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Duolingo’s Partnership with Pearson

We just announced a partnership with the education company Pearson, which is a big opportunity for us to bring Duolingo to more students at the college level! We’re here to share a bit more about the partnership and what it means for Duolingo users. (Spoiler: it doesn’t affect you at all.)

Beginning this fall, Pearson’s university course materials for Spanish, French, German and Italian will include access to a corresponding course in Duolingo that is aligned with their curriculum. Students who purchase Pearson textbooks will receive a code they can redeem in Duolingo to access the new course. The courses produced by this partnership will look like existing Duolingo courses, but they will differ by adding new content and organizing the content to align with popular language textbooks. For everyone else, the Duolingo experience is unaffected.

So, why are we doing this? We’re fortunate that our Duolingo for Schools program is used in over 300,000 classrooms globally. But we know that Duolingo would be used more often in schools if Duolingo were aligned to existing course materials like textbooks. This partnership will help us bring Duolingo to many more students, especially at the university level. Pearson is a well established company in higher education, and our hope is that this partnership will help to make language learning more fun and effective for college students.

If you’re a college student who is studying a foreign language and uses one of our new courses this semester, we’d love to hear what you think!

August 18, 2017



Do students taking Pearson courses have access to the sentence discussions? If so, are they separate from the sentence discussion in the regular courses?

I'm not willing to provide free labour to Pearson by moderating their forums and fixing their mistakes in the Incubator.

We've already noticed that keeping the content separate doesn't really work. Tons of their (low quality) edits have leaked into our course and messed with our work.

This whole idea of mixing commercial courses with volunteer-maintained courses is dodgy af.

Luis, I'm hugely disappointed. Next time you even consider doing something like this, please also consider the ethical implications of exploiting volunteers' free labour.

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I just do not understand why they did not launch a separate site - like http://pearson.duolinco.com/ or http://duolingo.pearson.com - with the same software, with their own sets of language pairs, but completely separated databases, separated forums and paid moderators and course contributors.

I am fairly OK with the idea that solutions that are being tested, are run on the main, free website, and only those that are proven functional are used on the paid server. I am also OK with the idea that parts of the courses what were created by Duolingo staff is used on the paid site. But I am not OK with importing the content created by volunteers, whatever kind of the content would it be.


OK with the idea that parts of the courses what were created by Duolingo staff is used on the paid site

It's long since those 6-10 courses' content have been mainly edited/modified/improved by volunteers.
I don't think there is still a lot of exercises in those courses that hadn't their list of accepted answers and/or their hints improved by volunteers.


True. We've put a lot more time and effort into our course (German for English speakers) than staff ever did. I'm not just talking about adding missing translations and fixing mistakes. We've also massively rearranged and expanded our course.


To-date, all-time contributions by volunteers amount to 87% of the current French course for 58.1M English speakers.

Not to mention the time spent answering questions on the forums, writing Tips&Notes, rewriting hints, and doing the same for the reverse Tree, where volunteers' contributions amount to 73% (but for which we haven't found the time to write Tips&Notes).


Your contribution to the French forums has been amazing. I’m sorry Duo took a dump on that.


Eventually, the Pearson database was separated from ours, and we haven't had any issue for months. For the time being, we are still on the job and working hard. In February and March 2018, we wrote a new French Tree which successfully tested and was released almost immediately. There is still a lot of work to do on this new version, and users' questions and reports have been keeping us busy. For the future, we shall see if we are still allowed to work on the content of the various trees (including new in-house trees, written by some Duo experts). Let's wait and see...


@sitesurf - and all the volunteers who contributed to Duolingo: You did a great job. Thank you very much. I feel so sorry for the moderators and contributors - and for everybody who believed in the idea of global free learning of languages.


Pearson is not a company I have any interest in volunteering for either. Duolingo yes. Pearson no. Duolingo offers free language education for the world. I can support that. Advertisements to keep Duolingo going? I can support that within reason. Providing free labor to a company that is squeezing already hard pressed students for every penny? No interest whatsoever in supporting that.

If Pearson's wants a set of discussion forums general and/or sentence focused, they can make their own and go pay someone to moderate it or get their own volunteers.


I’m late to the party, but I feel like Duo just screwed itself. Pearsons is not an altruistic company at all. They are sharks, and now I understand what has happened to the mods and the contributors the last months. Thanks for all your hard work. I’m sorry it’s being handed over to sharks who will profit from it and make it their own IP.

  1. Interested by the answer too.
  2. Nor moderating the discussions (linked to their exercises or just about those courses), neither participating/helping in discussions about their exercises (except if they're willing to pay me: we'd have to discuss the modalities).
    Hence, if the discussions "from" their courses aren't separated from the rest, then a BIG colored boldtlag "\/!\ PEARSON \/!\" need to be added on those discussions.
    "fixing their mistakes in the Incubator" = happy to not be impacted, sad for DE-EN, ES-EN, FR-EN and IT-EN volunteers teams.
  3. Keeping it separated doesn't work but what when volunteers modify/improve/correct Pearson's work (on shared exercises)? Are the changes reverted by Pearson/Duo?
  4. ... and without telling (not even dreaming of "consulting") impacted volunteers about it before Pearson started creating content hence modifying volunteers' work on shared exercises).
  5. ...

@staff: What about the hoverable hints?

Are there two separate DBs of hints (one for Pearson, one for volunteers' courses)?

If not, how are things kept separated?

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By the way, I'm really afraid our work has been already sold to Pearson.

Or will you say you've blocked Pearson from seeing our trees in the Incubator?


Or will you say you've blocked Pearson from seeing our trees in the Incubator?

It's not totally impossible Pearson that has no access t the incubator (but to a parallel version of it, that pour in the same database): they can't be pinged in the incubator hence it's possible they don't have access to it (but also possible they have).


Wouldn't surprise me. I reckon Duolingo has sold everyone out.

I bet you that a member of staff won't be replying to this concern, by the way.


I have never, ever, used Duo hover hints. I recommend off-line dictionaries. (Except as a beginner in Czech, the hints are valuable, in proportion to the absence of a good dictionary.)


Aren't the sentence discussions on webpages visible to the public, even people who aren't logged in to Duolingo, even people who don't have Duolingo accounts?

I don't see what would stop a student taking a Pearson course from seeing the sentence discussions...


