Duolingo Review – Features, Cost, & User Experience [2024]

If you’re into learning languages like Korean, choosing the right resource is crucial to efficient learning. Duolingo and 90 Day Korean are two well-known online learning resources. 

Laptop screen showing a Korean flag and a Duolingo window

Duolingo offers a gamified approach to language learning, making it fun and engaging. On the other hand, 90 Day Korean offers a structured, intensive program designed to help you become conversationally fluent in Korean in a short time. 

This review will explore the features, pros, and cons of both resources to help you decide which fits best for your Korean learning goals.

Table of Comparison

Before we dive into the specifics, take a look at the table of comparison below to get an idea of the main differences between the two language learning programs.

Features
Duolingo90 Day Korean
Gamified Learning ExperienceStructured Learning Path
Easy Access with different devicesPersonal Support
Various Learning ActivitiesCommunity Forums
Pricing
Duolingo90 Day Korean
Super Duolingo Monthly ($12.99/month)Standard ($35/month, $299/year)
Super Duolingo Yearly ($83.88/year)VIP ($59/month, $500/year)

User Experience

First, let’s look at how user-friendly Duolingo and 90 Day Korean are. Below, we’ll explore their interface designs, ease of navigation, and overall engagement.

User Interface and Ease of Navigation

Duolingo has a simple and easy-to-use interface. The main screen shows your progress with clear icons for each lesson, making it easy to see what to do next. This straightforward design helps users stay on track without getting confused.

Screenshot of Duolingo's Quests Page

90 Day Korean uses a more traditional layout for its courses. The member’s area is well-organized, with everything labeled clearly, so you can easily find what you need. The lessons are set up in a logical order, helping you build on what you’ve learned step by step​​.

Screenshot of 90 Day Korean's Dashboard Page

Design and Aesthetic Elements

Duolingo is colorful and fun, with bright visuals and cute characters. This playful design makes learning feel like a game, which can be very motivating. The animations and rewards, like badges and streaks, keep users engaged and excited to learn more. 

Screenshot of Duolingo's Learn Page

90 Day Korean’s design is more straightforward and focused on delivering the content clearly and effectively. While it doesn’t have the playful elements of Duolingo, it is clean and professional, making it easy to focus on the material.

Screenshot of 90 Day Korean's Inner Circle Level 1 Consonants Page

Impact on Learning Experience

The design of each platform can have an impact on how you learn. Duolingo’s game-like design makes learning fun and keeps you coming back, which is great if you are a language learner who needs a lot of motivation. But if you want to go deeper into the language, you may feel it’s too simple.

90 Day Korean’s straightforward design is perfect for those who are serious about learning. Its clear and structured approach helps you go deep into the language, with lots of cultural insights and real-life applications.

In short, Duolingo is great for beginners and those who enjoy a playful, game-like environment. 90 Day Korean is better for more serious learners who want a detailed approach to becoming fluent.

Content and Curriculum

Next, we’ll look into the types of learning materials both Duolingo and 90 Day Korean offer, including how they handle vocabulary, grammar, and cultural content.

Types of Content Offered

We’ll take a close look at the variety of content both Duolingo and 90 Day Korean offer. This includes vocabulary, grammar, and cultural lessons.

Duolingo

  • Vocabulary: Duolingo teaches a wide range of common words and phrases.

Screenshot of Duolingo's Learn Unit 5 Page

  • Grammar: It covers basic grammar rules through example sentences but doesn’t go into deep explanations.

Screenshot of Duolingo's Section 1 Page

  • Culture: Some sentences and exercises may include cultural references but it’s not the main focus.

90 Day Korean

  • Vocabulary: Offers comprehensive vocabulary lists for practical use in real-life situations.

Screenshot of 90 Day Korean Page with vocabulary

  • Grammar: Provides detailed grammar explanations and practice exercises, focusing on building a strong foundation.

Screenshot of 90 Day Korean Page with grammar lesson

  • Culture: The lessons offer many cultural insights, helping learners understand Korean customs and social norms.

Screenshot of 90 Day Korean Page with culture topic

Depth and Scope of Curriculum 

Duolingo gives a broad overview of the language, which is great for beginners. It focuses on basic vocabulary and sentence structures but doesn’t cover advanced grammar or complex language use.

90 Day Korean offers a detailed and structured learning plan split into four levels. Each level can be completed in 90 days. The curriculum aims to build a strong foundation in grammar, vocabulary, and cultural knowledge to achieve conversational fluency.

