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Documentary about the Evaluation of Duolingo

A Language Learning Application

Written by Anonymous

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Term Paper


Business Administration>Communication & Media




Term Paper: Duolingo is an online learning tool with more than 300 million users and offers courses in 38 different languages, from classic languages ​​such as Spanish and French to exotic or fictional languages ​​such as Hawaiian or Klingon in Star Trek. The web-based application was released in 2012, hoping to provide a private tutor experience for iOS and Android users, and to make learning fun through personalized content and gamification methods. Although users can learn languages ​​directly on Duolingo’s website, the e-learning assessment is aimed at smartphone apps because it is the most popular language learning tool in the Apple and Google app stores. The application focuses on a gamification method in which users can complete different units that are mutually established. Each unit contains various topics that focus on grammar or vocabulary, such as basic knowledge 1, adjective 1 or animal 1 (see Duolingo basic learning concepts overview). Each topic has two to six courses, and users need to complete these courses to upgrade. A single lesson contains about 10 to 15 increasingly difficult tasks, including translation, matching word pairs, listening comprehension, or pronunciation exercises. To master a unit and access subsequent units, users must reach the first level of each unit topic at the beginning. The example in the figure provides an overview of the structure of the learning content. The first unit on the left includes eight different topics, and learners must reach the first level to unlock the second unit topic. The progress of each theme is shown by the golden bar and the crown at the bottom right corner of each icon. To upgrade, users must complete a certain number of courses. In order to complete the course, learners will gain experience points, which are the basic gamification elements of the application. They are used to track progress, unlock achievements, and compete with other learners. In addition, by completing courses and unlocking achievements, users can obtain in-game currencies called Gems, which they can use strategically to make up for mistakes and conduct tests that can skip levels. 2. Current assessment Duolingo's assessment is based on their free French course, but can be applied to any other free course as they all follow the same concept. The universally applicable evaluation system consists of five categories, including 21 items, used to evaluate e-learning media on a five-point scale (see appendix). At the beginning, I analyzed DuoLingo’s ability to judge individual abilities and how the application personalizes learning content to match the learner’s skill level. The second topic of interest is the design of the learning environment and the basic learning concepts that support user progress. 2.1. Personal ability assessment At the beginning, after choosing a language course and providing basic information about the content, Duolingo will ask the user if they are already familiar with the language. Learners can take a short test based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ​​to help personalize e-learning content. The better the speaker's abilities, the more learning content will be unlocked initially. Learners who are already familiar with the language do not necessarily have to complete the first few basic tutorials. They can start with more advanced content. In addition, users can pay 200 Gems for the test when completing the first lesson of any topic without any errors, allowing them to skip the first level and continue to the second level if they pass. The standard procedure is to complete multiple courses to upgrade. Duolingo recognizes that the individual is the product of their learning and development history, and customizes content based on the learner's previous experience. Nonetheless, customization is limited, and more experienced users find that they repeat simple content for too long. This is the reason why the app scored two-quarters for the first item "e-learning media tailored learning content based on learners' abilities and previous experience". Next to the concept of life cycle development, the project uses Zimbardo's (2004) definition of learning and Vygotsky's (1978) recent development area. 2.2. Implementation of the learning environment and learning concept In order to evaluate the design of the learning environment and the implementation of the learning concept, six projects have been developed. Regarding the second project, "The e-learning medium enables as many learners as possible to access the learning content" Duolingo has done a good job in lowering the entry barrier for learners and won a perfect score (4/4). Smartphones and tablets are the most affordable way to access e-learning. Duolingo’s content is available to more than 3 billion smartphones and 1 billion tablet users worldwide. The third item: "E-Learning medium uses psychologically-based learning concepts", which aims to assess whether Duolingo uses a single learning concept or a combination of behaviorist, cognitivism and constructivist elements. The application often uses some aspects of Skinner's operational conditioning theory, such as reinforcement and punishment. When the learner solves the task correctly, not only will there be an encouraging sound effect, but between the questions, the app’s mascot Duo will comment on how well the user is doing and how much he has learned (for example, when the answer is correct continuously Five times). Read Less