Duolingo volunteers aren't bitter about letting students who have paid for a Pearson course see the discussion forums and learn from them, but we will feel exploited if these students make comments and questions that we need to answer in our free time and from the good will of our hearts, while Pearson is profiting from the sale of its products.


I would be interested in knowing about your sources when you state that "volunteers aren't bitter"? Don't they spend countless hours (and many more than regular users) and from the proportional goodwill of their hearts answering questions in their free time as well?


I was just underlining the fact that everybody can access DL and read the comments, whether they are university students or not. The issue is that they (and especially the paid employees of Pearson who add content but don't add all of the most likely sentence translation solutions) create a heavier workload for the volunteer moderators and course builders. I really think DL should employ some language specialists to work on content. Their engineers and designers make $97K-$128K, why shouldn't they pay some polyglots to provide content? Well yes, I guess when they feel exploited they do get bitter, and rightfully so.


Hi Christian,

I'm sorry the edits are leaking! This is due to a bug that should be fixed soon. Our aim is to keep these courses fully separated.


Thx for the clarification @Luis!

Just for things to be crystal clear,

could you also confirm that hints in Pearson's courses and in volunteers' courses are fully separated too

hence choices of (list of) hints by Pearson will not affect hints on volunteers' course and vice versa?


If you think that's all we're upset about you are sorely disconnected from your labor pool, Luis.

Pearson was a brick on top of a ton of straw. It's breaking our backs. That company is an ethical nightmare and now we're tied to it's reputation. Maybe the people (person, really one person in Duolingo gets the final say, and he is not struggling financially) calling that decision didn't struggle financially in college in the US. Go deeper into debt, or risk the consequences of pirating their material. Pearson price gouges in this country. And through it's market share, it and now Duolingo too help maintain the environment in which they and other companies can continue to do so. It is antithetical to what Duolingo says it stands for.

Volunteers haven't just built courses and created safer learning spaces, we've created the opportunities for Duolingo to gain most of its advertisement, that Duolingo didn't have to pay for. Volunteers have built the majority of the bedrock of what has launched Duolingo higher and higher into the global spotlight. And this partnership isn't a slap, it is a bludgeon of disregard for the existence of the people behind the volunteer labor.

Volunteers weren't invited to the table on this one and it is an ongoing trend highlighting how Duolingo is willing to use our labor free of regard for our intentions behind why we produce for you.

And Duolingo has showed a lack of reciprocal loyalty in other ways as well. They didn't ask partners to hire Duolingo volunteers, many of whom struggle financially but give anyway because they are investing in the dream of free language education for the world. (I'm not asking Pearson to hire me as a moderator. I've turned down the offer of paid moderation from a company I actually like. I would not accept one from Pearson. But course builders were not even given the choice. Luis just bipassed them and it's not the first time. And Duolingo could have used this opportunity to launch a non-exploitative education company into the scene of US education.

I don't recognize this decision as belonging to the same dream I've been working towards. Keep Duolingo financially afloat, yes. Sell it's soul, no. There are better partners out there.

Don't say you're doing things for poor people and then dump sewage on us after we've given you four years, Luis. Do better.


Beautiful analysis of an ugly issue - kudos!


Take all of my lingots.

I would be similarly annoyed if I was a course moderator. Yeah, I'm sure that I'd feel much the same way.

Money makes the world go around, I guess...


For me, Usagi is the soul of duolingo in so many ways. The duolingo I've so enjoyed for these four short years. I'm getting worried, it's beginning to hurt.


> I'm getting worried, it's beginning to hurt.

Same here. Reading Usagi's comment felt like a kick to the gut, to me. I hope things aren't really so bad. They wouldn't write this without real anguish.

I am in denial, or stunned silence right now.


Seriously, is there an easy way of executing a full lingot dump to the Bunny? I do not want to spend the rest of my Duolingo days doing that by hand...


For website users: last script in this list.


You actually did it!


Well that's a relief, I was worried about this development. Thanks for responding to the concerns.

You may also want to pop on over to the German course forum and post in the thread there, to put people's minds at ease.


Quelle surprise....and this time it is not even Luis himself who announced the news. Probably CEOs talk to the paying audience, only.

I read almost the whole thread and stumbled upon some heartbreaking attempts to let this move look more honest and good natured, however, sleeping with the devil has never improved the world and it is rather unlikely that this partnership will prove the opposite.

I also read the discussion among the volunteers, be they moderators or contributors and even from the distance I could feel the shock and the disbelieve in facing this blunt (and unfortunately most probably successful) attempt of privatizing a public and publicly produced good. If I'd be in your shoes I would go on strike, although your fantastic past work most probably gave them already the capital they need.

"The courses produced by this partnership will look like existing Duolingo courses, but they will differ by adding new content and organizing the content to align with popular language textbooks." Does this sentence indicate anything else than: We use the existing courses, add new contenct from time to time and streamline it with Pearson's textbooks? Or how do you make them look like existing Duo courses? What's your position regarding intellectual property rights and how do you plan to respect them in this partnership? And no, I am not talking about Pearson's rights, from all what I heard from the US regarding the quality they provide, they are safe...

And digging deep into the times when Luis was still speaking directly to the peasants: Did anyone hear anything again from this loudly announced "new car", which was said to replace the old activity stream? To refresh your memory, click here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22226909$from_email=commentcomment_id=23157625


All these new features such as Events seem to benefit only a small percentage of Duolingo users. Would it be at all possible to have the "Follow" feature back where we can see input/comments (i.e. responses to grammar questions) posted by others whom we are following? This was such a helpful feature from a learning aspect as well as a social connection aspect. Sorry, but I cannot remember exactly what the name of the tag was, it sat beside the Immersion tag.


Would it be at all possible to have the "Follow" feature back [...]?

According to staff, it'll not happen, see here the "Not planned:" subsection.


Thank you jrikhal for responding. I sure hope Duolingo does not think Events sufficiently replaces Activity. For the life of me I cannot understand why this feature is not incorporated into the new platform. It maximized the benefit of the work of the volunteers in responding to grammar questions! I am feeling like a broken record :) Hope you are having a great day.


I cannot understand why this feature is not incorporated into the new platform.

As explained in the "Not planned:" subsection of the above link, it's not related to old/new website at all. There is also the section "Why did you remove the Activity tab?" which explains that "The Activity tab was removed from the old website as well" and a link that explains why Duo had to remove it.


