We haven’t heard much of this Chinese Learning app called “FunEasyLearn” on social media groups but it claims to have 1 million downloads on android so naturally we were curious to dig in and see if we are missing out on an amazing app.
Our One-Liner: A flashcard-like app with a powerful underlying dictionary, clear subject groupings and multi-lingual support.
What we liked: This app is clearly structured and is powered by quite a well organized and large database of chinese ciyu (2-3 word phrases) as well as common sentences (6000 words and 1250 sentences) – which is more than what any primary school child will need to learn. The categorization of the content by subject matter is very intuitive and well-presented. One of the most unique aspects about this app is that even if your native language is not English, it can support a huge variety of long-tail global languages so it might be one of your only options if you want to be learning Chinese in Greek. It also has a decent report function showing you what you are getting right and wrong and your daily progress.
What we didn’t like: The animations are a little bit naff with a bee that looked like it was drawn up in half an hour. The attempts at gamification came across as being half-hearted and also a bit confusing. Although the illustrations that go along with each word are quite cleverly done (e.g. how would you visually explain “1 second”?) but, again, from an aesthetics perspective, it’s functional but not pretty. Perhaps our biggest gripe is the price – it costs ~$150 to unlock all content forever, $64 for a year, $12/month if you want to subscribe on a month by month basis. There is a decent amount of content to play with in the free mode (500 words) so it’s worth a try to see if it works for you. For children that aren’t particularly cooperative with using flashcards, it’s not clear that this app is going to be fun enough for children to be asking for it on their own accord. Also, if the children cannot yet read english, then the games they can play will be very limited.
Key Unique Features:
- Large database with 6000 words and 1250 sentences
- Supports a very large variety of home languages other than English
App Store Presence: On Google Play store, this app claims to have 1 Million + downloads and received 4.5 stars across 13k reviews. Looks promising!
Main Screen: The main screen shows two tabs: Learning by words (ciyu) or learning by sentences. Each of these panels show a long chain of honeycombs showing topics like People, Fashion, Body, Transportation etc. Clicking into a honeycomb expands out some sub-categories. Under People, you have the words broken down into Family, Love & Relationships, Identity, Ages & Life Events. Likewise, the Sentences tab is structured in a similar way.
Inside a HoneyComb: After clicking into a honeycomb you will be presented with a series of screens to introduce you to the vocabulary showing an image, the chinese text, the pinyin and also the home language selected (e.g. English in this case):
Choice of games: After being presented with the vocabulary, you will get to choose from a series of games. Some games require you to match the chinese with the english word. Some games will play the audio sound and require you to select the correct chinese text or the image etc.
In this next section, we will show you a sampling of the types of games available:
Choosing Word Game: In this game, you are shown an image and you have to select the chinese word that most closely matches with the image meaning.
Match Words Game: In this game you have to match the english word with the chinese word.
Listen & Choose game: In this game, the sound of the chinese word is played and you have to choose the right picture. So this would be a game suitable for a child that is not yet able to read Chinese nor English.
Write word game: In this game, you are shown the picture and the english word as well as the first chinese character and you have to choose the correct second character to complete the ciyu.
Pricing: My screen shows Hong Kong Dollars (7.8 HKD is equivalent to 1 USD). Essentially they have a few different packages: ~US$150 to unlock all content forever, US$64 for a year, US$12/month if you want to subscribe on a month by month basis. Not a lot if you compare it with taking lessons – but not something that you would spend on an app unless you are really planning to make use of it.
Account Registration: It is easy to start playing the game without registering for any account – so that’s great. If you do want to register for an account, they have an email option as well as a wide-variety of 3rd party logins – so definitely much more international user-friendly than some of the mainland china apps.
Native Language: a very impressive list of native languages to choose from. Definitely a key unique feature of this app.
Gamification: The scores and incentive system is a bit confusing and leaves much to be desired.
So, that’s a wrap! Net net, think it is a very powerful app if you are a dedicated learner. But for a child below 7 years old whose native language is english, it probably isn’t the best app out there for that price.