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Language App Review: Lectia

By Edwige Simon, Director, Instructional Technology and Online Learning.
[Article update January, 27, 2023, edits in bold]

The Lectia app (formerly called Lectica) was designed by the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland. It provides reading and listening activities based on authentic materials.

The app now provides activities in 19 languages: Arabic, Bosnian, Burmese, Chinese, Croatian, Dari, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Korean, Pashto, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese.

Originally only available for iPhones, the app is now available in the Google Play Store.

There are three levels per language (beginner, intermediate and advanced) and about 20 learning activities per level.

All the lessons follow the same sequence:

1) Overview, 2) preparatory activities, 3) the source – a text, an audio or a video clip, 4) learning activities, -multiple-choice questions with detailed feedback and grammar explanations, 5) transcript/translation, 6) notes, -cultural information related to the source, vocabulary or grammar points,  7) a glossary and 7) learning strategies.

A learner can expect to spend 10 to 15 minutes to complete a lesson.


The app is completely free and will remain free.

Convenient and flexible
Learners can complete the lessons online or download them ahead of time for offline use. The learning activities can be completed in any order and cover a wide range of contemporary topics such as music, transportation, weather, technology, housing, etc.  Students can use the app independently to supplement a class, and teachers can assign specific activities for students to complete as homework.

Language App Review: Lectia

Learners can set goals and receive rewards (ribbons) when they achieve them.

Good pedagogical framework
The reading and listening activities are based on authentic materials, even at the beginner level. Within each lesson, the grammar and vocabulary items are presented inductively. The app offers advanced controls that allow users to slow down or speed up the audio/video clips, replay the last 2, 5, or 5 seconds and turn on subtitles in English or the target language. Finally, the app provides learners with well-written learning tips on how to approach a text or a video in the target language.


The learning activities occasionally test learners on items new to them and then retroactively provide the relevant grammar or vocabulary explanation.

Overall, Lectica is an excellent app that teachers and students can use as supplemental material. Learn more about using teacher tools online (including ChatGPT for language teachers) at our Teacher PD tech workshops.

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