ItalianPod101 Full Review (Unique Features)

Review of: Italianpod101

Use: Italianpod101 features learning tools and resources for Italian centered around audio lessons.

Effectiveness

Engaging podcasts help you learn words in context. But you'll have to practice speaking on your own

Price

Free content and monthly plans at $4 to $47 per month

Time Commitment

Each podcast is around 15 minutes long.

Ease of Use

Digital immersion without the tedious work

Structure

Podcasts are sorted by level of difficulty and subject.

I Like

  • Over 1,200 podcast lessons
  • Free content and affordable price
  • Lessons are fun and interesting
  • Built in flashcard system

I Don't Like

  • No speaking required
  • Limited community features

Summary: Italianpod101 Italian lessons are centered around audio lessons (podcasts). 

While Italianpod101 does have some free content, they are first and foremost a subscription site. While the free material will allow you to try out the podcasts, you will have to pay a monthly or yearly subscription if you want access to the bulk of the lessons.

Prices range from about $4 - $47 per month depending which level you choose. More expensive subscription levels have premium features not available at the basic level.

All in all Italianpod101 is great for learning Italian, though more advanced students may not find it as useful.

Still if you are still learning vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, or comprehension you’re like to get a lot of value out of this site (I definitely recommend it for developing your accent and listening to native speakers). 

Through Italianpod101’s app or on their website you’ll have access to their content wherever you go.

Subscription plans starting at $4 per month (Free plan available too)

Is Italianpod101 right for you?

Italianpod101 is a great option for any Italian learner from the absolute beginner to the upper intermediate levels. There are more beginner and mid-level lessons than there are advanced so if you’re already fairly comfortable with the language then this site may not be a great fit.

Though they do have some video lessons Italianpod101 is first and foremost an audio based site. So if you want to become more comfortable listening to native Italians then you should definitely check it out. Also, because the lessons are centered around scripted conversations, Italianpod101 as an effective and interesting way to learn new vocabulary and grammar.

If you’re looking for an Italian course that you can take with you and use wherever you go, then you’ll like Italianpod101’s mobile app. The app gives you access to all the site content and is available for Iphone, Ipad, and Android users at no extra cost.

Features​

Podcast episodes

Each podcast episode runs around 15 minutes (sometimes less, sometimes more). Every lesson has a conversation between two native Italian speakers that covers a particular topic from grammar, culture, to common Italian phrases.  

Italianpod101 provides well structured lessons around difficulty level and subject

Lifelike situations

The people behind the podcast go out of their way to put lifelike situations at the center of each lesson. The hosts begin every episode with a quick summary of the lesson and what it will cover. They often give some interesting grammatical tips as well.

Conversations are natural and interesting

Italian stands out from other audio courses in that the hosts usually do a good job of keeping the podcast engaging. They sometimes share personal stories or cultural insights. Their friendliness helps keep the material light and interesting.

Price

Subscription levels​

There are 3 subscription levels for Italianpod101: basic, premium, and premium plus. For all levels the more months you buy the cheaper the price is per month.

Basic gives you access to every podcast episode and a couple other basic features like lesson notes and checklists. This subscription level starts at $4 a month for $24 months and goes up to $8 a month for a single month.

Next is the premium plan. This will give you access to all the bonus features we mentioned earlier (flashcards, transcripts, etc). This plan will cost anywhere from $10 a month for $24 months to $25 per month for 1 month.

​Finally we have the premium plus plan. In addition to everything from the other subscription levels you also get a personal lesson plan and assessment from a teacher. Premium plus is the most expensive price level starting at $22.88 per month for 24 all the way up to $47 per month for 1 month. 

What's the best value?

The basic gives you the most bang for your buck. The premium level isn’t bad if you want the extra horns and whistles. However the Premium plus plan seems over priced. It’d be a better idea to sign up with a basic plan and use the difference to hire an Italian tutor on Italki.

