Duolingo has gained a lot of traction as an online language learning service. It could easily gain some more with a new initiative that aims to crowdsource new lessons and new languages with the help of the website’s growing community of ten million and counting. The Language Incubator could be your chance to contribute to a course and expand the scope of learning from the six languages which Duolingo covers on its own.
According to the site, the most requested languages are Chinese, Japanese Russian and Arabic. Bilingual participants can apply to contribute a course. Duolingo looks over their applications to see if they have the necessary skills to moderate the course. With approval, the service gives the applicants the blueprint for developing new language classes. The blueprint covers a list of the basic 3,000 words of a language, key concepts to include and the order in which material should be taught. Moderators can recruit others to help with the content creation.
Duolingo was innovative with its launch. The feature to translate real-world documents while learning a language was one of its first attempts at crowdsourcing knowledge. The Language Incubator has been launched in beta, and as with all things, the number of participants and a check on quality will determine its success or failure.
Founder and CEO Luis Von Ahn said that broadening language content came from frequent user feedback.
“We simply cannot add so many by ourselves. When we get asked for a language, a fraction say I’m willing to help. We took a cue from that and developed a system that lets the community contribute classes.”
Have you used Duolingo? What do you feel about this new venture?