In my recent article, I wrote about how spending few months in a non-English speaking country forced me to rapidly learn a new language (Spanish). I had the right motivation (learn to survive); but without the right tools I wouldn’t have gotten far in my quest to learn Spanish.
Duolingo is one such tool that was my saving grace during the trip. Thanks to the availability of a Smartphone & the ubiquitous Wi-Fi, Duolingo accelerated my ability or learn & practice Spanish.
As of today, the platform (app/website) has about 40 language courses with 100 million registered users worldwide.
As mentioned in my previous article, there are multiple methods to learn a new language – however, I have a biased opinion about why Duolingo should be the companion your choice.
P.S. I don’t work for Duolingo or do I get any type of compensation from them. I am just a raving happy customer.
And here is why…
You can’t beat that price tag, can you? There are tons of other audio/video based language-learning tools, but they come with a price tag (some upto $500).
Duolingo isn’t the only free language-learning app in the App Store – there are many competitors. However, the functionality and user-interface makes it a viable choice (more about this later).
And one more thing..It is completely Ad-Free.
We love free apps, but don’t we get annoyed when bombarded with ads? (i.e Facebook,YouTube, etc.).
One of the decisive factors that makes any program/application successful is how user-friendly it is. The reason we love most of the applications we use today – Microsoft Word,Google Chrome, Android, Facebook,etc. is because they are very user-friendly and easy to navigate.
The interface on Duolingo is built in such a way that it allows you to switch between courses and individuals lessons by just swiping around the app.
3. LEARN AT YOUR OWN LEISURE
To learn a language – you can enroll in a night-class, attend a language exchange group or even travel. All these require investment of time & money; and you can only do them at set times.
The instructors of a Language course at a Community College will not change their schedule from Tuesdays to Thursdays, because you can’t make it on that particular day. They have a set time & place – so your schedule is at their mercy.
However, if you can spare 10 minutes a day and you have Wi-Fi /a Data plan, you can learn anywhere & anytime on your Smartphone.
I strongly believe that with Gamification, you can increase your productivity and learn pretty much anything. Gamification of your courses makes them more fun & non-monotonous as opposed to traditional learning.
With incentives such as Lingots, Streaks,etc. Duolingo makes the learning process fun. Lingots are awarded for completing lessons. And with the Lingots you win- you can purchase rewards at the store.
Streaks are nothing but the consecutive number of days that you go back to the app & complete the lessons. The longer your streak means the more days you are using the app.
I noticed that the longer my streak (my current streak is 30 days), the harder it is stop learning. It seems I am going back just to maintain my streak – however, it is indirectly helping me to continue my language-learning.
Things are always much more fun when you can get your friends involved. You can then create a healthy competition among your friends to see who learns the fastest & the most. Talk about positive peer pressure..
I was slacking on my Portuguese learning, then a friend of mine told me that she was learning Portuguese too. And she already has about 2000+ XP (Points). My competitive drive kicked in ,and I decided to surpass here.
We also bet a wager. I am catching up to her – as of today I am 1651 XP. We motivate each other to keep learning.
There is also a Sub-Reddit where other’s share their motivations, challenges and victories.
Are you an avid Duolinguist?
What are some other benefits, that I might have missed?
If you have not started using the app – I strongly recommend you download the app. By spending 10 minutes a day ,you can learn that Foreign language that you have always wanted to learn.