Lesson and Content Progression 

Duolingo lessons are presented in a gamified format, focusing on specific vocabulary and grammar points. They include interactive exercises like multiple-choice questions, translations, and fill-in-the-blanks. Progress is tracked through levels and streaks to encourage regular practice.

90 Day Korean offers comprehensive lessons with written explanations, audio recordings, and practical exercises. It uses storytelling, examples, and cultural context to enhance understanding and retention. The program includes regular practice, with weekly reminders and feedback from native Korean coaches.

Comparison

Content Variety 🌈 

Duolingo mainly focuses on vocabulary and basic grammar. 90 Day Korean focuses on vocabulary, grammar, and culture, offering a more holistic learning experience.

Curriculum Depth 🤿

Duolingo is simple and engaging but doesn’t go very deep with the explanation of grammar or cultural nuances. 90 Day Korean provides a more in-depth curriculum that covers complex grammar and culture, which helps to become fluent.

Lesson Structure 🏗️

Duolingo’s lessons are short and fun, perfect for quick learning sessions, but not very detailed. 90 Day Korean’s lessons are more comprehensive, with detailed explanations and practical exercises. 

Both resources have their strengths: Duolingo is great for getting started in a fun way, while 90 Day Korean is ideal for those committed to achieving a deeper understanding and fluency in Korean.

Teaching Methodology

Here, I’ll describe the teaching styles of both platforms, focusing on how they make learning Korean engaging and effective.

Teaching Styles and Educational Approaches 

Duolingo uses a gamified approach. This means lessons are designed like games, which are fun and engaging. The focus is on repetition and practice while introducing new vocabulary and grammar in small, manageable chunks.

Interactive Elements 💡

Duolingo

  • Quizzes
    Multiple-choice questions and fill-in-the-blank exercises.

Screenshot of Duolingo's Quiz

  • Games
    Activities like matching words to pictures and completing phrases.

Screenshot of Duolingo's Matching Pairs Quiz

  • Pronunciation Practice
    Speaking exercises that use speech recognition to give feedback on pronunciation.

90 Day Korean

Interactive Elements 💡

  • Quizzes
    Regular quizzes to test understanding and retention.

Screenshot of 90 Day Korean Page with quizzes

  • Dialogues
    Practical dialogues that mimic real-life conversations.

Screenshot of 90 Day Korean Page with dialogues

  • Pronunciation Practice
    Detailed feedback on pronunciation from native Korean speakers.

Screenshot of 90 Day Korean Pronunciation Feedback page

Language Skills Addressed

Below, we’ll take a look at which language skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—are emphasized by each platform and how effectively they are taught.

Duolingo

With Duolingo, you’ll engage in a variety of exercises designed to sharpen your language skills. For listening, there are activities where you listen to phrases and then identify the correct translations. Speaking exercises are available as well, although they might not be as challenging and are somewhat limited.

Reading mainly involves exercises that require you to read sentences and phrases. For writing, you can refine your skills through translation exercises and fill-in-the-blank activities, allowing you to practice applying what you’ve learned in written form.

90 Day Korean

With 90 Day Korean, you can find a comprehensive set of activities aimed at enhancing all aspects of your language skills. They give emphasis on providing simple explanations, applying the Pareto Principle (80/20 Content), and having structure for all these lessons.

In listening, audio lessons and dialogues are designed to help you improve your understanding of spoken language. For speaking, you can engage in pronunciation practice and speaking exercises, with coaches providing feedback to refine your skills.

Reading activities involve practice with contextual examples to aid comprehension and vocabulary building. Lastly, writing exercises allow you to apply your knowledge in writing, with personalized feedback from coaches on your written assignments.

Comparison

  • Duolingo: Uses a gamified, bite-sized approach that is engaging and easy to follow for beginners. It focuses on making language learning fun and less intimidating.
  • 90 Day Korean: Uses a structured, immersive approach that aims for conversational fluency. It is more comprehensive and suited for serious learners who want to deeply understand the language and culture.

In summary, Duolingo is great for beginners looking for a fun way to start learning a language, while 90 Day Korean is ideal for learners aiming for deeper proficiency and real-life application.

Features and Tools

Let’s go over the unique features and tools that Duolingo and 90 Day Korean provide, like gamified elements and personal coaching.

