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GDC + VRDC 2019 Session Scheduler

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Lessons from 'Duolingo': How to Make Learning Hard Things Easy

Karin Tsai (Senior Engineering Manager, Duolingo, Inc.)

Location: Room 2016, West Hall

Date: Friday, March 22

Time: 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference - Get your pass now!

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

'Duolingo' is the largest platform for learning languages in the world, with over 300 million users. It's the most downloaded education app on iOS and Android. Its success is largely attributed to its ability to turn learning into a game that keeps users coming back. However, teaching hard things and keeping users engaged is often at odds. In this talk, Karin Tsai will explain how 'Duolingo' created an experience that caters to all sorts of learners while keeping retention numbers up and improving learning outcomes. Attendees will get a crash course covering Duolingo's six years of lessons learned on its way to becoming the world's most popular education app.


Attendees will learn how 'Duolingo', the most downloaded education app in the world, keeps users engaged while teaching something difficult: a new language. Six years' worth of UX best practices, failed experiments, metrics, algorithms, and teaching strategies will be shared in this lecture on how to teach in a game.

Intended Audience

Product managers, designers, entrepreneurs, and developers who are interested in learning how to teach anything in games. This lecture will contain material applicable to any game that has a learning curve, even if the game is not educational in nature.