By Christine S. Maxwell
As a language lover who frequently practices my Spanish language skills, I join a community of more than 300 million learners of languages through Duolingo. For many of my teaching colleagues, and me, it’s also a superb supplement to school language programs.
Duolingo currently offers more than 37 languages from which to choose. With free access worldwide, Duolingo is available as a mobile app and online at https://www.duolingo.com.
Continually evolving and offering more languages to its worldwide participants, Duolingo has plans to expand with three more languages. A large Japanese language update is also underway.
While many people are familiar with the primary language learning Duolingo platform, more opportunities exist for the super language aficionados! Katy Romdall, Senior Community Manager at Duolingo, leads the way for users to volunteer their time to improve Duolingo’s offerings and visibility.
Volunteers can help Duolingo spread the word about course offerings by assisting in the building of new courses, hosting language learning events in their communities, and moderating discussion forums. There is also a large educator community with teachers who attend speaking engagements and conferences on behalf of Duolingo.
Duolingo receives numerous emails from the super-users who want to help bring Duolingo to the masses. Most of these language lovers fit into different the ambassador-type roles that Duolingo has created: Forum Moderators, Course Contributors, Event Hosts, Educators, and Insiders. For more information on these possibilities, visit https://ambassadors.duolingo.com/.
Each group has a manager, and Romdall focuses her efforts primarily on the Educator network and the Event Hosts around the world. Volunteers use internal chat programs to connect, share resources and success stories, and to seek advice or help from one another. Romdall posts announcements on the internal chat boards and hosts training and video calls with users, as needed.
Thousands of Global Ambassadors support these robust communities with some volunteers wearing multiple hats and participating in more than one program. The fastest growing and largest community is Duolingo’s Event Hosts. In 2018, this group hosted over 10,000 language events in more than 40 countries!
When asked how Duolingo benefits its users, Romdall replied enthusiastically, “What I think is special about Duolingo is that people can learn at zero cost, which is not something most competing sites or apps offer. As some backstory, our founder and CEO is from an impoverished country. He’s seen first-hand the impact that knowing a second or third language can have on an individual’s life. And since language is inherently social, learning a new language opens more doors to communicate in the world and with the people around you.”
See Duolingo’s documentary “Something Like Home” depicting how language learning can save lives and empower refugees seeking asylum in foreign countries below: