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December 10, 2014

The App-rentice, Week 9 – Duolingo

Written By Rebecca Larkin

DuoLingo is in the spotlight for this week’s app review.

DuoLingo enables the user to improve their language skills in a fun e-learning application. The idea behind the product is to remove barriers to learning languages and to allow real people to use their new skills to translate the web. There’s a choice of languages from Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English and the games/lessons include speaking, listening and written exercises, provided a pretty well-rounded understanding of the language. The app also tracks the users progress so the user can see how they’re doing personally, and against friends once they have invited them to compete.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 16.41.59The app is accompanied by a website where users can continue to play or take part in language specific discussions. The “immerse” section lets users get real practice by providing articles from the web for translation without tutorials when the user feels they’re ready. The exercises in the immerse section help DuoLingo translate the web.

There’s also a “Lingot Store” where users can go to ‘buy’ some virtual extras such as a progression quiz or pick-up lines in their chosen language. No money is transferred here, the more the user interacts with the app, the more lingot they earn. Both the app and the site promise to always be free to users, so there’s no worry about having to make in-app purchases or upgrades later down the line.

IMG_6717The app incorporates some beautiful design. The screens are kept simple and clean but are still fun to use. The app features an owl mascot who follows the user throughout their journey giving tips and information on progress. The whole learning process is gamified, this makes it easily accessible to a range of different age groups. Completing skills unlocks other skills, which allows the user to progress through the app from recognising basic words to more tricky subjects such as various verb tenses. Each game begins with 4 hearts, each time a question is answered incorrectly a heart is lost until the user must restart the game.

Overall I would recommend this app to anybody who’s looking for an e-learning solution for languages. The app is straight forward to use, engaging and most importantly, effectively teaches users the skills users are looking for. For this reason I would rate DuoLingo 5/5 stars – one of the highest ratings on our App Review so far. It is available to try for yourself on the App Store and Google Play.