Tag Archives: French

The Problem with.. Duolingo

Can you really learn foreign language from an app? I should point out that I was a language teacher for more than a few years, I’ve been bilingual my whole life and I’m trying to learn a new language. But back on topic; A few years ago I discovered Duolingo when I began to take French classes again, back then the app was still fairly new and it wasn’t as well known as it has become in recent years. I really enjoyed the app but every time I started I would eventually stop using it until recently that I’ve been able to keep it a habit. Part of why I couldn’t stick with it was I hadn’t made a habit. So let’s analyze duolingo and see the problems with it.

If you don’t know,, Duolingo is an app that tries to teach you a foreign language and it does this by having a series of exercises that you must complete on different topics. You make a placement “test” in the beginning that judges were you should start in their academic “pyramid/tree”. The app promotes itself as being able to learn with only a few minutes a day and you can set your daily learning goal so you only have to do one exercise or up to 5. Of course you can practice as much as you’d like but the limits are to remind you to practice at least that amount every day. This works fairly well in the beginning since Duo the owl keeps reminding you every day unless you stop using it for a few days in which Duo decides to throw the towel on you until you open the app again. This is actually a nice feature but it’s a reason of why it’s dangerous to keep your “streak” going and not make a habit of ignoring your daily routine. Having a streak of practicing is one of the motivations to continue using it since there isn’t much more in the app, they know this since they offer to keep your streak if you pay them a certain amount if you miss a day or two.
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