
- Need a structured classroom setting for optimal learning
- Can already speak Spanish and want more instruction
- Need one-on-one help
SpanishPod101 vs. Competitors
A fair SpanishPod101 review would not be complete without some contrasts and comparisons to their biggest competitors. You will find a large selection of both free and paid programs for learning to speak Spanish with a simple internet search. Though we don’t believe in equating price to quality, we find many of the free programs like Duolingo to be lacking in grammatical explanation and work better as supplementary resources in conjunction with other programs.
SpanishPod101 vs. Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone began the language learning program with CDs and textbooks. Now, they are available on most mobile devices and desktops just like SpanishPod101. Also, like SpanishPod101, you have the option of learning both Latin American Spanish and Iberian Spanish. Unlike SpanishPod101, these are considered separate languages and therefore must be purchased separately.
Rosetta Stone Spanish lessons are around 10 minutes in length and you can access them on-the-go. They claim that their contextual lessons and interactive activities will advance your Spanish quickly. You must pay for a minimum of three months in advance ($79) and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee.
SpanishPod101 vs. Rocket Spanish
Rocket Spanish is a course offered by RocketLanguages that promises to take you from beginner to mid-intermediate Spanish speaker. Like SpanishPod101, it offers comprehensive coverage of grammar, voice recognition and culture lessons. It can also be accessed on most devices to allow for learning wherever you are.
Rocket Spanish offers three levels of learning tools. You pay per level instead of per month. For example, the Beginner Level I is a flat fee of $149.95. Purchasing all three levels in advance yields the greatest discount.
There are three subscription levels on top of the free lifetime account. Each monthly subscription grants you access to any of the four expertise levels including Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. The more months you pay for in advance, the greater the discount off the monthly subscription price.
$8/month $2.80/month (using our coupon link)
- Unlimited access to an extensive collection of audio lessons
- Access on smartphones, tablets and desktops
- PDF lesson notes you can print
$25/month $7/month (using our coupon link)
The Premium Subscription includes all the Basic Subscription features plus:
- Interactive quizzes
- Audio transcripts of lesson notes
- Thousands of common words list and a word bank
- Bonus content
Premium PLUS Subscription
$47/month $16/month (using our coupon link)
The Premium PLUS Subscription includes all the Basic and Premium Subscription features plus:
- Access to a native Spanish speaking teacher for one-on-one instruction
- Personalized learning pathway built for you
SpanishPod101 Review: Conclusion
Whether utilizing the SpanishPod101 app on your smartphone or your computer, most learners should find this program easy to do at your own pace. We think that SpanishPod101 is an excellent starting point for those seeking fluency in Spanish.
All in all, SpanishPod101 is a good quality, comprehensive learning program for anyone seriously considering studying Spanish.