Edited by Celia, Iris, Lucy and Pat

How many apps (applications) do you have on your phone? What are these apps for? How do you categorize them? How many of them are related to learning? Nowadays, there is an app for just about anything — be it for federal government agencies or your local bakery. Obviously, highly developed technologies such as mobile apps can enrich our lives. Knowing this, educators have seized the chance to develop learning apps. Thus, mobile learning (often m-learning) with new devices of enhanced capacities, which dramatically increases the interest level of learners, has gained popularity among language educators. We will first analyze language learning with apps from the development of hardware and software, then provide our reflection on these developments.

Hardware on the Rise

Figure 1. An iPad                              Image credit: Ken  Hawkins





Palmtop Phones with added-on computing capabilities; touchscreen tablets


Small; low resolution

(problematic for image/video display or even good text reading)

Larger; higher resolution and clarity; capable of playing back high-resolution video smoothly


Limited   Enlarged, with flash memory in  higher capacity

Internet connectivity

Slow Faster 3G or 4G cellular connectivity, even faster Wi-Fi.

Text input system

T9 keyboard

(slow and error-prone)

Virtual keyboard/full physical mini-keyboard.

Web browsing

Constrained and slow

(Web browsing on a phone did not deliver the same Web experience as desktop browsers.)

Smoother and faster

(with introduced touch actions, Web pages are displayed as they would appear in a normal Web browser on a desktop computer)

Web navigation

Using a mini-joystick or a stylus (awkward and error-prone) Touch screen (much easier)


Few in number and limited in functionality The functionality of current smartphones even surpasses, in some ways, what is available on laptops

 Apps on the Rise

Figure 2. Screenshot of frequently used mobile language learning Apps

With the two significant software enhancements of mobile phones — the Web browser and JAVAScript support — IT developers are more motivated to create Web Apps, which are HTML-based programs that provide interactivity.

The three developments of Apps

  1. Web Apps
  2. Natives Apps
  3. Hybrid Apps

There are a good number of Apps for language learning available in App stores, for instance, flash cards programs, dual language dictionaries, and phrase books. Godwin-Jones (2011) shared his Chinese learning experience by using eStroke and Pleco, which includes dual language dictionaries, personal library, quizzing functions, and handwriting recognition systems that enable him to study both online and offline. Flashcard programs have also become more powerful and multifunctional, especially Apps that have mobile versions like Anki and Quizlet. By using functions like editing words and audio support, learners can acquire vocabulary effectively.

 Mobile language learning Apps are often linked to Web services or online databases, especially commercial products such as Rosetta Stone, Byki, and Babbel.com. In this way, learners can exchange information online and interact with others.

This is a video of  a language learning app called Duolingual.


A comprehensive review on mobile assisted language learning has been done and some of its limitations are listed below (Kukulska-Hulme & Shield, 2007):

● Pedestrian, uncreative, and repetitive;

● Did not take advantage of the mobility, peer connectivity, or advanced communication features of mobile devices;

● Most activities were teacher-led and scheduled;

● Did not leverage the anytime, anyplace mobile environment;

● Oral interactions and learner collaboration were infrequently used.

But Godwin-Jones (2011) thinks the problem is less of a hardware/software shortcoming and more in developers’ conceptualization of how language learning could be enhanced in new, innovative ways with the assistance of mobile devices. He gives some advantages of mobile learning.

● Encourage a new kind of relationship between user and machine;

● Small enough to be always within reach;

● Focus the attention more on one task at a time;

● Ideal for individualized informal learning.


It still remains a controversial problem that after so many years, though mobile devices and apps have further developed, the application of them does not integrate with curriculum design in language education. However, language learners have the ability to utilize various apps on their mobile devices as a complementary approach to language learning after class. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of language educators to spread the idea of teaching language through a new, innovative way with the assistance of mobile devices in the new digital era.


  1. Have you ever used an app for your language learning? How would you evaluate your learning experiences?
  2. Have you ever recommended any apps to your classmates/ students? How will you use those apps with your students in your teaching process (formal/ informal context)?

