I was trying not to waste my time on repetitive games that are addictive, but teach me nothing much, like Temple Run for instance.
I am also not fond of scrabble type word games where all kinds of weird words, that we don’t actually use in real life, are accepted. I don’t learn much there either.
So for that reason I love Duolingo, the language learning app with the famous green owl Duo at the helm.
The Duolingo app has that addictive gamification allure, making learning a good side effect. I’m at the top level which is the diamond league and something in my brain tells me that after all that effort to get here, I can’t fall off it. I think it’s genius that the app uses the competitive streak in us to make learning a habit.
Also you get alerts when some other user has knocked you off the top ten or the top spot. The worse notification is that you’ve dropped into the ‘danger zone’ that you’ll be dropped off this league.
I’ve tried other language learning apps, but they were boring and never held my attention the same way.
Also the creators behind Duolingo keep researching and improving the learning methodology, which is great to know. They want to increase engagement and truly want you to make learning a habit. (And of course make billions at the same time)
I love the podcasts in the French Duolingo where you also get the learn more about the culture and social issues.
Recently a change was made to take care of ‘cheating’. (Repeating easy lessons which most can’t resist for easy point accumulation). I don’t want to fall off the leaderboard and the top 3 people get more lingots (another goodie which is like game coins), so I’m guilty as charged.
It has worked, because I get satisfaction the more experience points I accumulate and the more lessons I complete. You get lingots when you complete the more difficult daily exercises like getting a 100% score in a lesson for instance.
Duo the mafia like, but kawaii looking owl, is harsh and that’s it’s whole thing. It ensures you make learning a habit, gun to your head.
I find that so far my vocabulary has improved and I’m able to identify simple written words, but I’m at a loss when a native French speakers talk.
Also my pronunciation sucks as I just don’t have the phonemes. It’s a much simpler language to pick up for English speakers than Mandarin for example which has a whole other writing system plus tones. I gave up on learning Mandarin on Duolingo after just 2 days or so.
And don’t get me started on French grammar. I still don’t get why cat (chat) is male and not female.
Duo has become an icon thanks to the dark humour. Duo behaves like the mafia and will haunt your nightmares if you miss a day of practise. It’s part of the allure.
Credit must be given to the social media people behind it especially the intern behind the Duo Tik Tok persona.
I hope I get to work remotely for Duo one day, hence this post buttering that green feathered language god.