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A study comparing the effectiveness of Duolingo to Rosetta Stone and college classes.

There are a lot of anecdotal and marketing claims about the effectiveness of different language learning methods, but there is usually little scientific evidence to back the claims. We wanted to change that, so we commissioned a study to find out how well people learn a language on Duolingo.

Here’s a link to the final report: http://static.duolingo.com/s3/DuolingoReport_Final.pdf

Some interesting points:

  1. On average, it takes 34 hours of Duolingo to learn the equivalent of one semester of college. Since a semester of college generally takes a lot more than 34 hours of work, this suggests that Duolingo is more effective than a college course.

  2. The study was done by an external research team that previously evaluated the effectiveness of other methods such as Rosetta Stone. It is of note that it took 55 hours of study with Rosetta Stone to reach the equivalent of one semester of college. So not only is Duolingo free-er than Rosetta Stone, the study suggests it’s also better.

We plan on using this data and continually conducting studies to make learning a language with Duolingo even better.

January 17, 2013



This learning program is awesome. I have never stuck with language learning before, but I am sticking with this, and I love it. I have it on my iPod and I use the app all the time. I find this program so easy to use and understand. I am so grateful for this software and that it's free. I have no complaints whatsoever, except that I can't figure out how to turn off the sound so I can play the radio or Pandora and just type. That's not a complaint against the software, however. I love it, just love it. My husband even likes to sit and watch me study, which means he's learning a bit of Italian as well, and we're spending time together. I couldn't be more pleased with a free learning product that will only enrich my life. Thank you, Duolingo.


You can turn it off in "Settings", I think.


I agree with Trinalgrant.
Personally, I started with the Ass*mil German method, which I had bought of course. I won't say that it's a bad method. It 's good, but it nevertheless bored me after a few lessons. I stopped it in favor of DL. With DL, something is happening. I hear, repeat, and type words on the keyboard (I use the web page, not the windows app), I look for information in other tabs of my browser from time to time : pronunciations with www.forvo.com, I look at the table of declensions and I reflect, I look at the definition or translation of a word, I insert a particular sentence in a personal Excel file, I look at the conjugations of a verb on a web site, and so on.
So, for me it's a very very useFUL - corrected! I typed useLESS this morning instead prior, poor me :-)! - and efficient way to learn, combined with the power of the Internet + the computer. And if I could I would subscribe to DL plus, just in order to support them of course.



How is it going with your Spanish language learning?

Are you still subscribed to this thread and do you read Duolingo e-mails?

Quote: This learning program is awesome. I have never stuck with language learning before, but I am sticking with this, and I love it. I have it on my iPod and I use the app all the time. I find this program so easy to use and understand. I am so grateful for this software and that it's free. I have no complaints whatsoever, except that. I love it, just love it.

Wow, so much enthusiastic writing from you 5 years ago - right after when you had started with Duolingo - and maybe bit of (over-)hyping of Duolingo as well and still this language learning platform has completely lost you since two years.

How that?

If you either stop RS or Duolingo does not make a big difference to me in the end ;)

You never have restarted your migrated new Spanish tree with 113 skills and 520 lessons in 2018.

It looks like to me that you somehow stopped your previous Spanish tree around 60 percentage in 2016 because so many skills after "Food 2" (Family 4) are now locked / grey when your skills for the active tree got converted.

Have there been too many Spanish tree conversions in 2016 or why did you not continue in 2017?
Have you manually reset your course progress in the first three years?

Unfortunately, I do not see any recent "learned_ts" timestamp for skills from the last 2-3 years in your Duome.eu progress profile on this tree (or for the skills in the previous tree)...

....the last submitted XP dates back to November 2016.

Neither can I find your username on the http://www.duome.eu/alumni section.

It does not look to me that you have ever managed to receive any 300+ days streak on the older Streak Hall of Fame lists or Duome.eu (which took over the old SHOF users).

  • Last Streak: 1 · lost 775 days ago

With all your above statements written publicly about Duolingo in your beginning, I honestly would have expected to see more progress with Spanish or any other language if you liked the platform so much:

  • At least one (additional) tree finished (received golden owl) once
  • any reverse tree started (from Spanish to English to practice Spanish writing) in the pre-crown era
  • at least an on-time streak of 300+ or recent 100+ days streak (Duome.eu alumni / junior section) and not just "1 day" 2,1 years ago
  • Any course progress updates in 2017-2018 or a recent streak
  • A (much) higher Spanish language level than 7

The beginner / basic stuff usually stops at level ~10.

May I ask you why have you stopped with Duolingo end of 2016 and how much you have actually used it in the first three years?


This is exactly the time when I started with Duolingo end of October 2016 - with the great Portuguese from English course (because of all available "tips and notes" and so many dedicated grammar skills which have been further optimized in June 2018 and extended to 91 skills) - on the old (Python) Duolingo.com web portal and it was just great because of the multiple available Tampermonkey user scripts which extended the Duolingo core functionality tremendously for the better...before the Scala web rewrite by staff and early rollout in February 2017.

Q: Will we ever see you coming back with the new Spanish course and content or any other language like Portuguese? ;)

With best regards / Viele Grüße


After stumbling upon Duolingo yesterday, I have finally given up on Rosetta Stone. This is so much more fun and effective. Thank you so much


Good work and thanks! I've only just discovered Duolingo but I am finding it extremely enjoyable.

Just a couple of suggestions. I think there needs to be a box to tick if the voice isn't quite right so these can be redone just as there is the option for ticking a box if the translation you give is right but duolingo hasn't got it in it's database.

To keep duolingo a fun learning experience and motivation high, I would suggest having monitors on individual lessons. These can be invisible to the users. If any particular lesson is en masse taking significantly more attempts to master than others then it could be reviewed and simplified. I know that in another post someone has said that there were lessons where the vocab was overloaded for example.


As a personal anecdote, two hours of basic French and I feel I learned more than any week of Spanish I took years ago in high school. Plus the ability to go at my own pace and repeat sections for practice is way nicer than trying to synthesize a textbook by myself or having a professor talk at me. I would like a way to practice with a native French-speaker at some point down the line.

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