57 thoughts on “Learning with Your APPs

  1. I’ve used the app mentioned in the article called Duolingo. It is a language learning app, similar to the website “Busuu” we used in our class. I used the app for almost a year to learn German. I think the experience was quite rewarding, well, at least for the beginning. Because at that time, I had a German class every Thursday. So, the app satisfies my need to consolidate the basic language knowledge. And compared to websites, one of the benefits of learning apps is that they will send you a reminder every day regularly to remind you to complete the day’s learning tasks. So, at first, I was really motivated, and gradually I formed a habit of using the app to facilitate my learning as an after-class activity. However, gradually I found that I had difficulty in linking the practices provided in the app to the content taught by my class teacher. And there was no explanation on my mistakes, sometimes, I just guess the correct answers. So, I lost my interest and motivation sooner.

    Hence, my personal experiences suggest that if we want to integrate mobile learning with our learning in class. It is better to know the format and content provided by these learning apps, whether they can be associated with our in-class learning. Especially for language learning, which values knowledge accumulation and learning process. Therefore, it would be better to have a plan beforehand, and adjust it according to the real situation, so that the apps can help us learn better.

    • In other words, the first step for teachers is to try out all the learning apps. Teachers may find it very troublesome and time-consuming because they are all too busy with teaching, students’ discipline and marking students’ homework. Even though some good-quality apps are selected to integrate into formal English curriculum, concrete and possible teaching methods and plans should be provided to all English teachers for their reference. It also ensures that all the teachers understand the purpose(s) and reasons for the integration of m-learning and the curriculum.

    • Hi, Fannie~ Thanks for your replying. I think the idea that provides teachers with the concrete and possible teaching plan for reference is practical and is likely to be realized since nowadays there are so many ways ( like blogs, online forum and YouTube) for professional teachers to share their own lesson plans with other teachers.

    • Hello, Celia. In fact, to decide whether integrate learning apps into English curriculum, the English panel / subject teachers have to arrange at least one meeting to discuss it and then vote for/against it. If it passes, guidelines and written samples of lesson plans must be provided to all the teachers. Of course, the English teachers can search for more approaches and methods on the Internet by themselves later on but providing teaching plans is essential because it is kind of a “protocol”. It is complicated.

  2. I’ll share my experiences with you guys.
    I choose to use an app called “TOEFL 120(托福考满分)” in teaching TOEFL. It contains all TPO tasks which makes it convenient for teachers and students to do practice and module test. It automatically gives out the result of reading and listening immediately after the students finish it.
    Secondly, it helps with students’ intensive reading and listening after practice. They can create their own vocabulary book online and add unknown words to it.
    What’s more, there are specific categorizes on the app. Take listening as an example, since there are lectures with different topics in TOEFL listening, and teachers prefer to give courses according to different topics, so this app helps teachers a lot. And students can do practice on their weak subjects. So I recommend this app to a lot of students and teachers, and they all like it.

    • hhhhhhh I AM THE FIRST ONE! :)))))
      I haven’t used the app you recommend, but I’ve used the IELTS brother (雅思哥)~ and I found it really useful too. Especially for the oral practices section, where I can hear the other examinee’s answers, and I can give my own marks on them, and collect what I think is a good answer so that I can imitate their oral structure and the learn the vocabularies they used for a specific topic.
      But unfortunately, I lacked the confidence to post my own records online, which from another perspective, can be seen as a good approach to help students to improve their self-confidence as they can take the recording process as the simulate of the IELTS speaking test scenario.

  3. One of the apps I have used for language learning is Bai Ci Zan (百词斩). It is an app that helps English learners learn and memorize words. It has different sets of vocabulary such as college entrance examination vocabulary, CET 6 vocabulary, TEM 8 vocabulary, etc. to satisfy the need for learners at different levels. When I was preparing for the IELTS test, I selected the IELTS vocabulary as my learning target and the app automatically formulated a learning plan for me based on how many days I had for the preparation. The learning plan determined the amount of words to learn and review every day. The app provides pronunciation, Chinese meaning, corresponding picture and sample sentence for each word to help learners better learn and memorize the new words. What’s more, it has vocabulary tests for learners to self-check to what extent they had learnt the words. The tests are in various forms, such as completing the sentences by using the correct words or choosing the appropriate pictures for the words. I think this kind of learning experience is quite effective. For one thing, I can learn new vocabulary when I am on the subway or I am queuing to take my takeaway in McDonald’s. I can make full use of fragmentary time in daily life to learn. For another, it has a reminder function. Every day, it will remind learners of the learning process of that day. It works like a supervisor to push learners to form a leaning habit.

