When we practice learning a new language, the hours we invest are, in effect, work. Thought leaders in the technology arena have been coming up with new ways to leverage work of this kind to put it toward a greater good. One such innovation is Duolingo, a language-learning website that simultaneously teaches users a new language while also creating translations of real Web content. The online program, which is less than a year old, has just added an iPhone app to its set of learning tools.
The free Duolingo iPhone app lets Duolingo learners work seamless between the Web app and mobile app. Both track your progress in one account so you can continue your language studies at home, at work, or on the go. The iPhone app does require Internet connectivity to work, however.
Duolingo’s CEO, Luis von Ahn, has a history of figuring out ways to leverage real-world work on the Internet. His work has included CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA (now owned by Google), the authentication program that requires users to type two words into a box to prove that they’re human; those typed words are used to help decode unidentifiable text from actual scanned pages of books and other documents.
Of the language-learning services I’ve tested and reviewed for PCMag, Duolingo is one of the few truly free programs that actually works fairly well. I was granted early access to the iPhone app, which is slightly more simplistic than the full website. For example, the mobile app version relies on more multiple-choice exercises than the website, but overall, it is well structured and allows you to continue your lessons or repeat previously completed lesson for practice.
You can find the Duolingo iPhone app, which became available today, via Duolingo’s mobile app landing page.
For more from Jill Duffy, follow her on Twitter @jilleduffy.
By Jill Duffy, PCMag