In my recent article, I wrote about how spending a 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.com 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 of 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 up to $500).
Duolingo isn’t the only free language-learning app in the App Store – there are many competitors. However, the functionality and user-interface make 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 make 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 that 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 an 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 stops 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 others 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.