Six Things I Love About Duolingo

As I was browsing the internet recently, looking for a website to improve my Spanish, I came across a website for language learning called Duolingo. What I instantly loved about this website is that there were no complex lessons, definition or rules. The software encourages you to learn intuitively by learning from the examples in the quiz. Duolingo allows you to learn other languages such as English, German, French, etc.

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In order to use the website you have to sign up. You can either sign up using Facebook or Google, or you can enter a username, email, password. Additionally, you can upload a profile photo. Once you log in to your account, you will see a language tree representing the lessons that are available for the language you are learning. The lessons are in the form of short quizzes where you have three lives, and if you happen to lose all of them, you will have to start over.

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However, there are a lot of language learning websites out there. I mean a LOT. What kept me coming back to Duolingo over and over are these six things.

1) Addictive

Addictive gamified learning process is a perfect way to engage students. It is similar like playing games and you try and try until you pass the level. Losing hearths and limited number of mistakes within one test keeps you really focused on the game. As if I was playing any other game, after I’ve lost all the lives in one test and after I’ve see little Duo’s sad face, I simply had to try out again.

2) Interesting

Learning can get really tedious since it is a long process that requires a lot concentration and motivation. Game-like design, modern look and engaging exercises make it very interesting. You learn a language by discovering on your own, without boring definitions and rules you are not sure how to apply. In addition, it is possible to interact with other members in the discussion stream or help with translating the documents.

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3) Challenging

Each lesson brings new words and phrases that you have to combine with what you have already learned. Unlocking new lessons and passing the tests is a real challenge, regardless of the level you are at. Learning from your own mistakes will boost up your determination in mastering a specific lesson.

4) Interactive

The lessons combine the usage of all four language skills through different types of exercises within each test. Speech-recognition technology helps you refine speaking. Other exercises include writing what you hear, translating, choosing the correct answer(s), finding the correct word order, etc.

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5) Flexible

Mobile-friendly websites and apps are definitely our future and as the world is going mobile, we expect to use our mobile devices like we use computers. Luckily, there is Duolingo app that is almost identical when it comes to the quizzes. Lying in my soft in the living room is a perfect place for me to learn with Duolingo.

6) Free

And finally, Duolingo is completely free! There is a Duolingo store where you can buy additional exercises and lessons with Duolingo’s currency – lingots. However, besides purchasing the lingots, you can get them if you practice with Duolingo on regular basis. Leveling up, finishing skills and completing a lesson with full hearts are some of the ways to earn lingots.

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Hopefully, you will find this website as useful as I do. Feel free to share your impressions in the comments.

Tips on effective learning of English language

If you want to learn a new language you have to be motivated and prepared for a serious work. Set a goal for yourself and try to achieve it. If you come across any difficulties, don’t  give up quickly. Be persistent and patient. Ask for help from your friends, from other learners or from teachers.

I’ve made a list of eight most useful tips on learning English. My focus is English language, but these tips can be applied for other languages as well.

1) Learn

Set up your plan for learning English and stick to it. Try to learn at least one word a day. Use grammar books, CDs, workbooks, English dictionaries, visit some website that publish lessons and study online.

2) Think

Regularly ask yourself this question: “How would I say this in English?”. Think of some situation and how would you communicate in English. If you are not sure, try to find the answer in your books or ask someone for help.

3) Listen

Listen to the radio or music in English. This a very interesting way of practising English as there are a lot of exercises you can do while you listen to music, such as learning new words, filling the gaps, discussing the meaning of the song, etc.

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4) Watch

Watch films and TV programmes in English. Listen to the people speaking in English will help you learn the correct pronunciation and stress. Additionally you will learn new words and phrases while enjoying a nice film or a TV show.

5) Read

It doesn’t matter if it is a magazine, newspapers, blog articles… Read something in English every day as this will help you get familiar with sentence constructions in English.

6) Write

You should write something in English as often as possible.  It can be a short story; you can write a response to an article / forum post, you can post your status update, anything. Keep a vocabulary notebook where you would write new words and expressions you learn. When you learn new words, try to use them and write example sentences in your notebook.

7) Review

Always review the grammar and / or vocabulary before the next lesson. It is important to review regularly so that you don’t forget what you have learned so far. As language is a system, you have to review what you have learned in order to connect that to the new lessons.

8) Communicate

Speak, speak, speak! Your ultimate goal is to speak English, right?! So speak English every day. Find if there are conversation groups in your city and join them. If it is difficult to find someone to talk to, try practising English with other people online, via email or in the chat rooms, forums, etc.  Alternatively you can find pen pals online and write emails.

Questions for you:

Learners – What tip do you find most useful?
Teachers – Do you have more tips on effective learning?