Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A-Z of Free Online Stuff - 4. Duolingo

Image from Karyn Christner, under a CC
Attribution licence
D is for Duolingo

Duolingo is a free language site, that leads users through online modules helping them master French, German or Spanish, with more languages promised in the future. This freebie language-learning isn't totally altruistic, as users translate websites and documents as they progress through the lessons. It effectively means users are doing translation work for free, but learning in the process. So everyone's a winner, eh?

Signing up to Duolingo is simple, and can be done via Twitter or Facebook, the latter providing a social aspect as learners follow the progress of friends. The interface is clean and easy to follow, with lessons utilising your computer's microphone to allow for learners to give spoken answers to be assessed. Lessons highlight and explain new words and phrases, and at the end of a lesson there is a test that allows you to progress to the next.

Personally, I've only gone through the first few lessons of Spanish (¡hola!), but I can definitely see the possibilities of the site allowing users to learn at least the basics of a new language at their own pace. As with all learning tools of this type, there's definitely a challenge for users in keeping dedicated and logging in to do the work every day, but you do get (optional) email nags when you haven't logged in for a few days, and the social aspect may be just enough peer pressure to spur you on.

It would be interesting to see if anyone ever becomes fluent in a new language through Duolingo, but in the meantime it's  a fun way to start learning a language, and do your bit translating the web in the process.


No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...