Best Practices

Findings of the 2022 Duolingo Language Report

Duolingo is the world’s most downloaded language learning app, and every year it issues a language report with important information regarding habits and trends among language learners around the globe.
Gabriel Polycarpo
2 minutes

Duolingo is the world’s most downloaded language learning app, and every year it issues a language report with important information regarding habits and trends among language learners around the globe.

This year’s report revealed interesting trends and behaviors that exemplify how economic, political and environmental events change the way language learners behave. The 2022 report is based on data collected from the 500+ million learners active in the platform 2021.

Highlights

The outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war caused a global trend among language learners and remained steady as Russia President Vladimir Putin vowed to continue attacking Ukraine: the interest of Duolingo users to learn Ukrainian.

Source: Duolingo.

If on one side it was impossible to travel during the pandemic, the interest in learning new languages for personal purposes grew.

And after a significant downturn caused by the pandemic, a recent rebound presented with an opportunity for the economy to bounce back. Although the pattern of restriction and rebound can have disastrous effects – especially on vulnerable populations – language learners see this as an opportunity to learn a new language, and tourists take advantage of the situation by seeking short-term travel opportunities.

A summary of the 2022 Duolingo Language Report

Source: Duolingo.

The 2022 Duolingo language report:

  • Saw a significant increase in the number of people learning Ukrainian (especially in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic).
  • Saw a reduction in the number of learners studying primarily for travel reasons.
  • Found that German is now among the most popular languages to study in Germany as the country received hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians this year.
  • Found that English is still a priority among learners.

Although English is still a priority, other languages remain popular, such as Spanish and French. On the other hand, Korean is one of the most popular languages in Asia, and it continues to grow in popularity in many countries such as Germany and Argentina.

Travelers are opting for destinations closer to home

Visitors won’t travel if they don’t feel safe. Because of that, with tourism slowly opening up, travelers still prefer destinations closer to their homes. Short-term travels are possible thanks to investments in contactless technology – a last resort for businesses that were on the verge of shutting their doors.

Because it is difficult for hoteliers to predict the future, investments carry a certain risk. Still, businesses have been able to navigate the pandemic, and that’s because of the success of the hospitality sector that is underpinned by the orange economy, which enjoys a certain independence from the other sectors that were directly affected by the pandemic.

Source: Duolingo.

The Orange Economy

Also known as the creative economy, the orange economy accounts for quite a significant percentage of the global GDP and around 30 million employees worldwide.

It is responsible for all segments related to the cultural industry, such as the visual and performing arts (orchestras, concerts, theaters, museums), the publishing industry, IT and software production, the audiovisual industry (TV, films), among others.  

Although one might think that these sectors came to a halt during the pandemic, what happened was exactly the opposite. These sectors reinvented themselves, and sought new approaches to continue generating revenue. And they grew thanks to the live streaming technologies and the strong ability of the sector to adapt.

Social Media and Influencers

Social media has empowered artists, educators, customers and even the common man. Due to the dynamic nature of these communication channels, social media are responsible for all the major shifts in trends that have taken place within the past few years around the globe.

Youtube is the go-to channel for a large number of people who want to stay informed about the news, learn new languages, recipes, tutorials, and the list goes on indefinitely. Because of its ability to engage millions, especially with the help of ‘influencers’, who are veritable marketing strategists wielding a unique power, YouTube has become the main hub for information in the internet world.

Instagram, for example, is the main hub for marketers and for brands to be seen. It is a window where hotels, tourism agencies, fashion brands and many more showcase their products. But it is also a place where cultural, social, ethical and political opinions are formed. This explains the sudden changes in the behavior of language learners seen in the report.

Education

Duolingo partnered with a few survey companies to better understand the behavior of language learners. They found an increase in the desire to study abroad among the language learners. The number of test takers of the Duolingo English test grew significantly when compared to previous years.

Duolingo is also investing in underrepresented languages such as Zulu and Haitian Creole, and in areas other than language education, such as math, basic literacy and plans to add more advanced content to engage users and make it even more popular.

This represents a new trend in the way language learning and education in general is approached at the same time that it also reflects the general trends in technology.

Source: Duolingo.

Conclusion

On the other hand, new technology has been designed to enhance language learning across the globe. And that’s because language learning translates as investment opportunities, employment rates and overall satisfaction among language learners.

Because of that, the world is witnessing enormous advancements in EdTech and innovation solutions in general. Video-conferencing cameras, communication boards and language labs should integrate more and more functionalities to adapt to changes in the market. Sudden shifts such as the fast-growing interest in learning Ukrainian that was seen this year, should be even more common in the next few years.

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