I did read the link which stated performance issues and incompatibility with the new web rewrite. What I don't understand is why Activity was not rewritten to work on the new platform... that is all. It was an excellent feature.


What I don't understand is why Activity was not rewritten to work on the new platform..

as explained and as you mentioned, it's because of

performance issues.

Because, quoting the (embedded) link,

it added a very large load on our infrastructure, has become unsustainable to maintain

It was an excellent feature.

... (for some) that was too "expansive" to maintain, "unsustainable to maintain". That's why it hasn't been coded in the new version.


jrikhal, I can only respond here... [...] However, what was of great benefit was being able to view all the collated grammar advice given by the volunteers on the Discussion page when we "followed" them.

You were stil only able to see their last comments. i mean, if they were publishing a lot on forums then loading the oldest content was at best extremely long and (if too much posts by the person) just not possible. So it wasn't neither a really scalable way to follow those.

I guess(*) it could be technically possible to put back the Activity without any way to direct message (after first adapting the Activity to the new website) but:

  1. the above limitation would still be there
  2. most of users complaining would still complain (as they want the direct messaging, as far as I could see on forums/make my own (probably biaised ;) ) statistic on why users wanting Activity back do want it back).

And, in any case, Duo seems to have definitely burried the idea of Activity, so better IMO to forget about it and move on: like that we will only risk a good surprise if by whatever change in the planets ordering Duo would change its mind.

(*) Just my guess/impression, but I could be totally wrong about that.


Dear jrikhal, I had always interpreted this argument of "performance issues" to be linked to the (slow) technology of the old platform. I would think it should be possible to recreate this feature once the discussion section is also migrated to the new platform, and in a way that does not create performance issues. Did I get this so wrong?


Hey, jrihkal, no need to shout, and please excuse my ignorance. My understanding was that comments in a sentence discussion, comments in a forum discussion, comments on an activity stream and comments on a personal profile where all the same technology, all of them possibly triggering mail to certain users etc, and because this old technology is slow the performance was not sufficient to support the complete spectrum of messages. And from what I understood further this part of Duolingo is still not migrated to the new platform. Hence my hope that it might come back after the migration.

But I understand now from you that it will not which is extremely sad. So the argument for this is that there was too much personal messaging between users (on the personal profiles but also on the activity stream), right? Now ShellMarg is particularly sad about not seeing input/comments (e.g. responses to grammar questions) posted by other users. I can understand this very well. It was often interesting (and helped in learning) to follow the comments from certain, advanced, users, e.g. moderators, and the activity stream helped find these comments.

So do you think it would be feasible to have an activity stream that consisted only of the information Who did What Where and did not allow personal messaging? This would not increase the number of messages. It would just be a different display of messages (from sentence discussions) that exist anyway. They would just be aggregated/filtered according to the users that I chose to follow. Is that a possibility?

EDIT: Sorry, I saw that in the meantime you have basically already answered this.


Thank you Langmut for asking. This is my hopeful thinking as well. Looking forward to jrikhal's insight.


Did I get this so wrong?

in any case,

it'll not come back as you can read in the link in my first answer to ShellMarg's comment.

You'll see in this link to the FAQ that Duolingo took the time and space to write twice that it wasn't related to the old/new website thing.

This carefulness together with saying explicitly "not planned" are (for me) crystal clear communication that it'll not come back.

I had always interpreted this argument of "performance issues" to be linked to the (slow) technology of the old platform

According to [what I understand from] Duo's statements, this "performance issues" (when it came to Activity) wasn't really the slow technology of the old version the issue but that the use of this feature like a text-message and/or live-chat option by many users created a far too heavy traffic on Duo servers (which haven't been dimensioned to serve as messaging's servers).

I would think it should be possible to recreate this feature once the discussion section is also migrated to the new platform

The Activity isn't related to the Discussion: it's not a part of it.
Activity was "quoting" what one was doing in discussion but not only.
And, as said above, it's not really the discussions "quoted" in the Activity that was provoking the down of the servers but the direct-messaging on Activity.

and in a way that does not create performance issues

As far as I understand, as long as Duo will not (will to) dimension their servers to support direct messages (millions of direct-messages a day, I'd say), it'll not be possible.
And I understand that Duo doesn't think it's a priority to allow direct messaging on an Activity-like feature (or anywhere).


jrikhal, I can only respond here... one last comment, if I may... I can appreciate the complexity associated with the direct messaging component of Activity. That I can see not being supported anymore. However, what was of great benefit was being able to view all the collated grammar advice given by the volunteers on the Discussion page when we "followed" them. This was a feature of Activity and it was like a booklet of grammar lessons. Can it not be supported in reasonable way with the new "system"? Appreciate your comments.


Hey, jrihkal, no need to shout

Not shouting, just using ## titlelization so that the most important part are more visible so that those who don't want to read it all can just read the larger (not capitalize, not shouted) text. ;)

So the argument for this is that there was too much personal messaging between users (on the personal profiles but also on the activity stream), right?

I don't know, I don't work at/for Duolingo...
But that's what I guess, what I think to have guessed from what I can r read and see.

So do you think it would be feasible to have an activity stream that consisted only of the information Who did What Where and did not allow personal messaging?

See my answer to ShellMarg about that:

I guess(*) it could be technically possible to put back the Activity without any way to direct message (after first adapting the Activity to the new website) but:

Is that a possibility?

  • If you mean a possibility that Duo add such thing: AFAIK (cf. my various previous comments), no. They abandoned the Activity feature, final decision (from what we know).
  • If you mean if it'd be technically possible: as said in my answer to ShellMarg, I guess/think it would be technically possible... but, again, Duo decided to abandon the feature so IMHO it's not worth thinking/hoping/dreaming about it as it'd just keep you in deception.


"Activity". Yes, I miss that as well.


I'm not from the US, and English isn't even my native language.

As far as I get it, Pearson has a lot of influence, is responsible for tests at universities/colleges and sells expensive books. I am guessing that the tests are also expensive.

Duolingo on the other side wants to offer free language courses. With the test center they want to give students a relatively cheap possibility to prove their knowledge in a language so that they don't have to take expensive tests. So far it's for English only, but I wouldn't be surprised if Duolingo would like to expand that to other languages, too.

