11 In Korean learning journey (:

What do you want in a Korean learning mobile app?

Quick post! A friend of mine is embarking on a final year project to create a mobile app for learning Korean and she has the following questions!

  1. What come across your mind when you think of Korean learning game apps?
  2. What particular feature you want for a Korean learning apps?
  3. What content you anticipate in the app?
Please help her out by throwing some suggestions!! ^^

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  • Reply
    14 June, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    There are relatively few learning apps out there for Korean right now. The ones that are available or usually flashcard-based apps. These are fine, but limited to basic vocabulary. A lot of the other Korean apps available are not updated and contain few chances to listen or write.

    My thoughts:

    -flashcard vocabulary, but with REAL sentences using each of the vocab words. Include a sentence, the English translation, and an audio clip of the sentence for listening practice.
    -typing tests: small units that ask questions at the end. Most smartphones can enable a Korean keyboard. Having a space to fill in answers to questions to test your knowledge, then being able to check answers on the app, would be very useful.
    -occasional updates: new content, including new idiomatic expressions, or even a weekly update containing theme vocabulary with new sentences, or small conversations with a transcript for weekly practice on top of the app’s built-in content.
    -level progression: completing lessons and vocabulary tests unlocks higher level material, so the student using the app can get a sense of real progression, instead of having to wander through advanced material on their own before they’re ready. Most apps include a large list of vocabulary but don’t level it for beginner/intermediate/advanced.

    • Reply
      14 June, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      May I know how do you consider beginner/intermediate/advanced level for vocabulary? Like what is the specification or rules to categorize Korean vocabs or lessons into which levels? Just curious… thanks for your suggestions!

      • Reply
        14 June, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        good question….personally I’m not sure what I’d consider appropriate for each level, since I’m hovering somewhere near the lower-intermediate level and haven’t gotten into any crazy stuff yet. I suppose the developer would want to work from a popular textbook series and include the grammar points from there, or perhaps structure the app so it progresses in the same manner as the TOPIK does, so that users will be able to take what they learned in the app and know exactly what level of TOPIK they can take with confidence! The keys to a very successful language learning app are clear structure and unique example sentences/dialogues.

  • Reply
    14 June, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    I agree with lobotronic. I have been looking for a few apps around but it does not seem useful. I used to download an application called Korean block builder. It is suppose to be an application which helps in constructing sentences. However, the vocabulary is limited and sometimes the sentence constructing are a little weird. It was not helpful at all.

    I would be interested with a game app which can expand my vocabulary. I think it would be easier to start off with a tutorial based on a theme or category. For example, the first level of the game would be on adjectives. It would be nice to introduce certain adjectives with English translation at the same time providing sentences examples. After the tutorial, there could be a small quiz which allows the user to test their knowledge on what has been learnt. Users would only then proceed to the next level if they meet the certain marks requirement. As mentioned by lobotronic, it would be nice to create an app targeting either beginner/intermediate/advanced learners.

    Updates at certain time interval would be nice too! It would be fun to know there would be new things to learn from time to time.

    Not sure if it is hard and tedious to create an app with so much details. But hope these suggestions are useful and all the best to your friend!

  • Reply
    14 June, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Hi! Absolute beginner here! I hope my suggestions are helpful to your friend, sorry I haven’t read the others posts yet so I’m not sure if I’m overlapping on any. I apologise in advance!
    *Word of the day
    I would really love a word of the day function in a Korean learning app. It would be great if it would just automatically send you a push notification every morning. As mentioned above real sentences are much more helpful than just one new vocab item. Maybe there could a ‘theme’ of day? Where you could tweet a sentence that incorporates the theme or something and someone could give you feedback via twitter? I like feedback 🙂
    *Sentence building
    I think a good game would be something that helps you develop constructing sentences, bringing your vocab and grammar skills together. Or like if you they had mini grammar lessons they could have a mini interactive review in which you build a sample sentence using that grammar point or sentence structure. I have a lot of trouble stringing together the bits and pieces I have learnt to make a sentence so yeah I guess this is really for people like me.
    *Particle practice
    I am so confused with particles, if someone could make an interactive exercise where you insert particles in the blanks or something then it would be great!
    AND MY LIFE WOULD BE COMPLETE. If you’re studying Japanese you are bound to have Kotoba! on your Apple device, in the same way I wish I had a Kotoba! for Korean! Would make studying on the go pretty darn convenient.

    What I expect in an app:
    *Really nice layout – font, colour!
    If its appealing to the eye, the more likely I would use it often!
    *Not loaded with animations, so that it lags.
    Though interesting and interactive, it sucks when an app is so slow and it crashes.
    *Something that is updated regularly
    So that it is something I would always comeback to! I will never get bored of it!

    I hope these helped 🙂 I apologise again if I repeated what was already mentioned or if these weren’t really helpful after all.
    Please keep us posted! I am looking for a nice korean-learning app!

