If you are a language learner, you have probably already heard of Duolingo. I discovered it a couple of years ago and have used it on and off since then to augment my study of French. Over the past year I have also used it in the classroom. This post is to tell you why you should too.
My experience teaching French is in Newfoundland and Labrador where French is rarely used though outside the classroom. Although many students are very keen to learn French and enjoy language class as an interesting break from the regular curriculum, a second language is basically an esoteric skill thrust upon the willing and unwilling alike. For these reasons I have observed low levels of motivation and enthusiasm toward learning Canada’s second official language. Duolingo may be just the thing to tip the scales from ambivalence to avidity.
This free, online, and app based platform leverages the motivational carrots of a game-based interface with the science-based sticks of spaced-repetition algorithms. What that means is students are motivated by the engaging nature of the activities, groups, leaderboards, and xp levelling up while at the same time providing proven vocab and grammar building exercises.
And that is not all. To the left you see a segment of the plentiful sections available to potential learners. The energy bars decay as time goes on to reflect the use-it-or-lose-it nature of language learning. You can compete against friends or strangers in groups or leader-boards. There are stats and word lists for the data geek in you. But the classroom is where it really shines.
You can create a class for your students, either with their own accounts which they share with you or through easily created unique accounts for each student. Then you can assign specific modules, encourage levels of participation, track student progress, and create a community of language learners. And community is the environment where communication thrives.