Unique Features

Duolingo

  • Gamified Learning 🎮
    Duolingo turns language learning into a game with points, levels, and rewards, making it engaging and fun.

Screenshot of Duolingo's Earned Gems

  • Streaks and Leaderboards 🔥
    These features encourage daily practice by rewarding consistency and allowing users to compete with friends.

Screenshot of Duolingo's 5-day streak

  • Adaptive Learning ⚙️
    The platform adjusts the difficulty of lessons based on the user’s performance, providing a personalized learning experience​​.

Screenshot of Duolingo's Adaptive Learning feature

90 Day Korean

  • Structured Curriculum 📐
    A clear, step-by-step learning path designed to achieve conversational fluency systematically.

Screenshot of 90 Day Korean Inner Circle Structured Courses

  • Personal Coaching 👨‍🏫
    Access to native Korean coaches for personalized feedback and guidance.

Screenshot of 90 Day Korean Personal coaching page

  • Cultural Integration 🌍
    Lessons include cultural insights, helping learners understand the context of the language​.

Screenshot of 90 Day Korean Page featuring food delivery

Additional Tools

We’ll look at the extra tools and resources provided by each platform, such as mobile apps, offline access, and community forums.

Duolingo

Duolingo’s mobile apps are accessible on both iOS and Android, which allows you to study on the go whenever it suits you. Additionally, Super Duolingo offers offline access to lessons so you can continue learning even without an internet connection.

Duolingo also has community forums where you can connect with other learners, ask questions, and share tips to enrich your language learning journey.

90 Day Korean

90 Day Korean is fully optimized for mobile use, which means you can access the platform and continue your lessons from anywhere. The community forums are a key feature that offers a place to interact with fellow learners, share your experiences, and find practice partners.

Also, 90 Day Korean includes supplementary courses, such as Korean Word Memorization and Hangeul Made Easy, which are designed to complement and enhance the main courses.

Evaluation

In this section, we’ll evaluate the overall performance and user satisfaction with both Duolingo and 90 Day Korean.

Duolingo

Duolingo’s learning environment is enhanced by its gamified elements and mobile apps. This makes the learning process both fun and accessible, which significantly boosts user engagement and motivation. With the offline access available, your learning schedule becomes more flexible, so you can study anytime, anywhere.

However, the emphasis on gamification may not cater adequately to the needs of advanced learners, seeking deeper language mastery. Moreover, while community forums are a valuable resource for peer support, they might not always offer the most accurate or professional guidance.

Duoligo mobile app screenshot

90 Day Korean

90 Day Korean excels with its structured courses and personal coaching. They also offer a detailed and tailored learning experience that deeply integrates cultural knowledge, as result,  enchances both understanding and practical application of the language. This structured approach, however, may not appeal to those who prefer a more casual learning style. Additionally, the dependency on regular internet access for most of its features could be a limitation for users without consistent connectivity.

90 Day Korean mobile version screenshot

Comparison

Unique Features ✨

  • Duolingo: Stands out for its gamified learning approach, making it highly engaging for beginners and casual learners.
  • 90 Day Korean: Excels with its structured curriculum and personal coaching, catering to serious learners aiming for fluency.

Additional Tools 🛠️

  • Duolingo: Offers robust mobile apps, offline access, and community forums, enhancing flexibility and engagement.
  • 90 Day Korean: Provides mobile compatibility, community forums, and supplementary courses, supporting a comprehensive and contextual learning experience.

Overall Impact on Learning Process 🚀

  • Duolingo: Enhances learning through gamification and accessibility but may fall short of in-depth and advanced learning.
  • 90 Day Korean: Enhances learning with structured, in-depth content and personal support but may be less flexible for casual learners.

Both platforms have strengths and are suited for different types of learners: Duolingo for those seeking an engaging, flexible introduction to Korean and 90 Day Korean for those committed to a thorough, immersive language learning journey.

Pricing 

Below, we’ll compare the cost of both platforms.

Cost of Access

Let’s break down the pricing for each platform, detailing what features are included in their free and premium offerings.

Duolingo

  • Free Version: Duolingo offers a free version with basic features, supported by ads.
  • Super Duolingo: Priced at $12.99 per month or $83.88 annually. This premium version includes an ad-free experience, unlimited hearts, personalized mistake reviews, and access to the Practice Hub​.

