Duolingo – Learn the Basics of Many Foreign Languages for Free

Age Bracket:
All ages
free option available

This app is a brilliant way to start learning a language or to supplement another course. Duolingo has used the concept of the “gameification of learning” to develop an app that’s  fun, engaging, a little bit addictive and deals with the basics very well. The app is very well laid out in six main sections. The first section is where you’ll find your Units. As you complete units, more are opened up to you. You earn XP as you complete units and these XP determine where you are in the League Table that you’re assigned to (part of the addictive nature of this app is if you want to stay higher up in the league, you have to keep using it). You also earn diamonds that you can use to buy items in the game. If you make a mistake you lose one of your 5 hearts (in the free version), but you can watch an advert to replenish a heart or use some of your diamonds to buy more hearts. The app is aimed at people who are at least 13 years old and that feels about right, although I’m sure a younger child could do well on it – sometimes you need to type in answers that may be more difficult (but not impossible) for a younger child. There is also a social side to the app where you can make friends, but there’s no way of communicating with those people. Weighing up the free version versus the paid version: You can progress perfectly well in the free version if you don’t mind watching a few adverts along the way (you may need to make a call on whether this appropriate for your child) and if you don’t make too many mistakes – it takes a while to replenish your hearts and you can’t access the unit you’re working on if you don’t have any hearts. The paid version gets rid of the adverts and you have unlimited hearts so you can practice to your hearts (no pun intended) content. But, at the time of writing this, the cost is £12.49 per month or £77.99 per year, for which you get access to all languages. In conclusion, my kids have really enjoyed learning languages through Duolingo, but they will need some immersion in the language to truly get to grips with understanding and speaking it to a good level. https://www.duolingo.com

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