At Duolingo, we use the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages to set proficiency levels for our courses. The CEFR scale, which ranges from A1 for beginners to C2 for mastery, provides descriptive labels for a person’s language ability across the four language domains of speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
Duolingo works along this framework using a variety of research-tested techniques to provide students with the richest possible language-learning experience. For example, the Grammar-Translation approach is visible in the way that we teach grammatical concepts to our users through translation exercises. We rapidly expand users’ comfort level by implementing Audiolingual exercises, in which users are asked to listen and repeat various phrases and sentences. Finally, we draw from the Communicative approach by creating exercises that mimic the real world, so as to contextualize the learning that users engage in on our app.
Duolingo knows that learners do their best when learning is fun.
That’s why we increase our effectiveness by turning our learning into a game. With Duolingo, students can learn languages for free while earning points for correct answers, racing against the clock, and leveling up. This bite-sized, gamified approach helps students retain content.
Duolingo believes in being transparent about our efficacy. In two studies focused on listening and reading skills, Duolingo users who reached the end of our beginner-level courses performed as well on standardized assessments as university students in their fourth semester of a language.