Why You Shouldn't Choose A Language App That Does Everything

Published on
March 12, 2020
Updated on
April 25, 2023
min read
This article may contain affiliate links
Written by
Alastair Budge

When learning English it's often tempting to choose a product that promises to do everything. Here's why that's a bad idea, and why we are staying focussed at Leonardo English.

Why You Shouldn't Choose A Language App That Does Everything
Table of contents

There are thousands of different ways to learn a language, and thousands of different tools that you can choose to help you learn English.

The choice can be overwhelming, and this isn't a guide on what you should choose, but rather, what you shouldn't choose.

And that's something that we see all too often - a product that promises to do everything.

That has in-built quizzes, that allows you to save vocabulary, gives you flashcards, allow you to listen to audio, test your pronunciation, allows you to play games, and so on.

And it's a tempting idea - the idea that you can have just one language learning product that does everything.

However, apps and products that try to do this normally end up not doing anything particularly well, not being the best at anything, and being pretty frustrating to use.

I imagine you've experienced using similar things.

Instead, we suggest always trying to find the one product or service that does one thing very well.

Not one that overpromises, then delivers a poor quality experience and makes you learn in a way that you wouldn't normally.

At Leonardo English, we're certainly aiming to be in the 'do one thing very well' category, not in the 'look at all of the 100 things you can do but none of them very well' category.

And that one thing is to find the most interesting topics, and producing podcasts, complete with a transcript and key vocabulary, that help you improve your English through podcasts while learning fascinating things about the world.

You won't find us adding flashcards, a vocabulary builder inside, or anything else like that.

The reason for this is twofold, both for you, and for the product.

For you: Forcing learners into a certain behaviour

When a product tries to make you do everything in it, you end up learning in a way that might not be natural to you.

For example, if you have a podcast app that also allows you to save vocabulary and gives you flashcards, this might sound interesting on paper, but it forces you to learn in a way that suits that product, not that necessarily suits you.

If you are the kind of person that memorises pieces of vocabulary best by writing things down in a little notebook, then you should keep doing that.

Or if you are the kind of person that likes making their own flashcards to go through on the bus, then you shouldn't change your behaviour just because a product or app is making you do so.

You are the best judge of how you should learn - don't let an app force you to learn in a way that doesn't make you feel comfortable.

For us: Keeping focussed

When building a product, it's very easy to get sidetracked, and add lots of 'bells and whistles' in the hope that people get excited about them.

We are a small team, and we need to be laser-focussed on delivering the best content for our members, otherwise we'll end up trying to do too many things and not doing anything well.

Far too often we see products that try to do far too many things, and end up being completely bloated and uneasy to use.

So, focus on one thing, do it very well, and this will lead to delighted users and a better learning experience.

For English learners of Intermediate levels and above, interesting podcasts in English with transcripts and key vocabulary is what's missing - you don't need us to reinvent how you should remember vocabulary (although we can teach you how to build your own vocabulary app), or how you should use flashcards.

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