Leading Language Research Journal Publishes Study Showing Duolingo Learning Outcomes Are Comparable to University Classes

Jan 12, 2022

Peer-reviewed journal “Foreign Language Annals” publishes a Duolingo study showing that completing five units in Duolingo's Spanish and French courses is comparable to four university semesters for reading and listening skills

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 12, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Duolingo (NASDAQ: DUOL), the world's most downloaded education app, has published research in the peer-reviewed journal “Foreign Language Annals”, which demonstrates the effectiveness of using its courses for self study. The publication represents a milestone for the company in producing rigorous research that meets the high bar set by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), which manages the content of the journal.

The experiment demonstrated that Duolingo learners who completed five units in the Spanish or French courses performed as well on reading and listening tests as students who had completed four semesters of university language instruction. What's more is that Duolingo learners achieved four semesters of proficiency in reading and listening in less than half the time as their college counterparts.

"Our results indicate that learners who use Duolingo as a tool for self-directed study show substantial proficiency development," said Dr. Xiangying Jiang, lead learning scientist at Duolingo and first author on the publication. "We hope to have shed light on the potential effectiveness and comparability of Duolingo, as measured through standardized tests."

Duolingo has already been using these results internally to improve the efficacy of their Spanish and French courses and to translate the success of these courses to the other languages that they teach. Their research team has also tested Duolingo learners' speaking skills and the more advanced sections of the courses – with similarly impressive findings. Duolingo learners who completed seven units of the Spanish or French courses earned reading and listening scores comparable to five university semesters.

The Duolingo research is the largest study of app-based language learning to be published in “Foreign Language Annals,” whose readership includes language teachers and researchers around the world. The results of the study indicate that the scores of U.S. university students can serve as a useful benchmark for mobile language learners, with the Duolingo learners achieving comparable proficiency results for both reading and listening.

"It's important for us to develop courses and teaching tools that deliver the highest-quality language education to all learners," said Dr. Cindy Blanco, senior learning scientist at Duolingo. "This research represents real progress towards achieving our mission of providing high-quality education for everyone."

About Duolingo
Duolingo (www.duolingo.com) is the most popular language-learning platform and the most downloaded education app worldwide. The app makes learning new languages fun with bite-sized lessons that feel like playing a game. The company's mission is to develop the best education in the world and make it universally available. Duolingo offers over 100 total courses across 40 distinct languages, from Spanish, French, German and Japanese to Navajo and Yiddish.

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