Pearson and Duolingo have completely different motives, and that alone is quite puzzling when you ask why they started a partnership. But there's more:
The more tests Pearson does, the less Duolingo can do, and the other way round. So Duolingo and Pearson seem to be competitors, even "enemies" on the market. Does anybody have a reasonable explanation why these two started a partnership?

I don't want to repeat what others said so much better than I can do it. I completely support everything Usagiboy7 said, and their comments are especially important regarding the fact that Usagiboy7 is the friendliest person (without ever being shallow) I have come to know here on Duolingo.


Pearson is not a friend to struggling university students.


Mmm, all publishing companies are the enemies of students. Publishing has in fact been the bane the lives of scholars since the invention of movable type.


I'm getting Google buying YouTube flashbacks


Translations like "That are my children" for "Das sind meine Kinder" are not helping me learn German. Please make it stop!


Does Pearson have a Finnish course I could sign up for?


From what I read in the comments it seems to me that Pearson is the polar opposite of Duolingo. I really hope this is not the beginning of the end...


Nor the end of the beginning.


Great job! Hopefully this will help you earn enough money to continue with freemium education for everyone.


Would the new content be able to be added as new words or units to the existing Duolingo courses? I think a lot of us (particularly those who have completed trees in the languages) would be interested in that.


If Duo will be helpful to college students, I'm curious as to what level US college students have attained in languages by the time they start their degree.

Duo's great for getting you to A1 before you move on to more advanced stuff, but I'm wondering how it could be useful to a college student unless the courses themselves are more comprehensive.

HelpfulDuo, are these paid courses going to be more complex and in-depth than the free ones, or do US college students really only manage to hit A1-A2 before they start their courses?


Second language requirements for US high school graduation vary by state; many of them have no second language requirements.


As others have said, studying languages ab initio is commonplace in US universities. In the UK, there are often differentiated streams for those starting from scratch versus those who already have an advanced level of the language, but usually it's required that the student has an A-level in a foreign language even if it's not the one they will be studying. This, to my knowledge and from the experience of my friends, happens rarely if ever in American tertiary education. You can test out of some parts of the course, but it's not expected that you have a substantial knowledge before you start (and you may know nothing at all).

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Cool. But don't go further. That's all.


Just posted on the Web, The Pie News interview with Luis and Pearson...

..."Luis von Ahn, co-founder and CEO of Duolingo, said that there is also a gap in the app’s language teaching that this partnership with Pearson could fill. “We have a really good way of getting people engaged in practicing the language, but our app does not teach you a lot of the theory for the language,” he said."...

Perhaps there are improvements to come for Duolingo in general as a result of this partnership? Not sure how to interpret this...


This is so obvious that you just wonder why Duolingo hasn't aligned content at the High School level with all major textbooks like Realidades, Avancemos!, Aventura, etc. Also, there are opportunities to design on-line classes, virtual languages labs, etc.


Thanks for the helpful post, HelpfulDuo! I get that this particular bedfellow may not be very popular, but here's hoping it can be the win-win sort of partnership you guys are clearly looking for.


Okay, but please don't let Pearson buy Duolingo. I'm sure they'd like to do so.


Let us hope the partnership is symbiotic. Being bought by Pearson would definitely not be great...

[deactivated user]

    This would be worse than a living nightmare


    Yeah, Pearson might change the course so that students actually have to learn, instead of just go through the motions.


    That is not what they are afraid of.


    So far, it seems to be parasitic rather than symbiotic. The Pearson German tree is leaking through to the Duo tree causing errors which the German moderators can't fix, and meaning that they have to moderate sentence discussions for a course they never developed, for free.

    Pearson's getting a lot more out of this than they are.


    Parasitoidy is likely in this case.


    Is this why the German tree has gone to complete ❤❤❤❤ in the past week? Did DuoLingo just make a cold-blooded lie when they said "For everyone else, the Duolingo experience is unaffected."?

    I would feel better if DuoLingo were more honest and up front with their users...instead, they change features without our consent and they break features without taking responsibility for the fact that they're doing it.

    I've seen such a steep decline in DuoLingo over the past six months...if they keep on this path they are going to be committing rape and genocide 3 years from now, while posting in the forums about their new partnerships with ISIS and North Korea.


    Yep, in German schwimmen sehr gern does not trans late as like to swim, but rather, like to swim very much. what so Pearson think the "sehr" is doing there, being decorative?


    Sorry, but english is not my native language so im a little bit confused. Are we gonna pay? And what will change from now?


    Are we gonna pay?

    No. If you don't want to buy Pearson's textbook (and thus have access to the Duo-version of their textbooks), you'll not ave to pay anything, you'll still be able to access the free Duolingo courses created and maintained by (unpaid) volunteers.


    so... we're not gonna be that affected. I hope so :/ thanks by the way!


    If you're learning, on Duo, German, Spanish, French or Italian, then yes you're impacted, see Christian's comment (in this discussion) which explains that.


    I hope there are no significant changes to Duolingo – I find it such an attractive way to learn a bit more German


    I have nothing good to say about pearsons having used many of there programs while in university(always very costly). That being said duolingo will be the best thing they offer.


    Pearson cannot buy OUR duolingo after all. Because we are there to protest if they are going to buy OUR duolingo.


    It isn't OUR Doulingo, it is the CEO's Duolingo that we use because he believes in free education. So, although there has been absolutely no indication whatsoever of that even being a suggested idea, it would make no difference if a few people protested, even if a few thousand people protested it would not measure up to the 20 or so million users who wouldn't protest. In the end all a protest really achieves is that you lose out on free education and no changes are made. Although again it is entierly irrelevant until you can point to me where in that post it was even slightly suggested that duolingo was selling to pearson?


    the problem is there are now stupid stupid errors that the Duo volunteers cannot fix!!!!!

    [deactivated user]

      he believes in free education

      Does he?


      Okay, really ? You are on a free website where you are learning 6 languages and all you need was an email address and and a computer. I don't know about you but that is absolutely amazing to me because I have seen the effects of not having access to decent education, specifically English education, and it almost guarantees a difficult life and low life expectancy. And I'm not saying one website will change that but when a kid that thinks he has no hope to be anymore finds a website that gives him the opportunity to start learning the most important language, the Language that could mean he get a job, and start using other study materials and have people believe in him because he can speak English when a lot people could not due to fees education, it amazes me that you would say something like that. Because I have first hand seen the effects of lack education and I have also seen so many people take it for granted so I personally would do anything to pay back the people that made it possible. Maybe you don't appreciate it or haven't seen the world without it but I have so yh , he believes in free education and is currently providing it to people who could never afford it or afford to be without and I for one thing that is something truly amazing and would follow any change he makes to his site as long as he keeps doing that and so far he has.


