[App Fridays] Trouble with your English vocabulary? Easy Vocab can help.Raghu Mohan
Almost everyone hates the English section in competitive exams like CAT, GRE and GMAT. First, remember tough words. Then remember meanings for them. That requires just as much practice as you would put in for the Math and Analytical sections of these exams.
Many of the mobile apps in vocabulary training have close to a 100,000 downloads on various app stores. The successful ones have employed gamification, through quizzes and leader boards and provide an engaging user experience.
Today's app friday is from Last-Bench, a one year old education startup, which offers management courses. Easy Vocab, has all the makings of a successful vocabulary training app. But will it be successful? Read on to know more -
What is it about?
There are 4 parts to this app -
1) Flashcards – As the name suggests, these are cards with a words on them, which you can flip over to see its meaning, synonym, antonyms and usage. The
card provides you the option to mark your confidence level of the word.
2) Word Search – You can search for a word and this section would give you the same information about the word as its flashcard.
3) Quiz – This game will ask you for synonyms and antonyms of words. You're fighting against the clock to finish all the allotted questions and to get them right. You can alter the number of questions and the time.
4) A Progress Report - Gives you performance analytics of based on your scores from the quiz.
Easy Vocab works off a database of 662 words that were chosen based on GRE/GMAT/CAT high Frequency words, business vocabulary and academic words.
Can an app really teach you?
There are two sides to this coin. On one hand, this app is great to use, its interactive and the game is a lot of fun to play. But the audience that this app is catered towards is used to the conventional form of book based education.
From personal experience and after speaking with some students preparing for these competitive exams, I infer that not a lot of people would be comfortable learning from an app. The change in learning media is a paradigm shift and it needs to be introduced at a very early age. One friend said, “Just give me the dope man, I don't really care about fancy games and animations.”
Education apps work very well with children, but it doesn't have a great track record with an older audience. Easy Vocab will face an uphill struggle in getting the targeted users use the app regularly.
Pros and Cons
Easy Vocab is a good app. It performs its function well and if you use it with an open mind, it is definitely something I would come back to. As a standalone app, here are some things that work very well for me -
1) A good UI – It has a very notebook like feel to it. The tabs (which is usually a no-no on android) are themed like sticky paper, which is pretty cool.
2) Engaging user experience – Small things like a flipping blackboard is a very good way to engage a user. Difficulty and comfort levels are depicted using traffic signals, which is also pretty cool.
While Easy Vocab has its trouble in the acceptance part, there isn't a lot wrong with the app as such. Maybe a larger database of words would add some more street cred to the app. Also, a customized list of words and quizzes based on the exam could be a useful addition to the app.
Also, there are some video examples for some words on their YouTube channel, which are very effective in putting across the meaning of a big word. It is large task, but the Easy Vocab can be greatly empowered if each word had some sort of illustrative way of describing the meaning and usage of a word.
Apps like these have also done very well on tablets. It will be useful addition to make an iPad and Android tab version of Easy Vocab.
A while back, I wrote about why technology aided education isn't being adopted in mainstream systems in India. It has been a supplement to conventional education and this app can become one such supplement.
Tie-ups with some training programs (other than their own) may help. A scaled down list of words targeted at children can broaden Easy Vocab's user base and the younger segments are good return users for education apps.
Our take – A great app, but will face tough competition from similar apps in the category and struggle from a usage point of view, due to the current target audience.
Download Easy Vocab