Learning a Foreign Language with Duolingo
There are undoubtedly numerous platforms and programs designed to facilitate the process of learning a foreign language. You may have used some to learn a language yourself, and you may have used one in the classroom to teach a foreign language. Although there are many options to choose from, one program that has distinguished itself in both cost, effectivity, and comprehensive practice is Duolingo. Regarding cost, Duolingo is free! It doesn’t get any better than that. Regarding effectivity, an independent study found that 34 hours of practice on Duolingo was equivalent to learning an entire semester of college coursework. And Duolingo provides practice with reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Duolingo is a remarkable website and app for learning 27 foreign languages (from English) as well as learning English from many other languages. It is remarkable for its unique business model. Many learning apps require paid subscriptions or sell user information and require advertising. However, Duolingo resorts to neither of these. Rather, it sustains itself through a brilliant symbiotic relationship. Businesses around the world want to have their documents and websites translated into new languages, and people around the world want to learn new languages; Duolingo provides the software that translates these documents and websites through the millions of people around the world learning those languages. So you can feel proud knowing that while you are learning a new language, you are also part of a global movement to translate the web. Luis von Ahn, the creator of Duolingo, explains this process in his TED Talk below.
There are at least three audiences that stand to benefit from using Duolingo:
- Foreign Language Teachers and Students. No matter what language the class is focusing on, Duolingo is there to provide practice and reinforce skills.
- English Language Learners. Students who are learning English as a second language can use Duolingo to strengthen their fluency in English.
- Parents and Community Members. Parents can benefit as well by using Duolingo to learn English. This extends the educational impact beyond the classroom and our students into their homes and our community.
Duolingo just released a new app for iPad called Tinycards – Flashcards by Duolingo. This is an exciting resource for students to practice cards designed for their corresponding courses in Duolingo, as well as custom flashcard decks.