Here we discuss the differences and similarities between our methods here at TruFluency and the Italki method.
Both Italki and TruFluency are lesson-based. This means that the learner has the option to select a teacher who will guide them through the process of language learning.
Both these methods begin with selecting a teacher that’s right for you.
Choosing your teacher (which is the same as choosing your method of learning) is possibly one of the most important parts of the language-learning process. It is pivotal to choose a teacher that you not only get along with, but can also relate to – remember, you’ll be talking with this person for hundreds of hours, if not more.
On italki, anyone can put up their profile, whether they are an experienced teacher or just someone who wants to chat with someone across the world. There are Professional Teachers and Community Teachers. So think about a professional or just a friend who would like to help you learn some.
TruFluency teachers are vetted, interviewed, and the founder of TruFluency knows each of them, and has been working with them for many years. So they are tested and they have proven themselves very high quality instructors. Actually, TruFluency only accepts 2% of all applicants that apply. So the level of instructor is guaranteed very high. Also, the teachers have a TruFluency process to follow, so that the instructors are consistent in their methods.
Guarantee of Satisfaction
We were not able to find out if italki offers a guarantee.
TruFluency offers a guarantee of satisfaction after your first few lessons, or you can choose another instructor free of charge, or you can get a full refund. There is no risk. The only guarantee is fluency satisfaction.
What Do We Know About The Teachers Before Hiring?
Both platforms feature intros with a description of the teacher’s experience, along with if the teacher has a specialty, like business English, presentation coaching, or accent reduction. Along with that, the teacher will say what other languages they speak, so that you may choose a teacher who knows some of your first language.
Some instructors on italki will mention their method for teaching, but it is not mandatory.
TruFluency teachers will always use the TruFluency Bellieu Method, which comes with a goal-setting document that is filled out the first class, and The Bellieu Method focuses on insanely relevant lessons so that you can leave the class being able to use what you’ve learned immediately, being able to apply it right away.
Italki does have student reviews, but I am always wary of student reviews about language learning. How do they know what method is the best method for language acquisition? I find that most students just want to read and stay in a safe place for learning a language, which is how the high schools always teach language. So people are happiest when they are actually not learning as they should be.
Method of Language Acquisition
Method of teaching is the major difference between these two language learning platforms.
Italki’s website has little on exactly how their lessons are taught, since each teacher can teach however they want. So if you do not like one teacher’s method, then you can book a lesson with another teacher to see if you like another method better.
TruFluency, on the other hand, is very clear with their method. Founder Micah Bellieu created The Bellieu Method after decades of in the field language acquisition research, and learning Spanish, French and Japanese. She wanted to prove the method worked before bring it to her students, and then, she tested it with them over many years. The key to the Bellieu Method is relevancy. Instead of taking a generic language book off the shelf, we create customized lessons for exactly what you need to learn. Most textbooks have the same lessons, and most lessons do not correlate with adult learning or adult conversations. The other critical aspect of The Bellieu Method is a focus on comprehensible input, which means, we teach you to speak and listen first, just like your first language, using information that you can understand, digest and use in real life. Comprehensible input is based on Dr. Stephen Krashen’s language acquisition research, which is used in reputable language schools worldwide and even at the Department of Defense which trains high-level government officials to work abroad.
Where Does my Language Lesson Take Place?
On italki you can use their platform embedded in their website, or you can use Skype.
With TruFluency, you can use whatever platform that works best for you: Google Hangout, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, or your preferred.
Both companies have lessons online only.
How Does italki or TruFluency Help you Outside of Lessons?
Italki has a vast blog resource. Since each teacher has a different method, we cannot be sure of what is given as a resource outside of class. We took over 700 hours on italki, and for the most part, the student was in charge of figuring out how the lessons would go. The teachers were all very laid back and did not have a specific plan of attack on how to get the student fluent. 1 out of the 20 teachers we tried started with 2 well-known textbooks, but some of the methods were very rote, and we did not feel like we were learning anything. For French, we were sometimes
TruFluency has a private Facebook group to help encourage students and give some extra tips and accountability. The founder of TruFluency, Micah Bellieu, has a weekly video where she shares ways of getting your language listening hours in without having to sit at a table and study for days. Actually, she is really against studying, and she shares how she learned Spanish, French and Japanese by NOT studying at all, but by acquiring the language.
