Our Review of Fluenz
Fluenz stands out from other language learning apps for its emphasis on teaching native English speakers as well as its attention to detail. Unlike many apps that rely solely on gamification and repetitive exercises, Fluenz provides a comprehensive, if pricey, experience with a focus on real-life conversations and meaningful content.
Ease of Use9
Engagement and Motivation7
Value for Cost8
Fluenz is a language-learning platform that specializes in teaching a few world languages specifically to native speakers of English.
It offers expertly crafted videos, quality content, and a high level of flexibility, allowing learners to begin using a new language almost immediately. There aren’t many languages on offer, though, and the price of Fluenz is higher than many other alternatives. We think you’ll love it if you are seeking hybrid learning approach that integrates elements of video, audio, reading, writing, and conversation.
Read our full Fluenz review below.
Table of Contents
- What is Fluenz?
- How much does Fluenz cost?
- How does Fluenz work?
- The Fluenz curriculum
- Video tutorials deepen learning and provide a strong framework
- Fluenz Workouts are fun, beautiful, and effective…but not exactly unique
- Real-time feedback
- Flexibility and convenience
- Other Fluenz features
- Bottom line – Can you learn a language with Fluenz?
What is Fluenz?
The Fluenz approach is centered on well-produced videos featuring a “tutor” who introduces new vocabulary, contextualizes grammar, and guides Lessons. Learners then practice through activities called “Workouts” between videos that feature reading, writing, and speaking exercises, each building toward proficiency.
What languages does Fluenz offer?
Compared to other language learning apps and software, Fluenz offers a relatively small collection of world languages. Fluenz offers Courses in seven languages:
Chinese (Mandarin with Pinyin)
Spanish (Latin American)
How much does Fluenz cost?
At the time of this article’s publication, Courses on Fluenz are available for one-time payments (instead of subscriptions, which are common with many other language learning apps). German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French are each broken into five levels which can be purchased separately or bundled together.
- Level 1: $187
- Level 2: $187
- Levels 1+2: $258
- Levels 1+2+3: $308
- Levels 3+4+5: $320
- Levels 1+2+3+4+5: $408 (sometimes discounted to $398)
Mandarin courses only have three levels, and you must purchase Levels 1 and 2 as a bundle.
- Level 1+2: $258
- Level 3: $187
- Levels 1+2+3: $318
Fluenz doesn’t offer a free trial or demo. They do, however, offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
How does Fluenz work?
Fluenz co-founder Sonia Gill says, “Our program recreates the experience of a personal tutoring session.”
That’s sort of true.
While certainly not as customizable or personal as real-life private lessons, like when you work with a tutor on Wyzant, Fluenz adequately simulates the pace and style of one-on-one learning, using methods that feel modern without simply gamifying the whole thing (the way Duolingo does).
The Fluenz curriculum
The platform breaks language content into a series of “Courses” that simulate real-life scenarios, enabling learners to quickly acquire practical conversational skills.
Courses (like Italian 2) are broken into Lessons (1, 2, 3, etc.). Lessons are composed of video tutorials and “Workouts” (activities and exercises that include listening, speaking, and writing).
Content on Fluenz builds purposefully on material learned in previous Lessons in the Course. So, before you learn to give a complicated coffee order at a restaurant you’ll learn all the vocabulary and grammar necessary step by step first. Progress markers show exactly what you’ve completed, and even though progress is intended to be linear, it’s easy to go back and practice things from earlier Lessons anytime you want.
Video tutorials deepen learning and provide a strong framework
Fluenz integrates video tutorials hosted by a “Tutor” as the cornerstone of its language learning method. True, this isn’t an authentic one-on-one tutoring experience; it obviously lacks real-time interaction, the ability to ask a tutor questions, and the foundation of an interpersonal relationship. Despite that, we found video tutorials in Fluenz to be enriching and engaging.
