Learning a Foreign Language in Learning

Learning a foreign language? Going on holiday and want to know some phrases fast? We've reviewed 3 free online resources to help you on your way. 

When you think about learning a language do you instantly think about all those long periods of French or German at school?  Learning a language doesn’t need to be this way anymore. There are lots of new interactive ways you can learn a language: websites; apps; e-books; online study communities and translators to name but a few.  

With lots of materials to choose from, learners can waste a lot of time finding the perfect method to help them learn.  We’re here to help: we’ve reviewed 3 online language learning resources to help you find the best fit you!

Busuu

These language lessons feature new vocabulary and phrases supported by dialogues, writing exercises, audio recording options.  You can even get some real - time practice with the opportunity to network with other language learners and native speakers on the site.

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Good points

  • There are study options for reading, writing, listening and speaking.
  • Busuu app options allow learners to take their lessons or review materials on the go.
  • You get a 7 day free trial to see if it suits you.

Bad points

  • Some of the more in-depth lessons, video units, and printable PDF files are only available through the paid Premium membership.

Who would like this?

Learners with some understanding of the language already.

Duolingo

In the past Duolingo was invite only resource and you can really see why.  It is a great, well rounded and free. Learners study vocabulary and build it into simple sentences though reading, writing, listening and speaking, with grammar tips along the way. There’s a translation option for difficult passages.

Good points

  • Engaging site keeps learning visual even on the app version.
  • Lessons are presented as a flow chart style.  This helps users build upon their learning in future lessons.

 Bad points

  • Only 6 European languages to choose from.

Who would like this?

Learners who need a bit of structure from their lessons.

Memrise

This site uses ‘mems’, which are mnemonic flashcards that use your pre-existing knowledge to help remember new vocabulary. 

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 The French for ‘to have’ is ‘avoir.  Here is an example of the type of mem that would be on the site.  

Good points

  • The site is accessible and the method is clear and valid. The mem feature is a clever and original one.
  • Users can upload their original mems onto the site to help other learners.

Bad points

  • Because the mems are all user-generated, there’s a range in quality.

Who would like this?

Visual learners will become naturals at the mem method.