Can You Learn a Language With an App: What the Research Says

Learning foreign languages ​​opens the door to many opportunities: to study in another country, get a job abroad, and communicate with people while traveling. With the advancement of the internet and smartphone technology, many are now choosing to learn languages ​​through apps.

Many mobile app development services today receive orders for the development of similar applications. The incomparable convenience and advantage of learning a language through the application on your smartphone are available at any time convenient for you.

But how effective are these apps in learning languages?

Apps that help you learn foreign languages are top-rated in app stores around the world. Statista says that in April 2021, Duolingo remained the # 1 mobile language learning app, generating about $ 11 million in in-app sales in a month. Babbel came in second place with nearly $ 4 million earned from the mobile app.

However, there is still debate about how practical such applications can be, especially when it comes to writing or oral communication skills.

Non-formal education or a competitor to classical education?

To answer this question, you need to compare regular language courses and a language learning app. The data of many studies say that, on average, a student of offline courses attends them twice a week for 1.5-2 hours at a time. At the same time, users of the mobile application open it on average every day for 10-15 minutes. And that is not all - people who attend offline courses can also use such applications - as if in support of their formal education.

Forbes writes that the coronavirus crisis has been a boon for business for language learning apps. And this is not surprising - many employers have transferred their business online, and employees will be hired anywhere in the world without relocation. Mobile app development services companies are loaded with app development orders like never before. And language apps are no exception.

What are the researchers saying?

With all the variety of applications for language learning and many downloads, there is still not enough data on how the application affects the improvement of students' speaking skills.

In many studies, respondents note that they like to receive immediate feedback from the application in the form of a right or wrong answer.

However, they speak better about those applications that also explain the chosen answer - which is the basis of language learning. 

The user of such an application understands why his answer is not correct and not just poking at random.

Users of mobile language learning apps are overwhelmingly satisfied with the learning experience and note that language learning apps have met their expectations. Many people report that using a language learning app helped them get through the beginner level and gain more confidence to enroll in the first stage of offline language learning.

What's next for language apps?

The researchers note that despite the imperfect language learning apps, students find them useful and continue to install them on their smartphones.

It is why the dedicated software development team continues to work on developing language applications. Perceiving the time spent on language learning apps as worthwhile shows how far these apps have come in a short amount of time.

Many people point out that another advantage of such applications for the student is that no one sees his mistakes. Thus, language learning apps can be the first step towards whole language acquisition.

Therefore, we can say for sure that in the near future, applications will not replace teachers and full-fledged language schools. But on the contrary, they can become a valuable and additional tool in studying foreign languages.