How To Learn Vocabulary with Free Language Learning Apps – A Review/Comparison
‘Quizzes should be learning experiences for our students and we can make them into powerful ones’ (Fink, 2003)
With the advent of the internet, it has never been easier to learn languages online and with this in mind, I wanted to put together a review of three of the most useful free quiz based learning apps and websites for the classroom and home that I have found and/or used. I recommend them when my students ask me how to learn vocabulary for French or German, or request a language game to help improve vocabulary or for grammar practice. The list includes websites (which also come in the form of language learning apps): Quizizz, Kahoot and Quizlet.
I hope that you can perhaps begin implementing them for learning vocabulary or revising key vocabulary in your classroom practice, should your students ask you how to learn vocabulary. Alternatively, if you already use these free language learning apps, I urge you to continue to employ them as part of your teaching repertoire to make the language learning experiences in your classrooms (and in the students’ homes) even more powerful!
Below, I aim to outline three popular quiz based learning apps and websites, as well as my experiences with them (particularly on how to improve your vocabulary), their usability and a comparison of their USPs ‘Unique Selling Points’ in table form. Please note that these are not the only quiz based websites for learning vocabulary and they will require an internet connection, as well as a device to be able to use them (i.e. PC, laptop, phone or tablet).
What Are The Free Language Learning Apps for Improving Vocabulary?
What is Quizizz?
‘Quizizz allows you to conduct student-paced formative assessments in a fun and engaging way for students of all ages.’
What is Kahoot?
‘Kahoot! is a free game-based learning platform for teachers of awesome, classroom superheroes and all learners. Play, learn, have fun and celebrate together.’
Quizlet is a free website providing learning tools for students, including flashcards, study and game modes.
As you can see, Kahoot and Quizlet class themselves explicitly as ‘learning tools’, whereas Quizizz classifies itself as a way of allowing formative assessment to be conducted (arguably the same thing!) So, I believe this review of the three tools is justified.
Background Using These Free Language Learning Apps
I have used Quizlet and Kahoot quizzes as free language learning apps since 2015 in the language classroom to help my students get to grips with how to learn vocabulary, but was only recently guided to Quizizz through some of the amazing educators I follow on social media more recently. Even though Quizlet and Kahoot are staple tools for assessment and learning, as well as vocabulary building in my classroom and the homework that I set for my students, I was intrigued to find out more about the ‘new’ software that colleagues were suddenly raving about to see if this too could help to improve your vocabulary.
Trying Out Quizizz For The First Time
After being guided to the website, I quickly signed up for an account at Quizizz.com using my school’s email address. I then clicked on a link within the ‘Welcome to Quizizz’ email that I received pretty much straight away (which included a ‘how to’ guide, video tutorials, links to the app, as well as a Starter Kit and an email address if I had any questions or feedback). I browsed the library of public quizzes on the site in a similar way to what I did when I set up my Quizlet and Kahoot accounts. This was by typing in ‘past tense French’ and I was so impressed to find that the first three results (of a whopping 188942 results) were exactly the kind of quizzes that I would normally be looking for. Unfortunately, Quizlet doesn’t show how many search results there are for your search term, but Kahoot showed 7595 search results for the same term. So it looked very positive as a tool for how to learn vocabulary or practise a grammar point from the outset!
A Deeper Comparison of Usability
When I use Kahoot or Quizlet, I have had to scroll down and really read the questions carefully to assess whether they would meet my objectives or not. Thus, finding three relevant quizzez on Quizizz straight away was a really positive start. I have found on Kahoot and Quizlet there are spelling mistakes (this might be the case on Quizizz too, as it’s the public who are adding the quizzes), so I like the ability to copy and edit quizzes when using these types of free language learning apps. Once I looked more closely on Quizizz, I found that I was easily able to copy and edit the pre-created quizzes (allowing me to customise the content to my classes). In addition, the facility is really simple to use – which is the same case as with Kahoot and Quizlet.
When I joined the first quiz from the search result on Quizizz for ‘past tense french’ on my phone, it was easy to join which is the same as with Kahoot. Whilst completing the pre-created quiz on my iPhone, I felt the timing of 30 seconds on might have been a bit too long, but the time is editable (as with Kahoot). Quizizz seems appreciative of memes, which it uses when advising the user if their answer is correct/incorrect. I think students will be drawn to this ‘on trend’ and visual method of feedback. However, I felt the other animations and music used by Quizziz were not as inviting as with Kahoot. Even though that’s not necessarily vital on how to improve your vocabulary, it does serve a purpose when keeping students engaged.
Whilst my review of Quizizz above is a first look into using the tool, it’s exactly the same process as I went through with Quizlet and Kahoot. In order to make my comparison of the free language learning apps a little fairer, I took the key unique selling points for each of the learning tools, as outlined on each of the website’s mission/about us/what is X? pages and compared the findings.
- The title down the left in capitals identifies the website that the USPs, highlighted in yellow, have come from.
- The blue highlighting illustrates the similarities in the USP of two or more of the websites.
What the table highlights is that there is much comparability between the free language learning apps/websites, and they are all brilliant tools to suggest if students ask how to learn vocabulary. I like the fact that Quizlet is student paced, but I also love the competitive elements with Kahoot. If you are looking for meaningful free reports, then Quizizz is possibly your best bet. For me, Quizlet is brilliant for really drilling down and getting confident with vocabulary, due to its nature. Whereas Quizizz and Kahoot are a little more general and quiz based.
Pros and Cons of Kahoot, Quizizz and Quizlet
In addition to the USP comparison table above, I have put together a positives and negatives of each of the game based languages learning websites from my point of view based on their effectiveness on how to learn vocabulary.
Read more about How To Improve Your Vocabulary and download my most downloaded handout.
Nilson, L (2013), Creating Self-Regulated Learners: Strategies to Strengthen Students’ Self-Awareness and Learning Skills, Stylus Publishing. Virginia
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