Italianpod101's shortcomings​

Speaking isn’t necessary

As a learning tool Italianpod101 is great. But at the end of the day you can listen to all that Italianpod101 has to offer and never actually speak Italian. This is a problem common to most audio courses. You simply can’t replace the human element needed to develop fluency in another language.

No community​

​I wish the site had some feature like a discussion board or messaging system that could connect all the Italian learners who use it. Language learning is always better when done alongside other people.

Best way to use Italianpod101​

Study and review

At its best Italianpod101 is a great study and review tool. You can go through each lesson individually and pay special attention to any new words you come across. 

Put those words in Italianpod101’s flashcard system and then review them so you won’t forget them. If you do that while listening to one episode a day, chances are pretty high that you'll see your Italian improve. 

Listening & pronunciation​

The audio, lesson transcripts, and slow playback option make Italitanpod101 great for developing your Italian pronunciation. Single out the words you struggle with the most and use these features to dissect the sounds and mimic the native speakers. 

Make the most of your time

Italianpod101 is just about perfect for practicing Italian during the little periods of downtime you find throughout the day. Use the mobile app and some headphones to practice your new language whether you’re in the car, on the bus, or shopping at a store. All those minutes will add up and bring an extra boost to your learning.

What other people are saying about Italianpod101

 Donovan Nagel 

 mezzoguild.com 

quote-left

"I have mixed feelings about ItalianPod101.

For the earlier levels, there’s a tonne of good content that will keep low-level learners busy for a while.

Advanced: not so much.

There’s a lot of consistency in topics covered in the Beginner levels, but you’ll find that the Italian teachers exercise a lot of freedom in the higher level content.

This means that the content becomes really disorganized.

The recently-added Learning Paths feature definitely improves this however and helps to structure the content.

Overall I’d recommend creating a trial account before laying any money down."

 Kris Broholm 

 actualfluency.com 

quote-left


"ItalianPod101 is a great way to learn Italian online.

I've been using the Hungarian and Russian version for a while now and I love the fact that I can learn languages while I do the dishes, walk to the shops or even while working out in the gym.

The lessons are well-structured, not too long and contain the grammar you actually need without boring you to death.

They also teach you about cultural norms, including when to use the formal language and what the social norms are such as etiquette, tipping and just about anything else."

Alternatives to Italianpod101

Rocket Italian

Price

$150

Time commitment

20+ minutes a day 

Summary:

Rocket Italian is built around recorded audio in the form of dialogues. The dialogues have English explanations and usually teach the language in "chunks" or phrases versus individual words (this is great for conversational Italian). 

Rocket Italian is much more structured and a bit more comprehensive than Italianpod101.  Rocket Italian's real strength lies in it's well rounded approach to language learning that emphasizes reading and writing as well as speaking and listening. 

Price

Starts at $15 per month

Time commitment

5+ minutes a day 

Summary:

Fluentu is a site that helps you learn a language through native videos. Use in site flashcards, captions, and games to learn new words in context while watching Italian TV shows, movies, commercials, and more. It's a great way to push your listening skills and Italian vocabulary. 

Price

$150

Time commitment

30 minutes a day 

Summary:

Pimsleur is probably the second most popular language course behind Rosetta Stone. Pimsleur is entirely audio based and is specifically designed to develop your conversational skills.

They use a unique and effective question/recall/respond technique to get you on your feet in your new foreign language. With Pimsleur You'll learn a limited but functional vocabulary and have a good sense of pronunciation.

Pimsleur is the only audio course I know of that will help you practice Italian as if you were having a conversation with a native speaker.

Conclusion

Italianpod101 isn’t meant to be a full Italian language course and it shouldn’t be used as one. It shines brightest when used as a resource to help you practice Italian. It is an effective platform for pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar; but if you use it don’t forget to make time to talk with native speakers.

The site has a free week trial (no credit card needed), so it’s best to try out the site for yourself and see if you like it.

About the Author Chris J

I'm definitely an unlikely language learner. I failed Spanish in high school. I started learning German as a hobby while studying abroad. Long story short...and a couple languages later...I love language learning!

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