Are smart phone applications good enough to teach languages?

These are thousands of android and iOS applications that can help you learn various languages from around the world for free. But are these apps good enough to replace one-to-one teaching or classroom teaching? Let’s take a look at two of world’s most loved Android and iOS language learning applications, and their developers’ opinion about the level of support that they offer.

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Duolingo is one of the most popular language learning apps in iTunes and Google play store. Users can learn languages like American English, Swedish, Danish, Irish, Dutch, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, German, French, and Spanish with this app. Duolingo offers apps for Android, iOS, and Windows OS devices.

Duolingo came in the limelight for the first time when it won iPhone app of the year for 2013. Data suggests that Duolingo has more than sixty thousand android app users, and was declared as Google Play’s most downloaded educational app in 2013-2014.

Duolingo’s co-founder -Luis von Ahn recently interacted with journalists. According to Luis, learning foreign languages can prove to be time-consuming, and expensive. Till the end of last decade, only the elite were able to learn English in under-developed countries. But the scene is slowly changing, as online tools and lower-end smart phone apps are helping the people in underdeveloped and developing countries to learn English and other languages for free.

Duolingo is designed like a game, and this is the reason this app is also attracting fans who just wish to spend some time with their phone. Luis believes that gamification has helped the app to make language learning interesting and interactive.

Rosetta stone’s free mobile app for learning languages

Millions of Android and iOS device users from around the world use Rosetta stone’s app for learning languages. The company creates software solutions and apps for brain fitness, literacy and language skills. These solutions are used by several government organizations, schools, and businesses in various countries. Rosetta Stone Inc. also won the Academic’s Choice Smart Media Award in 2014.

Rosetta stone’s vice-president for Africa, Middle East and Europe region, Donavan Whyte believes that mobile phone apps will play an important role in spreading education. Software and apps are allowing companies to create personalized lessons for groups and individuals. The company is registering constant increase in number of Android app users.

Can apps offer enough support to learners?

During one of his recent interviews with journalists, Luis von Ahn highlighted the point that apps can definitely help users to learn basic concepts from languages. They can also help people to speak in the concerned language up to certain extent, but apps might not be able to train people if their aim is to become “pro”.

While sharing his opinion about the level of support offered by language learning apps, Donavan Whyte said that learning language is a lengthy procedure. He pointed out that learners need to be extremely disciplined.

Donavan believes that apps can prove to be game changer if they are used as a part of tool set, instead of using them as one and only tool for learning.

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