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My Duolingo Learning App Can Reshape Education


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Luis von Ahn.

Luis von Ahn, creator of a popular language-learning app, says tracking how people learn online will reveal teaching tricks that are invisible in the classroom.

Credit: XRDS

In an interview, Carnegie Mellon University professor Luis von Ahn says he believes his Duolingo venture is in the process of determining what next-generation education will look like.

Von Ahn is the creator of the popular language-learning app, which enables users to make a new language course, determine if it is doing well, and decide how to improve it. Von Ahn says the community making the courses can access statistics that reveal whether people are coming back often and making fewer mistakes. "We're in a position to discover how people learn on a much larger scale, and we're going to release a lot of that information," he says.

Von Ahn thinks conventional language teachers will benefit from the experiments the community runs to work out how to improve learning outcomes.

Von Ahn also is the founder of reCAPTCHA, the anti-spam service Google acquired in 2009. He is not worried that Google software can solve most CAPTCHAs, and says there could be a shift to asking what is in a picture.

From New Scientist
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