    • Well, I also use this app frequently. I think it is a good app for language learners for reviewing words and have some impressions of the vocabulary. Because there are a lot of example sentences and images which can help us to remember those words.
      I used to recommend this app to a lot of classmates. Some says it does help them a lot, however, others will just quit after using several days for they lack self-discipline.
      Therefore, I think if we want to use such apps in language classroom, it is necessary for teachers to play a role of monitoring. Especially for those young kids who have low discipline to do the task bother quality and quantity guaranteed.

    • Hi, Charlene and Jean. Thank you for sharing your experience with us using the app. I also used this app for vocabularies memorization once. And I agree with Jean that it requires motivation and self-discipline. My opinion is that if we want to use this app as a part of the learning activity, teachers can ask students to share their progress regularly on their own social network, which may help to push the “lazy” students a little bit :))

  4. Thank you for your sharing! I have used an app, ” Speak English Fluently”. And at that time I learn English through one of its items, “Fluent Reading”. I think it is a useful way for me to learn more English words and good expressions through the readings everyday. Also, accumulating those new phrases and sentence patterns did help improve my writing. And it is very convenient to learn knowledge and practise reading skills on the app on the mobile phone.

    Because when I finished reading everyday, I would share to my Circle of Friends on WeChat. My classmates could certainly read the message and began to use the app when they became interested. I think when I become a teacher, I will introduce this app to my students and ask them to have a try. But it will be suggested to be used only after class and maybe I will give them a chance to bring what they have learned on the app to the class for further discussion with their classmates.

    • Thanks for your sharing! It’s a really good app. And with the Moment function in Wechat, which kind of acts as the “supervisor” to motivate people to keep reading. I’ve also used a similar app but I didn’t have a successful experience as you did. Because the given materials on the app were so limited that I didn’t have so many choices. I think the reading materials are really important. Some people prefer fictions while others prefer non-fiction.
      As for the application in classrooms, I think if it’s not a literature class, non-fiction would be more practical and doable. Because fictions are really long and time-consuming.

  5. Thank you for your sharing! Personally, I use the app called “BBC Learning English” to improve my English. In general, there are six categories of programmes on this platform: a) Business English; b) Everyday English; c) Grammar; d) Learn with the News; e) Pronunciation; f) Vocabulary. Learners can choose the programme which is appropriate for their language level and they are interested in. On the one hand, these programmes are provided by native speakers and thus learners have access to different kinds of authentic materials. On the other hand, learners can make use of their fragmented time to study English efficiently with the assistance of this app, for example, they can listen to these programmes on the way to school or work.

    • If one desperately wants to improve his/her language proficiency, making wise use of time is very important. Like what you mentioned, spending every minute on acquiring the language can be one of the best ways. And I have been using an app called Ximalaya to listen to audiobooks on the way to work, home and/or university. I will also try to use the one suggested by you. Actually, I have downloaded it on my phone=)

    • Thanks for your recommending ~ I have heard the two apps but I haven’t used one of them. I think I’m going to download ‘Ximalaya’~~

  6. Thanks for your sharing!
    I have used two APPs called Shanbei Vocabulary and Shanbei Reading for language learning and I have used them for more than 4 years on and off. It has a really motivated function called “daka(打卡)”, for example, I have learned vocabulary for 1 month continuously. It will give you a badge for this kind of accomplishment. It really motivate you when you can go to your collection wall and see that what you have already accomplished.
    As for another reading APP. I have been reading the serious of Harry Potter on it, and likewise, it also has this badge for you when you finish a book or finish reading for how many words. In the mean time, the vocabulary in its passages or books can be translated in real-time and the vocabulary can also be added into your own words list for your further study. I think this function helps a lot of readers who are afraid of reading in English since they are inclined to figure out each word’s meaning and this can be time-consuming and prevent them from reading English anymore.
    I have recommend Shanbei to my friends but since they were using Baicizhan already so they don’t want to alter to another APP and start over. But I will definitely recommend this to my future students.

