Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

2016

Abstract

This article explores the idea of using an already existing language learning app, Duolingo, to complement traditional college level Spanish as second language courses. These types of apps use adaptive learning technologies, which are able to tailor the tasks to the level of each student. In the case of this study, Duolingo was used as part of the program of studies in two Spanish university courses, one a beginner’s Spanish course (level A1) and the other an advanced intermediate course (B2). The students used the app online, either in its mobile version or in their web browser. I will describe how Duolingo operates, what kind of activities can be done, and how learning is achieved. Preliminary results suggest that Duolingo is an easy-to-use app that is useful and has potential, although its main lessons are not based on communicative competence. It is usually enjoyed by students because of several elements, such as the accessibility on a mobile device, its gamification aspect, and the variety of tasks. I will discuss possible ways to incorporate Duolingo into foreign language courses, always considering it as a complement to the curriculum, but considering its value to reinforce vocabulary and grammar acquisition through spaced repetition, interleaving of different skills and variety of activities.

Comments

Bilingual English and Spanish text.