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Lucy Turns Pages: Reviewing 4 Popular Language Learning Platforms!

Reviewing 4 Popular Language Learning Platforms!

language learning, learning a language, language apps, language websites, french, learning french, duoling, drops, memrise, babbel,
As some of you may know, I have been learning French. During this time, I have tried quite a few resources, including four popular apps/websites: Duolingo, Memrise, Drops and Babbel. Here is what I found:

Photo by Nosiuol on Unsplash

Duolingo is by far one of the most recommended apps for learning a language. It offers a wide array of languages (I counted over 50)! It is completely free to use, you can pay for premium which just removes the ads but the ads were not too annoying for me.

Topics in my French course include greetings, people, activities, travel, city, at work, food and shopping. There are even more than one sections for each topic so a large number of vocabulary is covered.

The issue I had with Duolingo is that words were being thrown at me without teaching me language structure or language in context. I might know how to say random words but I had no idea how to put them into a sentence. If you already know the basics of the language you are learning and would like an interactive way to increase your vocabulary then you may want to try Duolingo. Otherwise, I feel there are other more effective resources out there.

Memrise is a website where words are introduced and you have to then write them in or select the correct answer. I actually preferred this over Duolingo, it was faster and included more relevant words and phrases for me. You earn points (and levels) for how much you do and it tells you how many words you have learnt which can be quite motivating. It also allow you to review words that you have already learnt which reinforces the learning and memory of these words, a feature that I love.

However, there are only so many words you can learn before you have to pay to access the rest which was disappointing for me. If this site was free with ads, it would be one that I used often.

Drops is an app that again teaches you vocabulary. The way it does this is actually quite nice. Words are introduced, along with a picture and then as you go through you need to say whether the word and picture match up or you drag the word to the correct picture. It is a quick and interactive way of learning a language and I quite enjoyed it for learning vocabulary. However, like with Memrise, you can only access a small portion of the topics before having to pay to access the rest.

Learn a new language with Babbel
Babbel has both a website and app. I actually prefer the website because I just feel like it runs more quickly for me and that learning for me is a smoother and more effective experience when using the website. Babbel does not cater for as many languages as Duolingo (it currently offers courses in 13 languages) but I have found it much more effective at teaching me a language.

Like many of the platforms mentioned, you can only access so much content before having to pay to use the rest. However, in my French course Babbel teaches from beginner level to advanced. It covers grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation before moving on to phrases used in everyday life and beyond. It does this through teaching the skills of listening, writing, speaking and reading- the four skills that are essential in learning any language. For writing, you have a fill in the gap question and you write in the answer. For reading you can just select the answer. There are dialogue excerpts that are fully voiced and you can also use your microphone to practice speaking. This was the feature I liked the least as I found that it did not always pick up what I was saying. It is also easier to practice the other skills in public than speaking!

Babbel also has a review feature and you can choose which skill you would like to use to practice that word/phrase.

So overall, I really enjoyed Memrise and Babbel but I ended up choosing Babbel. I enjoyed Drops but I just did not feel like I was getting what I needed out of it. Babbel allows me to practice the different skills needed, to learn important phrases and to review these regularly so that I do not forget them. It also covers different levels of French which is important to me.

So those are the websites/apps that I have been trying. I have also been using other resources so I may do a post on that soon. Are there any apps or websites that I did not mention that you would recommend?

*This post features an affiliate link. However, all opinions are my own and honest.


  1. This was fun to read! I'm trying to learn Spanish (well, I was but I haven't been practicing too much lately!) and I'm using Duolingo, but I have the exact same complaint about them as you do: they don't tell you how to use the words you've learned to form a sentence or put together one! I've taken to writing down all the words in a little notebook and making notes to figure it out on my own. The only other language program I'd heard of was Babbel but Drops and Memrise sound interesting too! It's just too bad you have to pay for full access. :( Thanks for your reviews of them!

    Emily |

  2. It's interesting to hear your experience too! Do you have any books? I have a couple for French that explain structure and they've been really helpful so far.

  3. My complaint for Duolingo is exactly the same. I was using it to top up my French and Spanish skills which was fine as I only needed reminding of certain points, but I wanted to learn German and Italian through it and thought better of it because it didn't explain things clearly for beginners. I probably would have been fine with Italian but German always comes across to me as being more complicated so I need to find another way of learning it. With the websites being the way they are, have a free trial then pay for the rest of the resources, I'd personally prefer learning from books and podcasts.

    1. Very true, I think it would be good if you already knew the basics but then it is a bit slow at the beginning. I have two books and I use YouTube, I wanted to try out as many resources as I could so at least now I know.

    2. Trying out all the resources is the only way it can be done. It's how you know what works for you!

    3. Definitely! I'm just going to focus on studying with the resources I am finding helpful at the moment. How is your studying going?

    4. I've been a little distracted from mine unfortunately. When I have enough time, I tend to pick up my crochet hook rather than my language books.

    5. That's ok, it's important to relax and unwind!