90 Day Korean

  • Inner Circle Membership: $35 per month, providing access to the complete course, personal coaching, and additional learning materials.
  • Annual Membership: $199 per year, offering the same benefits as the monthly plan but at a discounted rate​

Cost-Effectiveness 

Duolingo

Duolingo’s free version offers a substantial amount of content for beginners, making it a highly cost-effective option for casual learners. The Super Duolingo plan provides additional features that enhance the learning experience, and its cost is relatively low compared to other premium language learning apps. The flexibility of mobile and web access adds to its value, making it accessible from virtually anywhere.

90 Day Korean

90 Day Korean offers a comprehensive learning experience with a structured curriculum and personal coaching, which provides significant value for its price. The annual membership discount makes it even more cost-effective for learners committed to long-term study. The integration of cultural insights and practical language use adds depth that justifies the higher cost compared to more basic language apps.

Comparison

Cost 💸

  • Duolingo: Free version with an optional premium upgrade at $12.99/month or $83.88/year.
  • 90 Day Korean: Monthly subscription at $35/month or annual membership at $199/year

Value and Cost-Effectiveness 💰

  • Duolingo: Excellent value for beginners with its free version. The premium version is affordable and enhances the learning experience, making it suitable for casual and intermediate learners.
  • 90 Day Korean: Provides a thorough, structured program with personal coaching, making it ideal for learners who are committed to achieving fluency. The higher cost is justified by the depth and quality of content and support offered.

In summary, Duolingo is a cost-effective choice for beginners and those who enjoy a flexible, gamified approach to language learning. 90 Day Korean is better suited for dedicated learners who want a comprehensive, structured program with personalized support and deeper cultural insights.

Effectiveness

In this section, we’ll evaluate how effective Duolingo and 90 Day Korean are at helping users achieve fluency in Korean based on user feedback and results.

Effectiveness of Methods 

We’ll evaluate how effective the teaching methods of Duolingo and 90 Day Korean are in real-world language learning scenarios.

Duolingo

Duolingo makes learning fun by turning it into a game. You get short lessons that keep you engaged and coming back for more. The app gets to know how well you’re doing and adjusts the difficulty to match your level, giving you a personalized learning experience.

90 Day Korean

 90 Day Korean offers a well-organized and immersive way to learn. The program focuses on practical use, grammar, vocabulary, and cultural insights. You also get personal coaching and detailed feedback, which helps adapt the learning to your needs.

Retention and Recall 

Here, we’ll discuss how each platform aids in the retention and recall of the language, crucial for long-term learning success.

Duolingo

Duolingo uses a spaced repetition, which helps you remember what you’ve learned by reviewing it at intervals. This method is great for memorizing vocabulary and simple sentences. However, since Duolingo focuses mainly on these basics, you might need other resources to help with more complex grammar and advanced language skills.

90 Day Korean

This platform helps you remember what you learn by making you use it in real-life situations and through regular tests. Personalized feedback from native speakers makes sure you’re using the language correctly and helps you remember it better. Learning about the culture alongside the language makes it easier to understand and remember what you’ve learned.

Goal Achievement 

We’ll consider how well Duolingo and 90 Day Korean help learners achieve their language goals, from basic comprehension to fluency.

Duolingo

For beginners, Duolingo is highly effective in achieving initial language learning goals. But if you’re looking to become fluent or need more detailed explanations, Duolingo might not be enough on its own. Advanced learners will likely need additional tools to reach their goals.​​

90 Day Korean

90 Day Korean is great for reaching conversational fluency and deeply understanding the language. The structured lessons and personal coaching provide a clear path to becoming fluent, making it perfect for learners who are committed to reaching their language goals.

Illustration of a weighing scale with the logos of Duolingo and 90 Day Korean of each side

Pros and Cons

We’ll compare the advantages and challenges of using Duolingo and 90 Day Korean to see which might be better for your learning style.