      Hi Qiunnn,

      I don't know about you

      About that (when it comes to Soedori and Duolingo), have a look at the list of contributors to "English from Korean" and "Korean from English" courses.

      It could make you reconsider part of your comment, like

      Maybe you don't appreciate it or haven't seen the world without it but I have so yh , he believes in free education and is currently providing it to people who could never afford it or afford to be without and I for one thing that is something truly amazing and would follow any change he makes to his site as long as he keeps doing that and so far he has.

      • 1748

      Nothing, nothing is going to happen now.

      @Qiunnn: You are probably missing the fact, that something bad is happening already with the phrases in affected courses.


      Sure, start calling the contributors ungrateful, why don't you.


      Are you suggesting that Soedori, someone who MADE A DUOLINGO COURSE (along with other people) is freeloading???

      Because that what your comment appears to suggest. Correct me if I'm wrong.

      In any case, course contributors have all beyond pulled their weight in this community and I'd consider their opinions (and understanding of Duolingo) of higher value than my own, as a mere user.


      Soedori helped make a course for free. A CEO has a paid job.

      Who is the one who is doing more to provide free education?

      And if you made a course for the purpose of free education, and a company then uses that charitably given labor to make a profit, then how does that not affect the person who willingly gave the free labor under the assumption that is was to promote free education and not to enable a company that they see as unethical?

      This thread is beyond insane.


      Except that, in practice, something is actually happening right now.

      See christian's comment in this thread and the thread he links to in that comment.


      you are so right Quiunn. This website is amazing, and I'm so grateful to have free access to it. Even the remnder emails are helpful to nudge me now and then. I also appreciate the support deck on tiny cards. i definitely would have given up trying to learn spanish if i hadn't found duo. : )


      Nothing, nothing is going to happen now. Pearson will release text books that students can buy and get access to Pearson advanced language works in the form of a Duolingo course and on the Duolingo website. It will not affect you unless you buy one of these books. So unless you are taking an advanced language course which requires you to buy one of these Pearon books then nothing will happen that effects you


      And that would achieve ... what exactly?


      Wonderful news! It is always a pleasure to hear about Duolingo's expanding success in schools and in other areas.


      ugh. Gross. Pearson is all about profit even at the expense of education, not an ethical company that tries to find the overlap between profit and helping education.


      Pretty much every big name now is more about money at the expense of everything, that's how the world is. They are adding something extra to their books to help their students which is presumably free to help them which is a good thing.


      Presumably free?

      If the deal for access to these Duolingo courses corresponding to the Pearson books adds value or perceived value (demand from educators) to the textbook, then Pearson will use it as a justification to charge more for the books. Students in those classes won't have any choice in the matter, because there is only one textbook company selling the book they need for their class.

      So no. Presumably not free.

      I'd bet SERIOUS money that the 1st edition of the Pearson with Duolingo will cost MORE than the previous edition without Duolingo. Pearson is doing this for market edge for financial gain, not to give free educational supplements to their students.


      I think we should probably wait until it comes out before saying things we don't actually know for sure. We are not even sure if the course on Duolingo is actually required or just an add on, either way I'm a student and would pay the little extra since I have to pay a ton anyway for this.


      Well, I'm not SURE a pen will fall if I drop it but I feel safe in making that assumption. The laws of textbook economics are just about almost as consistent as the laws of gravity. Every company has a monopoly over the students who are forced to buy their books, so every chance they get to jack their prices, they will jack their prices. Everything that makes their books more marketable to educators will be used as an excuse to jack their prices. Educators don't pay for the books, so an increase in prices has very little influence on whether or not they will select it, unlike most goods and services.

      You're right. I don't know 100%. But I know 99.5% and will eat my hat if I'm wrong on this one.


      The laws of economics as a whole are not consistent, you're absolutely right about that. Because it encompasses a lot of very different complex things over a long history and different cultures, values, geography, trends, etc.

      But the laws of textbook economics in the US in the past decade... That's a completely different story. Because it's much more specific and isolated. And much more consistent and predictable in its trends.


      Hi Amine, (it won't let me reply to you directly),

      That's great that you do that in Europe. Unfortunately, this practice is very rare the USA. Most US students go into a lot of debt just to study in the universities, so the attitude of the educators tends to be: This is the book I want to use, whatever it costs, they are all really expensive and overpriced anyways, so the students will just take out however much debt they need to use the book I want.

      Edit: I don't blame the US educators in this. I only blame the textbook industry. When the choice is between: ridiculously overpriced and unaffordable and ridiculously overpriced and unaffordable, it's totally understandable why they end up just focusing on all the other factors besides price for what they think is best for their students. The textbook system is messed up, but US educators are not responsible for the problems that got us into this situation.


      Yeah, you just missed one important point: the educator. Of course, as an educator, I don't have to pay for the books, but I will notice that some students can't afford it even though they are enrolled in the course and they are great student, so I will try to find a solution (generally, choose another textbook or making my own material).

      That's more or less how it works in academia (at least in Europe). I hope teachers are the same in the U.S. So, if Pearson actually starts charging more for its materials, and it has an effect on a substantial amount of students (especially if some of them are good), the teacher will soon change his method.


      The laws of any economics are not even almost as stable as the laws of physics, proven again and again by history. If economics where like this then any guy could learn a few rules and without risk make money but there are still people killing themselves because they lost money due to a sudden unpredictable change


      I use Duo because I don't have any money. I certainly cannot pay for language lessons nor textbooks. However, there are suddenly a bunch of errors in the Duo German that were not there before. I am so sad that Duo is becoming more unreliable not more so. All that contributors worked so hard!


      Pearson is a for-profit company. Presumably, they paid Duolingo money in order to use their technology. It would be extremely unlikely and would not make any business sense at all for Pearson to pay money out (likely a large sum) to produce a product but not charge money for that product. This isn't fortune-telling.


      Duolingo is a for-profit company, too.

      (They just haven't had a profitable year yet, but are looking to become profitable this year.)

