Editor’s Picks

The Four Best Online Language Learning Platforms That Aren’t Duolingo

By Cait Etherington
December 06, 2018

Millions of people around the world are already using Duolingo. While it works well enough and offers instruction in many different languages for free, Duolingo is by no means the only language learning platform on the market. Depending on your specific needs, it may also not be the best option. If you’re hoping to learn a new language, here are the four best online language learning platforms that aren’t Duolingo.

Four Best Online Language Learning Platforms


Best for people who want an affordable way to learn a new language with an experienced language tutor. 

If you’ve tried to practice Duolingo-style sentences such as “Le chat mange la pizza,” or just don’t think you’ll ever have a need to tell someone that “The cat eats the pizza,” you’ll likely welcome the opportunity to practice your  language with an experienced human language tutor. This is precisely what Preply offers. While Preply is a smart platform–it relies on AI to help match learners and tutors–its focus is on matching human learners and tutors around the world. On the platform, people seeking a language tutor can select a tutor based on language, hourly rate, birthplace, and availability. Potential learners can also view tutors’ past reviews to discover how many people they have already tutored on the platform and with what level of success. Tutors are ranked on the basis of motivation, interpersonal skills, strictness, methodology, effectiveness, and punctuality. Preply currently offers language instruction in 24 world languages and is constantly adding more tutors to their platform to diversify their language offerings. You can discover more about Preply here.


Best for people who want to practice a foreign language with a Native speaker in a fun and casual setting.

Tandem is also committed to putting human language learners in touch with Native speakers. Designed for mobile use, users generally praise Tandem for its great attention to user experience. This is because users post their interests–for example, yoga, hockey, or cooking–and then search for tutors in their desired target language who share these interests. While Tandem’s design is fun and casual, the company actually goes to great lengths to screen its language tutors. To tutor with Tandem, you must be a certified language tutor, and Tandem makes an effort to only choose tutors who demonstrate a high degree of knowledge and professionalism while also having the ability to work within Tandem’s fun and open structure.


Best for professionals who want to improve their English for business purposes.

While Preply and Tandem are both general language learning platforms, goFLUENT targets a specific audience: business professionals who want to improve their English-language skills. As a result, this online platform offers a range of specific services including eLearning, live lessons, and “eWriting,” which is a feature designed to provide comprehensive feedback on business professionals’ English-language documents.  With over 3000 videos and documents in their eLearning library and a highly professional team of online language tutors that are available 24/7 for businesses, goFLUENT is a great option.


Best for people who want to learn an obscure or endangered language. 

Interested in learning Malagasy, Aino, Ladino, Greko, or Aruba? If you are, you’ll likely find yourself on the Tribalingual site. In 2016, Inky Gibbens, at the time a PhD student, founded Tribalingual to help learners acquire some of the world’s most obscure languages. While Tribalingual is not entirely free, it is affordable (many courses can be completed for under £200 or $255 USD). The platform also focuses on offering language instruction in languages yet to find their way on to other platforms, including Duolingo, which is increasingly attempting to include more obscure and endangered languages. Gibbens launched Tribalingual on WordPress. Her major startup expense including purchased a domain name and getting access to G Suite. Over the past two years, the platform has continued to evolve and streamline to better respond to learners’ needs.