FeatureDuolingo90 Day Korean
CostFree version availableReasonable monthly ($35/$59) and annual ($299/$500) plans for in-depth content with a personal coaching option.
AccessibilityAvailable on iOS, Android, and webOptimized for mobile and web use
GamificationEngaging, game-like experienceNot applicable
User InterfaceIntuitive and easy to navigateStructured and clear
MotivationStreaks and leaderboards encourage regular usePersonalized coaching helps maintain motivation
Cultural InsightsLimited cultural contentIn-depth cultural integration
Personalized FeedbackAdaptive learning based on performancePersonalized feedback from native speakers
Depth of ContentSuitable for beginners
Limited for advanced learners
Suitable for beginners with a comprehensive and detailed curriculum
Requires commitment to follow structured lessons
FlexibilityLessons can be completed anytimeSelf-paced but more structured
Offline AccessOnly available for Super Duolingo usersNot applicable
CommunityActive community forumsActive members-exclusive community forums
Grammar ExplanationsBasic grammar explanationsDetailed grammar might be overwhelming for casual learners
Engagement for Advanced LearnersMight feel too simple for advanced usersMay be too structured for learners preferring casual study

Summary

Duolingo is ideal for beginners and casual learners who enjoy a fun, game-like approach to learning Korean. It is cost-effective, especially with its free version, and offers flexible access through mobile and web platforms. However, it may lack the depth and detailed grammar explanations needed for advanced learners.

90 Day Korean is suited for dedicated learners aiming for conversational fluency and a deeper understanding of Korean culture. Its structured curriculum, personal coaching, and detailed lessons provide a comprehensive learning experience. The higher cost and structured approach may be less appealing to casual learners or those looking for a free resource.

Additional Insights

To get the most out of your learning experience with Duolingo or 90 Day Korean, you might consider exploring additional resources, too. Here are some suggestions:

Complementary Resources for Duolingo Users

Here are some additional resources that complement Duolingo.

  • Grammar Books 📚
    • “Korean Grammar in Use” Series: These books explain grammar rules clearly with examples. They are excellent for filling the gaps in grammar that Duolingo might leave.
    • “Integrated Korean” Series: This series is often used in universities and provides detailed grammar lessons, exercises, and cultural notes.
  • Language Exchange Apps 📲
    • HelloTalk: This app lets you chat with native Korean speakers. You can practice writing, speaking, and even video calling.
    • Tandem: Similar to HelloTalk, this platform connects language learners around the world for practice and cultural exchange.
  • Blogs and Websites 🌐
    • Talk To Me In Korean (TTMIK): Offers free lessons, podcasts, and books. It’s great for expanding your understanding beyond Duolingo’s curriculum.
    • How to Study Korean: A blog with detailed lessons on grammar, vocabulary, and culture.

Complementary Resources for 90 Day Korean Users

If you’re using 90 Day Korean, here are some additional resources that you can consider using.

  • Advanced Practice 🎓
    • iTalki: Offers one-on-one tutoring sessions with native Korean speakers, and it is great for getting extra speaking practice.
    • Conversation Exchange: Find language partners to practice speaking Korean in a casual setting, enhancing conversational skills.
  • Cultural Immersion 🎭
    • Korean Dramas and Movies: Watching Korean dramas and movies helps improve your listening skills and cultural understanding. Websites like Viki and Netflix have lots of options.
    • K-Pop and Korean Music: Listening to Korean music and following the lyrics can be fun and educational. Websites like Genius provide translated lyrics.
  • Reading and Writing Practice 📖✍️
    • Webtoons: Reading Korean webtoons (digital comics) can help you learn everyday language and culture. Check out LINE Webtoon for many free options.
    • Lang-8: A website where you can write posts in Korean and have them corrected by native speakers. This complements the writing practice from 90 Day Korean.

By combining these extra resources with Duolingo or 90 Day Korean, you can learn Korean faster and better. This holistic approach will make your Korean learning journey more enjoyable and effective.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are the most commonly asked questions related to Duolingo.

Can you become fluent with Duolingo?

Achieving full fluency with Duolingo alone is unlikely. While Duolingo provides a solid foundation in vocabulary and basic grammar, fluency typically requires deeper language immersion, complex grammar understanding, and cultural context that extends beyond Duolingo’s scope.

Is Duolingo really effective?

Yes, Duolingo is effective for foundational language learning. It excels at building basic vocabulary and grammar, making it particularly useful for beginners or casual learners. For comprehensive language skills, however, it’s best used in combination with other learning methods.

Conclusion

Duolingo is great for beginners who want a fun and affordable way to start learning Korean, though it may not be enough for advanced fluency. For budget-conscious learners, Duolingo’s free version provides great value for basic learning needs. 

90 Day Korean offers a thorough and immersive experience with personal coaching, ideal for serious learners willing to invest more. Choose the best language learning app or program for you based on your learning goals and budget.

Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below!

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