As an adult who spends most of their time in Spanish speaking countries, I have to admit that learning a new language is hard. Fortunately, there are a ton of apps out there to help you pick up new words and phrases every day. Duolingo is one of the most popular language apps, and they have a free plan to help you learn the basics. They also have a paid plan – but what does Duolingo Plus cost, and is it worth the money?
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What is Duolingo?
Duolingo is a language learning website and mobile app using gamification and simplistic user interface displays to engage audiences to learn a foreign language. There are over 35 languages for learners to select.
The Duolingo app includes language classes for speakers of languages other than English. These include French for Portuguese speakers, English for Czech speakers, Chinese for Japanese speakers, etc.
Launched in 2011, with over 500 million users to date, Duolingo uses multiple aims for competency. Activities include teaching vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation via rapid-fire repetition, flashcards, and multiple-choice questions. The app aims to test learners on new words, phrases, and sentences via data entry prompts, buttons, and audio exercises. The system uses machine learning algorithms to intuitively adjust the difficulty or ease of learners using the app.
What Does Duolingo Plus Cost?
Duolingo has two subscriptions. The free subscription, Duolingo Basic, has limited features. Duolingo Plus, a paid feature, costs $6.99 per month and is available with a two-week free trial.
Duolingo Free vs. Duolingo Plus
Duolingo Free only has one feature available. This is the learning content. The free feature of this app is limited by the need for hearts to play or continue playing. To earn hearts, learners can watch ads or wait the designated time for more hearts to generate. There are typically thirteen to fifteen quick exercises, per cycle, ranging from completing sentences, phrases, flashcards, and audio exercises. Once learners run out of hearts, they either wait to generate hearts or take up the exercise at a more convenient time.
The free feature is also ad-heavy. There is an ad after every cycle. There is also the ability to earn more hearts by watching ads. This can feel annoying if learners are on a hot streak in their exercises or restricted for time.
The monthly subscription for Duolingo Plus is less than two venti salted caramel mochas!
At $6.99, Duolingo Plus offers expansive features on its ability to get learners chatting in their favorite country.
- Unlimited hearts allow learners to learn at their own pace for as long as they desire. This way when on a hot streak, they can stay within the flow of their learning exercises.
- The offline feature means learning anywhere at any time without the need for an internet connection. This is especially useful when traveling internationally and the network gets spotty. This added feature prevents a major barrier to learning. Users are not subject to slow loading or lagging when playing.
- No ads mean no interruptions to sessions.
- Progress Quizzes offer the learner the ability to measure improvement as well as mastery in their respective language preference.
- Unlimited Test Out, lets learners test out of any level, any time.
- Mistake Review provides learners a personalized lesson to practice mistakes and explanation of the correct answer.
- There is even a podcast available that affords users the ability to listen to fascinating stories in easily understood language preferences. Note: Currently there are only 4 supported languages.
The Efficiency of Duolingo Plus
The paid subscription enables users every opportunity and convenience to spend time in the app. The app consists of a sleek and cutesy user interface, ease of visuals, buttons, or data entry prompts to complete exercises. With no ads to interrupt unlimited learning sessions and internet connection not being necessary, the value of the paid subscription becomes evident.
A study in the efficiency of fluency conducted, measured Duolingo learners (learners who have little to no knowledge and only used Duolingo as their learning tool), performed as well on reading and listening tests as university students who completed 4 semesters of university language instruction.
Another study conducted, focused on Spanish and French learners who completed unit 5, achieved at least A2 level (moving from basic towards intermediate level) speaking skills according to CEFR guidelines. These students’ competencies include:
- Produce complete sentences with accuracy
- Ability to rapidly recall vocabulary words
- Speak with ease at a conversational pace
In the same study conducted, over 80% of Spanish learners (most common course taken at Duolingo) excelled in pronunciation. The app has several audio exercises where learners listen and answer the questions. Learners give access to the in-app microphone and practice pronouncing difficult accents, words, and phrases.
The French study produced over 60% reached B1+ level skills in sentence mastery; learners are producing words and phrases in complete sentences at an intermediate level.
Is Duolingo Plus Worth the Money?
There is no denying the Duolingo team has put enormous effort into adding value to this app. They have removed multiple barriers to learning and spending time within the app:
- Multiple and persistent notifications
- Competitive gaming aspect for fun learning and progress gaining
- Lack of necessity for internet connection
- Breaking down parts of a sentence and teaching learners variations for them to understand what is being said as well as offers the ability to adjust based on situations.
An independent study conducted by the City University of New York and the University of South Carolina stated an average of 34 hours of Duolingo is equivalent to a full university semester of language instruction.
34 hours of Duolingo can be performed in one month for only $6.99. The price of the subscription is much less than the cost of university tuition.
Keep in mind, universities (for the price) are more apt to approach learning a new language in a more comprehensive interconnected system of components, syntax, grammar, and lessons in cultural practices.
Conclusion – Duolingo is Definitely Worth the Subscription Price
Is Duolingo Plus worth the money? If the learner is disciplined and committed to learning a new language, then yes! Learners are documented as going from no knowledge to intermediate learners in a fun, gamified, competitive application.
Once past unit 5, they are competent to navigate conversational situations with ease in common aspects of life abroad. Learners who desire to gain more comprehensive fluency can cancel their subscription and seek higher-level tools. For the cost of less than two venti salted caramel mochas per month, this is a fantastic tool for personal development purposes.