Also TruFluency instructors will give you as much or as little homework as you are able to do. When we say homework, we’re talking about reading fascinating books, watching enthralling movies, funny shows, Youtube channels and more. REAL language acquisition happens during real life, not studying. Also, you will get a progress report every 3 months, with new goals for the next 3 months. You and your instructor will decide on these set goals together. If needed, TruFluency will also assist you in signing up for a professional test, like the CEFR level test, so that you can have an official certification for your employer.
Booking Your Lesson and Lesson Packages/Subscriptions
Here lies another difference between these language learning options.
Italki operates on a lesson by lesson basis or packages of 5 or 10 hours – meaning that you can start and stop whenever you like and no one will ever bother you to use your package, except for an email here and there when your package is going to expire – yes, your language lessons can expire, but you have a year, so it’s not worrisome at all. There is flexibility in deciding when you want to learn – just go to the teacher’s calendar and book a time he or she has available.
TruFluency offers subscriptions ranging from 4, 8, and 12 hours a month that allow continuation for learners. You will be auto billed monthly, which keeps you on track and gives a little pressure to stay on schedule. You can choose your class time on your teacher’s schedule, and you can also request times not shown by asking the teacher to open up other days and times. Italki also has this feature.
We believe consistency and accountability is 90% of language learning, since it takes hundreds of hours to go from one level to the next. We want to make sure to give some pressure to students to keep going. You will NEVER lose your credits on TruFluency, and if you want to take a break one month to catch up on using your credits, simply cancel your subscription, use your credits, then start your subscription again next month, or whenever you want.
IF you need more credits during a month, because you have vacation time or extra time for class, you can simply upgrade your subscription or email the site to buy a few extra hours.
The more hours you take a month, the less per hour.
Italki most definitely has TruFluency beat on price. TruFluency only guarantees professional, native speaking instructors that have a high level of expertise in language acquisition and 5+ years of experience teaching full time. Italki has community teacher and professional teachers. We can see that some community teachers give trial lessons for $1.
TruFluency has $35-trial lessons with a guarantee that you are satisfied or your money back.
Italki professional teachers cost up to $55 per hour, but most are around $20 – $35 per hour.
TruFluency has subscriptions from $54 to $62 per hour.
Scheduling Lessons and Teacher Availability
TruFluency has exceptionally clear instructions on what to do after making your subscription choice. Operating on a redemption code basis, students are given one code which they use to schedule their classes whenever they’d like. You schedule by opening the teacher’s calendar and selecting the date and time that works best for you. Students also have the option of having recurring classes which saves you from forgetting in the future, but also creates a schedule – having a set schedule has been proven to help with memory and retention skills. TruFluency teachers are also incredibly reliable. They work solely for TruFluency and have been working with TruFluency for many years.
Teacher availability on italki is truly hit or miss. We’ve had teachers suddenly disappear and never be heard from again after taking classes with them for months. Or a schedule drastically changed and they are no longer available. Of course, this can happen with any teacher, but since italki teachers are often working part time, it seems to happen a lot more often. And then we’re stuck interviewing teachers all over again, which usually takes a month to find another good one.
Trufluency teachers are guaranteed to be available, and if one ever has to change jobs or schedules (never happened in 10 years), then you will be set up with another high quality teacher. You do not have to search for another teacher for a month. The work is done for you since they are all vetted beforehand.
Benefits to Both TruFluency and Italki
Deciding on which of these language companies to work with really comes down to time and money.
If you have the time to spend months trying out teachers to see which one might have a good method, then go with italki. If $54 per hour makes you cringe, then definitely go with italki. You should not go into debt trying to get fluent in another language.
If you’ve got the time and are on a tighter budget, then italki is 100% the company you should go with. Just make sure to be clear on the method of learning, keep reading up on Stephen Krashen’s comprehensible input techniques, and ask your teacher to teach you the RIGHT Way. And don’t be bullied into boring textbooks just because it’s easier for the teacher to lesson plan. Ask the teacher to prepare you for REAL conversations that you need to have in your REAL life.
Now, if $54 per hour doesn’t make you blink, and if you have a very specific goal, then we would suggest TruFluency. Yes, it costs more, but you will have accountability, support, outside of class homework (relevant and useful homework, not grammar drills) and a kick butt method that ensures fluency.
Also, if you don’t want to spend time trying to find a new tutor every few months at the time you want to take the class, then TruFluency can easily support you in this, since all teachers are professionals and vetted, and they guarantee a great fit at the day and time you want.
Visit our website and schedule your trial lesson. You’ll never know if TruFluency is right for you if you don’t try.