Duolingo vs. Babbel: the first 3 months
Since “Duolingo vs. Babbel” seems to be one of the more popular posts on my blog, let’s look back at the first three months of the year and compare notes.
Which one is better?
I have no idea. But I can honestly say, that by now I have almost stopped using Duolingo and am back to using Babbel a lot. And here is why:
Everything that was once gold and showed me that I had done something, has almost completely gone and back to normal after I had a learning slump and didn’t do anything for a few weeks.
I know that’s how Duolingo wants to make you revise everything, but I already felt bad enough about the learning slump, I didn’t want to come back and have everything look like I have done nothing and should better start from scratch all over again. I was gone for just a couple of weeks, my brain didn’t get rid of all the French during that time… it’s sad to come back online and have my progress look like that. Not motivating at all.
Babbel is a lot nicer. It keeps your progress and you can always come back into the lessons and courses right where you left off. It also has this clever repetition manager, which seems a lot cleverer to me. When I came back to Babbel after that learning slump, it told me I had to revise 261 of the 500 words I had learned before. Babbel knows you are not just going to forget everything in that time. It also shows you this in a little box on the side of the screen; it doesn’t put you all the way back to zero.
With Babbel it seems like you are coming home to pick up where you left of. With Duolingo it seems like you have never been there at all. This is significant for me, because I always struggle with motivation and learning slumps.
The second thing I have mentioned before: grammar. I need to know how things operate, I do. I’m sorry Duolingo, but yours and my learning style just don’t fit together. As much as I try to just accept things the way you show them to me, I just can’t without knowing what’s going on.
I still love how it’s like a video game. Every time I lost all three lives and went “Game Over” before finishing a level, I did it over and over until I managed to “win” it. It’s great for motivation, but it’s more or less the only thing I miss about Duolingo while using just Babbel.
For now, I am sticking with Babbel. I might come back and give Duolingo another shot some other day. Maybe it’s me and not you. But I’m sure you will welcome me like you do now, like I have never been with you at all.