image: Duolingo green owl logo from Google Play store
I feel like I should start this post off with some context; I was raised bilingual, speaking English at home and speaking only French at school and have always been very fond of learning new languages. I am currently a Language and Intercultural Relations student in University, so I have had a fair amount of experience with Duolingo to brush up on my Spanish at the start of every semester, and learning German and the occasional Dutch as a method of procrastination. (May as well be a productive procrastinator, right?)
Duolingo is an online language learning platform run through its very own website and app. The platform offers language lessons and activities for 23 different languages and 5 more in the making. Not only that, but they offer these 23 language lessons in over 30 different languages to make the platform useful to people world-wide and not only restricting the lessons to english speakers.
I am a personal fan of the program. It makes learning a new language easy and fun (even for those who aren’t a language junkie like I am). The platform allows you to create an account and track your level of fluency in each language you are studying, I am currently a measly 12% fluent in german, but it’s a start. The program starts off with very basic lessons and as you keep practicing, repeating lessons, completing levels, etc., more lessons become available; Duolingo has succeeded in making learning a new language feel like a game. Each lesson starts with a brief on the grammar and vocabulary that will be touched upon and then a series of 10-20 questions to test your knowledge. The questions are mainly written and accompanied with vocal prompts so it helps us to learn both the spoken and written aspects of the language at the same time.
The platform keeps track of daily practice streaks, and sends you daily reminders to keep practicing in order to not loose progress and keep all this new knowledge fresh in our minds. Daily practice is the best way to learn and constantly improve on language skills.
I believe this platform could be used as a model for any kind of teaching. Overall, people learn better when they and are tested more frequently on a little bit at a time rather than have two major exams worth most of your grade. I really cannot fault the program and how it s made. I feel like it is very easy to use and works very well for both complete beginners and intermediate learners.
The exercises are very comprehensive and encompass both written and verbal testing, which is the main flaw in most programs. I honestly don’t think there is anything I would change about the language-learning platform. I recommend it to all my friends because I find it is actually effective in helping people learn new languages and helping people maintain them over time.