Five things to know before choosing a language learning app
The number of language learning app available seems to be ever-expanding. This is great for those of us who are looking to learn a new language. Competition brings down prices and expands options.
And there are a lot of options when it comes to language learning apps. So it’s worth your time to decide exactly what you want from a language learning app and do some research.
Ask yourself these 5 questions to find the perfect app
1. What is your goal?
You want to learn a new language. But what does that really mean? What do you want to accomplish while you are in another country?
Are you traveling for
Are you learning a language
- to get around and meet people
- hold a conversation
- take a test
- for reading and writing
- just need to say the basics
If your company is sending you to conduct a 2-week training then its best to find an app that will quickly teach you basic phrases and some business terms. On the other hand, if this a year-long university exchange program you will need to know much more about the language and learn a good deal about the culture.
If you studying for a particular score on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages for a job, that’s a totally different app.
2. How much time do you have to commitment?
If you truly want or need to learn a language be prepared to study daily. There are no shortcuts to this.
But is that daily study a one-time calendared-scheduled block of dedicated time or a few minutes here and there as you can fit it in.
Pimsleur, for example, is a 30-minute lesson that needs to be done uninterrupted and with your full attention. On the other hand, you can work through a Duolingo lesson in 3 to 5 minutes. Other apps can be done standing in line at the grocery store or at waiting for a program to load.
3. How do you like to learn?
Do you prefer lessons that are
- Reading and writing
You can choose between text-heavy apps or apps with a lot of listening involved. Some apps have a live, real person, component if that’s what works for you. If you need to take an exam, then you will need to find an app that mimics test-taking.
4. Do you want to connect with other people or work alone?
Most apps engage you singularly but if you are more social you can find apps that connect you with native speakers, such as HelloTalk and iTalki. Duolingo has an events section you can search to find people near you to meet and study with.
5. What is your budget?
Many apps are reasonably priced but don’t be surprised to see some with price tags in the several hundreds of dollars. Make sure to do your research to know what you are getting for the price you are paying.
Knowing your goals, your time availability, how you learn, and if you want to work alone or with others will give you a solid idea of what is worth paying for and what is not.
Before you start looking for a language learning app, know what you need from it. With so many apps on the market, you are bound to find one that fits your needs with just a little research.