Planning to learn a new language? Whether for a better job opportunity in a foreign country or just for fun or any other reason. No matter what your aim is for acquiring this new language, all I can tell you is that this is going to be one of the best life experiences. Learning a new language will not only open a lot of career opportunities for you but also help in having a conversation with new people and getting to know them, especially if you are an extrovert just like me. The enthusiasm while learning a new language is great but many a time beginners end up having a bad experience due to apps like Duolingo that offer free learning opportunities for people looking to learn a new language. Don’t believe me then just go through this blog and make your own opinion whether you should opt for Duolingo as your language guide or not.
Translate and learning approach
This issue is not only with Duolingo but also with other similar language learning apps that are simply based on the approach of translating each word of a sentence and learning in the process. Translating a word or a phrase one by one until the user matches the equivalent terms of the native language with the targeted foreign language might look like a logical approach but there’s one basic problem with this.
Remember how you learned your native language? Yes, that’s the basics lacking with this type of learning approach. That’s how our brain is accustomed to learning new things and not by translating a phrase. The approach used by Duolingo might be helpful to create context and improve comprehension but we learn more quickly and efficiently when we develop an instant and subconscious connection between sounds and deep meaning. Most of the time it is observed that the users of such apps get accustomed to this translate and learn approach, later on, find it difficult to break this learning habit. This learning approach adds an unnecessary step that doesn’t help a new language learner and gums up the work. Sadly the language learning apps like Duolingo try to reinforce and normalize this learning approach.
Three lives lesson
A new language enthusiast who started learning a language from the Duolingo app will have a clear idea about the three lives lesson and just to save time can proceed for the next point. However, for those who don’t here is a detailed review of this teaching approach and how useless this learning approach is in real life for a newbie. Imagine you are in a class and the teacher asks you a question, you have three chances to answer the question right or otherwise thrown out of the class. Do you think you will be able to learn anything at all? And the answer is pretty simple, NO. The three lives approach has no benefits whether you learn Italian language or any other foreign language. If you take my opinion, this type of approach will only prevent a beginner from learning a new language and also break his confidence and excitement of learning a language.
Learning while playing is a good approach but only in schools and not on apps like Duolingo that took the same concept to some other level. The ‘three lives’ learning approach is only promoting guessing with their way of teaching. Users are playing games and making guesses about the words and not learning the language that what their main goal was. Duolingo learning games are addictive, tempting to guess the word and move to the next lesson but at the end of the day, it doesn’t serve the purpose the app was intended for. Even after this, apps like Duolingo or other language learning apps based on the same concept are getting millions of downloads. The basic reason behind this that I understand is people enjoy gameplay rather than learning a new language. This basic approach has taken away the purpose for which the language learning apps are built and making them just a mere playing game platform.
Unrealistic realistic approach
The next that you find on these language learning apps similar to Duolingo is that they do lots of exercises like matching words, MCQ, jumble words and fill in the blanks on their platform. All these exercises are easy and make an impression on the user that they are learning the new language but in actual they are not. The basic idea behind creating such exercises is that they are easy to design and grade but in reality, don’t actually add any skill to most people. Imagine yourself in conversation with a stranger in a foreign country. Would you be swiping fingers and dragging words to have a conversation with them or using your own voice and speaking the language? Yes, definitely the later one but with Duolingo that is not what you are getting. So think twice before you download the app and start spending your precious time on the application.
Lack of explanations
This is one of the biggest reasons why I stopped using this website and also won’t even recommend it to anyone planning to learn a new language. There are many forum posts where users have posted that they are constantly giving wrong answers on the application and have no idea what the actual reason was. The main reason behind this is that the app won’t cover the details that grammar and pragmatic tell. The users’ app experience can improve significantly if Duolingo starts giving even the basic explanation and not just a robot that tells its users that this is the law. But, I don’t think they are changing it any time soon, so a clear thumbs down from my side.
Now you have understood what are the issues with Duolingo and these are not the small issues that can be ignored. Don’t end up making your language learning a bad one, if you are already using this app and just realized that you are cramming like a parrot and not acquiring a skill that is going to help you in the long run. Don’t worry you can always look for other learning options like Fluent Simple – The best Italian learning website and make your language learning experience the best one.