      (Edit: Please don't edit comments without acknowledging it, rendering follow-up comments meaningless! The only reason I wrote this comment was to correct your statement about Duolingo not being a for-profit company.)


      Pearson's always been a bunch of blood sucking bastards, I've had to drop $200+ on a loose leaf book just so I can use an access code that doesn't work after a semester


      Can you give some receipts to these dramatic claims? Every company puts profit first. It's business.


      No profit, no company. Unless you are a non-profit, if you don't make a profit, it isn't long before your company shrinks and goes away. Just look at Sear and Kmart. They are losing money, shrinking, and unless they make needed profits, they will go bankrupt and go away.


      This is a great program and I love that its free and easier to motivate than other programs like Rosetta stone. I love that you are expanding since this means more people can have better class room experience with it. I have tried so many things to learn and being a gamer the achievement and challenges motivates me and my friends so much more. I do hope like everyone else that this would not change what is currently available. as a business I know you need to make some money and I am sure this is were part of the partnership comes in. Anyway love what you have been doing and hope you put more merchandise up so we can support in other ways.


      "Pearson is a well established company in higher education, and our hope is that this partnership will help to make language learning more fun and effective for college students."

      Um, no. https://youtu.be/J6lyURyVz7k?t=10m43s

      I'm not a student, but I am a teacher. Pearson churn out low quality resources and are a soulless multinational in it for the money, not due to any inherent interest in education.

      Also, I'm currently working through the German tree, and the aforementioned quality errors are leading to irritating mistakes that the mods are unable to fix.

      Duolingo, you're undermining your own brand. If you keep moving in this direction, you'll haemorrhage users to competitors like Babbel and Memrise, who (from my experience with both) are far more committed to quality. I've been on Duo since 2012, and have seen the leaps and bounds you've made in that time. Don't undo all that good work by affiliating yourselves with inferior companies like Pearson, they'll only drag you down.

      • 239

      Pearson is the waterboard of education. There will be NO good for duolingo allowing the Pearson parasite to infect duolingo.


      I wonder if its the same courses but aligned differently


      I'm not against paying Duolingo for more advanced courses. I am deeply unhappy about the idea of paying Pearson for more advanced courses. I thought I'd escaped those dirty profiteers when I graduated university.


      Just do what the rest of us are going to do, and look elsewhere for advanced materials. Pearson's courses aren't even that fantastic compared to certain other paid courses, like Assimil (or at all, if I'm honest).


      Is Duolingo advertising for Pearson?


      They're essentially advertising for each other.


      This would be the same Pearson that told an Irish veterinary surgeon who is a native speaker of English that she couldn't speak English sufficiently well to live in Australia? Sounds like a perfect match.


      Judging by the first reference I've seen in Duolingo to Pearson, this partnership may not be for the best for us as students. "Are that oranges?" is a very poor example of teaching German. There's a comment in the discussion pointing out that this is an example of Pearson's influence; but it's a VERY bad example of an English sentence.

      I realize that the free lessons we're taking advantage of must cost SOMEONE a fair bit of cash; for the computer resources and web space at least, but can Pearson's assistance help Duo? I remain unconvinced at this point.


      There is a mistake in the German course concerning dogs and how much they like to swim. The moderator is unable to correct it. Please give this control back to the moderator.



      "You are pupil" Is one of the English translations encountered on the German course. If this is the standard of quality that we can expect thanks to Pearson, it's pretty worrying! Plus the idea of Pearson hoovering up volunteer-generated/maintained content and making money off it doesn't sit well with me at all.

      • 239

      pearson education is the scourge of the world in education. their educational practice is akin to educational waterboarding. they will kill duo in the long run.


      A year later, and there still seem to be problems. One conclusion is that Pearson is not interested in quality, or in helping Duolingo.


      It never used to be this way, I keep finding errors that are never fixed!

      [deactivated user]

        but why... Pearson. Helping them burden students....


        You know how they say, tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.


        Duolingo isn't paying Pearson so I'm not too sure how they are helping them...

        They are helping the students though by adding a resource they can use that will help them even more with their courses than just Duolingo does. Pearson, like most companies, will not stop what it is doing because someone on internet called them bad.
        If Duolingo didn't do this then Pearson would still do bad stuff and these students wouldn't have access to a Duolingo course trailered to their needs. That's why, because Duolingo cares about the students and isn't going to ruin that because people don't like Pearson


        "Duolingo isn't paying Pearson so I'm not too sure how they are helping them..."

        You're not sure how offering exclusive content to people who buy a product helps the makers of that product?

        Well, simply put, it encourages people to buy said product. People who buy that product give money to the company who owns it, and money is somewhat helpful.


        I think Quinn was talking about the "burdening students" part.


        All this - fair enough - but why do they get exclusive extra content?

        "The courses produced by this partnership will look like existing Duolingo courses, but they will differ by adding new content"

        Can't this new content be added to the normal trees too?


        Presumably it is content to which Pearson holds the intellectual rights, and so would be licensed for use only in the courses designed to complement the textbooks.


        You, are an amazing linguist. Congrats on your great knowledge of most languages


        Don't know why this got downvoted so much. I also think garpike has got an impressive tree collection going on (and a streak to match!)


        Because it's irrelevant.

        [deactivated user]

          No. We like money




          Your answer is funny and acurate, but I think it's a bit oversimplified. I mean, if I had to design a course material and I intended to make people pay for it, I wouldn't like it if other people found a way to have it for free.


          You also like money, as does almost everyone.


          Not me, never have! Co-operative working instead of mega-rich CEOs grasping most and many times taking it "off-shore" to evade paying tax (etc)


          Because the students will have very in-depth classes to go along with the information here so the Duolingo lesson can just be an introduction or something that can't be taught by itself but needs a teacher, this is why normal Duolingo courses cannot go to a higher level than beginner


          I'd also disagree. I am currently learning Dutch from English. I get all the grammar and word/phrase usage information I need from the notes, from lesson discussions and the forum. This has propelled me far enough to be able to follow a Dutch TV series, start reading a book in Dutch and make a bit less of a fool out of myself on my trips to the Netherlands and Flanders.


          Pearson's content will probably be created by the same language professionals that work on their books. By definition, professionals get paid for their work; otherwise, they would be just volunteers. In the same way you would pay for an actual book, you should also pay for an online course created by a professional.

