Effective language learning: what I have found.

A couple of years ago I met some French friends and it inspired me to start properly learning the language. I downloaded the Duolingo app, and used it every now and again whilst on the train etc; I use it everyday now, mainly on my laptop instead of the app. When I was younger I had studied French up until GCSE and had barely gotten anywhere with it. However upon starting again I was learning at a far greater rate.

The two main reasons, based on my research and my experiences, were wanting to learn it (as opposed to having to learn it for school) and the effectiveness of Duolingo, which I am very grateful for. One thing that I learnt was to use active learning rather than passive. This means rather than just looking at words and phrases again and again, you should actively test yourself and try and regurgitate the information. You do this when using Duolingo , one of the reasons for it's success. Also their algorithms are good at determining how often you should go back over a level to cement in that knowledge.

Moreover, using it primarily on my laptop nowadays is useful for the grammatical advice not provided on the app, and also helps me practice my touch typing. When I initially got the app I went through the levels very quickly, and didn't go over them again. Though this meant for good progress through the levels, I realised I was not actually remembering anything I had gone over. Now I stick to keeping every level gold which has vastly improved my learning, and I would advise to try and keep every level golden even if it means a slower progression through the levels, instead of going through all the levels then repeating from the start, as it is more efficient for the overall learning of the language.

I also recommend finding a language partner online if you are serious about learning the language. Even if your knowledge is limited you can still get through a basic conversation and speaking practice is just as important as any of the other disciplines, maybe even more depending on your intentions. As well as this, making a note of every phrase and word that you don't think will remember is something that has helped me.

Now I have finished the French tree I intend to keep 'les niveaux' golden ;). I also intend to increase my listening and speaking powers using French youtube videos and online conversations. Having started the Spanish tree I can already tell having learnt French is making this much easier! I would like to go to France and use what I have learnt when I am able.

Thanks Duolingo!

March 10, 2017


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wow. What a great learning language life story. AND THAT STREAK!!! wow bravo

March 10, 2017

[deactivated user]

    I have found that book learning or even duo learning just doesn't match speaking the language daily. So I agree with your statement about finding a language partner. Except why just one? I use HelloTalk often to strike up conversations with English learners. Instead of waiting on A language partner, I have MANY language partners. I also advise learning groups of words together instead of individually so that, with slight variations, one group of words can be modified to correctly say many things.

    March 11, 2017

    Thanks, good points! This is especially so when you have many language partners from different backgrounds, you will learn more slang off of some people and more correctly structured language off of others, as well as being able to sample different accents. Good idea to learn the words in groups too.

    March 11, 2017

    Thanks for that........appreciated!!

    March 10, 2017

    Congratulations on your streak!

    March 10, 2017


    nice story, great text and proper layouting.
    Thanks for your efforts!

    How about writing this longer text in French in the french sub-forum for a little practice? :-) :-)
    I am sure people will help with your translation and corrections.
    Or on

    I also would agree, that rushing through a tree might not be effective - especially on the app.
    However using both (app + web review 1-2 days later) might be a nice combination.
    BTW, I make easier progress (XPs) on the app.
    However, DuoLingo is not that very effective for me with vocabulary learning and hammering those words into my head for new lessons.

    So I am using Memrise in parallel to re-learn all words and make use of Memrises SR algorithm and getting the chance to repeat individual weak (not knowing) words more often with it's shorter 3-8/12/24h++ intervals and 6 step flower planting process.

    I am putting really much time into, to repeat again and again all those learned words (e.g verbs, adverbs, adjectives, etc.). Takes me hours / days.

    It is nice to have DuoLingo then later show you those words for building some sentences when you strengthen skills (although there is still room for improvement what sentences/phrases you actually have to translate).
    Have you tested with learning new vocabulary in context, or . reading texts and understanding / using learned/new words?

    March 11, 2017

    I used to use Memrise and I agree that the flower planting process is very good especially for weak words. Thanks for the links to the other websites too, it is good to experiment with a wide range of sources. Also, writing this in French in the French forum is a great idea!

    March 11, 2017
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