Duolingo is a completely FREE foreign language learning site! Check it out!
Duolingo is a free language-learning website and crowd sourced text translation platform. The service is designed so that, as users progress through the lessons, they simultaneously help to translate websites and other documents. As of July 2013, the site offers Spanish (Latin American), French, German, Portuguese (Brazilian), and Italian courses for English speakers, as well as English (American) for Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Italian speakers.
Duolingo offers extensive written lessons and dictation, with less practice speaking. It has a gamified skill tree which users can progress through, and a vocabulary section where learned words can be practiced. Users gain “skill points” as they learn a language, such as when they complete a lesson. Skills are considered “learned” when users complete all the lessons associated with the skill. Up to 13 points are awarded per lesson, with one deducted for each mistake. Users start with four “lives” on early lessons, and three on later lessons, a “life” being lost with each mistake. A user must retry the lesson if they make a mistake after all lives have been lost. Duolingo also includes a timed practice feature, where users are given 30 seconds and twenty questions and awarded a skill point and seven or ten additional seconds for each correct answer. The whole course teaches more than 2,000 words.
Duolingo uses a heavily data-driven approach to education. At each step along the way, the system measures which questions the users struggle with, and what sorts of mistakes they make. It then aggregates that data and learns from the patterns it sees.