Founded in 2016, Rype is a membership-style online language learning program that offers users 30-minute lessons and conversations with native speakers and teachers. Members can book private language lessons on Rype’s website with language instructors that the company reviews and selects.
Rype offers users lessons in ten languages: Spanish, French, German, English, Mandarin, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Arabic, and Russian. Lessons are 30-minutes long and students meet with their teachers on Skype. This one-on-one conversation-style lesson is helpful for learners who like to ask questions, pick up local phrases, and need flexible lesson scheduling and commitment in order to learn effectively. The service can also prove useful for more advanced speakers who want a native-speaking conversation partner to help them expand their language skills.
Users purchase a subscription package that contains a specific number of hours each month which can be broken down into 30-minute lessons. Rype has three plans plus a six-month pre-paid option:
After a language learner has selected their monthly plan they gain access to Rype’s scheduling platform. Lessons can be scheduled any time of day and any day of the week, as long as an instructor is available at that time. Lesson plans will be customized to the users' needs and lessons can be added during the month as needed.
New users can try Rype for free with its seven-day trial to see if the program will fit their language learning goals. Users should remember to cancel before the seven days are finished or they will be charged the price of the monthly membership they pre-select.
Users are able to reschedule or cancel their scheduled lesson time up to three hours before the scheduled start. Rype also allows its subscribers to pause their subscription for one, two, or four weeks. Time off will be prorated on users' next invoice and their subscription will automatically become active at the end of the selected pause time.
Rype has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its new Rype GO app that will launch soon. It says the company is launching the app to complement its live lessons program with a core curriculum to follow, and to offer a language learning service that is more affordable and accessible to a larger customer base.
The app will combine curriculum with AI-powered conversation lessons. Rype GO’s AI-powered conversation lessons are designed to feel like a user is conversing with a real person. Visually it looks like a user is text messaging a friend combined with audio, video, and images that help it come to life. Most of the speaking lessons will start with an audio or video message that the user will respond to via audio (typing is also an option).
The app will also offer live language teaching. By fully integrating Rype GO with its teacher marketplace, teachers will know students' previous learning history, progress, and where they’re struggling specifically.
Most online language learning platforms that are similar to Rype require lessons that are one hour or longer. Rype’s emphasis on 30-minute lessons can be very helpful for learners looking for a shorter time commitment to fit their schedule or learning style.
Some users may not like that the Rype system is entirely browser-based. Many competitors offer app-based platforms which are convenient for learning on the go. One workaround is to use the Skype app for lessons. Rype seems to be aware of this growing need for an app-based system and has announced plans for its Rype GO app.
In comparison to some of its competitors, Rype has a more limited selection of teachers and languages. This in turn sometimes limits the times available for a user to schedule a lesson. Certain languages within the system appear to suffer from this limited selection more than others, so a user may wish to review this during their free trial. Other online language learning services also offer a larger selection of languages and teachers with varying prices per hour. Greater selection may help some users to find a teacher that is a better fit for them, their budget, and their schedule.
Online language learning systems can vary from full-flexibility with zero scheduling, to the fully schedule-based format that Rype uses. Because users must schedule lessons in advance this type of platform will work for those with a predictable, set schedule. If a potential users are looking to learn a language on their own schedule, the Rype system may not be a good fit. Other language learning systems do not require pre-scheduled lesson times.
Andrew H Montreal, QC
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Henry Lin Montreal, QC
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