LINGUIST List 33.321

Thu Jan 27 2022

FYI: Duolingo (Learning English from Spanish) Commissioned Study Call for Proposals

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 26-Jan-2022
From: Xiangying Jiang <>
Subject: Duolingo (Learning English from Spanish) Commissioned Study Call for Proposals
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Call for Proposals
Duolingo independent commissioned research study

Duolingo is a language teaching platform that offers free online courses available on mobile apps and on the web. Duolingo’s mission is to develop the best education in the world and make it universally available.

Duolingo is currently accepting research proposals to investigate the effectiveness of its English course for Spanish speakers.

Scope of the project
The goal of the project is to evaluate how Duolingo’s English course (for Spanish speakers) compares with other basic-level English classes in Spanish-speaking countries.
Duolingo’s English course (for Spanish speakers) is organized based on communicative functions and is aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). For example, the first 5 units of the course teach content to the level of A2. Currently, Duolingo has course content through B1 (Unit 9).
We recommend that proposals focus on comparing English proficiency development of learners who learn on Duolingo and students who take a basic-level English class at university-affiliated language centers or private language institutes. Researchers are also encouraged to use a pretest to ensure group comparability, consider the similarity between groups in the amount of time spent learning over the project period, and use commercially available (standardized) English proficiency tests if possible. Other designs and researcher-developed assessments will also be considered.
In addition to a Principal Investigator (PI), the proposal may include Co-PIs or research assistants (RAs). The research project will be carried out independently, but Duolingo may provide (limited) assistance as needed and specified in awarded proposals (e.g. help with participant recruitment). Note that Duolingo will not be able to provide support for any experimental manipulations or changes to the course or the app itself.
Duolingo will pay for the cost of data collection, including purchase of tests, participant compensation, researcher conference travel, and researcher salary if the institution allows it. Duolingo will pay institutional overhead if required. Include all estimated expenses in your detailed budget.
The sponsored researchers will submit a complete research report to Duolingo by June 30, 2023. Publication of the results will be allowed upon approval by Duolingo.

Your proposal should include:
A brief introduction citing key literature
Specific research questions
Detailed research methodology
Participants (exact sample size, selection criteria, recruitment plan, etc.)
Research design and how it enables specific research questions to be answered
Instruments (be specific about each instrument and assessment tasks)
Data collection procedures
Analyses to be conducted
Help you will need from Duolingo
Total Budget: Please itemize as much as possible and explain why each planned expenditure is critical, given the approximate sample size, outcome measures, and conference travel plan. We anticipate awarding up to $60,000 USD (including overhead, if any).
A brief (2-5 page) CV of the PI and each Co-PI

Proposal length
The main proposal excluding Budget and CVs should not exceed 5 single-spaced pages. The entire submission should not be over 15 pages (with 1’’ margin and Times New Roman 12).

Proposal deadline
Please submit your proposal as an email attachment to (RE: English from Spanish Study) by 4:00 pm EST on March 10, 2022.
Proposal reviewers may suggest revisions of the proposal during the review process.
Final notifications will be sent out to researchers by March 25, 2022.

How to learn more:
Read more about the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) at
See previous Duolingo research reports at
Take a peek inside the app at

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Page Updated: 27-Jan-2022