Carefully designed to replicate real-life situations, Fluenz video tutorials immerse learners in authentic language usage, encompassing intonation, gestures, and cultural nuances. Visual graphics add depth, aiding learners in comprehending the intricacies of a new language.
The production quality and audio are exceptional. Tutors deliver clear explanations and demonstrations. The initial pacing can feel slow, but as the content becomes more challenging, the pacing becomes a little quicker.
Acting as language mentors, tutors provide valuable insights and tips, guiding learners to improve their skills at a natural cadence. We found that observing a tutor’s pronunciation and intonation provided a realistic model for us to to emulate and practice alongside when learning Italian.
Fluenz Workouts are fun, beautiful, and effective…but not exactly unique
Each Lesson consists of video tutorials that feed into Workouts. They’re the core practice method on Fluenz. We felt that Fluenz’s Workouts encouraged a fun type of spaced repetition, one of our favorite ways to practice language. Plus, they’re easy to revisit, making the learning experience highly flexible.
Workout exercises and activities are designed to cement concepts and address common issues that English speakers face while picking up a new target language. Everything is presented with detailed explanations in English, which is different from immersive methods employed by other language programs like Rosetta Stone.
Workouts begin by asking the learner to play a dialogue three times:
- The first playthrough uses subtitles only in the target language.
- The second playthrough includes subtitles in both the target language and English.
- The third playthrough presents the dialogue without subtitles (audio-only).
Listening and following along to the dialogue first using only subtitles in the target languages creates an opportunity to zero-in on inflections in the voices of the narrators and hear pronunciation in context. We found these dialogues to be particularly helpful in learning how words in a sentence flow together, which helped us break a bad habit of placing audible “blank spaces” between each word when speaking in Italian.
Adding English subtitles to the dialogues ensures you are understanding the exchange correctly.
The third time, Fluenz presents the dialogue in audio-only format, an excellent way to train your ears to pick up subtleties in the language and learn to rely on and trust what you hear without relying on written translations.
The words and phrases from the initial dialogue are then incorporated into subsequent vocabulary, speaking, listening, reading, and conversation Workouts.
These Workouts incorporate a variety of images, contexts, and scenarios designed to help learners to connect their new vocabulary in practical, everyday situations. They’re similar to language minigames on other apps like Rosetta Stone and Duolingo, but still feel fresh and stay relevant to the material covered in a Lesson. And like everything in Fluenz, the presentation is beautiful and non-distracting.
Fluenz offers dynamic speaking exercises that empower learners to develop their speaking skills. These exercises provide opportunities for learners to first listen to words and phrases in the target language then practice pronunciation, intonation, and fluency through interactive dialogues and role-playing scenarios.
Just like the other Workouts, these start basic and build to more complexity as the Workout progresses.
In Fluenz listening Workouts learners hear clips of words and phrases from the Lesson and type their translations. This is a basic exercise replicated on many popular language-learning apps, so it doesn’t make Fluenz unique. However, the audio is crystal clear, and we found the way these Workouts gradually built on top of each other to be very helpful in both retaining vocab and also solidifying concepts in grammar and syntax.
Exactly what it says on the tin, Fluenz reading Workouts ask learners to read words and phrases in English then type them correctly in the target language (and vice versa). This isn’t a revolutionary approach to language learning, but we think these Workouts create excellent opportunities to drill vocabulary we pick up during the Lesson. They’re also a great method of practicing typing in a new language.
Fluenz’s conversation practice Workouts recreate authentic conversations, immersing learners in a dynamic and interactive experience.
We think these Workouts provide a clean and easy-to-understand framework for learners to develop practical communication skills. Practicing through conversation workouts over the span of around 4 weeks definitely left us with the ability to navigate diverse real-life situations with ease.
One of Fluenz’s most helpful features is providing feedback during the learning process. Learners receive individualized guidance and corrections during Workouts as they progress, ensuring they develop accurate pronunciation and usage.
