Duolingo Review – Is it Worth or Total Waste of time?
A classroom is not the only place to learn a foreign language. Today, you can study any language anytime and anywhere through a mobile app at your fingertips. If you’ve been searching for one, you’re pretty much guaranteed to come across Duolingo.
While people may have different approaches and learning abilities, online language learning has commendably dominated the market in recent years.
Contrary to the textbook and traditional method, software and apps are inexpensive, convenient, entertaining, and, most importantly, flexible.
But as with everything, nothing is picture-perfect. There are some obvious benefits and drawbacks of using language apps.
There are plentiful options in the market that empower you to start with a few clicks. Of so many alternatives, Duolingo is a well-known app for studying a new tongue.
But can you actually learn a language with Duolingo, or overrated?
How effective is Duolingo?
Is it really worth it or a total waste of time? What’s the difference between the free & plus plan?
In this Duolingo review 2022, I’m here to write my honest assessment and explain in detail its pros and cons. This will help you make an informed decision and what to expect. Let’s get the ball rolling!
The History of Duolingo
Duolingo was founded as an academic project at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh by professor Luis Von Ahn and his Ph.D. student Severin Hacker.
After selling his previous company, reCAPTCHA, to Google, both aspired to try something new in the education niche.
Since there was an enormous demand for language learning tools worldwide, they went with language study.
Eventually, they launched Duolingo by the end of 2009. Later, many others joined and took part in developing further.
As per the Crunchbase report, Duolingo raised $183.3M of the total in over 9 rounds. As of January 2021, the investors estimate the total valuation to be staggering high, up to $2.4 billion.
About the founder’s Track Record
Before launching Duolingo, Luis von Ahn sold reCAPTCHA to Google in 2009 at an undisclosed price. Google might have bought because of the massive user base.
While the amount is unknown, Von said the amount was somewhere between $10 million and $100 million.
Regardless of the cost of acquisition, reCAPTCHA was highly annoying and time-consuming on the internet. It was so stressful that almost everyone hated it.
He claimed that over 750 million people had solved one of his captchas. Yes, it prevented spam and fraud on websites to some extent, but notwithstanding, it wasn’t user-friendly and made life more miserable. I always despised it.
That is the reason, after purchasing, Google redesigned and made it less irritating by adding a checkbox I’m a human”. Now, in reCAPTCHA 3.0, it is invisible.
Do these things in earlier times really matter when I’m writing the Duolingo review?
This inevitably implies a lot!
The track record of the founder plays an indispensable role in evaluating current products. No matter how surpassing and innovative an idea seems, the woeful track record does make a world of difference.
And that’s why it starts with a negative tick. It may not matter to a well-funded company, but it matters to myself and my readers, who trust me for what I say.
What is Duolingo?
Unlike reCAPTCHA, Duolingo is friendly, relaxed, and delightful. This isn’t a Déjà Vu all over again.
With over 500 million users, Duolingo is the most popular language-learning platform and the most downloaded education app. It has grown so much over the past eleven years.
The number of users was 300 million before the spread of the 2020 pandemic. But because of COVID-19, the number has boosted Duolingo’s fortunes. With nowhere to go, many started using this addictive app.
While Duolingo’s headquarter is in Pittsburgh, the United States, but operates worldwide.
As you’d anticipate, Duolingo as a mobile application is available for Android and iOS operating systems. There is a browser version too.
It has successfully combined language learning with gamification intending to make education simple and more fun.
Duolingo offers a tree-based training strategy. It uses flash-cards, images, listening, and writing lessons to motivate you to study new words, phrases, and uncomplicated sentences.
You can also connect with other users who are cramming the same language through their community characteristics.
How Does Duolingo Work?
Let’s jump in to see how Duolingo works!
UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) are pretty likable and straightforward. The modern and creative design gives an intuitive and knockout involvement.
Similar to other language apps, you can register for a free account at Duolingo.com.
They have 3 easy steps to sign up: First, select the language and reason for considering it. Then, you decide your daily goal between Casual (5 minutes), Regular (10 minutes), Serious (15 minutes), and Intense (20 minutes).
Finally, register by using Facebook, Google, or any email account.
Voilà, you have created a profile! This will hardly take a minute or two to wind up the onboarding process. You can then choose a language and begin receiving game-like bite-size tasks.
After spending a few minutes, you will understand everything. The whole interface is minimal and easy to grasp.
The Target Audience
With an intent to make education accessible to all, Duolingo’s primary audience is learners who are interested in acquiring a new language from ground zero. Save big with Duolingo discount Codes on Annual Plans, While the company considers its target audience as “everyone.” But is fundamentally geared towards the beginner’s level.
You always have to start from the first lesson. If you feel a particular section is too advanced or rudimentary, you cannot jump to a different level.
So, if you previously have some acquaintance in your target language and fancy moving to a higher level, it is not for you.
To sum up, Duolingo is solely for elementary learning, which is precisely their target market. Of course, the company will not admit that, but this is what it is.
With 100’s of languages, all user-generated contested are divided into 3 categories:
- Phase 1: Courses not yet released.
- Phase 2: Courses released in beta.
- Phase 3: Courses graduated from beta.
Thanks to thousands of volunteers, Duolingo empowered their community to develop all these courses. They also helped the company with Word-of-Mouth advertising.
While this creates a welcome variety, however, these programs vary in quality, sometimes a lot.
The audio quality of the words’ pronunciation’ can differ with strange voices, which cannot be very clear for many. Unlike the official version, some are more prone to influence by vernacular, dialects, and slang.
Despite the sheer number of contributors and checks and balances in place, there is no reliability and standardized flow for any language.