What I Learned from Using Duolingo for a Year

duolingo_all_unlockedHeard about a tool called ‘Duolingo‘ in a video from the guy who invented Captcha, Luis von Ahn.

Thought it sounded like a cool idea.

So I tried it out for a bit. And liked what I saw, but then my momentum slowed down. Didn’t work on it much for about a month.

Seemed like it would be more fun if more people I knew used it as well, so I invited some friends to try it out. And a few did.

That got my momentum rolling again.

Duolingo also got some funding and publicity that allowed them to expand and add new features, some of which made it more fun. And it also encouraged competition a little bit.

So friends would pass me in the number of points I had and I would be notified, sometimes I would pass other people.

And the program kept track of the number of consecutive days I worked on the language.

Working on language a little each day is very helpful, much like with learning other skills like music and dance.

More so than large amounts spread out sporadically.

Mostly I worked on Spanish- currently at level 14. Did a little German- up to level 5 and tried the Portuguese.

My background with language is that I took three years of Spanish in high school and a few years of German in college, including spending two summers in Germany.

Conversationally, I can speak better German, but my grammar and knowledge of the written language is better in Spanish.

Also, in California, I’m around Spanish a lot more, especially with the salsa scene.

Here’s the video I saw that came out in 2011 about the program if you would like to check it out.

And I would recommend spending a little time on it each day, possibly on the phone app in your downtime.

It can teach you quite a bit and is constantly being improved, both by the team and by user feedback.

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