Knowledge of a second language is important if you travel a lot, and getting the fundamentals of the language right is important if you want to progress with the language. The app I tried this week has some cool features to help you learn a new language in a new way.
Mondly is an app that lets you learn from any of its 33 languages to any other. You do not have to speak English as your native language to use the app.
This is often a blocker for someone who wants to learn Italian, and their native language is Polish. Why should they have to learn English if they do not need to?
I wrote about Mondly and its VR capabilities in 2017. The app allows you to have real conversations using its VR module to have relevant conversations with its virtual characters. The app is available for Oculus Go and Gear VR, Oculus Rift, and Oculus Rift S for an immersive experience.
If you do not have a VR headset, its chatbot functionality lets you speak directly to your PC or mobile device, and record a conversation that can be played in real-time.
Mondly's AR app offers virtual lessons and useful, real-life conversations in 15 languages. A virtual teacher has conversations with the learner, processes the spoken language, and offers instant feedback.
With Mondly AR, users get to learn differently. There are life-size animals and other objects that appear in the virtual learning room.
Your virtual conversational partner appears in the same room as you and talks to you to make lessons and dialog more interactive.
You can get instant feedback on your pronunciation and you get the opportunity to practice real conversations -- and hear them played back to you in conversation form.
VR and AR: The Business Reality
I could not find ay of the AR features either in the app or via the browser.
I did have the interactive app interface, and I used the chatbot during the tutorial but the only virtual conversation partner I had was the voice prompt for each phrase.
I eventually worked out that Mondly VR is a different app downloaded from the app store.
This is a paid-for app and uses AR to place the speaker in the room with you.
You can get instant feedback on your pronunciation -- but not hints on grammar or verb formation.
It is a nice idea, but I prefer the desktop and mobile app versions as I like to multitask when at work. The AR experience is too absorbing for my style of working.
Mondly has free and paid versions of its software. The desktop and the app are very similar in their look and feel, which makes it easy to switch seamlessly between the two.
There are a couple of tutorial modules to go through, so you become familiar with the software, then you move onto the core vocabulary module and specific topic lessons. Premium users have the opportunity to complete daily lessons and a weekly quiz.
Although the screen indicates that you complete each module in order before you go onto the next module, in fact, you can dip in and out of each module as you wish. Statistics show you how you are progressing, and a leaderboard compares your skills to other users.
I chose the beginner's level as I initially configured the app. My previous lessons with the Drops app and AI-powered Linqvist in August have taught me more Spanish than I realized. I often became bored with the lessons and wished I could progress to harder topics.
I need to go through all the simple words I already know before I can progress to an intermediate level. It took me quite a while looking at the account profile to change the skill level to intermediate. I needed to edit the chosen language to intermediate so that I could challenge myself further.
Generally, I was pleased with the progress I made with this language app -- even though I did not feel challenged by it at first (and the errors I initially made due to choosing the wrong skill level reflected this).
However, 45 million users can not be wrong, and I will certainly persevere with this app. My knowledge of vocabulary and Spanish phrases is improving all the time.