Certificate of completion you get when you finish all the lessons in Duolingo

Goals 2021 update 1/16

Published: 15.04.2021

I have finished one of my goals for 2021: "Finish all german lessons in Duolingo". This one was the easiest to do, but gives me great satisfaction.

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What is Duolingo?

Duolingo is a free language learning app. They have a bunch of languages which you can learn. There is also Duolingo Plus, which is a paid monthly plan. In my opinion it is not worth it. Read below if you want to see my reasoning.

What is it good for?

With its gamified approach to learning it is a great motivation to actually learn a new language. It also keeps you consistent with its day streaks. I guess this is the main selling point of the whole app. It does this really well.

As lessons are quite small, you can do a nice session every day for 10-15 minutes. That is great to fill in some free time while you are commuting or otherwise have some dead time. It is also nice to have this bite sized approach as the attention span is quite limited if you are doing this 10-15 minutes per day. Your vocabulary is slowly expanding too, which is nice.

One other good thing about this app is that it has some common expressions that might be useful for everyday use. Of course, you might have to adapt a bit but the concept of saying that expression is still there. You can swap out a noun or a pronoun and you can make the same kind of question about a different thing, for example. Repetition is the key here, as you are doing the same sentence over and over again. The other good thing about it is that you can develop a sense for a gender of the noun, with all this repetition.

I think this app is a nice addition to learning from an actual language book or a course. It is a nice time filler. It is much better to do those exercises than to scroll the social media feed for example.

What is it not good for?

With all of the above being said, you still need a proper language book and/or a course. This app will not teach you a lot of grammar and rules. It is also not going to teach you anything other than basic level stuff. For proper explanations and anything more advanced you would need a proper learning resource.

Although the small bite sized increments of exercises are great, you can achieve much more if you make a proper time and effort commitment. As I said it is a good companion when you are just starting out a new language, but nothing more than that. At the end you will be on a basic level, which you can achieve in a much smaller period of time with proper commitment (1-2 hours per day or every other day)

Also, it is somewhat boring. Same sentences. Same kind of exercises. Over and over again. It gets really tedious after some time. As you get closer to the end you start loosing motivation.

Conclusion

I certainly had fun going through German language on Duolingo. It is nice for building vocabulary and drilling some sentences and genders of nouns. It is a nice addition to your actual language learning resource. However, this app alone is not enough to learn a language, other than some basic sentences. It gets boring going in circles with the same exercises. Having everything above in mind I would not pay for a Pro version as it does not really upgrade learning experience. It just removes ads (which you can also do with a simple ad blocker extension for your browser) and gives you some other nice things for the gamification part. Not much for learning the language itself.

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Dejan Kostevski

Dejan Kostevski is a self-taught Web Developer. His mission is to explain things in a simple but understandable way. During the years he has helped several Junior Developers kick start their careers, land an internship or a job or just in general get over the coding hurdle that they encountered.

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