In the past, when one wanted to learn a new language, one would have to enroll in a formal class. Alternatively, you would have to learn your target language by reading books and dictionaries. However, thanks to technological innovations such as the internet and smartphones, access to information is much easier. However, not so many people take advantage of these developments.
Nowadays, learning a new language or a few phrases for an imminent trip has become much easier and convenient. There are countless language learning apps you can download and use on your phone or tablet to learn a new language. For instance, if you want to learn Spanish, you will find many top-rated apps to learn Spanish in 2021.
How Effective Are Language Learning Apps?
Before making up your mind to use a language learning app to learn your target language, you must ask yourself how effective they are. Well, that is a great question! First, studies have revealed that millions of people are studying languages using apps. Some top apps boast a membership of up to 90 million users.
Second, for a language learning app to be effective, it must be able to teach learners vocabulary and grammar. Moreover, it should also help the learners to take that knowledge and translate it into an ability to use the language. This implies that the student should speak, understand what you hear, and respond appropriately at the end of the lesson.
In this regard, several apps are available in the market to teach you different aspects of language. For example, to improve your reading, you should go for apps that focus on this aspect to improve reading. Alternatively you can find top apps for learning with tutors as a more communicative approach.
What does this mean? In essence, it would help if you didn’t depend on one app for your language learning. So, you should find an app that addresses your immediate language learning needs. Then, go for the best app for the next aspect of the language you are learning.
Is it Formal or Informal Learning?
Many users treat language learning apps as tools for informal learning. Studies also support this notion as they reveal that most learners use the app in their free time. On the other hand, experts claim that language learning apps only tell you whether you are right or wrong.
The experts argue that the apps ought to give the learner an explanation of why your answer is wrong or right. Several apps have already started to address this issue. However, more is yet to be done, for instance, including links to grammar explanations.
Apps Allow You to Make Mistakes
Based on the rating language learning apps get on the app stores. There is also a general perception that the time users spend on the app is worthwhile. Moreover, formal language teaching has shifted towards more communicative approaches to learning a new language. Therefore, learners prefer the apps because they allow them to make mistakes privately.
Studies have shown that users prefer the non-threatening environment offered by these apps. Also, the users can avoid performance anxiety that many learners suffer whenever they are asked to speak or read a foreign language in public.
Language Teachers Have Nothing to Worry About
Studies have suggested that language apps can’t become the main tool for language learning. Experts claim that although the apps are convenient, they cannot replace classroom and human interaction when learning a new language.
As a result, experts advise that tutors and learners have to adopt a hybrid approach. In this new approach, they will be able to take advantage of the best elements of online and classroom language learning. For example, they can reserve face-to-face instructional time for communication-oriented activities. On the other hand, they can perform their vocabulary and drills using the apps.
Additionally, tutors can supplement classroom learning with video chats and other internet-based interactive sessions. The sessions can connect users with native speakers globally. Therefore, as you use apps for grammar and other language aspects, ensure you find opportunities to interact.
Luckily, the internet offers numerous opportunities for you to communicate with people and learn languages. As a result, you don’t have to leave your current location to talk to your target language’s native speakers.
Eventually, experts agree that you can learn languages through apps and other online systems. However, they advise learners to have realistic expectations of what the apps can help them achieve.
For example, as mentioned here above, apps can be ideal for learning phrases and vocabulary. As a matter of fact, you will find specific apps to improve your vocabulary. The experts also claim that you should use apps if you are a beginner or low-intermediate student of your target language. However, you must also make sure you find opportunities to interact.