Here at Studica, we’ve talked about why language learning is important and how Babbel can cater to the popular methods of teaching language learning. However, we have not yet talked about why Babbel is an effective tool for learning a new language. In this post, we will discuss how Babbel utilizes modern research to deliver an effective learning process.
Interactive Dialogue with Babbel
Most of Babbel’s lessons will include segments that require the user to participate in a fake text-messaging scenario. The user will be asked to fill in the blanks in some of the sentences. However, many of the sentences contain more than just the words the user knows. The idea is that the user will be applying the knowledge they have in the context of knowledge they have yet to learn.
This idea of exposing the user to vocabulary and grammar they may not be completely familiar with is called “comprehensible input.” With comprehensible input, the student is given a sentence that may be slightly above their current level of understanding. By reading the sentence, some of the grammar and vocabulary will begin to make sense to them. Comprehensible input is a hotly researched area in language education currently. Many researchers suggest that vocabulary memorization should be abandoned in favor of comprehensible input. Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post wrote a great, well-sourced article on comprehensible input in language learning. I’d recommend reviewing it if this topic is of further interest.
Another benefit of having interactive dialogue is that students tend to learn better when they are exposed to content that is relevant to them. Approaches that focus strictly on vocabulary can often leave students wondering how they can use all these words to carry on a conversation. Babbel puts emphasis on normal, everyday conversations because those are the kinds of conversations people are likely to have in real life. By seeing the utility in what they are learning, students are more likely to remember what they’re learning and be excited to learn more. For further reading on the role relevance plays in education, I recommend this article from the American Psychological Association.
Lessons are Voiced by Native Speakers
One of the most difficult parts of learning a new language is mastering pronunciation. According to the Linguistic Society of America, “By the time you’re a year old, you’ve learned to ignore most distinctions among sounds that don’t matter in your own language. The older you get, the harder it becomes to learn the sounds that are part of a different language.” Considering this, it’s important for somebody who is learning a new language to be hearing proper pronunciations during the learning process. Babbel ensures that all their lessons are voiced by native speakers of the language you are learning. This means that you are hearing words and phrases with the “proper” pronunciation. This allows you to focus on your own pronunciation by attempting to mimic the way the native speaker says something. Babbel’s voice recognition will also listen to your accent. For instance, if you are not properly rolling your R’s in the Spanish lesson, Babbel will tell you to try again.
Although many modern language learning approaches have begun to move away from the memorization approach, it can still be useful to test your vocabulary knowledge to make up for potential deficiencies in your learning. Babbel provides review sessions that allow you to see all the words you’ve learned in one place. Additionally, you can choose to review specific words in a review session that’s focused on reading and writing, speaking and listening, or memorization by using digital flashcards. These sessions will help ensure that your vocabulary is finely tuned.
Lessons are 10-15 Minutes Long
It’s common for people to think that to meaningfully learn something new, you must spend hours a day learning it. This idea is beginning to be challenged by emerging research into a topic called “microlearning.” The idea is that information is delivered in small amounts regularly. Babbel embraces this approach by making each lesson only 10-15 minutes long. The short lesson lengths are increasingly useful in a world that seems increasingly busy. Short lessons are also ideal for mobile users who may find themselves with small sections of downtime in their daily lives. Having short lessons allows users to not have to make a large time commitment to learning a new language every day, which allows them to fit their lessons into their already busy schedule and not the other way around. There’s a great research paper on microlearning titled “Context-Sensitive Microlearning of Foreign Language Vocabulary on a Mobile Device” that I recommend if this topic interests you.
Babbel is Highly Portable
Babbel is available on just about any device that can connect to the internet and has an internet browser on it. This means that you can use Babbel on a wide variety of your devices. Best of all, your progress is saved on your account, which is accessible from any device. This means that you can pick up where you left off using any of your devices. This portability is useful for individuals who may be away from home frequently or who only have a mobile device and do not have a desktop or laptop computer. This portability ensures that your learning is never limited by your location or the technology you have. Chromebooks, PC, Mac, Linux, iPhone, and Android devices are all capable of running Babbel and that means you don’t have to worry about what kind of device you have. All you have to worry about is loading the Babbel site and doing your lessons.
Hopefully, you can see how these features make Babbel a formidable language learning platform. You can be assured that you are learning relevant content and that you can access this content from almost any device. By embracing modern linguistics and educational psychology research, Babbel has developed a platform that will help you become proficient in a new language as effectively as possible.
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