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In an earlier post, I shared my initial explorations with Duolingo. I have now completed a 65 day streak and think that I have a reasonably good idea of its strengths and weaknesses. Here are some things that I learned.
- For me there was value in upgrading to the $60 per year version of Duolingo Plus. I preferred not to be distracted by ads, my investment helps keep it free for others, and a number of the additional options proved useful as my motivation for awhile moved away from relearning the language and instead to “gaming.”
- If I chose to continue seriously using it I would add the Spanish keyboard to my machines.
- I noticed quite a few differences in my learning experiences when I was using my MacBookPro laptop and when I was using my iPad or iPhone. The latter allowed my dictating my responses when translating Spanish to English faster and with fewer errors.
- I enjoyed “following” and being followed by other Duolingo users (and “competitors”). I chose to identify myself both with a photo of me and my dog Rollie and with my “professional identity” ( i.e. a former university professor).
- Through regularly monitoring the progress of competitors on the “Leaderboards” I was able to “engineer” winning first place two weeks and 2nd place one week. That last competition was fascinating in that I suspect the winner may well have been a “bot” programmed to make me spend more money (one can buy additional minutes in timed competitions).
- The “stories” exercises are clever. engaging, and often quite funny.
- It is very easy to let this program seduce you into gaming rather than focusing on language learning.
- It is more “fun” than its competitor Mondly.
- I’ll probably continue using it but more intermittently now. I have a good sense of how it works and how I can make it work for me.
- It’s time to invest my discretionary time in some other ongoing projects. I am delighted to hear from Michael Colin Nelson that his Print My Blog Pro WordPress Plugin is ready for release. It has been rewarding to have a small part in giving feedback about its development and I look forward to putting it to good use in my own WordPress blogging.