Measuring the Success of Online Education: Duolingo and MOOCs

Was anyone else bothered by the argument in this NYtimes blog post? ”MOOCS aren’t effective in terms of completion rates; Duolingo is not a MOOC; Duolingo is effective.” So…what does that tell us about MOOCs?The paper on Duolingo effectiveness is pretty cool. I think it’s particularly noteworthy that more prior knowledge of Spanish led to less of an effect of Duolingo. I wonder if that’s because Duolingo is essentially using a worked example model, and worked examples do suffer from the expertise reversal effect.

Moreover, there are early indications that the high interactivity and personalized feedback of online education might ultimately offer a learning structure that can’t be matched by the traditional classroom.Duolingo, a free Web-based language learning system that grew out of a Carnegie Mellon University research project, is not an example of a traditional MOOC. However, the system, which now teaches German, French, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish and English, has roughly one million users and about 100,000 people spend time on the site daily.

Deepa Singh
Business Developer
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