How Duolingo became the world’s most used educational app



Duolingo is still the most popular language learning platform in the world and it’s interesting to see how it got there.

Two decades ago, Yahoo’s chief scientist gave a lecture at a university. He mentions that crooks often program his computers to create nearly a million email addresses with Yahoo! be used for malicious purposes. Until then, the company hadn’t been able to do anything to stop them, and if anyone could fix this for them, I would be very grateful.

The right time and the right place

It turns out that Louis von Ahn was in the audience and was a graduate student in computer science. As he worked on his PhD, it occurred to him that the twisted and slightly distorted numbers and letters that you have to select to prove that you are not a robot might be the answer.

The tech giants were so grateful that they paid him a huge fortune for the “Captcha” system. (Fully automated general Turing test to distinguish between computers and humans.) Which in 2009 left him, at the age of 30, with an interesting problem to him: “I don’t have to work anymore, so what do i do the rest of my life? ”

Duolingo lets you learn languages ​​anytime and anywhere

The answer to this problem was Duolingo, the world’s most popular language learning platform. During this time, von Ahn became a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He wanted to do something to help people, especially in the poorest countries, especially in Guatemala (where he was born). Most people behave rudely. He was a teacher.

Learning English can change your life. If you speak English it opens the door to better jobs and more purchasing power. In 2012, von Ahn and his student researcher, Severin Hacker, created a free English language learning app. But then people who already speak English asked to learn other languagesThis is why Duolingo now has around thirty languages ​​(including Navajo and Klingon) and is constantly developing more languages.

At first, Louis von Ahn and his collaborators did not know how to teach the language. But they soon realized they had the tools to improve what they were doing. Many people started to use the app, so they had a lot of data.

Is it better to teach plurals before adjectives or adjectives before plural? They ran a test with only 50,000 users: half did the test one way and the other half, so they could determine that it depends on the language you are learning and your native language.

They have also started recruiting people who can really teach languages. “We are not going to put teachers out of work,” says von Ahn. “Educators are good at motivating. Adding Duolingo with a teacher is better than just making Duolingo by yourself. But not everyone has access to a good teacher. 40% of language courses in the United States now use Duolingo.

The Duolingo system encourages you to train every day

It is possible to learn languages ​​for free

The best thing about Duolingo is that you can always learn for free, and if you want to opt out of the ads, you can pay for the premium option. French and Spanish are still the most popular languages ​​in the United States. In other places it’s English. Welsh is important in the UK. But the Korean language is one of the languages ​​of modern growth.

“Partly it’s about K-pop,” says von Ahn, “part about Squid Game and other Korean dramas. ” Japanese is more popular (and easier) than Chinese. “The Chinese scare a lot of people. But they strive to increase “interaction” and keep newbies on track: “We try to make things more fun.”

The main reasoning behind Duolingo was not the languages ​​themselves, but education. It is therefore quite naturally, with Louis von Anne at the wheel, that they begin to introduce mathematics into their curriculum. Von Ahn said in a Yahoo! News.

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