Free language learning platform Duolingo has launched an updated version of its iOS app today, introducing a virtual store and a language coach, as it seeks to further engage its users and keep them using the app.
The virtual store features additions to help further engage Duolingo users by letting them purchase virtual items to customize their experience with its new virtual currency “Lingots,” which users can earn by achieving certain milestones in Duolingo.
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Despite the use of the term ‘currency,’ Duolingo’s virtual store won’t be a source of revenue for the company. The company’s revenue comes from selling translations created in collaboration by their students while they practice their language skills using real world content — such as to BuzzFeed.
Instead, the virtual store is intended as a “gaming element to make Duolingo more efficient as a learning tool and more engaging,” a Duolingo spokeswoman says.
The language coach, which comes in the form of Duolingo’s mascot Duo the owl, acts as a personal tutor to help users stay on track with goals they have set, helping ensure that they are continually engaged and active on the app.
An update to the Android version of the app will be rolled out “in the future,” according to Duolingo.
In October, Duolingo rolled out a program called the Language Incubator, letting native speakers and language enthusiasts create courses that an algorithm will subsequently ensure are in line with Duolingo’s standards. This meant that the number of languages being offered on Duolingo should go up dramatically — as long as people are creating language courses.
Duolingo started off offering six languages — Spanish, English, French, German, Portugese, Italian — and it is now offering a handful of other courses in beta.
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