Sunday, October 4, 2020

Duolingo Review

UNEDITED VERSION: The language learning community also extends to Game-based language learning (GBLL). The language learning community is a group who gathers online to learn a new language by various forms of “practice learning” like reading, writing, listening to languages, watching movies, speaking in order to learn a new language. There are multiple versions of GBLL. In class we discussed Duolingo, a platform for GBLL. I have been playing the French version of Duolingo nightly for the last 155 days (as of 22 SEP 2020). So it’s also an easy choice for me to discuss, since I feel like I am already a part of this community. Duolingo was created by a team of Carnegie Mellon students led by PhD students, Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker (Siegler, 2011). Duolingo offers various ways for players to learn to speak, read, write, and understand new language(s); including forums to discuss proper grammar and dictation. Duolingo website states “With over 100 million users, Duolingo has organically become the most popular way to learn languages online in only 2 years” (von Ahn, Luis, 2011). As the most popular application that offers users ways to learn in every form, I think it’s appropriate to focus on Duolingo as a prime example of the Language Learning Community. Learners may choose to play Duolingo via desktop or native mobile applications. Duolingo courses use a game-like concept called Gamification to keep the user interested and keep them moving through the lessons. Gamification brings aspects of game theory (Szulborski, 2005) into a non-game activity which can be seen throughout Duolingo (strength meter, levels, “lives”, etc.). The strategy of a game format is to motivate users constantly to exert their effort to make progress for the learning. It instills a definite sense of progress on mastering the foreign language when the mission in the game is accomplished. It also has a function of comparing their progress with their friends’ through a social network like Facebook. Much of the learning happens in the form of rapid-fire quizzes, which switch frequently back and forth between questions on speaking, listening, and writing. In module 3, I researchers game-based learning for Alzheimers and discovered multiple studies on how taking a test after learning may help cement that knowledge for longer-lasting memory of what was studied (Carrier & Pashler, 1992; Dirkx, Kester, & Kirschner, 2014; Jaeger, Eisenkraemer, & Stein, 2014; J. D. Karpicke & Roediger, 2007; Roediger & Karpicke, 2006b). This social aspect is another key piece of gamification and can help to encourage the user and their friends to continue to use Duolingo. I’ve stayed up playing the game longer than I would have otherwise because of their leaderboards, which are a little ambiguous. However, I think in some ways this also leads to retaking easier courses sometimes, but I do feel like I was still learning. In the Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, O'Connor, et al (2015) researched the effects of MMOGs and the correlation of this social support (O'Connor, et al, 2015, 25(6), 459-473). “Social support can be viewed as the resources that people are able to call on through the relationships they have with others (e.g. Cohen & Hoberman, 1983; Haber, Cohen, Lucas, & Baltes, 2007). Numerous studies have established a relationship between high levels of offline social support and greater psychological well-being (e.g. Allgower et al., 2001; Cohen & Hoberman, 1983)” (O'Connor, et al, 2015, p.462). Duolingo is made up of people wanting to learn for their job, travel, native speakers who want others to talk to, children for school, people who like foreign television or books, or adults who want to improve along-side an adult community course. In some ways, this platform may be considered part of the MMOG or Web-Based Learning Community. Duolingo is also set up for classes so teachers and tutors can use it as a class-tool. Similar communities include: Busuu, Fluent in Three Months, Omniglot, Linguaholic, Reddit Language Learning, Quora Language Learning, WordReference, Unilang
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Senior UI/UX web designer at a large-scale IT contractor for defense, intelligence, and civilian government solutions. Adventurist and certified Yoga / Barre Instructor. Love aviation, books, and travel.Prefer long light hearted series in mystery, comedy, fantasy, and romance.
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