Recently I was asked to test The Flash Academy app from Flash Sticks it is available from the App Store and Google Play. I gladly accepted as I had heard of this app before and was interested in what it had to offer. *Please note I am not affiliated with Flash Academy although I did receive time-limited free access to this app in order to be able to fully test the program. This is an impartial review by a language learner for language learners designed to help you make a more informed decision about purchasing the app.
So What is Flash Academy?
In their words…
“Produced by a team of linguists and techies, the app utilizes technology to make language learning fun, more engaging, more adaptive, and ultimately more successful.”
In my eyes…
“Produced by professionals it is a fun, fresh app similar to DuoLingo, but with more features. It makes use of the spaced repetition method (which I will explain later) and gamification to make language learning fun and easier to remember.”
What Does it Cost?
At the time of writing this post, the annual cost was about £35.99. So for about a price of 1 decent cup of coffee per month you get to learn a language in a fun and exciting way! For 6-month membership it is £24.99 and for Individual months it will cost £6.99. The first option is certainly the best value for money – depending on how long you intend to use the app for?
How I used it
I’ve been studying Spanish for over 6 months now on and off. I’m not a complete beginner, but I still have a very long, long way to go!
I used this app daily for a week or so on my iPhone. FlashAcademy can be used without a wifi connection, provided you have downloaded category you want to learn. However, features are limited when working in offline mode. Please refer to the pros and cons section of this post for more details.
What Languages are on Offer?
Language courses are currently available in French, Spanish, German and Italian and you are able to study more than one at a time. The premium option provides you access to content across all languages.
- I LOVE how you can instantly translate everything around you with the object translator! Totally Awesome.
- A fun range of interactive word games helped me to memorize my target language of Spanish.
- Lessons tailored to my learning style and ability helped me to learn vocabulary faster.
- Comprehension technology gave me instant feedback on pronunciation increasing my confidence in speaking.
- Interactive grammar lessons meant I got to practice in a more interesting way than reading grammar books. Putting it into practice helped with consolidation.
The Spaced Repetition Method
This app uses an algorithm of repetition to help people learn languages faster. Spaced repetition of vocabulary gently progresses with the ability of the language learner aka in this instance me. This is an awesome method used by the app. From a psychological perspective the first time you hear or even read a word, your brain decides if it is important or not to be filed into long-term memory. Often it isn’t important enough until you hear and actually say it aloud several times! However, there is no exact ruling on numbers. It depends on a whole range of complex factors that include emotional state, cognitive ability, tiredness…That is why this Repetition Algorithm is so clever as the app will remind you of the word before you run the risk of forgetting it!
Pros and Cons
- Affordable app with a lot of features on offer.
- Attractive and well-structured language lessons.
- Extremely easy to use – that is why they had me test it.
- Option to see the language spoken. The visual aspect helped to see the shape of the mouth movements that are required for correct pronunciation.
- Gamification to make language learning FUN!
- Leaderboard so that you can compete with your friends – oh YES, bring it on!
- High-quality graphics, audio and video pronunciations for every word.
- Little insights and facts about the culture of the language you are learning.
- The camera translator is pretty much the coolest thing I have ever used in language learning.
- A plethora of languages for translation is available.
- The Points based system helps with user motivation.
- Lessons can be downloaded to your device for offline use.
- The image scanner is compatible with the FlashSticks sticky notes.
- Although the app can be used offline it requires lessons to be download. This fills up storage space quickly on smaller devices and offline features are limited.
- Sometimes the scanning feature does not recognize what you’re taking a photo of.
- Also, while translations work for 60 different languages, which is rather impressive, the actual lessons are limited to Spanish, French, German and Italian. That said, the app is brand spanking new. I have been informed that more languages will soon be added – I am hoping for Chinese Mandarin.
How does Flash Academy Compare to DuoLingo, a language-learning site, an app that is free?
I can only describe Flash Academy as being DuoLingo on steroids! It has a number of exciting features such as an object translator! With DuoLingo, you would record yourself and if you pronounced the words correctly, you would pass. If you didn’t, you’d have to say it again. However, with the Flash Academy App, you get the opportunity to check what it was that you were doing right or wrong. and draw a direct comparison between how you say it and how a native speaker would say it! Finally similar to DuoLingo, in order to pass a section, you do have to earn enough experience points (XP).
If you are a fan of Duolingo then I highly recommend Flash Academy. The app is a very well put together and helped me see a noticeable improvement in my Spanish after only a week of using it! However, I would not solely rely on this app alone for your language learning. However, it would form a valuable part of a well-balanced language learning routine. Used in conjunction with support from a tutor or native speaker you’ll cover the basics much faster than more traditional methods. It’s a thumbs up from me.
For more information or to get the app visit flashacademy.com
Have you used Flash Academy? Are you going give it a try? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.