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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Language Learning Apps Like Babbel Are Popular, But Do They Work? Yale Researchers Investigate | Editor’s Picks - eLearningInside News

Language learning apps have seen massive uptake in recent years by Henry Kronk, Writer/Editor at eLearning Inside News.
Photo: Alessia Cocconi, Unsplash.
Duolingo reported it had surpassed the 300 million user mark last year. Other free options like Busuu and Memrise count their users in the tens of millions (Busuu is nearing 100 million). Babbel, which offers subscriptions to its language learning mobile and web app, announced 1 million paying customers in 2016. This popularity speaks for itself. But outside of these figures, user reviews, and personal anecdotes, few know how well these language learning apps work. Babbel has been trying to change that. In recent years, the company has commissioned three efficacy studies into its product, the latest of which was published earlier this month.

The study was conducted by two researchers from the Yale University Center for Language Study, Director Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl and Associate Director Mary Jo Lubrano...
Learning Spanish with Babbel
The Babbel language learning app is comprised mostly of short 10-15 minute lessons which focus on every day conversations that language learners are likely to use, like asking for directions, ordering food, and speaking about one’s personal life. It also employs a personalized vocabulary teaching feature, which tracks the words a user knows and retests them at determined periods to employ a ‘spaced repetition’ learning technique. To conduct all of this activity, the app listens to and understands a users’ speech, looking for qualities like correct pronunciation.

Over the course of 12 weeks of study, the average student put in 48 hours on the Babbel app and completed 110 lessons. While many stuck exclusively to the app, others were more enthusiastic and looked to other materials to further their study.