learning with an app

Duolingo Challenge: Volunteers needed!

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Duolingo

So, maybe you’re already tired of people telling you about all the great ways you can spend your time in isolation right now. Get fit, start knitting, declutter your house, sew your own face mask, count your toilet rolls….

Learning a language is something people would often like to do but never find the time to do. Along with getting fit and learning to play a musical instrument, it’s normally in the top 3 of most desired skills. So, if it’s been on your bucket list for a while, this could be your chance!

Maybe you fancy starting a new language or picking up something you learnt back in school. I’m looking for as many volunteers as possible to join in and see just how effective it is to learn a language with an app. Duolingo is the biggest and most popular free app/website for learning a language with over 300 million users. It’s easy to use and aims to make learning fun.  Whether you’re an experienced language leaner or a complete language muppet, Duolingo’s mission is to provide free, easy, language tuition for everyone.

What is the challenge?

It’s pretty simple. Try to complete 24 hours of learning with the app before Sunday May 31st. If you start today and learn every day that would be around 24 minutes a day. Duolingo doesn’t track time but according to their website, one lesson = approx. 10 minutes so you can use this as a guideline.

Back in 2018 I carried out a 24-hour Polish project. The rules were the same but I only had lessons with a native speaker and used books and cards. No apps or online tools. I would now like to compare that experience with a completely online/no human interaction/social distancing experience. This time, I’m going to spend 24 hours learning Turkish, but only using Duolingo.

How does it work?

  • First of all, download the app (available for both iOS and Android) or go to Duolingo.com
  • Choose a language you want to learn (they have a great selection)
  • Set a daily goal (you can change this later) and then set up a profile (name, email address and a password)
  • Join my experiment class by going to your Profile, press Progress Sharing and add the Class Code GQVAAD. (If you have any problems joining the group, just let me know). That means I can see who is taking part and the progress they are making. Alternatively, you can just drop me a mail here at the website or on Facebook or Xing. Let me know what language you are doing and your email address and you can join the challange without being in the online group. Just keep track of how many lessons/hours you do. At the end of the challenge, each participant (whether they complete the challenge or not) will receive a short questionnaire from me to give their feedback on the experience. I plan to use this feedback to write a post reviewing the Duolingo app and the general experience of learning a language online.

Why should I take part?

Well, first of all because it’s always fun to learn something new, set yourself a challenge and you can impress everyone this summer with your new language skills! It also means that at the end of the journey, my review of Duolingo will be based on numerous opinions and not just mine. I would be extremely grateful for your support.

What language should I choose?

Absolutely anything that takes your fancy. Duolingo has a great selection from standards like French and Spanish to much more exotic things like Vietnamese and even High Valyrian!  I’m planning to do Turkish i.e. a level 2 language like Polish (see list below) and a language where I’m a complete beginner. But feel free to choose anything you like the sound of. Whether you’ve learnt it before or it’s completely new. To stay motivated, keep in mind the following things when you are making your choice: Do I like the sound of the language? Is the language used in a country I like or would like to visit one day? How difficult is it? The list below gives you a rough guidleine:

Level 3 (most challenging for English native speakers)

Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Arabic

Level 2

Russian, Hindi, Greek, Turkish, Polish, Hebrew, Czech, Hungarian, Ukranian, Vietnamese

Level 1.5

German, Indonesian, Swahili

Level 1 (least challenging for English native speakers)

French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Romanian

What is the start/finish date?

You can join in at any time. However, the end date of the challenge is May 31st.

What if I don’t manage my 24 hours?

Nothing of course, this is not school! It’s just supposed to be a bit of fun. If you don’t manage the 24 hours, I will still be interested in your feedback at the end, to find out what you think of the app and why you didn’t make the 24 hours (frustration, boredom, lack of time etc.)

Any tips?

I’ve used Duolingo a lot in the past. My advice would be:

  1. Add the new language to your language settings on your phone. This helps with typing different characters and predictive text.
  2. Always have the sound switched on so you can hear AND see what you’re learning.
  3. Try to speak out loud as often as possible to get used to hearing your new language “voice” and get used to pronunciation.
  4. Think carefully before deciding which language you want to do. This helps you to stay motivated in the long run

So that’s it. If you have any questions, please let me know. Looking forward to learning with you!