[Edling] How to Almost Learn Italian: Language Apps Like Duolingo are Addictive—but Not Particularly Effective

Francis Hult francis.hult at englund.lu.se
Sun Nov 18 02:59:49 EST 2018


The Atlantic

How to Almost Learn Italian: Language Apps Like Duolingo are Addictive—but Not Particularly Effective

Duolingo is essentially a product of crowdsourcing; volunteers build much of the teaching content, and the in-app behavior of its 27.5 million active monthly users is continuously analyzed to determine which exercises, sentences, and techniques lead to better adherence and faster learning. The challenge, von Ahn told me, is that the two metrics tend to be at odds: Making the lessons more difficult reliably speeds up learning—but also increases dropout rates. “We prefer to be more on the addictive side than the fast-learning side,” he explained. “If someone drops out, their rate of learning is zero.”

Full story:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/12/language-apps-duolingo/573919/

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