Online programme Duolingo is revolutionising the way we learn languages, offering expert-developed classes completely free of charge.
Learning a language is something on almost everyone’s bucket list, but often time and money aren’t in abundance. Named iPhone App of the Year, TechCrunch’s Best Education Startup, and Google’s Best of the Best two years running, Duolingo couldn’t make learning a language easier or more appealing. According to research, just 34 hours on the App is equivalent to an 11-week university semester!

Developed by a growing team of professionals as well as a collective of native language speakers, Duolingo is not only a language education programme but also a crowdsourced text translation platform – slowly translating the entire web.

Available on any device with Internet access, simply create a profile, choose your language and get started. The strategic game-like modules cover almost every element in language education, teaching you to both speak and write. Broken up into lessons, users cover everything from food and everyday phrases to correct pronunciation and even politics. Gamers receive rewards each time a section is completed, and have to practice each module on a regular basis to keep the progress bars fulls. If requested, the app will also send you friendly reminders to make sure you don’t lose track of your language learning goals.

While the game is generally designed to benefit the individual it also extracts value from power in numbers by allowing gamers to use their knowledge for another great cause – translating the entire Internet. Through harnessing the time people happily spend on one project, the App is unlocking an array of web-based information that was previously inaccessible. For example, an untranslated sentence from the French Wikipedia is presented to a player on Duolingo, who then translates it in a matter of seconds – that data is then saved and can now be shared to anyone, anywhere.

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  • Title: Duolingo
  • External Link: Duolingo - INDEX: Design to Improve Life® website
  • Sustainable Development Goals targeted: Quality Education, Decent Work & Economic Growth, Reduced Inequalities
  • INDEX: Award Cycle: 2015
  • INDEX: Award Category: Play & Learning
  • Driver(s) of Change: Connection Technologies, Digitalization of Everything, Entrepeneurship, Globalization, Income Inequality, Intelligent Systems, Massive Disemployment
  • Designed By: Luis von Ahn
  • Country of Design : USA