Duolingo – App review and introduction

DuoLingo app review
By Theo, 13.

Rating: 4/5 stars

DuoLingo is a well-known free language learning app.

App Store description:
Learn Spanish, French, German, Italian, English and more languages for free.

Learn a new language with the world’s most-downloaded education app! Duolingo is the fun, free app for learning 35+ languages through quick, bite-sized lessons.

Apple Download link: apple.co/Duolingo
Android Download link: bit.ly/duolingo-android

My review:

I have been using Duolingo during lockdown to revise and learn languages. It is mostly accessible, with the odd bug.

I have really enjoyed being able to keep up my languages as well as learn new words. It is amazing that the Duolingo app was 90% accessible. VoiceOver had the buttons clearly labelled so I was able to complete my first lesson.

The gems you can collect are really motivating and you can even spend them on things like a boost for your points. Once you have completed your first lesson and created a profile, the screen you arrive on may at first seem confusing and could put you off. Don’t be put off by this, as you will get to know all the different types of points and gems you can earn over time. The most confusing thing is there are tabs at the top and bottom of the screen. The top tabs are “Course”, “Crowns”, “Streak” and “Hearts” I have also written out some definitions below to help you. It is strange that some of these tabs open a temporary pop-up that has no way to be manually closed and will auto-close after you swipe away from it to do something else.

There are also tabs along the bottom to move around different sections of the app. These tabs have names that you would find more normal like “Profile” and “Shop” (where you spend gems you earn, not money) After I worked out what some of these things meant, I could quite quickly start to navigate the app and start my 2nd lesson, as well as do a practice.

I find it really motivating, as you can compare your progress with friends. You can also follow people and then compare progress with them.

As some of the things Duolingo refers to are difficult to understand, here are some common definitions that might help you.

XP – Points you can earn for completing a lesson or practice.
Gems – Duolingo’s virtual currency, which you can earn in various ways.
Hearts – Lives which you lose when you make mistakes on the free plan. You start off with 5 hearts on your account when you get the app for the first time (the maximum you can have at one time), and you can earn more by practicing or waiting 24 hours to get 5 hearts again. You can also pay 350 Gems to get your hearts set to 5. Although this seems like a lot of gems to me, you might use it if you were desperate.
If you run out of hearts during a lesson, you can either re-start the lesson later or pay gems.
Level – A level is a block of 3-5 lessons normally of the same difficulty.
Crowns – You earn 1 crown each time you finish a level.
Lesson – A 5-10 minute session of language learning that normally involves multiple choice, typing, listening and speaking exercises (if you’re on the app).

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