BaseLang vs italki: Choosing The Right Online Spanish Classes For You
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At BaseLang, potential students will sometimes ask us what exactly is the difference when it comes to BaseLang vs italki.
Before we dive into that, we’re going to give you a quick summary of italki.
(if you’ve already used italki, then feel free to skip this section)
What is italki?
italki is an online marketplace that helps people find language teachers from all over the world. Once you sign up to italki, you can find an online teacher for all major languages including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Mandarin – the list goes on.
Each class is conducted via video chat, one-on-one with a teacher – and can range from 30-90 minute sessions.
Any class material provided is at the discretion of each individual teacher, unlike BaseLang (we provide the materials to the teacher, thus everything is consistent no matter which teacher you take classes with).
Just like BaseLang, there are no group classes.
italki students can choose to have their class conducted by:
- Professional teachers – anyone who has a degree or extensive professional experience related to language teaching.
- Informal tutors – normally native speakers, who don’t need any experience in teaching.
italki classes are all priced per-hour.
The price per hour varies and is dependant on a number of factors. One of which being that professional teachers tend to charge more, while informal tutors are generally cheaper.
Each new italki student receives three trial lessons when they first sign up. Trial lessons are not free, but are 30 minute classes offered at a discounted rate per hour. Each trial lesson must be used with a different teacher.
According to italki, “trial lessons are usually discounted rates set by the teacher. This low price tag gives an incentive for both the student and teacher to show up”.
Furthermore, italki states that the purpose of trial lessons is “to give a way for students to get to know the system, not a way to get to know the teachers.”
In some cases, the availability of a trial rate is dependant on whether the teacher is new, if they have a low number of reviews and the country where they live.
And that is our quick rundown of italki.
Now, we’re going to run through the main differences between BaseLang and italki
BaseLang vs italki: What’s the difference?
At BaseLang, we pride ourselves on being the number one platform for learning Spanish for the real world.
We are going to examine five key areas that make BaseLang and italki different.
1. Streamlined Curriculum v Teacher Specific Lessons
italki is an online marketplace for finding independent teachers – meaning any class material or prep needs to be organized by each individual teacher, and you’re at the mercy of that quality. Some are good, some… not so much.
BaseLang is a company that employees over 200 Spanish tutors – and so each BaseLang tutor has been trained on the same streamlined curriculum, so that when you finish a class with one teacher, you can schedule a class with a different tutor and pick up exactly where you left off.
In addition to this, we keep an internal progress sheet on each student so that our tutors know which areas the student needs to work on.
A major advantage of having a streamlined curriculum is that our students are not dependant on one specific teacher, which gives them more flexibility to take classes on their schedule – not the teacher’s schedule.
We spent hundreds of hours creating what we feel is the perfect curriculum for those who want to speak Spanish fast, for the real world – not for academia.
Our “hacked” curriculum removes the boring, cumbersome theory that traditional schools tend to teach you way too early.
Instead, we prioritize teaching you how to speak – and our curriculum reflects this.
Not only that, but we are constantly improving things by making little tweaks based on constant feedback from our teachers, and the hundreds of students we teach every day.
The result of this is an efficient curriculum primed to take students to a conversational level as fast as possible. In addition to this, we have a content team who continue to create extra material to support students’ goals – including homework, benchmark tests and vocabulary flashcards.
2. Flexibility vs Teacher Dependant
Although nobody likes to cancel a class, inevitably, unexpected things will pop up from time to and as a result, classes sometimes need to be canceled.
If you need to cancel a class on italki, then you will likely lose any credits you paid for.
If you cancel 24 hours in advance then you may receive a refund or the option reschedule a class. However, this is at the teachers discretion which means in some cases, canceled classes will result in a loss of credits (money) – including those canceled 24 hours in advance.
At BaseLang, we realize that things happen and giving 24 hours notice is not always possible.
For this reason, we do not penalize students for canceling a class, ever.
We take it on good faith that students who need to cancel, will give as much notice as possible in order to free up the teacher’s slot for another student. Simple.
We trust our students to book what they plan on using and cancel as quickly as possible if something comes up, so they do exactly that.
