Duolingo offers their language learning platform in the form of an online website and a mobile app, both of which stay synchronized with your progress. Duolingo has received significant recognition, including iPhone App of the Year (2013) and Google’s Best of the Best (2013 and 2014).
Duolingo promotion cites “an independent study conducted by the City University of New York and the University of South Carolina” which concludes that “an average of 34 hours of Duolingo are equivalent to a full university semester of language education.”
Currently Duolingo is available to English speakers for learning Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, French, German, Irish, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Ukrainian. The following are in various stages of course preparation and testing: Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Klingon, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Vietnamese, and Yiddish. With an international audience of over 100 million registered users, courses are offered in a great variety of primary languages as well.
- Uses native speakers to help develop accurate pronunciation.
- Both the main course and their flashcards make use of spaced repetition to help solidify acquisition and retention of vocabulary.
- Every exercise provides immediate reinforcement or correction.
- As you move through the lessons, you accumulate credits in the form of “lingots” which may be used to take placement tests, test out of specific units, and a variety of other incentives for motivation.
- Progress tracking is very graphic and clear. Strength indicators are used to indicate areas in need of review.
- Some grammatical points are explained, but you need not read the explanations if you prefer to simply learn via the exercises.
- Duolingo offers a limited form of “immersion” in the form of providing documents for translation.
- Live tutoring is not a part of Duolingo.
- You can only use Duolingo while connected to the internet.
- While pronunciation is a part of the program in the form of listen and repeat exercises which are then evaluated by vocal recognition, I found I had to speak unnaturally slowly and distinctly for the program to recognize my words.
- It would be difficult to learn conversational skills solely by using Duolingo.
- There is no means for direct question and answer available.
WHO IS IT FOR?
I would say Duolingo is aimed at beginning through intermediate language students. It would be especially on target for those desiring to develop and practice translation skills.
Duolingo employs a good variety of types of questions, such as: translating a sentence
from English to Spanish, translating a sentence from Spanish to English, transcribing a sentence from spoken Spanish, matching words with their meaning, choosing word meanings by multiple choice, supplying the missing word in a phrase or sentence by multiple choice, and so on.
Support is provide through online discussion threads whereby the community of those studying a given language respond to each other.
Free – No other options!
I found Duolingo to be addictively fun! The lessons are short, and can be used as a break from other tasks. And it is free. So, while it has some limitations as a stand-alone language course, I would encourage anyone to at least try it out as one component of their language study.