Users enjoy learning foreign languages and keeping their brains fit. Find out how you can create a language learning app and provide EdTech value.
Complete Guide of Building a Language App like Duolingo
What do you do when you can’t travel? One way to soothe your adventurous heart is to learn foreign languages. But many people learn languages just because it’s fun. According to Babbel — a subscription-based language learning platform — 46% of their users study a foreign language because they enjoy it. And, an additional 35% admit that they learn a language to keep their brains fit.
Apps such as Duolingo and Babbel are currently leaders in this trend, and they proved to be an excellent source of income for their owners. Yet, there aren't too many advanced and efficient language learning apps, and venturing into this field sounds like an amazing idea. But how do you create a language learning app?
Ready to join this trend? Learn how to make your own language app like Duolingo with this guide!
What Are Language Apps Like Duolingo?
A language learning app is an e-learning platform for desktop or mobile that provides a variety of exercises for widening your vocabulary in a particular language. More advanced apps like Duolingo also tackle your pronunciation, reading, and listening comprehension. Aside from that, e-learning apps for language learners have a huge potential in that they:
Micro Frontends Cons
Don’t require a physical location for learning.
Mobile learning is convenient. Users can learn any language at any time for fun, school lessons, or for business travel.
Provide a more personalized experience for learners.
Language learning apps are tailored to users’ interests and preferences to give them a better experience and control over their educational process, letting them choose their own learning pace.
Allow customization of the learning process.
Users can take on the lessons they need or are interested in, making it a more pleasing process as it is tailored to the users' preferences.
Offer a game-based approach to learning.
Gamification techniques — such as levels, badges, points, progress bars, and various rewards for completed lessons and correct answers — can make the entire process easier, more effective, and more engaging.
You will discover how these apps work and how you can make your own language app in subsequent sections!
How Do Language Apps Like Duolingo Work?
Those who haven't had the opportunity to use language learning apps yet might find it difficult to imagine how these apps work. Here are the most common features that e-learning apps incorporate to make studying more successful.
Language learning apps often include various exercises that focus on the language the user is learning, increasing complexity during the learning process. Some of these exercises include:
- Matching the word in the foreign language with the correct word in the native language.
- Reading a short passage and answering a comprehension question.
- Listening to a passage and answering questions or completing sentences with missing words.
Unlike reading texts or listening to passages, videos include strong visual cues which allow the users to understand what's happening even when the language becomes difficult to follow. This gives video content the ability to motivate students as they will be able to understand a real person speaking a foreign language more easily.
After all, understanding someone speaking in a different language is a huge milestone.
Books and Library Access
This type of content provides essential theoretical knowledge, such as grammar or semantics, that helps improve language learning beyond a set of words and phrases. Learning a vocabulary is fairly easy, but it’s impossible to combine the words into a sentence without knowing the linguistic rules.
Chatbots are an excellent addition to language learning apps as they create a compassionate presence and can encourage users to continue learning. Duolingo, for example, features advanced AI algorithms that can understand the users and respond contextually and uniquely. This means that different users will receive different replies for the same inquiry, based on their personal preferences.
What Main Features Do You Need to Build an App for Learning Languages Like Duolingo?
If you’re considering developing your own language app, there are some essential features that a basic platform requires to be successful. Here’s an overview of such features in Duolingo.
Learn As You Play
As already mentioned, many language learning apps feature gamification techniques that make learning fun. For example, Duolingo, in particular, rewards users with points when they complete a lesson successfully. On the other hand, if they get something wrong, they lose a life.
All lessons use interesting visuals that make the app look more like a video game instead of a plain, boring learning tool. Because the app looks fun and the lessons are interesting, users learn with Duolingo on a daily basis for extended periods of time.
In addition to learning, language apps can be a means of socialization. Almost all language learning apps feature something that allows them to communicate with other users in a foreign language.
Duolingo has a 'club' that resembles a Facebook page with scheduled chats. LingQ, on the other hand, features a 'forum' where users can communicate with people from the same country or people who learn the same language.
Language learning apps incorporate achievements that motivate the users to continue their learning. For every lesson they complete, users receive points that help them progress to more advanced levels. Some apps include coins and gems that allow users to buy in-app items. Some apps present units as game levels, and the app awards them every time they complete a level.
The creators of Duolingo believed that including only positive reinforcement in the app wouldn't encourage users to work harder. So, Duolingo "punishes" its users for making a mistake by weakening the user's virtual health. If the health drops to zero, the user cannot continue with learning unless they correct the mistakes. However, the creators didn't want to discourage their users, so they made sure that their health is restored over time.
This approach allows the app to point out to users that they are making a mistake but in a fun and playful game format that won't discourage them.
How to Build a Language Learning App Like Duolingo
Now that you know what language apps are and which features they usually have, it's time for you to find out how to create a language learning app on your own. Note that coding the platform is just a part of a complex development process that usually happens in stages.