    • Thanks for your sharing. It’s a really good app. And many of my students use this app frequently. I used both these two apps, Shanbei and Baicizhan, I personally think the tasks on Shanbei is difficult than the ones on Baicizhan. If you want to choose one to recommend to your future students, you can try both and recommend according to students’ level and interest.

  7. Thanks for your groups sharing.
    In terms of the first question, I have been using the app called BaiCiZhan to study English words. Actually, it has both advantages and limitations for me.
    It increased my interest to learn vocabulary because of the unique figurative pictures and videos when learning a new word. And at the beginning of my learning, I found it is easier to remember the words compared to the learning by rote because you can relate the words to an individual picture. After studying, it has a quiz of multi-choice questions to test the learning outcome, every time I got a satisfactory score. However, after few days, I could not remember the words in another context, like when I come across the same words I have learned before, I only can figure out that it is the words I have learned, but I can’t remind its meaning. I only can recognize its meaning when I do the quiz which has the pictures or multi-choice questions in the app. It is actually not very effective.

    • I think this problem occurs a lot when talking about vocabulary because repetition in memorizing vocabulary is really important especially for the words we want to master. And I also think the context is important. Sometimes, the given context in Baicizhan is kind of awkward.

  8. Thanks for your sharing!
    I have used an App called ZHIMI(知米) to learn core vocabulary of TOFEL last year. Usually, I need to learn 100 new words per day and I could post my record to Wechat if I completed the task on a daily basis. There were some steps when I learned a word:
    a) Being familiar with its pronunciation by imitating;
    b) Understanding the meaning with the help of collocations, sample sentences;
    c) Memorizing the spelling and suffix;
    d)Finishing a mini-test, which may ask you to tell the meaning, fill in a blank or complete a sentence;
    e) Reviewing the word the next day;
    By following those steps, I could identify them within a day. Although it is convenient to learn new words in this way, there are several problems. First, it is easy for me to forget them if I do not review them on a regular basis. Second, as I pay more attention to the meaning of a word, most of them become passive words and they hardly come to my mind when I am composing. Third, the learning process is kind of decontextualized and it is hard to use those words properly to achieve the communicative purposes in different contexts.
    Therefore, in my opinion, the App is recommended to those who want to expand their vocabulary within a short period and perform better in reading tasks. However, to learn more active words, it may be better for students to learn words from texts and try to use those words in their writing.

    • Wow, this app is so new! I haven’t heard about it. The steps sound really logical and applicable. I think I’ll try to use it. And I think the problems you have are very common among these vocabulary apps because it only focuses on the meaning of words. It people want to transfer the words into active vocabulary, we may still need to use other methods.

    • Hi, Hayley~ thank you for recommending the app. I think the problem you mentioned is actually a common problem that may happen to every one of us during the process of learning vocabularies. So, I guess you mean that one of the problems of learning vocabularies via apps is that we might not be able to use the words timely since we can not find the related practices in our formal class learning?

    • I agree with you but I think another problem is that we may just memorize the meaning of a word and we move to the next quickly. However, we seldom go back and review the word we have learned at the very beginning. Also, we seldom try to use the word in spoken form or in written form before we move on.

  9. Thanks for sharing!

    I used the app called “Yi Xue Guan(译学馆)”, which provides numerous learning videos about different kinds of subjects, and allow users to interpret and translate videos. I can interpret a short video on my own, including writing down what I hear, interpreting what I hear, checking the timeline for each subtitles, and cutting every sentences by seconds. I can improve listening, writing and translation skills at the same time. And there are many users who are expert at interpreting using this app. Users will help each other, and improve what other’s works. I think it is useful for advanced learners to improve their translating skills.