          The courses currently available on Duolingo are created by volunteers and may likely be lower quality, but they have been proved to be still effective. Probably they are just not completely in line with school programs.

          We are in a world where competition exists in all fields, which includes education. If Pearson offers non-interactive books, which are now considered outdated, or if Duolingo offers school classes that don't follow school education standards, they both risk to be out-of-game and being replaced by books and courses provided by others.

          A partnership means that two different companies are joining forces and combining two products that wouldn't be completely effective if developed independently. The resulting product will be more effective than the single products, and hopefully more effective than their competitors'. Duolingo is just making available its platform and experience in the creation of online courses, which Pearson is using by adding their contents.

          I believe (and I hope) that Duolingo will get profits from this partnership in order to keep the current free platform available to their current users.


          I'm just curious: will the Pearson courses involve the work of volunteers? In other words, will Pearson profit from the work that people have done as volunteers for Duolingo?


          Good question. Pearson course content is created and maintained by Pearson.


          So, some courses (Pearson courses) will cost $ in the future?


          Yes, the Pearson ones will, like e.g. here


          Pearson course content is created and maintained by Pearson.

          up to "Tons of their (low quality) edits have leaked into our course and messed with our work"...

          And what about the hoverable hints?
          Are there two separate DBs of hints (one for Pearson, one for volunteers' courses)?
          If not, how are things kept separated?


          Hello Jrikhal,

          you asked:

          >Are there two separate DBs of hints (one for Pearson, one for volunteers' courses)? If not, how are things kept separated?

          Pearson content is "leaking" into Duolingo content at least in the Duoling German course. This means that no, there are no two seperate DBs. Now, I cannot look into the database, but it has been suggested (plausibly imho) that things are being kept seperate simply by attributes on the entries.

          I am now walking into speculation land, but any sane DB operators would do such a thing only if they wanted to merge the contents at some point.


          Hi Stusstrupp,

          Pearson content is "leaking" into Duolingo content at least in the Duoling German course.

          We know it for translations but (even being as a course contrib) I don't know if it's the case for hints, that's why I asked above to staff "And what about the hoverable hints?". ;)

          This means that no, there are no two seperate DBs.

          For the exercise/translations DB, yes, very likely, see my comment about that here.
          My whole question here is if it's the same for the hints. ;)

          but it has been suggested (plausibly imho) that things are being kept seperate simply by attributes on the entries.

          Yes, it was me who suggested/mentioned it. Cf. just above link ;) ;)


          As a volunteer, I would also like to know that.


          It appears that they are using the technology delivery method but not the content create by volunteers.


          ...yet. If they didn't want to merge the contents of both Pearson and Duolingo, why did they put them into the same database, so that already Pearson content is leaking into e.g. the German Duolingo course?


          Could be because they didn't want to maintain two siblings DBs... But could indeed also be to keep the possibility to more fully merge things later.
          Or both. ;)


          This could very well be a catastrophe.


          "(Spoiler: it doesn’t affect you at all.)"

          Unless you want to access this new language-learning content, which will affect your wallet. We have finally reached the point where courses are having paywalls erected around them, albeit well-disguised ones.

          Two yes / no questions, OP:

          Are these Pearson trees going to use the work of volunteer course creators?

          Will Duo take a cut from each Duolingo-branded Pearson textbook sold?


          I think 'partnership' implies that Duolingo gets some sort of monetary compensation. I can't imagine anything else Pearson could offer them.


          Duolingo could have opened paid positions to contributors who have already created free courses here. Then, Duo could have helped launch a less morally diseased company into play with a partnership. Two goods instead of one giant bad.


          As a mere user, I have always been of the opinion that language contributors who create and curate the courses should be paid, just like the people who design the software.

          I'd be happy to pay for it with more ads (but preferably not annoying add-ons) and an optional donate button.

          I thought that Duolingo in its normal form was always a bit sketchily exploitative of the course contributors, and definitely undervalued them compared to Duo staff, but at least the contributors willingly volunteered. Now with this Pearson business labor is being unwillingly stolen from contributors for Pearson's benefit in addition to Duo's potential benefit.


          I always thought that Duolingo should just hire these people, too.


          Uh, Pearson's is a money hungry company that is partially responsible for the horrendous state of the education system in the U.S.


          To me, it look similar to some (hypothetical) big Encyclopedia company trying to buy Wikipedia !

          Maybe Duolingo should use Wikipedia tactics to keep its good quality and independance : raising funds once a year among the members, on a volunteer basis. I would be happy to give some money to protect that.

          On a more didactic ground, having learned many languages at school, university and evening lessons, I always found more interesting to have several sources, different from the books used in the class, to progress. Being stuck with only one line of books is boring. That's precisely why I came to Duolingo. So, I think Duolingo must stay different from what Pearson - or any other company - does.


          Why can't pearson just do their own on their own site? ugh i hope pearson doesnt buy out duolingo


          Not too impressed...but anyhow when will the resources be available ?


          > and what it means for Duolingo users. (Spoiler: it doesn’t affect you at all.)

          > The Pearson German tree is leaking through to the Duo tree causing errors which the German moderators can't fix

          I guarantee you that a member of staff won't chime in on the above issue.

          RIP Duolingo.


          What a great disappointment, after all the work the mods do to ensure accurate material is being presented to the learners.


          Our new corporate overlords don't care about such things.


          I have a question perhaps you can answer... Who owns Duolingo?


          No idea. Better to ask Google such questions, anyway.


          I agree Pearson probably can't even speak french


          Whatever the deal is, do not let Pearson buy duolingo. Keep it as your company. As our learning place :)


          Like just have a symbolic partnership. I already have bad beef with Pearson cuz they make the state tests and I dislike state tests just cuz. But like, Duolingo, just don't be dumb don't let Pearson buy you out. I'll have to move to Busuu if u do

          [deactivated user]

            From the quality of my textbooks, I can clearly see that Pearson is more about making money than providing a good, affordable education to all, which is Duolingo's goal. I just hope that Duolingo doesn't get itself too entrenched/connected with Pearson, for when the purchase date of Duolingo by Pearson arrives, the Internet will lose one of the countable few things that makes it a more worthwhile and helpful place.


            Don't let Pearson buy Duolingo!!!


            'Are that oranges?' Is Pearson to thank for this....... liberal...... interpretation of English grammar?