But how does canceling a class affect the BaseLang teachers?
Our tutors are employees, not users of a marketplace or contractors paid per class. Which means that they are paid a salary for working a shift whether they have classes or not. So if you need to cancel a class, our tutors don’t lose any money.
Another advantage to employing tutors (vs independent contractors) is that there is a near-zero chance of BaseLang tutors canceling or rescheduling a class, since they work a set schedule.
And this brings me onto the next point.
The on-demand availability of classes is something that BaseLang students love.
Classes are booked in 30-minute slots, and to schedule classes for one hour or more, students simply book consecutive slots (e.g. 2 x 30-minute slots for a 1-hour class).
As an italki student, the schedule/availability is dependant on each individual teacher.
At Baselang, we have a set schedule – 6am to midnight Eastern Time US, 7 days a week.
This has allowed us to create a platform that caters to two types of students:
- Those who like to schedule classes in advance.
- Those who like to take classes on a last-minute basis, when they have spare time.
The result of this is that students have maximum flexibility when it comes to available classes.
So while you can book classes up to 5 days in advance (7 days with your “favorite teacher”), you can also book a last-minute class – often with less than 10 minutes notice.
Below is a screenshot of our scheduling page at the current time of writing (Friday, July 27 at 8:45am EST), and you can see that there are free slots available throughout the day – including one in the next 15 minutes.
4. Flat Price vs Price Per Hour
italki students are charged on a per hour rate, which is set by each individual tutor.
For online Spanish classes, italki’s hourly rate tends to be anywhere from $6-$30, depending on several factors – the location of the tutor, experience, how new he/she is the platform, their italki rating, whether they are categorized as teachers or informal tutors.
At BaseLang, you pay a flat rate of $179 per month for unlimited classes.
No strings, no hidden fees.
“But how can it be truly unlimited? There must be some catch?”
Let’s compare a BaseLang subscription to a gym membership.
Like most gyms, we have opening hours or a set schedule (6am to midnight Eastern Time US), but within our opening hours, you can use BaseLang as much as you want.
Each day new time slots are released at 3pm Eastern Time US, and these slots are booked on a first come first served basis.
As a result, some students use the platform for up to four hours a day, every day.
Other students use it less (though we encourage people to take lots of classes).
For us, it balances out.
Whatever category you belong to, you still pay the same flat fee per month.
It’s up to each individual student exactly how much value they get from having a BaseLang subscription that offers unlimited classes per month.
Of course, if you’re not getting enough value, or you want to take a break, or life simply gets in the way and your time is limited, then we also offer a BaseLang hourly subscription which includes 1 hour of classes for $9 per month (cheaper if you buy in bulk), so that you can keep your Spanish ticking over while you take a break.
A common problem with learning a new language is finding a teacher that you “click” with.
For whatever reason – be it teaching style, age, common interests – students tend to have a preference for some teachers above others.
That’s completely normal.
While both BaseLang and italki provide filters to help you select your tutor based on interests, with the latter, there is a still a risk that you’ll need to take several (paid) classes before you find a teacher that you like.
It’s even worse if you’re a complete beginner and never had a Spanish class in your life, as you won’t have any benchmark, or point of reference to compare a quality teacher vs an average teacher.
As a new BaseLang student, you get your first week trial for $1.
In that time, you can choose from a selection of over 200 tutors and schedule as many classes as you can fit in. To make things easier, our platform allows you to filter teachers by interests (sport, movies), teaching style, gender, and more.
If, for some reason you don’t find a tutor you like (which we imagine is unlikely) within the first week, then simply cancel your subscription and you be charged more than the original $1.
And if that’s not enough, in addition to your first week being just $1, we also have a 35-day negative-risk guarantee.
if at any point in the first 35 days, you don’t absolutely LOVE BaseLang, we’ll give you a full refund – plus $20 extra for wasting your time (policy terms here).
No hard feelings – we promise :)
Now you know the differences when it comes to BaseLang vs. italki.
Feel free to comment below if you have any questions.
If you are serious about learning Spanish, then click here to start your 7-day trial today for $1
We believe in transparency and if you’re still not sure about using BaseLang, then feel free to check out the below: