Back in 2020, I posted a review of what is probably the most well-known language learning applications, that of Duolingo. While I mentioned some advantages of Duolingo to grasp the fundamentals of a learner’s target language, I did criticise it for its potentially weaker efficacy in the higher levels of a given target language. Well, it is 2023 now, and Duolingo has undoubtedly undergone significant changes, including a rework of language skill units in a given course.
Perhaps what shocked me the most was the development of the Duolingo English Test (DET). This is a standardised test for English proficiency, like the conventional tests like IELTS and TOEFL. What was impressive was its recognition as an accepted measure of English proficiency in some universities, including University of Exeter and Middlesex University in the United Kingdom. In fact, Ireland has also accepted the DET as part of its student visa program. Marketed as convenient, affordable, and fast, the DET does seem to pose as a rising competitor to the other conventional test formats, which are generally more expensive, less convenient, and require longer waiting times for results.
The rise of DET has shown how much Duolingo has developed and progressed from “just a language learning site or application”. Furthermore, in the app, numerous content updates have been added, including unit guidebooks, reviewing of mistakes, quests, leagues, and badges, which further complement the gamified language learning experience Duolingo has always sought to make. Further tweaks to language learning streaks also aim to boost learner retention on the app in the long term, which seems to attempt to cultivate a habit of regular practice in language learning. This also definitely shakes up the speedrunning categories for those who are interested in attempting a speedrun, although actual results in language skills may still vary.
All in all, Duolingo has come a long way since its birth in 2011. With ever more language options and content, this application can only further expand its reach to those who desire a convenient, accessible, and free method of language learning, breaking the tradition of studying a language within the four walls of a classroom or a library. These new features certainly deserve taking a look at, and I will be back with a fresh review of Duolingo in time to come.
3 thoughts on “Is it time for a fresh new Duolingo review?”
Hahah the duo lingo owl sure knows how to make you feel ugly.
The fact that he is adorable doesn’t make things easier 😅
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What I’d like to see more from Duolingo is increased personalization or something like “What kind of learner are you?”. Not everyone is an under-18 student or a casual tourist. Therefore, Duolingo should offer various vocabulary (and possibly grammar) streams for different demographics. I think they have recently been trying a bit, but I’d ask them to focus on personalization in the future, as much as they can!
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