Friday, September 22, 2017

Former opera singer’s language learning app on its way to becoming most funded Kickstarter app ever

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There have been a number of solid attempts at effective language learning apps in recent years, from the likes of the free Duolingo approach, to the award-winning Memrise and its subscription model. Fluent Forever could be the next great app to help you learn another language, as it has just been successfully backed on Kickstarter.

And it might become the most funded Kickstarter app project ever.

The project was launched by Gabriel Wyner, a former opera singer and writer of the Fluent Forever language learning book. Wyner’s language learning techniques are said to be less about trying to get people to translate words into a new language, but rather getting people to “think” in that new language. To do this, Fluent Forever relies not on simple one-for-one translations like [English word] = [Spanish word], but on building multiple associations. This means language learners have a larger pool of foreign words stored in their memory from which to draw on when trying to recall a specific term (you can watch the video here for a more detailed explanation of that).

The Kickstarter project was funded to the tune of $100k within the first 53 minutes of its launch (according to its Kickstarter page), and now sits at almost $300,000 — well past its $250,000 goal just a few days into the campaign. If it passes the $332k mark, which, at the going rate, it surely will, Fluent Forever will become the most funded app on the website (ahead of current frontrunner Flag).

Wyner is seeking to bring the app to life in its final form by August 2018, and there are several tiers through which you can support it, running into the hundreds of dollars. Similar to Memrise, this will be a subscription-based app, with backers receiving different subscription deals depending on how much they pledge.

Like many of these Kickstarter projects, the reward tiers are flimsy however, with promises of “enough app usage to reach fluency” in a particular language. Personally, I wouldn’t trust such claims this far in advance of the app being put to the test, if ever. Learning a language is hard, yo, and success varies wildly from person to person.

Still, that’s not necessarily a reason to avoid backing the project — Wyner’s book has been well received and an audiobook version is included at the $25 tier, so you can get your hands on that as well support the campaign if you wish.

Take a look at the Fluent Forever Kickstarter page here, and let us know what you think of it in the comments below.

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