Stage 1. Before You Make a Language Learning App
Between forming an idea and bringing it to life, the key step of any project is researching the market and identifying what problems your idea will solve for the target audience.
The online language learning market almost hit the $12.5 billion mark back in 2019, and it’s expected to grow twice the size by 2027. According to InMobi research, that comes from the ever-growing pool of 1.6 billion global users.
Aside from the big numbers, you should also consider that there are two types of users in this market – individual users and institutions. Most mobile language learning apps cater to the former. However, it’s also possible to integrate teacher tools and develop an app for institutions that facilitates the learning process.
Your market research could take a turn in a completely different direction based on what user you focus on.
The type of user you choose will also dictate what problems your app should solve. For example, an app for institutions can provide a teacher’s administrative panel for customizing additional learning exercises based on the course progress. There could also be a community section where the teacher could answer students’ questions.
On the other hand, a discussion section for students solves the question of how to negotiate the meaning of words and facilitates practicing language skills with peers. A language app solves the issue of boredom – studies show that students enjoy using devices to learn new words, but language apps also provide variety and tackle different language skills.
You can identify target audience problems through target population surveys and competitor analysis.
Once you have all this data (target audience and competitor analysis), you can proceed to design your app.
Stage 2. Design
A good design will attract new users and ensure a smooth user experience.
The design process can be split into micro-stages:
- Creating a visually appealing logo and coming up with a catchy name.
- UI research and UX Map that would define the design theme, color palette, and other important app interface details.
- Developing app screens. This last step is the most demanding one and requires maximum attention.
Stage 3. Programming
This stage might be the most demanding and can take up to 1,000 hours of work in total. It includes several phases, starting with iOS and Android development.
Ideally, the app should be compatible with a variety of devices. In addition, many app creators opt for web development as well in order to make their app available from a browser.
After the development process is over, every app should undergo QA (quality assurance) to eliminate any bugs. The app must work flawlessly once it is released so that users who download it can leave positive reviews and help the app become visible in Google Play or Apple App Store.
Once the app is fully optimized, it is ready to be published. However, there’s one more stage before that.
Stage 4. Marketing and Sales
When a new app is developed, it is important to get the word out and interest as many users as possible to download it. Using social media ads is an excellent way to spread the word and target potential users.
You can capture and share captivating screenshots or videos that show the app's greatest strengths and point out why it is different from the competition. Ideally, you should combine this stage with the later programming phases, so you already have an audience once the app is up and running.
Stage 5. Publishing on App Stores
Publishing an app on Google Play and Apple App Store is a straightforward process. However, before the app is published, it undergoes a review stage.
Apple App Store has strict guidelines and many new apps are rejected. However, as long as your language app doesn't have any major bugs, is compatible with a variety of iOS devices, respects the privacy and user data guidelines, and has decent UI, it will be accepted.
Google Play, on the other hand, is a bit less strict. Still, there are quite a few steps developers need to undertake before their app is published:
- Sign up for a developer account.
- Test the app against the quality guidelines.
- Run internal tests on up to 100 internal testers to get feedback before making the app available.
- Publish and promote it.
Budgeting and Language Learning App Development Costs
Unless you have excellent UI/UX design skills and you're a professional developer, it can be a challenge to create a language learning app on your own. And even then it’s a time-consuming process.
While a costly process, it’s more efficient to hire an entire team to produce it. So, let’s talk about the costs for a language app development.
The design stage takes around 200 hours, including the creation of the logo, UI research, and the formation of a UX map.
Depending on who you're working with and how complex you want your app to be, this stage can set you back a couple of thousand dollars. For example, you can achieve a design like Duolingo for about $5,000.
App development is very pricey, as it takes approximately 1,000 hours to develop an app to learn different languages, costing up to $35,000.
This number is calculated based on the average rate of IT specialists in Eastern Europe ($35–$55 per hour). The costs vary based on the country of the company you choose to work with.
For example, American and West European developers can charge up to $150 per hour.
Believe it or not, Google Play and Apple App Store aren’t free to use:
- Apple App Store charges $99 per year.
- Google Play charges a one-time $25 developer fee to publish apps.
Developing a language app is an excellent idea at this moment, as the demand for such apps is high. They are a brilliant exercise for your brain that helps enrich your vocabulary. The variety of tasks help develop different learning skills like pronunciation and translation, and they simply get you out of boredom.
However, in order to create a language learning app, you will have to set aside a significant amount of money and time. If you want a successful and efficient tool, a good solution for this is working with experts who can tackle every stage of custom app development.
The Geniusee team is made up of technology-addicted specialists who create custom web platforms and mobile applications with different levels of complexity, step-by-step, from requirements elicitation and design to technical support in the future.
Choose to work with one team that can do it all for you!