            Yes, 'Are that oranges?' I guess whoever came up with that sentence is currently and maybe only just started learning English. They should not yet be posing questions.


            Duo lingo plus 9.99 a month add free. And it has begun. Already getting popups.


            And it has begun.

            Yes, Duolingo Plus has begun, it exists for 5 months. ;)


            Please address incorrect translations. For example, in the German course "du bist Schüler" is translated incorrectly as "you are pupil" instead of the correct "you are a pupil". It is a small error, but not a trivial one.


            So many errors in the German course due to this.


            Wifes? If you can't get the English correct how can we learn the correct German?


            "Sie sind eine Frau. "

            Introduced Sie as the formal you without so much as an introduction. My understanding from the volunteer is that this is a Pearson insert. If this inserts start showing up without accompanying instruction, I'll actually pay elsewhere to get lessons that explain everything in its order.


            I had this issue as well. Why are we being tested on something we haven't been taught yet? It's ridiculous Duo staff haven't stepped in to fix this by now, half a year later.


            In the German course, the discussion said that Pearson is to blame for inserting formal versions of you too early in the course. Can someone please change this so it doesn't confuse new learners?


            (Spoiler: it doesn’t affect you at all.) - What ?? It keeps on affecting us when we are marked wrong, when we know we're right, then we lose our run of perfect answers!


            It does affect us. Sometimes we report a wrong translation, and the moderators tell us "I know, but that particular phrase came through the Pearson partnership and we cannot do anything about it". In general, correction of mistakes take too long and is quite frustrating. I am fully aware that I am not paying anything for this service, but if you are looking for areas of improvement, I would say look no further. Thanks!


            Thank you, Volunteers, for making Duolingo the positive experience that it has been. Your patience with our (sometimes inane and oft repeated) questions is remarkable. Dealing with the innumerable corrections resulting from this blending of Pearson and Duolingo must tax your will to continue, but your attention to detail, your clear and concise explanations, your grammar and source recommendations, and your quiet senses of humor are very much appreciated by your students. Vielen Dank, Merci, Grazie, Mahalo!


            Just got add popups on the app and now they are asking if I want to go add free and upgrade to dulling plus.


            Duolingo Plus

            See here the official announcement about Duolingo Plus being launched made 5 month ago by Luis.


            I had not finished typing my answer in and it was called incorrect!


            It appears that some of the Pearson content is wrong - https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/24260748


            "There are ten children."

            The lesson only accepts "Es sind zehn Kinder." Though "Es gibt zehn Kinder" is a much better translation, it is marked as incorrect in this Pearson lesson.

            Two years in, I have to wonder why we're still having these kinds of lack of alternative solutions issues.


            I'm using Person in my online course with an especial Lenguage institute, I think that's a good idea to improve our learning and have more exercises:)


            Are there further Spanish lessons on Duolingo Pro?: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/25363725

            Please see my comment about Pearson elementry vs intermediate:

            Are Pearson elementary and intermediate courses / book access-cards two DuoLingo trees with different redeem codes??


            Oh, there are two Pearson elementary books: https://www.pearson.com/us/higher-education/products-services-teaching/learning-engagement-tools/duolingo.html

            I am highly confused about this "single semester vs multi-semester" access-cards.
            Are they single access-cards only valid for <=6 months?


            Is it just me?

            • I still have no idea what content between the normal DuoLingo Spanish forward tree and reverse trees might overlap with the Pearson elementary 1+2 and intermediate tree(s).

            • Are Pearson elementary and intermediate books really two or three DuoLingo Pearson trees?

            • Pearson has TWO elementary books, one for Spanish, one for Spanish 2, so there might probably be two trees + the Pearson intermediate book tree, or are all the access-card codes the same?


            Could any offical marketing person from DuoLingo please verify and confirm this?

            And now there will be a new Spanish course (tree update?), were you are searching for ALPHA testers.

            Help test Duolingo's new Spanish course!: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/25542291

            • 1965

            This is an excellent idea.

            Personally I would have loved to have followed a course like this when I went to a Spanish class a few years ago. Even then, although the tutor was following a course which was completely different to the Duolingo one, it was still extremely useful to have an online course to support the classroom one.

            Our Welsh course has attempted to support the courses taught in Welsh for adults classes here in Wales and the response has been very, very positive. Where we have managed to mirror the grammar and vocabulary in a particular section in the coursebook, learners have found it very useful to be able to practise these patterns between lessons.


            I'm going to ask my mom if I can buy a Pearson textbook.

            [deactivated user]

              Be prepared to dish out 200 dollars...


              Really? They only cost about £50 in the UK, which equates to about $65.


              College textbooks are a notorious racket in the USA, but fortunately the publishers haven't yet managed to extend their extortion to the rest of the world. US publishers often release parallel "international" editions of their textbooks to sell at more reasonable prices abroad. If you try to work around this price discrimination by importing the international editions to the USA, they'll sue you.



              That article's about the unauthorised resale of thousands of books, isn't it?

              It reads to me like the reseller found a loophole which several justices want to close.

              While I completely agree that people should be allowed to sell on their own property, the gentleman in this article didn't simply try to work around a price discrepancy and import books for personal use- he was running a million-dollar import business.

              The publishers weren't trying to sue him for bringing the books into the country- they were trying to sue him for selling them en masse.


              Personally I'm a strong believer in the first-sale doctrine, and I think that this kind of business (million-dollar or otherwise) is a perfectly reasonable response to price discrimination. If the publishers weren't price-gouging their consumers in the USA, there'd be no room in the market for third-party resellers.

              Still, whether you agree with the practice or not, it helps to explain why textbooks in the USA are so expensive in comparison with the rest of the world.


              College textbooks are ungodly expensive in the US, for some reason.


              I second that. I'm already feeling the pain and I haven't even started my first semester yet. College this Monday is going to be a "blast"...


              You shouldn't buy textbooks before the semester starts and you know you actually need them FYI.



              Oh, I know. I haven't bought any yet, but I'm foreseeing the suffering of my wallet is all.


              Thanks! That's actually pretty cheap, unless you're talking about USD...

              [deactivated user]


                ............that just killed my life..........


                I could never have afforded tertiary education in America... 8-o


                Catch me saving up money to buy a pearson book.


                Not really sure what to expect but sounds good :)


                This will be amazing. Thank youse Duo!


                Wonderful news! ^^

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