The High Tech Society

A Review of Duolingo – The Free Online & App Based Language Learning Platform

REVIEWS

Duolingo – The App Based Language Learning Platform

There are hundreds of language learning platforms around the web ranging from Rosetta Stone to individual language courses, offered for free and for a subscription free. Duolingo is one of the free options, and if you’re accustomed to the quality of most free things on the Internet, that should be enough to have you backing away slowly. The majority of free language programs are user recorded, terrible quality, and often offer very little value in exchange for your time. But, Duolingo somehow manages to stand out, and even stands alone as one of the better language app programs available, if you have a budget.

What is DuoLingo

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Duolingo is an app and browser platform that you can access from your mobile or your computer. The platform works similarly to Rosetta Stone in that you hear someone speaking, and click on the correct answer, or type it in. You practice reading, writing, and hearing, but no speaking, which is DuoLingo’s main disadvantage.

The program allows you to progress through skills, and offers rewards in the form of Lingots which you can spend in the Lingot store. Your goal is 50 experience points per day, which equates into about five lessons which range from 3 to 5 minutes each, depending on how much time you spend on each question.

With no speaking practice, DuoLingo doesn’t quite compare to Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur, but it does complement Pimsleur a great deal.

Languages

Duolingo only offers a limmited number of languages, but they are adding on to those. Examples include Dutch, Spanish, German, Irish, Danish, Italian, Portugese, Welsh, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, French, Russian, Polish, Esperanto, and Hindi. All of these languages are taught from English rather than from another language, which makes Duolingo primarily aimed at western audiences.

Learning Format

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Duolingo introduces you to a series of words and theories, including grammar, sentence structure, pronunciation, and word usage, and then allows you to practice using those words in different settings. There are tools to report errors in case they exist, as well as a very comprehensive forum and discussion room.

You study an average of 15 minutes per day (or longer if desired) and learn something new each day, while practicing skills you learned previously. Each lesson is broken down into bite size elements, that make it easier to remember what you learned. You’re also rewarded for consistency, and can share your accomplishments socially, or invite your friends to DuoLingo to compete.

Review of Dueling

With a great deal of learning options, short lessons, easy to repeat coursework, and audio/visual reinforcement for words, Duolingo definitely stands out as one of the better online language learning platforms. It’s not perfect. In fact, it would be considerably better with the inclusion of spoken audio practice, or by pairing learners up with other learners in their language group for practice. However, Duolingo relies on their translation module and their sales to schools to fund the website, so what they already offer is plenty.

If you want to get a complete grasp of the language, DuoLingo probably won’t get you there. But, when paired with inexpensive language learning solutions (like Pimsleur’s audio courses) or real world practice, it definitely offers enough to lay the foundations for speaking, understanding, and reading the language, which is more than some paid programs can offer. It also offers convenience, in that you can easily practice it in public transport on your way to work, which makes it a great choice, even if you have other language learning tools.