Can I learn a language online?

Definitely! All that’s needed for learning a language online is a device and internet connection and it is, usually, free. There are many websites and apps which can teach you.

Duolingo

My top pick is Duolingo. This is a great website and app where you can learn many languages for free. Over 30 languages can be learnt for free and at the same time (well, maybe not all at the same time!). There are lessons based on different topics and quizzes. These are personalised to what works best for you and are immediately marked. There are a variety of listening, speaking, writing exercises and reading exercises. You can earn rewards and there is a level of competitiveness which keeps you motivated. There are also stories which you can work through so you get a better grasp of the language. 

Extras include Podcasts, Discuss (a forum), Events and a Shop for buying bonuses with your virtual currency.

Even in the classroom, there is potential to use Duolingo. This could be similar to how students at Sheffield Girls’ use This Is Language for listening exercises but with additional skills. Teachers can give personalised feedback and practice.

Advantages: There are lots of languages to choose from and you are very careful with making choices as you only have 5 hearts on the app version which get restored every 5 hours. You can also learn Idioms and proverbs. As it is an app you can learn whenever and wherever.

Disadvantages: If you have a long streak, it costs real money to repair it. There aren’t many things you can buy in the shop. You can’t really practise conversational skills.

Other websites and apps include:

Babbel – You can learn 14 languages and there are also apps for ios and android. This app and website can really help with conversation skills.

Busuu – You can learn over 12 languages and basic features are free but you need a premium subscription to get advanced features such as a vocabulary trainer.

There are many more which you can find in your app store or via a Google search!

My Opinion

I think learning a language online is a great idea as your teacher is the app and you can go at a pace which suits you. However, not all apps have the ability to practise speaking with someone for a period of time. You can learn languages you may have never learned before at the tip of your finger.


What are your thoughts about learning a language online? Does it help or do you find it’s not as good as a lesson with a real person? Perhaps you are a language teacher – would you recommend any of the apps above or is learning a language online not really feasible? We’d love to hear your thoughts – please complete the form below.

Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni from Pixabay

11 thoughts on “Can I learn a language online?

  1. I found this article very interesting and it inspired me to learn another language on Duolingo .

  2. Great article. You’re doing a good job.
    Thanks for sharing such a detailed post ! Very honest and practical. Keep it up.

  3. It’s a very good article, actually I was interested in learning new languages and planning for it. Your article helped me a lot.. Thankyou very much Adithi

  4. Such an amzingly well written review about “Duolingo” the language learning website. You go through it in detail about what appealed to you and also the improvements you seek. The lucid writing has spurred me to start learning a new language myself during this lockdown. I shall start with “Duolingo”. Cheers Adithi. Stay Safe.

  5. Hi Adithi, very nice… And very practical thought about the online language learning….. In addition to the above platforms…. There should also be our own field work such as speaking the same language with local, reading news articles in the same language, writing essays and stories etc. These will help improve our language skills.

  6. Good work!! A detailed explanation which motivates anyone to start learning a new language. A new thing one could pick it up in this lockdown. Keep up the good work going. All the best, Adithi.

  7. Hola Adithi! This is an excellent article and I thoroughly recommend Duolingo to everyone! In fact, I have used it myself to learn Italian and a bit of German. I would note that it is a very strict marker and luckily for us, exams are a bit more lenient on spelling! I think it’s best feature is how random it is and you certainly learn unusual vocabulary and structures. The downside for me is the lack of detail on grammar. Having said that, like you mention, there are other websites that can help with that. That’s what is so great about the internet!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this Adithi and it is something I always so admire when I go abroad that people can just get talking, and not in English! So yes…I just might give this a go!!

  9. A great article Adithi. I used Duolingo to learn a little Italian a few years ago. From reading your article I think the App must have been developed further since then because there were certainly no stories. I am inspired to revisit and spend some more time on Italian or maybe Spanish. My foreign language knowledge could definitely do with a little improvement. Thank you!

  10. Hi Adithi, this is an excellent article and I hope that it encourages more students to have a go at learning a new language in these strange times! I have used Duolingo too to have a go at Italian but I also love http://www.thisislanguage.com which we use in school from Year 9. I think I enjoy playing Nutty Tilez just as much as the students but they always beat me! Learning a language has got to be easier nowadays and certainly more enjoyable than when I started learning at school! The internet provides so many amazing resources! It was all grammar and translation when I was at school! As much as these are super important skills I am finding using new websites, videos and pear deck activities is making teaching Languages more interesting!

  11. Such an amazing article !!! It’s very inspirational and will no doubt encourage many people to try out learning a brand new language online, especially since people have a lot more free time right now. I might try it out myself I’ve always wanted to learn a little Russian !!

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