How to Make an Educational App Like Duolingo: Clues, Features, Costs

How to Make an Educational App Like Duolingo in 2022: Clues, Features, Costs

10 min read

Yuliia Troian

Business developer. Ambassador of innovative ideas and creative approaches. My mission is to find the best software solution tailored to the special needs of any business and show its value.

Yuliia Troian

Business developer. Ambassador of innovative ideas and creative approaches. My mission is to find the best software solution tailored to the special needs of any business and show its value.

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As technology has evolved and the Internet has become ubiquitous, the e-learning industry has literally exploded. Now it is such a complex system of tools, technologies, players, and terms that it can be difficult to navigate it.

And when it comes to e-learning app development, a whole series of practical questions arise. But no worries, in this article you will find detailed answers to all of them.

2 Main Types of Educational Apps

In the case of e-learning, students receive educational content through a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Learning content involves a series of slides with audio/video accompaniment of the author, PDF files, videos, screencasts (screen recordings), simulation programs, or interactive courses with a slide structure.

As a rule, applications for e-learning can be divided into two types according to the type of user: for students and for teachers. There are not so many variations of applications for teachers compared to the ones for students.

However, for teacher applications, the following elements need to be highlighted:

  • convenient user interfaces for creating courses, tests;
  • interfaces of communication with individual students, groups of students;
  • access to the list of subjects they teach;
  • opportunity to check the materials sent by students, to give grades.

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When developing applications for students, the following requests should be considered:

  • access to the system from any device;
  • mobile app development for learning (a separate trend – mobile learning, m-Learning);
  • multimedia formats, gamification (especially for children and adolescents);
  • the user interface of communication with the teacher, the ability to quickly contact and discuss issues of interest;
  • convenient interfaces of courses, lessons, tests;
  • the clear evaluation system, the opportunity to see your progress;
  • a quick way to find out which lesson needs to be completed in the first place.

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The Most Popular Educational Application

Develop a Duolingo app - Visartech Blog

Here we’ll review the second type of educational application, namely for students, and our reference point will be the Duolingo language learning application.

Recently, various online learning systems, from Duolingo to Coursera and Udemy, are actively gaining more and more popularity. Many of them switch to the format of game training and introduce a large number of gamification elements in order to attract more and more users and make the learning process vivid and memorable for them.

Duolingo is the most popular platform for learning foreign languages ​​and the most downloaded educational application in the world. It is considered to be a leader among such tools. For a good reason in 2013 the application became Apple’s choice for App of the Year. right away after that in 2014, Duolingo was named the most downloaded app in the Education category in Google Play.

The company’s mission is to make training free, fun, and accessible to everyone. And the creators are fully committed to this principle.

The training program is divided into lessons arranged in order of complexity and, after the initial level, devoted to individual topics. Each lesson contains different types of exercises for translation, reading, writing, and listening, designed to study grammar rules or new vocabulary in the context of live speech.

At any stage, training is available to consolidate the acquired knowledge. The format of the game is represented by such elements as experience points, levels, rewards, and game currency for the purchase of additional features and bonuses in the store. To monitor the regularity of classes, you can set a daily goal and set up reminders for e-mail. For the further development of skills, the Stories project has been opened, where you need to perform interactive tasks as part of the voiced situational dialogue.

The variety of application features is amazing. No wonder, in 2019 Forbes named Duolingo “Next Billion-Dollar Startups 2019”.

5 Clues on How to Create a Successful Learning App Like Duolingo

So, what does it take to make your application as successful as Duolingo?

5 Clues on How to Create a Successful Learning App Like Duolingo - Visartech Blog

When developing your dream project, you should consider the following parameters:

#1. Elements of Gamification

Nowadays, the learning process is moving away from boring and standard schemes, becoming more and more gamified, so think about introducing a system of bonuses, achievements, awards that would maximally support the users’ interest and emotionally involve them.

Interactive app orange banner - Visartech Blog

#2. Nice Design and Ease of Use

Everyone loves the services with intuitive navigation, a simple and interesting interface. In order not to complicate the process of familiarization and use of your application, it is worthwhile to think through the design of the application, the style of content design, and provide a structured and convenient UX.

Create tips, a chatbot, or a support group, in case the user does not understand what further actions should be taken during the training.

#3. Integration With Social Networks

This element of application development will help simplify the registration process and reduce the time a person takes to fill out their data. For greater effectiveness, take social networks such as Facebook, Google, etc.

#4. Android and iOS Versions

There is no doubt that users can use different platforms, so in order not to cross out part of the audience, it is worth providing access to the e-learning application from different devices. For that, you should consider planning Android app development and iOS app development.

#5. Variety of Format

Duolingo stands out among other educational applications with a wide selection of content. Only the completeness of the content can prove to users that with your application they are guaranteed success in learning.

Our Example of Education App

FluffyWords app - Visartech Blog

Creating an educational app is an exciting experience, that we at Visartech have been through while working on the FluffyWords project. It’s a word game with the main goal to collect more words than the opponent and get ahead of him or her by the number of points.

The application has a positive impact on players, as it develops the speed of thinking and has a lot of gamification elements. Among them are playable characters, different categories, such as “animals” and “cities & countries”, musical sensation, that captures the player and makes the process of learning words bright and interesting.

There are a lot more educational projects that we’ve been working on – just take a closer look at our portfolio.

Top 9 Features of Duolingo-like Educational Apps

After studying the necessary parameters, we move on to the functionality (MVP) of the future application.

