Original business model in e-learning

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Duolingo, free service helps you learn languages with your friends while simultaneously contributing to translate real-world content from the Web.

The company consists of a team of computer scientists, designers, and language specialists creating tools to empower language learners-all for free. Really, there are language learning websites claiming to be free, when in fact they are only free to be used for a limited time. Duolingo’s language learning tools are completely free, because while you are learning you are also creating valuable translations for the world.

How can this be the case? Here is the explanation:

This unique business model offers multiple students translate the same sentence, software compares the results and settles on a final translation. After many sentences are put through, they are combined to create a translation of an entire document. The results, are better than an automated translation, though not of professional quality.

The web translation service is currently free. Beginning next year, the company will begin charging less than the five to 20 cents per word that a professional translator might charge.

Duolingo, was launched in June, and so far has raised $18.3 million in venture funding (“Startup Has Language Learners Translating the Web”). It offers English lessons for Spanish and Portuguese speaker, as well as lessons in Spanish, German, French, and Portuguese for English speakers. There are around 300,000 people worldwide, who use it each week.

The company has 20 employees and they all work in improving the software to teach better. So far, about 30 percent of people who start learning a language will be visiting the site a week later. Duolingo users are drilled on new words using both written exercises and audio. The software can detect and assess their pronunciation. So, as they progress, their performance is used to decide what lessons they get next.

Duolingo inspiries others to look for new ways to apply human computation in education. Such methods could, for instance, turn students into a workforce that could correct or score the work of other students learning online. That could be a solution to overcome a major shortcoming of massive open online courses, which are encountering problems grading the work of tens of thousands of students.

Duolingo is offered without ads, hidden fees, or subscription, 100% free, today, tomorrow and forever.

Duolingo explained

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