    I also recommend this app to my sister who also major in English and she finds it interesting to watch video while do the translation. This app has progressed a lot and users can also download it from Apple Store, which is not provided for IOS Sysem before.

    • Wow!Thanks for your sharing Yan!This app just sounds amazing!I hear about it for the first time,and your recommendation just intrigues me a lot!I’ll try it later and I believe that it will be beneficial for language learners especially for English major students lol~
      As an English major student, I myself have also used many apps to facilitate language learning, such as BaiCiZhan, Shanbay,YouDao,English Fun Dubbing, IELTS Brothers and so on. From these experiences of using mobile learning we can see that it has so many advantages. So I think mobile learning should be promoted in China in the future to benefit more and more language learners.

    • WOW~Thank you for your sharing Yan ~ I think sounds awesome~~ I have used an app called MofanShow (英语魔方秀), which is a dubbing app for English clips. There are various materials for dubbing, like speeches from celebrities, movies, storybooks and even songs. The slogan of this app is “More fun, more English”. In the process of dubbing English clips, I not only learn English (like the speech structure, word choices and the like) but also gain some pleasure. From my point of view, with the low affective filter, learning might be more effective and enjoyable.

    • Thanks for your sharing~~ Yeah, I think there are so many kinds of apps waiting for us to explore and use. I think I should make a list of the apps that you’ve recommened~

  10. Many years ago, I used an app to replace printed-version dictionaries. It is named “EC Dict”. It provides brief information of English words such as their part of speech, IPA based on KK and DJ, Chinese meanings and examples. It also offers users with an important function which is to save the English words on a list so that the users can revise the words later when time allows. However, I decreased the frequency of using the app gradually because of limited information provided.

  11. ~~ thanks for your sharing~~
    Yeah, I think it is kind of struggling when there are so many options of different apps waiting for you to explore and choose, since most of them have similar functions but also have slight differences. So do you think it is necessary for teachers to use and get familiar with all kinds of apps before they recommend certain apps to their students, or teachers can just give students a list of apps in different categories and let students choose which one they want to use?

    And if students are using different apps, would it become trouble for teachers to manage the whole learning process?

  12. Thanks for your group’s sharing.
    I have used many mobile phone apps during my language learning. For learning vocabulary, I used “BaiCiZhan”, by which I could understand the words meaning through pictures and learn its usages by learning some sample sentences. I think it is quite convenient because it allows me to learn whenever and wherever possible. And it could also test my learning outcomes and help me consolidate my learning. However, it does need self-discipline and perseverance.
    Besides, I have also tried “Coursera” for learning courses from foreign universities. It provides different types of courses from universities all over the world. I learned some tesol courses on it. I need to watch all the videos as well as read the materials. It has progress bar for checking the completeness. I also need to pass all the tests and peer review after each week’s learning in order to get the course certificate. The course is not free, which pushes me to complete all the assignments on time. Hhh 🙂 All the courses are planned carefully in case of overwhelming the learners and the tests help learners to check their learning outcomes effectively. But the courses are taught in English and don’t have Chinese subtitles, which might be difficult for learners with lower language competence.

    • Hello, Jennifer. The “Coursera” you recommend just sounds interesting and useful~~ hhhhhh I also agree with you that sometimes, you pay a little bit can push you to stick to your learning~ I think I would try the app someday~~ thanks for your recommending~

  13. Thanks for your sharing! When i was in college, i had to practice a lot for IELTS. Then i down load an app: YASIGE. This is the app that works for IELTS learners, containing all the parts of IELTS: listening, speaking, reading and writing. What is the biggest highlight of this app is that it can share experience of peopel who have had the test and it can predict what will be tested. As for me, it is useful to grape the skeleton of IELTS exam quickly and give related practice in accors to individual’s competence. That is a good experience for me.

    • Thanks for your sharing Chelsey.
      I also had an experience on using the IELTSBro when I prepared my IELTS test and I think this APP also provides more opportunities for learners to interact with others and share their learning experience.

