DOES DUOLINGO DELIVER ITS INTENDED ‘LEARNING CONTENT’ THROUGH THE GAMEPLAY? A THEMATIC ANALYSIS
Deakin University Burwood (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Learning a language is common in primary and secondary education around the world. Duolingo has made language learning accessible and evolved over the years through various platforms. Most studies on Duolingo highlight the use of Duolingo in a classroom context with students as participants and report on learning and engaging with Duolingo either positively or otherwise. This paper addresses the crucial position of teachers and learning game designers and anticipates that their perspectives on learning, playing, and experiencing Duolingo may contribute to the knowledge of 'how games are evaluated or judged by the users before reaching students in the classroom.'
Duolingo's popularity and evaluating its content may help unpack and conceptualize its design, player's experience, learning outcome, motivational aspects, and feedback. Moreover, it may enhance how Duolingo's success contributes to designing future games that teach or deliver learning content. The data was collected through an individual audio-visual session (Zoom online) with participants where the main question was: 'what have you learned from this game?' The designed criteria are analyzed theoretically with Kolb Experiential Learning Model and andragogy principles to understand the researchers' reflective experiences and adults' learning strategies. Each session was audio-recorded, transcribed, and thematically analyzed through NVivo (triangulation principle applied for reliability and trustworthiness).
Lastly, results are interpreted through themes and the hermeneutic method is adopted to provide a reflective and comparative discussion with theoretical stances discussed in the paper. The perspectives of players who evaluate games before using them in a classroom may offer a different angle to designing, engaging, and assessing learning games may re-consider their approach for future educational games and the gaming industry.
Keywords: Duolingo, a language teacher, learning game designer, learning, interpretivism, andragogy, experiential learning, motivation.