This month I decided to use DuoLingo to learn a language, namely German.

What I Found

  • DuoLingo is very convenient. With the reminders, I didn’t forget to do my lessons. With it being on my phone it was convenient to use.
  • DuoLingo takes some liberties with German. Rather than give a sense of meaning for what the words mean in a phrase, it presents multiple ways to say something. However, “excuse me” is not the same thing as “sorry”. The formal way to say you’re welcome is not the same as the informal way. And “See you tomorrow” is not the same as “see you in the morning.”
  • No teaching, lots of repetition. When new phrases were introduced, there was no lesson on what they meant. The phrases were just added to the mix of questions, and if you didn’t know, tough cookies. As a teacher, I know this is a disastrously poor way to get the students to retain. You present, you apply, you review, you test.
  • Retesting on questions missed. It was smart enough to retest on those questions I missed, in a many different ways.

Conclusion

While I wanted to learn a language, I knew enough German to make me uncomfortable with the way DuoLingo was presenting it. So the month became more about the tool than the goal I wanted to accomplish.