Mobile Language Apps Are Not Encouraging Learning

There are many smartphone apps in the market today that help people learn languages a few sentences at a time for free (or nearly free). They are setting the pace for creating more engaging lessons and are also piling pressure on established education firms.

By launching on the market attractive smartphone and tablet-based mobile products, newcomers like U.S.-based Duolingo, Britain’s Memrise, or Germany’s Babbel have overtaken names like computer self-learning pioneer Rosetta Stone or Berlitz in terms of audience, if not yet teaching sophistication or sales, according to market analysts.

Users are being drawn to the flexibility of practicing conversation, vocabulary or grammar on the go, either as part of a simply more productive alternative or even as a serious course. Perhaps, the best benefits of these simple mobile language tools can be leveraged by travelers.

According to the founder of London-based Memrise, Ed Cooke, it is a matter of incremental convenience as smartphone apps deliver a wide range of more easily accessible content anywhere, anytime. And could we not agree with him, since Memrise’s language apps are mostly free?

The best among the new mobile apps use email reminders, voice recognition, and even insights from the psychology of cognitive science and mobile games to keep entry-level as well as advanced users coming back for language practice each day.

Language tutors, suppliers and publishers are forced by these low-cost products to rethink their teaching and marketing strategies. For example, suppliers of classroom teaching tools have to deal with dropping of charging hundreds of dollars for courses or double-digit dollar prices for books.

Established companies in the niche are struggling to make their existing online, software and print products more mobile or rebranding and catering to higher-end courses aimed at schools or businesses so as not to have to compete with low-cost or free apps.

However, users tend to learn less with the new apps. For instance, one of the top new language apps, Duolingo, asks users to pick a learning goal from five minutes up to just 20 minutes a day. The lessons only include short vocabulary and sentence completion games.

According to language teachers, the apps are useful for conversational practice as well as vocabulary builders, but they are no substitute for interaction with a knowledgeable teacher when it comes to sustaining motivation or learning proper grammar.

Source: Mobile Language Apps Are Not Encouraging Learning

Via: Google Alert for Deep Learning

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