Duolingo

A Free Language Learning Game that's Great for Beginners

PROS
  • - Free
  • - Fun
  • - Habit Forming
  • -
  • -
CONS
  • - Constantly Changing Through Monetisation Attempts
  • - Offline mode not available (in FREE)
  • - Poor Grammar Teaching
  • - Expensive Paid Mode
  • -
EASE OF USE
Everything about the Duolingo app is intuitive, makingn this perhaps the easiest to use app I've seen.
DESIGN
The app is very cartoony and game-like. For the genre, this app is beautifully designed.
FUN
Duolingo has enough exercise types to get you through a course or two without feeling too repetitive. However, Duolingo drops a point here for the niggles it introduces to monetise itself - namely hearts/health/big interstatial adverts.
WORDS
Somehow, you just pick up words learning with Duolingo. However, it dropped a point here as the new crowns system removes a major element of the SRS - the ability to see which skills (and subsequently words) you should practice.
GRAMMAR
There's a notes feature to explain the grammar, but it's quite hidden. The contributors to volunteer courses try to fill these in. But Duolingo does really have any grammar learning elements. You're expected to work it out.

Duolingo is the “go to” language learning app of many a language learner because of its fun and intuitive design and its ability to turn language learning into a game. Over the years, Duolingo has expanded its selection of languages so that it now teaches many languages.

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A common question with Duolingo is what level somebody will be at when they finish the course. You should expect to be around an A2 level in reading and lower in the other skills.

A typical Duolingo course will teach you about 2000 words, along with a variety of sentences. Unlike traditional courses, these sentences often don’t have much relation to anything you’d use in real life. The idea is to make them fun and for you to absorb the grammar naturally.

The natural grammar absorption isn’t that effective and whilst Duolingo has “notes” which course creators often use to talk about grammar, this feature is largely hidden and not that effective. Duolingo does seem highly effective at teaching you words though.

Given this, Duolingo is a great starter for learning a language, but should be used in combination with other resources to get maximum effect and prevent frustration.

The gamified aspects of Duolingo make it habit forming. Many people try to maintain their streak (the number of continuous days that you’ve practiced). This makes it effective at helping people commit to learning the language and overcoming learning bumps in the road.

Duolingo makes frequent upgrades to the application. These aren’t always welcomed by their users. Duolingo claims to A/B split test changes and action on the results of that, although nearly all recent changes have obviously been more about reducing the load on their servers (and thus their costs) or monetisation, than user response to any split testing. Duolingo has struggled to monetise itself and is currently reducing costs, this could obviously affect the app in the future. But for now, this is a great app to start out on, alongside other resources.

PRICING
FREEAll - but Ad supported and no option to use offline
9.99 per monthNo Ads, offline mode (which has been reported as not working very well), exclusion or benefits from other Duolingo monetisation attempts.

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