  14. I have used two apps to enhance my English learning in my life. The first one is Google Translate. Actually, my bachelor degree is translation (English to Chinese and vice versa) so I am really interested in the difference between AI and human translation on the same original text. I think Google Translate sometimes makes some errors but it can still inspire me a lot. The second one is English-Chinese Dictionary. It can provide me a lot of information about a particular word like collocations, definitions, example sentences and so on. It helps me a lot about how to form high level sentence structures and choose appropriate vocabulary for the context. I think these two apps are not as interesting as other classmates’ apps but they are very effective for L2 learners.

    And I have delievered iPads to my students in class to do some language activities using E-books provided by the textbook publisher and an app called ‘Kahoot’. But as my school does not allow students to use their phones in the campus, I have never tried to integrate mobile phone apps into my teaching. I just did it with iPads provided by school. However, after the lesson, I would introduce some apps like the above and an English vocabulary learning app called 超級單字王(Super Vocabulary King) to my hard working and motivated students who seek to have efficient self-learning after school and encourage them to use them regularly. And I found that as they are very self-motivated, they are able to learn some useful vocabulary that they may not have chance to contact in class. I am quite surprised that some of them can tell me the Chinese meaning of some words which I did not explicitly teach in class.

  15. Thanks for your group’s sharing!

    When I prepared the IELTS exam, I once tried the app called “IELTSBRO” for language improvement. I think the learning experience was great due to available interaction with the lecturer whenever I met some problems upon IELTS learning. Relatively speaking, this app could invlove the peer interaction that could make lecturers better meet learners’ needs. As for me, this practice is so flexible that I did not have to come to real class after a long-day tired work.

    I have reommended an app called “BAICIZHAN”(百词斩)to my junior-level students. In fact, this app was repetitive and was one of the apps that fail to combine language education with curriculum design.

    • Hi Yasmine, thanks for your reply.
      I also consider that sometimes the IELTSBro can expose the learners into a English-speaking context which can strengthen their discourse competence. Also, it provides more opportunities on real communication with other learners which can enable the self-learners to practice more especially speaking.

  16. Thank you for your sharing, the blog is really multimodal! I have used a variety of apps to assist English learning, such as Lang Easy, IELTS Bro and Youdao Dictionary. I use the dictionary most frequently because it is really convenient and not restricted to place or time. I can look up new words anytime. But the limitation is that it is not as detailed as the printed dictionary and sometimes there are even some translations mistakes. And for IELTS preparation, I tend to use IELTS bro to practice my speaking, recording my answer and finding some mistakes I made. And also I would ask my students to download Lang Easy on their mobile. This app offers a whole range of audio recording of Cambridge series so that they don’t need to copy the CD-ROM on their computers and could practise their listening anytime.

    • Hi, Sarah~ I also use IELTS Bro to prepare for my speaking tests for the IELTS exam. It not only lists lots of topics that frequently appear in the exams, but also offer some answers proposed by other users, which I think is very helpful to prepare for the test effectively as when I had limited ideas about a topic I could refer to others’ answers to get some inspiration and generate my own answers.

  17. Thank you for sharing! I think apps have made up an important part of my daily life and language learning. I usually use the e-dictionary “Youdao” on my phone, as it is really convenient for me to look up some new words. Also, I usually watch ted talk videos on the app as a supplementary way to practice listening also as a way to relax. Besides, I used to use an app called Shanbay Word to learn vocabulary. The app can help to design vocabulary learning plans according to the users’ learning goals. It is basically useful but there is a defect that there are very limited examples even for the words that have several different meanings, which I think is not good for users to learning different meanings of the words in context.

  18. Thanks for your sharing! I’ve used many apps during my learning experience, compared with those apps which aim to help learners memorize words, I prefer those apps which present news or interesting things in English like TED, SEED, English Everyday and so on. Through reading or viewing or even hearing these articles, I can enhance my understanding of English and improve my basic skills like reading and listening. Some apps provide pedagogical functions like translation, inviting learners to read or interact with others. I think using these apps makes learning less exhausting, as the multimodality of those new media can motivate us more, and also, as long as I have a mobile phone, I can use apps to learn, which makes the learning more convenient.

