In the last blog post, we looked at PowerPoint, it’s uses, formats, accessibility and best practice. No doubt, we will come back to that again in the future as PowerPoint evolves.

We’d like to point out this blog would normally be available 8.30am Monday morning, we’ve moved the time to noon. All future posts will be released at noon each Monday.

This week, we look at the first of the learning Apps that can help students in their studies. We start off with Duolingo.

What is Duolingo?

Duolingo is a language learning App where users can learn a different language (or number of different languages) at their own pace. It offers 30+ languages in bite-sized lessons for learners. Best of all, it’s free!

Why is it a good learning App?

Duolingo uses gamification in their App.

Gamification is where users can collect something and compete against others in the App. There are different leagues to work your way through and maintain. Badges. Did I mention the badges? Why not collect the whole set?

Users can collect lingots, crowns and maintain their streak. What is a streak I hear you ask. It’s the number of days in a row someone has done at least one lesson. For example, our current streak is at 322 days and is well on its ways to a year of learning.

Gamification works well in this App. It hooks you in.

In the Learn section, there are a number of stages per language ranging from beginner to very advanced. Within each stage, there are multiple categories ranging from levels 1 to 5.

And at the end of each stage, is a checkpoint which needs completed and unlocked (along with everything before it completed) before the next stage is available. It’s progressive learning and builds on the previous learning.

Who should use it?

Anyone who wants to learn a different language. For example, at University, English speakers as their first language may want to learn Spanish, French, Japanese, etc.

Students, where English is not their first language, may want to use Duolingo to improve / perfect their English language.

Is there anything else to help me learn in Duolingo?

Duolingo is packed with helpful additions. The Stories section allows characters to share dialogue in the language being learned. This is for listening and reading comprehension.

The stories are everyday scenarios which covers vocabulary used in different contexts, for example, learning, work, holidays, etc.

Again, the stories start off quite basic. As you work your way through the sets, the language advances. We would suggest you complete the first stage of a language and use Set 1 of the stories to help with listening and reading comprehension.

The stories are a nice way to weave in what you have learned in the Learn section of Duolingo.

What about the discuss section?

These are language discussion forums that cover many things. Do have a delve in.

Can I buy stuff with my lingots?

The Shop section is a bit of a con. The lingots are considered a virtual currency where you can make in-shop purchased but unfortunately there’s only a few items in the shop and I’m not sure they’re all worth lingots.

Events and podcasts

Duolingo has events and podcasts available. The events happen on a regular basis per language. This helps learners engage with real people to learn alongside Duolingo. There’s nothing like testing out how well you understand or speak a language with other people.

Pronunciation is so important.

The podcasts are bigger, longer and more involved stories using the chosen learning language. And it’s not just listening to the podcast, the content is scripted out underneath the audio.

The audio can be downloaded to your device for offline listening as well.

Other things

Duolingo offers a Dictionary and Words section. The dictionary is a translator of words from one language to another. The Words section lists out every word you have used/learned in Duolingo and your proficiency of using the words.

Words are also classed as nouns, verbs, etc.

Where can I use Duolingo?

The App can be downloaded onto your phone or you can use the desktop version. It just so happens we use both platforms and as we’re signed in, Duolingo keeps note of what has been completed regardless of where it’s used.

Summary

Overall, we would rate Duolingo as a top language learning App. It’s addictive, fun and you don’t realise you’re learning. The gamification aspect gets you hooked into the content which makes the content almost secondary.

For those of you who are competitive, this is the language App for you. Maintain your daily streak, join the leagues and work your way to the top.

Next time

Our blog post next Monday will be looking at the Ted Talk App for learning.

Please do join us then to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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