Top 9 Features of Duolingo-like Educational Apps - Visartech Blog

Using Duolingo as an example, we can safely distinguish the following components:

#1. Registration / Log-In Form

To do this, users need to give short answers to questions about themselves (name, e-mail, gender), create a login and password. Logging in should also include the ability to log in via social networks for greater convenience.

#2. Personal Profile

Users should be able to fill out all the stream information about and monitor their own progress: personal data, the language that they want to learn, the current level of the language, daily / monthly goals.

#3. Courses

Namely, the list of courses that are in progress, completed, available, and even those that the user can open only after the purchase of a paid subscription. For any language application, the necessary part is precisely the set of courses that are available to the client. The wider the variety of courses, the higher the value of the application.

#4. Trackers of Progress

People admire to celebrate their achievements. So the toolbar of the training application should include awards (similar to crystals in Duolingo), that can be exchanged for some bonuses; levels of mastery of certain skills, or a tracker to achieve their goals (user progress is noticeable by the number of experience points that they gain for completing tasks). A very useful thing is the icons that testify to the regular use of the application (in Duolingo it is a flame of knowledge, that you can “ignite” using the application daily). The daily/weekly ratings of the course participants are also very motivating to learn the language without long breaks.

#5. Audio and Video Streaming

The main feature of the application is the content that it supports. Learning languages ​​is easier when there are different exercises for listening to the audio, watching videos, reading and translating texts, progressing in pronunciation and games, etc. The wider the amount of material for developing knowledge, the better.

#6. Integration With Social Networks

The ability to invite Facebook friends to the application, share achievements on your page – all this increases the interest of existing users and attracts new ones.

#7. Push Notifications

They are necessary as an additional factor in motivating users to complete the course, fulfill daily goals, etc.

#8. Forum

This is a place where users of the application can get together and ask each other for help, find like-minded people, and share their emotions about the learning process. The forum is an important feature of the training application. It forms the necessary network, increases the emotional attachment to the app (due to the interlocutors found and the assistance provided), and even develops some kind of replacement of social networks.

#9. Testing Knowledge

Namely, the presence of various tests that complete the course/topic of exercises is a great method of user control that checks their knowledge and skills. Without the implementation of this function, the value of the application for the user may fall, since they will not notice the desired effect from using it.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Language Learning App Like Duolingo?

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Language Learning App Like Duolingo Infographics - Visartech Blog

The estimations of educational app development may vary from one software development company to another.

It depends on numerous factors like:

  • the structure of the development team;
  • tech stack at their disposal;
  • geographic location;
  • level of overall tech expertise;
  • the number and complexity of app features.

So the learning app development cost greatly depends on the number of hours that the app development team allocates for the specific application development multiplied by the hourly rate of their specialists. Depending on geographic location and professional expertise the rate varies from $25 to $150 per hour of work.

Let us share our rough estimation of an education application development like Duolingo. We will start with the estimate of the frontend development of the web application.

User Interfaces design80120100
Design implementation (screens development)649680
Multiple resolutions support568068
Core logic120160140
Domains/DNS setup and publishing244032

As you can see, the frontend part of such a web application may take from 448 to 664 hours of development. So if you take the most common web development rate of $50 per hour, the frontend development cost of such an educational app will be from $22,400 to $33,200.

Read more: How to Save Money on a Web Project for Businesses

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Let’s see the total app development estimation of other parts: the backend development, a frontend development for a mobile application, and the actual content production with exercises within the app.

Frontend (mobile apps)416648532
Content & exercises6401040840

Again, with the rate of $50, these education app development stages will cost:

  • Backend: $22,800 – $40,800;
  • Frontend (mobile apps): $20,800 – $32,400;
  • Content & exercises: $32,000 – $52,000.

So how much does it cost to build an app like Duolingo?

The total cost varies from $98,000 to $158,400 with an app development rate of $50 per hour.

How long does it take to create an education app like Duolingo?

If you translate the estimated hours into the usual working time, it will take from 49 weeks to 79 weeks which is from around a year to a year and a half. So if you have plans to create such an application you should better start shortly.

What is the structure of a development team that can create an app like Duolingo?

The above-specified estimation was counted based on the following development team structure:

  • Project Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • System Architect
  • Art Director
  • Web Designer
  • 2D Artist
  • 3D Artist
  • SFX Composer
  • React Native Lead
  • React Native Developer
  • .NET Lead
  • .NET Developer
  • DevOps
  • QA

So you need people with these professional skills to make such an app a reality.

If you wish to see a more detailed estimation of the last three mentioned development stages, just leave us a message and we will send you our full estimation of a Duolingo-like app.


Creating an educational application is not easy, but it is very real and potentially successful with proper planning and a responsible approach to its implementation.

The main steps that you must follow when stepping on this path:

  • decide on the format of your education application;
  • plan all the necessary details;
  • make a list of requirements for the implementation of your application;
  • hire app developers who will help you with the implementation of your idea;
  • provide marketing support and market promotion of the learning application.

The founders of Duolingo once said:

“The main factor of success is the attitude to mistakes. If you’re not afraid to look stupid, you’ll do much better.”

Luis von Ahn (CEO) & Severin Hacker (CTO)

We completely agree with them because people draw experience from mistakes.

But we want to help you avoid mistakes as long as possible, that’s why we wrote this article, hoping that it will become your guide in creating your own educational application.

And if you wish to start right away, let’s create an educational app together!


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