Drops is a language app that specializes in rapid-paced learning designed to fit into busy days. With fourteen languages to choose from and a game-based platform, Drops is trying to edge its way into the language app game with a few unique strategies.
Drops is doing three things differently than other popular language apps: users practice for only five minutes a day; the app is based on illustrations rather than text; and the app does not require typing, only swiping. These features differentiate Drops from other apps, and the latter two points make it particularly enjoyable to use.
Although there is a time limit on how much you can play each day, users can choose to learn vocab from dozens of categories and flit between them during the given time. In addition, Drops is easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing apps I’ve tested. It’s colorful templates, use of illustrations, and responsiveness to touch make it enjoyable to use. Finally, the activities on Drops differ from those in other language learning apps in that they require swiping instead of typing. Match pictures to words and words to pictures, arrange letter groupings by syllable in the correct order to spell words, and trace your finger through a box of letters to create a word. These make the app feel more like a game than studying, but it was never a question of whether I was learning or having fun, I was definitely doing both.
While Drops would be a great tool to learn foreign vocabulary, it does not offer lessons in grammar or conjugations. Therefore, the app won’t teach you how to converse, only how to say specific words. Depending on your intention in using the app, this could either be a pro or a con. In addition, the five free minutes of play ran out so quickly when I tested the app, but to practice anymore I would have had to purchase a plan. Once you finish five minutes of practice, you have to wait 10 hours before getting another round.
Drops is the most visually stimulating language learning app I’ve tried, and the activities it includes are fun and engaging. Since the free version of the app only allows for a bite-sized practice each day, it would be a great app to use while commuting. Finally, since there is no grammar component to Drops, it would be most useful for people interested in acquiring vocabulary rather than learning how to converse in a different language.Image: via Drops