Welcome to the forum, BronYashima.
BronYamisha wrote:Honestly, it's pretty easy to dunk on Duolingo for not being a perfect language learning platform,
The point isn’t that it’s “not perfect”, but that it’s mediocre and lots of it is fundamentally broken.
Duolingo gives us a product for FREE.
Duolingo is a for-profit business. They used the “start-up” model of building a business funded entirely by investment and then only later trying to figure out what their “product” actually is. The original idea was to crowdsource translations from language learners and use the fact that the courses themselves weren’t their actual product (but a way to get free labour) to generate goodwill and free publicity (for the same reason they rushed out Hawaiian, Navajo, etc. courses for the media to report on), when that didn’t pan out for obvious reasons they switched to the same advertising + premium subscription model as everyone else.
There’s no reason to congratulate them on how “free” the courses are, since their business model was never to sell courses, but to use publicity to get more and more investor money while they figure out what they’re actually going to sell.
Of course if I was a programmer or salesperson (and I mention these two job descriptions specifically because they hardly have a pedagogical team and all the courses are made by volunteers) working for Duolingo I wouldn’t care where my wage is coming from. But as a consumer I think it pays to be a little bit more discerning.
It teaches vocabulary and grammar for more than 30 languages
This is a somewhat misleading statement because the quality and amount of content is quite variable depending on the language. As I said above some of the courses were rushed out for publicity.
If anything, I think it inspires more people to give a new language a shot.
What happens when they take Duolingo’s advertising and presented pedagogical model seriously and keep repeating the same lessons for years rather than moving on to more serious materials or authentic content?