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Using Platforms such as Duolingo to Learn Online

In today’s society there are roughly 6,500 languages spoken through out the world and with most business’ taking a step towards being international it seems almost pertinent that we expand our knowledge. Even if your intention is to just to learn a new language for your own pleasure you would still want an affordable, accessible, and straight forward. A website called Duolingo does just that. Accessed through their website or via their app available on any app store, Duolingo is a free and simple tool that can be used to learn up to 27 of the most popular different dialects.

Each language starts with a brief lesson on its origins and then dives into the basics of the language. Before being able to move onto harder knowledge the student must pass the previous lesson. With activities that almost seem like games, the user progresses by matching the new language with their mother tongue. First associated with a picture of the word and with an automatic voice pronouncing the new word to the student, it can’t get much easier and is perfect for anyone no matter their preferred learning style. Advancing to spelling the word, both in English and in the language you are learning, and spelling phrases that contain the words used in that lesson it is one of the most straight foreword systems I’ve ever used. After each set of lessons is completed, or completing other tasks, the user is rewarded points, or “lingots”, that can used in the lingot store to purchase add-ons and quizzes. To make sure information isn’t lost either, Duolingo has implemented strength graph that begins to lower if not practiced regularly. Not only does this help students up to date on what they need to learn but if you’re someone like me and you see the strength bars moving down you’ll be motivated to re-do the lesson just for the aesthetic of it. Duolingo has also one of the most basic interfaces that is extremely user friendly and uses lots of universal symbols so people, no matter their first language, can easily navigate.

A platform like Duolingo could be easily applied and altered to fit pretty much any field of teaching. An example that is already very popular is Khan Academy, a very similar system that uses the same game like lessons to teach students subjects they be struggling in. Beginning with basics of math and sciences, Khan academy has continued to add different fields such as humanities and computing courses. A great addition that Khan academy made was that they incorporated flipped lectures, a quick video that walks the students through an example or lesson to complete the following questions. Khan academy is what saved me through high school math, without it I don’t think I would have passed.

Something that I love about Khan academy that I wish I saw in Duolingo is the educational videos. So that instead of having the students teach themselves everything through trial and error, they would have some background knowledge to base their answers on. I believe this would also be extremely beneficial in teaching the students on the correct spelling and use of accents in a new language. At least for me, something that I noticed was that I could learn the word and the pronunciation but always ended up struggling with the actual spelling because I did not retain that information from just seeing it associated with the images.