Duolingo App Review: Free Language Learning Using Games

By Mark Kawalya

Looking to learn a new language, Duolingo maybe be what you need. The app makes it possible for users to learn a foreign language without dedicating all their time to it. The app is set up like a tree, with each node containing several lessons. Learners must pass each lesson before proceeding to the next node.

How Duolingo works

The app works like a game with answering questions until the bar fills up. Correct answers bring the bar up while incorrect ones bring it down. The app has features such as free translation, speaking exercises, listening transcription, and picture matching.

When a node is completed, it turns golden and the user receives points. These can be used to purchase bonuses like costumes for Duo the owl and bonus lessons. However, the app does not teach grammar lessons, but users can find mini-grammar lessons on the website.

Pros

  • Duolingo is structured like a game to make learning fun and engaging. Users are rewarded with points and badges for completing lessons. It also has a leaderboard for competition.
  • The app is free and is available on iOS and Android devices along with the web. This makes it accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
  • Duolingo offers bite-sized lessons, making it possible for users to fit language learning into their busy schedules.
  • The app has courses in over 30 languages, including popular ones like Spanish, French, and German. Less studied languages such as Navajo and Hawaiian are also included.
  • The app uses artificial intelligence to personalize the learning experience, adjusting the difficulty of lessons to each user’s strengths and weaknesses. This ensures users are always challenged but not overwhelmed.

Cons

  • Duolingo primarily focuses on reading and writing, which may not be as effective for developing speaking and listening skills as traditional language courses.  
  • The app does not have in-depth explanations of grammar rules and concepts. This may be challenging for some users making the app more suited for casual language learning. Duolingo’s lessons are heavily focused on acquiring vocabulary, which may not be the most effective way to learn a language.
  • The app lacks immersion, allowing learners to apply their learning in real-life situations without real-world context.  
  • Duolingo’s feedback is limited to simple “correct” or “incorrect” responses, which lacks more detailed feedback on mistakes and how to correct them.
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