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Duolingo Review - Can It Really Help You Learn a Language?

Duolingo is a free language app that helps you learn over 20+ languages on your phone. But does it really work?...

In this complete Duolingo review, we’ll share how Duolingo works, who it’s for, and how Rype is different. The topics we’ll cover is the core learning method, effectiveness, personalization and much more.

We hope this helps…

What is Duolingo?

Duolingo is a useful and free language app that helps you learn over a dozen different languages on your mobile phone. As of November 2016, Duolingo has 150MM registered users learning one of the 23 different languages they offer, and they have 22 additional languages in development.

Browsing through several Duolingo reviews, a lot of questions have been asked about how Duolingo makes money. They initially launched their first business model in 2014, starting a language certification and test center. Then in April 2017, they announced that they’ll be releasing a subscription service where you can use the app without ads and additional premium features.

Who is Duolingo For?

The majority of users on Duolingo are beginners who are just getting started in learning a new language. Most users are language hobbyists that enjoy the gamification of the application, and are passively learning.

Since Duolingo is mostly useful for learning the basics of grammar and vocabulary of your target language, it’s a complementary tool to another learning method, such as a language teacher or language school.

If you want to improve your communication skills in a foreign language, Duolingo is not the solution. However, compared to expensive solutions like Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur that offer similar language programs, Duolingo offers more value for improving your grammar and vocabulary skills.

Now let’s go over how Duolingo works.

How Duolingo Works

Duolingo is available to use on the main devices you own, from your desktop, tablet, and smartphone. All you have to do to get started is to create a free account, and choose the language you want to learn.

1. Test your language skills

Duolingo offers an optional, free placement test that allows you to evaluate what language level you are. Keep in mind that it may not be a 100% accurate, since it’s algorithmic based and you’re only being tested for your grammar and vocabulary skills.

For example, you could be an B+ Spanish speaker, but your grammar skills could be C-.


2. Start with the basic vocabulary

If you’ve chosen the beginner route, you’ll start by learning the most basic vocabulary through a multiple choice format. These include learning words like gender, animals, man versus woman, etcetera.

3. Start putting sentences together

Once you’ve progressed to a deeper level, you’ll be asked to complete more complex tasks such as putting sentences together and translating them. Duolingo also has ‘hearts’ that represent the number of chances you get before you’re asked to start over. This is where the gamification comes in.


4. Level up until you complete the course

Duolingo requires you to level up progressively, and you cannot skip levels until you’ve completed the previous course.


How is Rype different from Duolingo?

Now that we’ve shown you the basics of how Duolingo works, we’ll share how Rype is different.

1. Algorithmic Learning (Duolingo) versus. Immersion Learning (Rype)

The learning philosophies between Rype and Duolingo a fundamentally different. While both leverage the power of technology, Duolingo focuses on a programmatic learning method, while Rype believes in learning languages with other humans.

Scientific research by the National Training Laboratories shows a breakdown of humans best learn, comparing the core different learning methods that are available.

Here’s what they found.

5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture.
10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading.
20% of what they learn from audio-visual (Duolingo)
30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration
50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned (Rype)
90% of what they learn when they teach someone else/use immediately (Rype)_

This means that based on how humans best learn, immediate immersion learning is up to 4.5x more effective than an audio-visual learning method.

Rype combines the power of real-life human immersion and coaching accountability to not only accelerate your learning speed, but more importantly — maintain it. The biggest reason why most of us never reach fluency in a language is not due to ability, resources, or strategies, it’s lack of accountability. One way to think about is: if you really wanted to lose 10 lbs., will you depend on a fitness app or hire a personal trainer to keep you accountable?

2. One-Size-Fits-All Program (Duolingo) versus. Fully Personalized Program (Rype)

In order to cater the hundreds of millions of free users that have registered for the app, Duolingo offers a streamlined, one-size-fits-all language course that is essentially the same for everyone.

It doesn’t personalize the program for you if you’re more of a visual learner versus a reader. But the reality is, all of us have different needs, goals, and proficiency levels. It’s what makes us human beings. Essentially, you’re at the mercy of hoping that the general language curriculum that Duolingo has created is going to be the best fit for you.

Another point about personalization to keep in mind is that Duolingo doesn’t personalize what type of Spanish, English, French, or other language you’re learning. Spanish from Mexico is significantly different than Spanish from Spain, from its slang terms, grammar structure, accents, and more.

According to Duolingo, Spanish is just one language without any variance. This is particularly unhelpful if you’re learning a language to communicate with someone from a specific culture, for business, travel, and personal reasons.

3. Duolingo Only Improves Your Grammar and Vocabulary

As we’ve shown you above, the majority of the language lessons that Duolingo offers focuses on grammar and vocabulary skills. That’s because most of the learners on Duolingo are beginners, and it makes sense to focus on the fundamentals of a language.

However, if you want to go beyond the basic fundamentals for beginners, it has its limitations. This includes more complex grammar rules, speaking and communication skills, and more advanced language skills in general.

Rype can help you go beyond the basic language skills because it’s a live 1-on-1 interaction with a professional teacher from day one. You’re able to improve your grammar, vocabulary, and other skills while being required to hold a conversation in your target language.

4. Learn, Interact, and Build Relationships With Real Humans On Rype

At the end of the day, all of us learned our first and native language through other humans. Whether that was listening and speaking with our parents, siblings, or childhood friends. And most of us are learning a language in order to speak and communicate with other humans.

This begs the question: If we’re learning a language to communicate with other humans, why not learn it from humans in the first place? It’s kind of like learning how to start a conversation using an application, instead of mustering up the courage to actually approach someone at your local coffee shop.

In summary, you have to figure out your end goal for learning a foreign language and understand why you’re learning it. If it involves interacting with other humans from a different culture and country, why not learn from someone that lives there?


How are Duolingo and Rype Similar?

Despite its core differences in learning philosophy, method, and target market, Rype and Duolingo are similar in some ways.

1. Built for busy people

Unlike other learning methods like language schools, Rosetta Stone, and others, both solutions are catered for busy people on-the-go. You can learn online using any electronic device you prefer, which means you can learn anywhere you are in the world. They’re both 24/7 services and require as little as 30 minutes a day to learn.

On Rype, you can book 30 minute lessons and enjoy the lesson on the same day. All you have to do is let us know what time you want the lesson, and we’ll show you a list of teachers that are available. From there, it takes three taps to reserve your lesson.


2. Free to get started

The other good news is that both Duolingo and Rype are free to try. While many language learners use both at the same time, since they’re complementary solutions, you can try both to see for yourself.

As we mentioned, Duolingo is free to start, with the option to upgrade to their premium subscription program to remove ads. Rype offers a free language lesson trial, and you can choose one of our languages and programs to continue your lessons.

Try out Rype for free here.

Concluding our Duolingo Review

We hope this Duolingo review was useful to you. Duolingo is a great product, and we encourage any language learner to try it for free. But keep in mind that it has its limitations like personalization, immersion, and its lack of fit for learners looking to improve their speaking skills. Think of Duolingo as a free fitness application, while Rype is your personal trainer.

Starting your language learning journey with Rype is not only easier than ever, but it’s 100% risk-free. You can sign up today for your free language lesson trial.

If you still have questions, email us at anytime: help@rypeapp.com.

We can’t wait to have you inside our family.

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