We think this makes for an effective experience. The way our own “mistakes” were presented helped us refine our skills and focus down on things we were consistently missing, which built a lot of confidence in our real-world language usage. We would have loved to see a more comprehensive way to check our progress from a more birds-eye view, but real-time guidance still felt purposeful and helped us understand our progress adequately.
Flexibility and convenience
Fluenz is great for on-the-go language learners. It offers offline access to Course content on both mobile, tablet, and desktop, enabling learners to access their lessons anytime, anywhere, no Wi-Fi required. This goes a long way in allowing busy language learners to fit language learning into their schedules.
Other Fluenz features
In addition to guided video tutorials and Workouts, Fluenz offers a few other useful resources.
Fluenz Flashcards are a cut above
Flashcards have long been a workhorse of the language learner, and this platform doesn’t disappoint. Fluenz’s Flashcards are a powerful tool for reinforcing vocabulary in your target language.
With options for “old school” practice (where words in English appear and you guess the correct equivalent in the target language) and writing practice (where you type the answer into a field on the flashcard), this feature helps solidify new concepts and words in a super-targeted way.
We find Fluenz’s focus on accurate spelling and accent marks in its flashcards sets it apart from other apps like Anki. It’s quite helpful for learning to write in languages that use special characters or have words that are spelled identically but have different meanings depending on the accent (like the accented è in Italian).
There’s even audio pronunciation for each card, making Fluenz flashcards more of a hybrid audio/writing/reading exercise than a typical experience. We love the way these flashcards felt to use.
Fluenz Flashcards are included with a purchase of a Fluenz Course.
Fluenz Spanish Immersion
Fluenz Immersion programs offer language learners immersion experiences in the Spanish language, led by exceptional instructors. There are two basic kinds of immersion options, one in person and one online. We didn’t participate in either of these additional options but think they’re outstanding add-ons to an already powerful language product.
Spanish immersion trips
Who doesn’t dream of becoming a fluent Spanish speaker in destinations like Mexico City, Oaxaca, Puebla, Chiapas, Barcelona, Bogota, and Medellin? This is an intensive language-learning option for the learner with deep pockets.
In addition to all the course material needed, Fluenz also provides 24/7 concierge and driving services, meals in Michelin-starred restaurants, private museum visits, and opportunities to listen to talks given by literary and cultural figures.
The Fluenz Spanish Immersion program is extremely pricey: between $6,535-$6,920 per participant. While we didn’t have the pleasure of taking a week-long vacation, this might be a perfect way to splurge while enriching your life with language immersion.
Online language immersion
For learners who prefer the comfort of their own homes, Fluenz also offers one-on-one online immersions. Currently, these courses are available for Spanish only.
Described by the brand as “The Most Intensive Online Spanish Program in the World”, Spanish learners first take an assessment and then work with language tutors with degrees in linguistics, education, and the humanities. You’ll spend 30 hours in 90-minute one-on-one Zoom sessions using the Fluenz method as we’ve described above. If you’re the type of learner who needs a personal one-on-one environment, Fluenz’s online Spanish immersion courses may be perfect for you.
Keep in mind that online immersion is not included in a Fluenz Course purchase. The fees are:
30-hour Comprehensive Track: $3,277
15-hour Fast Track: $1,815
Bottom line – Can you learn a language with Fluenz?
Absolutely. In fact, it’s how we originally learned Italian. Fluenz is a powerful and easy-to-use system for language learners at any level, despite the fact that the platform offers only a limited number of world languages. Lessons and Workouts are seamlessly married into an enjoyable learning experience, working in sync to make a target language immediately accessible.
We found the price to be on the high side when compared to many other language-learning apps, but consider the depth of content and the overall experience to be well worth the cost. We recommend Fluenz if you are seeking hybrid approach that makes excellent use of video, audio, and lots of different types of language exercises.
– Jay Pike is a writer and artist living in Chicago. He speaks English, Italian, some Spanish, a little Greek, even less French, and approximately five words of Dutch.
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