    I used to recommend some vocabulary memorizing apps to my students like Baicizhan and Shanbei. One reason is that those apps utilize pictures and context in which the word can be used, which I think is effective for students. And also, this way can reduce students’ pressure and fear for learning English. One of my students told me looking those vivid words with pictures and recordings is much more interesting than staring the words on the word list provided by books. Meanwhile, students don’t have too much time spending on memorizing words, but with these apps, they can learn no matter they are waiting for a bus or lining up. But one significant disadvantage for these apps is the distraction made by mobile phone, students would easily be distracted by any other notifications like WeChat, Weibo, etc.

  19. I seldom used an app to learn a language but I have used the e-textbook apps to teach in the class.

    What I have observed is that students enjoyed the activities a lot. They can either work together or finish the task by themselves in the class. Students concentrated in the task as I could control their devices. They didn’t get distracted by Whatsapp, facebook or IG. For the content, there are different activities to motivate students’ learning. Students can listen to the passages, do some recordings, do show and tell and even comment on their peers’ work. Also, there are some flipped classroom activities for them to learn more about the topics mentioned and fo self-access learning. More importantly, it fits the curriculum because it is developed by the publisher. It also links to some bilingual dictionaries. I think it is so far the most suitable apps for my students inside and outside the classroom.

  20. Just like I said in another post, I use most vocabulary apps and I don’t think they work effectively for me. But I do recommend a dubbing app which users can dub for some video clips to my student when I worked as a online English teacher. The student told me that he was highly motivated because it is really a fun way to learn English. He could also choose the video clip that he truly interested in and when he prepared for the clip, he need to practice for many times not only lines but also intonation. And because there is an original version of the clip, he felt more guided and can imitate it. He was very satisfied with his work and this encouraged him to dub for the next video clip.

  21. In the beginning, I downloaded many language learning apps like those comments mentioned. But I normally played several times I would lose my interests. Gradually, I also unloaded many apps too. And also the app markets are really competitive, and there are always new apps popping out to attract you to register and use. But there is always one type of apps occupying part of my cell phone space: E-Dictionary. I have 4 frequent dictionaries on my cellphone which help me check the unknown words and analyze the different usages. Compared with the traditional dictionary, paper-printed, it is really portable and convenient to use. Actually, I hope there will be an app like some fantastic cellphone games that attract me to play a lot and learn more as well.

  22. Thanks for your sharing! I used some apps to help me pass the IELTS exam when I was preparing for it. Among them, the most impressive one is called ‘IELTS BRO,’ which I used mainly to improve my English speaking proficiency. The mechanism is that the app selects some frequently used topics to simulate a real 15 mins IELTS speaking test, and there is a stimulated interviewer who asks me questions and give corresponding blank time to allow me answer the questions.
    I would say it helped a lot. My language fluency got practiced, also I got a chance to listen to my own recordings, my voice, and if I made any mistakes or not.
    In my teaching process, I will probably ask students to practice with these apps after class, or assign homework that could be done with the help of these learning apps.

  23. Thank you for your sharing, I used some apps to help me pass the IELTS exam when I was preparing for it. Among them, the most impressive one is called ‘IELTS BRO,’ which I used mainly to improve my English speaking proficiency. The mechanism is that the app selects some frequently used topics to simulate a real 15 mins IELTS speaking test, and there is a stimulated interviewer who asks me questions and give corresponding blank time to allow me answer the questions.
    I would say it helped a lot. My language fluency got practiced, also I got a chance to listen to my own recordings, my voice, and if I made any mistakes or not.
    In my teaching process, I will probably ask students to practice with these apps after class, or assign homework that could be done with the help of these learning apps.

  24. Thank you for your sharing!
    Actually, there are many apps about English learning on my phone, such as Youdao Dictionary, Xiaozhan IELTS, Speak English Fluently, English Mofun Show. The most frequently used one is the Youdao Dictionary. When I encounter new words, I usually open this app to look them up. Another app I’d like to share is the English Mofun Show. I used this app when I taught younger learners one to one. I asked my students to choose their favorite movie clips, but there might be long sentences which they cannot keep up with the pace. In this case, I cooperated with him/her and completed the dubbing. They were motivated since this kind of activity could bring them a sense of achievement if they complete a movie clip.