  • Reply
    15 June, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    i agree! standalone vocab (ala flashcard style) has its benefits but it’s really difficult to memorise it without context. example sentences – and i mean those used in real-life scenarios, not awkward tourist guide type ones – would be really useful. to make it more fun, depending on the target audience, the app could use kpop song lyrics or famous lines from dramas.

    personally, i think the intermediate stage is the toughest and most awkward. you kinda have the basics down (familiar with a fair number of grammar points, comfortable with conjugation rules, limited but working vocabulary) but are sometimes unsure of expressions. as in, natural korean expressions vs a direct translation from english. so, i’d love plenty of everyday scenario-based dialogues. this helps to fill in vocab gaps that learners might not realise they have too. a script will be helpful but i’d be more keen on listening practice at natural talking speed. even though koreans speak at the speed of light!

    good luck!

  • Reply
    15 June, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Funny you’d mention Amy’s efforts here 🙂 I have been helping her on StackOverflow dealing with an encoding problem (the Korean words came out garbled on screen).

    I think a lot depends on what one intends to do with the app. Is it going to be a replacement for a course book? With lessons, exercises and stuff? A dictionary/thesaurus (with examples, like any good paper dictionary provides)? A cheat-sheet/flash card app?

    Also, there are some good online resources (I used to like Yahoo! Korea’s dictionary but it’s gone now), like Naver’s dictionary. Providing easy, integrated access to sources like that would be cool.

    I wish I were 25 years younger and would start learning Korean now. It’d be so easier!

    • Reply
      15 June, 2012 at 10:11 PM

      Hi! Thanks for you help for the coding!What a coincidence!!! I am designing the feature of the apps and still undecided to include useful and high demand feature in my game apps (hope my skills are able to cope with it) ^^

      Mostly I am trying to come up with a good storyline for the app (My project focusing on educational GAME app). Need to see what can I do to improve current available mobile app as there have a lot professional Korean vocabulary learning and flashcard app available already. Although I might not apply all the suggestions given by all but I have the clear grasp of what user really need nowadays.

      Thanks all!

  • Reply
    Jenny Lim
    19 June, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    I have purchased some Korean learning application from Koreanclass101.com via iTunes, actually is quite useful but not so easy to understand if you don’t have the basic knowledge, I learnt Korean only 100 hours (around 1 years+ at CC) and is already “advance” level, however I still feel very weak. I have stopped attending any lesson since last September 2011, now I self study and try to watch more Korean drama and variety show, it does help a little too, but you know self-study can be very lazy. Besides “Koreanclass101.com” I still subscribe “Talktomeinkorean.com”, from the application itself, I learn the vocab chapter by chapter, from absolute beginner starts, I hope there will be some “matching games” to learn new vocab too. Bye.

  • Reply
    2 July, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    What come across your mind when you think of Korean learning game apps?
    -Flashcard apps, Anki, conversation apps(안녕하세요 = Hello.), and I found one picture dictionary but it had basic vocab and was not updated often (if ever).

    What particular feature you want for a Korean learning apps?
    -learning to translate words in my head is one thing (Car –> 자동차 / 차 / 자가용) but I’m a visual learner, and that’s something that I would love to be supported. Especially pictures of different foods, and I have to type out the name, and then, they show me the name and I have to find the picture (like Memrise.com), but for Korean. Even the Dictionaries are all for Koreans learning English, there are few (if any) dictionaries for English speakers learning Korean.

    What content you anticipate in the app?

    Maybe an empty room, or an empty dinner table, or just a couple of car axles… and then as I learn words, and they move to long-term memory, that food is added to the table, or that furniture is added into the room. A would LOOOOVE your app if it extended beyond the basic colors(red), and delved into the world of burgundy, fuschia, crimson, blood red, burnt sienna, etc. If there were two objects and then two color names, and I had to match them by drawing a line from the word to the object, or by some other means. There are few purely visual resources for learners. And with colors or foods, or several other things, this could be an excellent addition to the catalogue of tools for learners.

  • Reply
    5 August, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    The problem when i learn korean is it has more than 3 forms of writing/reading/speaking. The polite with “yo”, formal with “nita” lower-form is drop out the 2 of types previous, but another more is the verb-ending with “ki” like “ha-ki” “mokki”, and more…

    I think the form used in drama/films is good (i don’t know what it is) because learner can immediately transfer from theory to practice.

    The flashcard is always good, but please make conversation to introduce your new lesson then expand grammar, only grammar does not help much. With vocab, using image to express word is nice! But this way will make app bigger.

    I’m so happy if i could have an app for my Window Mobile version 6.1. My phone is old and out of date, when i search app for it, no resources are available, pour me 🙁 If your friend interesting in coding please tell him make another app running by Java (which is .jar file), java and android have similar construct, and java can work on almost phone, i hope he will do it. If .cab is ok (file for WM), it will be very nice!

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