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Mobile-assisted language learning: A Duolingo case study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 May 2019

Shawn Loewen
1Michigan State University, USA (
Dustin Crowther
2Oklahoma State University, USA (
Daniel R. Isbell
3Michigan State University, USA (
Kathy Minhye Kim
4Michigan State University, USA (
Jeffrey Maloney
5Northeastern State University, USA (
Zachary F. Miller
6United States Military Academyat West Point, USA (
Hima Rawal
7Michigan State University, USA (


The growing availability of mobile technologies has contributed to an increase in mobile-assisted language learning in which learners can autonomously study a second language (L2) anytime or anywhere (e.g. Kukulska-Hulme, Lee & Norris, 2017; Reinders & Benson, 2017). Research investigating the effectiveness of such study for L2 learning, however, has been limited, especially regarding large-scale commercial L2 learning apps, such as Duolingo. Although one commissioned research study found favorable language learning outcomes (Vesselinov & Grego, 2012), limited independent research has reported issues related to learner persistence, motivation, and program efficacy (Lord, 2015; Nielson, 2011). The current study investigates the semester-long learning experiences and results of nine participants learning Turkish on Duolingo. The participants showed improvement on L2 measures at the end of the study, and results indicate a positive, moderate correlation between the amount of time spent on Duolingo and learning gains. In terms of perceptions of their experiences, the participants generally viewed Duolingo’s flexibility and gamification aspects positively; however, variability in motivation to study and frustration with instructional materials were also expressed.

Regular papers
© European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning 2019 

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