Sheila B Robinson on a Great FREE Tool for Learning a New Idioma, Langue, Teanga or Lingvo!

Hello! I’m Sheila B Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor with a fabulous learning opportunity for evaluators who work with linguistically diverse stakeholders (and I’ll bet that’s most of us!), and are concerned with cultural competence in our evaluation work.

Duolingo is a crowdsourced, engaging, gamified, free language learning platform whose “ultimate goal is to give everyone access to a private tutor experience through technology.” They claim to be the largest online language learning platform with 100 million students.

Lesson Learned: I found 27 different languages offered on Duolingo including Turkish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Irish, Swahili, Russian, Korean, and, interestingly enough… Klingon. When you first access the site, you choose a language and a goal of how many minutes you’re willing to invest in learning. You can set your goal to 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes per day. Then, you choose your path. Either jump right into the learning, or take a placement test if you think you have some knowledge of the language. This is how I started. Armed with 6 years’ worth of middle and high school French, I was certain I could jump at least one level and so I spent 5-10 minutes translating French phrases into English, and trying to compose French phrases from given English phrases (much harder!). Turns out Duolingo is serious learning! Sadly, I failed to skip ahead and Duolingo placed me at the very beginning.  (In my defense, high school was quite a long time ago!)

Cool Trick: Duolingo also offers languages for speakers of languages other than English. For example, they offer Spanish for Russian speakers, French for Arabic speakers, and German for Italian speakers, among many other options.

Rad Resource: I learned about Duolingo from another great find. I stumbled on an article entitled An In-Depth Guide To Choosing The Best Online Learning Sites which offers a great review and comparisons of MOOCs and other online learning opportunities.

Cool Trick: According to the article, “your achievements [on Duolingo] can be integrated directly into your LinkedIn profile to display from a reputable source your verified language proficiency level.”

Boa sorte! [That’s “good luck” in Portuguese!]

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