FluentU is an application that is still in development but has a bright future ahead of it. It is an English learning application that costs 8$ for the normal version and 18$ for the premium version per month and focuses on visual aids and personalized experiences to teach the English language in short videos. It presents a video to the learner with written support of what is being said. At any time, the learner can click a word they do not know to see a written definition as well as visual support of the definition. in addition, all the videos are presented in actual context that could happen in daily lives. This makes it a better learning experience since the learner gets an idea of in what real-world context they could use what they are learning. After listening to the videos and hearing and seeing when and where to use said language, there are quizzes that follow regarding what has been read. This is another example of gamification where learning is presented as a game and makes the learning experience more pleasant for the learner. Learner can use the application whenever they want and even download audio files in order to access FluentU even when they do not have access to Wi-Fi.
This application is a great tool for students learning a new language. As expressed by Olly Richards, many students learning a new language want the ability to interact in real-world contexts where they can apply what they learn. If they cannot interact in the given language learning it loses most of its use. This is why FluentU is different from other tools. It permits the student to see and hear videos regarding said interaction and go through them at their own pace. When watching a video on FluentU, students have at their disposal bilingual subtitles to help them understand what they are hearing with a hover dictionary and integrated SRS flashcards. Different levels are available to help the students throughout their learning experience. In addition, videos are classified in different languages so anyone can use their base language to learn English. There is also a « learning center« where all vocabulary visited in a video can be studied in a built-in flashcard system that is very concise and effected. What this tool excels at is supporting the student throughout their learning experience. It offers different difficulty levels as well as video genres which fit with their interests. If they encounter any difficulties they can loop over a certain part of the video and watch it over until they grasp the meaning. Students can begin with listening without subtitles. Following this, the students can add the subtitles but of the target language only. At this point the students should be trying to understand the most they can from this. In the end, the student should afterwards use their mother tongue as subtitles.
Although this application is still in development, it is already offering a service to learn new languages that will be difficult to rival with. Other language learning applications such as Duolingo do not offer the same kind of support and scaffolding that FluentU offers. Also, the fact that FluentU has an integrated flashcard system that is highly effective makes it that much more effective as a learning tool. The visual support and audio support in addition to the target language and first language subtitles makes it ideal for students to learn at their own pace.
In an ESL classroom, this application would be useful if students were not all at the same level of English. This would be a useful application to have them study real interactions between people as well as learn vocabulary that will be useful in their daily lives. In addition, each student will be able to learn at their own pace making it a good tool to use once students have completed class work and there are a few minutes left before the end of class.
One of the only faults that could be found in the application is the cost. The free limited version is not close to being as effective as the paid versions are. To solve this issue, having a one-time fee for the tool would be much better and make this incredible tool more affordable for students and learner in general.