Date of Award
Master of Arts
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Since the introduction of mobile devices, alternative language learning methods have been developed and have evolved alongside traditional language classroom education. This has presented academics with the unique opportunity to study new methods of second language acquisition compared to more traditional face-to-face language instruction. The growing technology possibilities have contributed to what is called Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL), where learners can easily study a new language with the use of a personal electronic device such as a laptop or phone. Studies about such learning tools, for example Rosetta Stone, Duolingo or Babbel have been carried out for several years to for example test their effectiveness. Among research studies, one well-known study by Vesselinov and Grego (2012) looked at the effectiveness of Duolingo, evaluating the statement Duolingo makes that 34 hours of studying with the tool is equivalent to a semester in a university classroom (Vesselinov & Grego, 2012). Even though various studies about the well-known language learning application (app) Duolingo have been conducted, gaps in research are still present.The current study aims to find out if studying German for one semester (14 weeks) with Duolingo is equivalent to one semester in a beginner face-to-face class, German 101, at a university level. At the end of the semester, both groups took the German 101 final exam and the Duolingo placement test to measure German learning. After analyzing results of the German 101 exam, results showed that learners from the face-to-face class achieved higher language knowledge in the tested skills writing and reading than the participants who studied with Duolingo for the same period of time. However, no substantial differences were found between groups for the vocabulary and grammar section of the final exam and the Duolingo test. The survey reported that participants who studied with Duolingo all agreed that they liked the experience, especially studying at their own pace. Concerns were also mentioned, however, for example that Duolingo is only good for beginner learners, it doesn’t provide interactions with others, and there is no teacher to ask for explicit feedback.
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