Duolingo review: best language software

Duolingo is a language learning platform that is entirely free to use. You mainly learn by translating sentences, and the fun part is that while translating, you also contribute by translating websites (such as Wikipedia).

And because Duolingo is dependent on your translations to correctly translate web pages, there is a great alignment of interest because they need you to be succesfull with your translations. In order to assure this quality, you’re only allowed to advance to the next level if you complete your course without too many mistakes.

There are some discussions about whether you can really learn to speak a language without having real conversations. But although there might be some truth in it, we still consider it as one of the best online learning language tools out there. And the price is unbeatable: 0$

Duolingo fact sheet

Courses typeLanguages
SubjectsGrammar, Vocabulary, Speaking, Listening
# of coursesDepending on languages from 1 to 10. French, Spanish, German, Dutch etc..(See screenshot)
Average course time6 month to complete a language spending a few hours everyday.
ProfessorsComputerized
Student levelBeginners
DemographyAll age
Cost:Completely free
CertificationYes, free Certification in Beta

4 types of exercises

Translation exercise: You translate words and sentences from one language to another.
Listening exercise: You Listen to an audio recording and write down what you hear.
Matching exercise: You are introduced to words that you have to match with pictures.
Speaking exercise: You formulate sentences. (Although your accent isn’t the best, the systems pick up what you say…)

Ease of use1) Very intuitive and easy to use.
2) Learning tree that allows you to follow your progression
Content quality1) Tips and notes to assist you in your lessons
2) You can check word translation on the app and desktop version
3) Questionnaires are fun to do
Completeness of features1) It will help you learn a language, but won’t make you fluent.
2) One suggestions is to have a paid features for a personal language coach via video conference for spoken practice.
3) Voice is computerized and it a bit monotone and boring. One suggestion could be to have real persons recording the audio (crowdsourced audio).
4) Some learner found that basic conversational skills were missing from the program very early in the course.
Feedback and interaction1) Earning points or "Lingo" after course completion to unlock more features.
2) Very active community on Duolingo where you'll find all your answers..
3) Compete with your friends on Facebook to see who learns a language the fastest...
Learning experience1) Great learning experience where you learn by doing.
2) To better retain information, introduce a more proactive learning
3) Personal motivation is determinant for success
Price/Time 1) Completely free, so it's unbeatable.
2) 26 to 49 hours of study with Duolingo to cover the material for the first college semester of Spanish.
3) Study shows that the effectiveness of learning were quite significant.

Notes

  • Tough to pass levels. Since Duolingo want to make sure you learn a language right they won’t allow you to skip classes.
  • Today the platform seems to be oriented more towards English speaker or to teach english to other language. Duolingo keeps on adding more language everyday.

 
 
 

 

Sources

Business model:

  1. Duolingo Is a Crowdsourced Translation Service that Teaches French | MIT Technology Review. 2014. Duolingo Is a Crowdsourced Translation Service that Teaches French | MIT Technology Review. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.technologyreview.com/news/506656/the-cleverest-business-model-in-online-education/. [Accessed 05 December 2014].


Cool review out there:

  1. Duolingo Is a Crowdsourced Translation Service that Teaches French | MIT Technology Review. 2014. Duolingo Is a Crowdsourced Translation Service that Teaches French | MIT Technology Review. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.technologyreview.com/news/506656/the-cleverest-business-model-in-online-education/. [Accessed 05 December 2014].
  2. You are the product: A critical look at Duolingo | Hacking Portuguese. 2014. You are the product: A critical look at Duolingo | Hacking Portuguese. [ONLINE] Available at:http://hackingportuguese.com/2013/05/review-duolingo/. [Accessed 05 December 2014].
  3. DuoLingo Review: The Quick, Easy and Free Way to Learn A Language – Fluent in 3 months – Language Hacking and Travel Tips. 2014. DuoLingo Review: The Quick, Easy and Free Way to Learn A Language – Fluent in 3 months – Language Hacking and Travel Tips. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.fluentin3months.com/duolingo/. [Accessed 05 December 2014].

 

More

  1. Luis von Ahn: Massive-scale online collaboration | Talk Video | TED.com. 2014. Luis von Ahn: Massive-scale online collaboration | Talk Video | TED.com. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.ted.com/talks/luis_von_ahn_massive_scale_online_collaboration. [Accessed 05 December 2014].
  2. Language App Duolingo Raises $20M In Race To Teach English – Forbes. 2014. Language App Duolingo Raises $20M In Race To Teach English – Forbes. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2014/02/18/language-learning-app-duolingo-raises-20m-in-race-to-teach-english/. [Accessed 05 December 2014].


Duolingo effectivness study

  1. Roumen Vesselinov, PHD: Duolingo effectiveness study. 2014. . [ONLINE] Available at:http://static.duolingo.com/s3/DuolingoReport_Final.pdf. [Accessed 05 December 2014].