  25. Thank you for your interesting blog! I loved it!
    i have come across many apps for learning languages. I have noticed that most apps are for learning vocabulary and speaking and but they are almost too technical to learn a language for communicative purpose. Learners still have trouble becoming a good English user. But there are apps where we could directly talk to English speakers and that is real life conversations. Learners can learn effectively for sure. When i was in high school, I used an app called kik which most English speaker use as a communicative tool, I was able to chat with English speakers, thus improving my use of English big time. It changed my whole learning process of English. I hope in the future, i will be able to give my students the opportunity as me to learn their language that way.

    • Yeah, i think that’s the problem of many apps now. They only focus on one aspect and don’t provide the learners with an authentic learning atmosphere. In other words, they are still exam-oriented. So more apps that are adopt communicative language learning approach should be developed.

  26. When I was in college, i was very found of using all kinds of learning App. I thought it is a good way to learn and can provide a motivition for my learning. But i found some Apps are not well designed and time-consuming, for example, Baicizhan, an App that can help you memorize vocabulary. I heve been using it for a semester, and i foud even though I spent about half an hour on the App, my vocabulary didn’t improved much. Sometimes i foud some words familiar, but I still don’t know how to use it. And finally I gave up using it

    • People have the some problems when they use this app. Because the aim of some vocabulary apps is limited to familiarize people with the words. So we may need to use other apps to help us to deal with other issues.

  27. So, from my own experience, I think that to find a suitable App for your learning is very important. But usually, learning is a long process, so realising whether an App may cost you a while. And we can not relay on others’ comments to judge whether the App benefit your learning, because everyone has his or her own needs which may different from yours. So experiencing more so that you can find out the most suitable one. And another thing is that even though we can learn alot on App, we can not totally rely on it. Using it as a tool

    • The process of finding the suitable app for everyone is really hard. But maybe we can turn to google for help. It lists the top 10 useful apps in learning a language. Try every one out!

  28. Thank you for your sharing! After I read the comments above I find resonance because many APPs mentioned I have tried before. We have similar learning experiences hahahaha. I have to admit that nowadays the functions of APPs are comprehensive and you can always find an APP to meet your needs. I want to recommend an English learning app called The Dun Dubbing that learners can select their favorite clips and dub for it. It’s an interesting way to practice your pronunciation and intonation and you may have a sense of achievement when you create a dubbing work!

    • Hi Winnie. Some of my friends are using the app you recommended and I also think that it is a good way for language learning because it seems that it is more interesting and vivid that can catch learners’ attention easily. I think I’ll try it next time.

  29. I learned Japanese through an app established by the textbook. I will follow the recordings of each lesson. I can also memorize the written forms of the sounds through playing memorizing games. I can also practice writing through the automatic assessment system. Through this app, I successfully learned basic Japanese by myself. Consequently, I would consider learning apps a very helpful tool in facilitating language learning. I would recommend my friends and students in finding apps which suits their own needs and learning languages more easily and effectively.

  30. i’ve used the Quizlet for preparing the TEM-8. I think this App is very flexible and both learner and teacher friendly because learners can choose the words they want to learn for different purposes and the teacher can also create the word list according to the lesson content. And one of the functions Quizlet provided is learners can have word competition with their classmates which can motivate their learning passion. Teachers can also observe student’s learning outcome and give timely replies.

  31. Nice sharing, guy!
    I have a special zone for apps which are used for learning foreign languages. Considering the recursiveness the one typical feature in the language, I generally download some apps for increasing my vocabulary amount. I highly recommend one named “Etymology” to you guys. It is not the platform which is similar to the other electronic dictionaries. It associates with many different background information about the evolution of the lexical features. It helps me a lot, especially during the process of writing my essay, I will subconsciously utilize the words which I have learned from this app.

    But I have to admit that personal motivation plays an important part in language learning and the usage of this kind of app. It includes some functions that remind users
    to undertake practice and record in a specific time point, but it meaningless if users purposely ignore it.
    Anyway ,good job.

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