How Much Does Duolingo like App Development Cost?

Sudeep Srivastava December 4, 2023
duolingo app cost
Table of Content

eLearning mobile applications have made it simple for the audience worldwide to pick up and learn a new language. As per Statista, the global eLearning app market is expected to reach almost $400 billion by the year 2026.

Moreover, in February 2022, the leading language learning mobile apps generated almost $27 million in in-app purchase revenues from users worldwide, with market leader Duolingo accounting for half of the total, with $13.38 million in revenues generated during the examined month.

Revenue generated by Duolingo

According to Stastista, “Duolingo went public on Nasdaq with a valuation of nearly five billion U.S. dollars, becoming one of the few publicly traded digital language learning companies.”

These figures have ultimately convinced education businesses to work on eLearning applications which is why the most crucial question of the decade revolves around Duolingo app development cost.

The development cost of an app like Duolingo can range from $25,000-150,000, or more based on multiple factors and features.

Now, this article familiarizes you with the various factors contributing to the final cost of Duolingo application development, the whereabouts of how to make an app like Duolingo, and much more.

So without a further ado, let’s begin with a quick overview:

About Duolingo- The App Ruling the Language Learning Domain


Duolingo is a language-learning platform offering over 95 courses in nearly 35 different languages. The platform, founded in 2011 by Luis von Ahn, has made a valuation of $88.3 million and gained 500M user acquisitions so far.

The application received the credit of being the first educational app to receive the fame of ‘iPhone App of the Year’ in 2013 and ‘Most Downloaded App’ on the Play Store for 2013 and 2014. It has also been rewarded with many other titles, including being announced as one of Forbes’s “Next Billion-Dollar Startups 2019”. What makes Duolingo superior to other language learning apps is its ability to solve user issues. Let’s take a look there:

Language Learning Issues that Duolingo App Solves

The digital language learning industry is changing at a fast pace since the globalization of the economy and the development of cost-effective innovation based mobile applications. Worldwide, the Duolingo language learning app and website has made the learning process easier and easily accessible for users.

How? Below factors answer your question:

1. Boring learning process

Whether you pick a book or turn towards some mobile education platform, the learning process is  hectic and uninteresting.

Duolingo added fun to learning and made users more excited to achieve their desired goals via Gamification.

2. Low credibility of app content

With most of such applications running on software and algorithms, it was a question for users if to pick these apps over real tutors or not.

Duolingo solved this issue by ensuring that the content delivered to users is not just checked by AI-based algorithms, but also verified by users. For this, the app looks into the answer offered by users and validates the one selected by the majority.

Not only this, but the application has also initiated a certification process, making you leverage the same perks as offline learning programs. Something that again adds to the benefits of language learning apps like Duolingo.

3. No customization

Above all, the existing web and mobile learning portals were not offering any personalized services. Users were compelled to go through the same journey as others, irrespective of duolingo app development cost whether they had the same goal or not.

But, with the advent of Duolingo, the situation took a 180-degree turn. The application came loaded with personalization elements, making it easier for users to plan their own journey and enjoy.

With this covered, Duolingo has crossed the revenue of $6 billion every year. Also, the number is estimated to grow by around $8.7 billion by the end of the year 2025.

Overview of the Duolingo App Development Cost

If you wish to develop it for a single platform like Android or iOS, the development cost of an app like Duolingo can range from $25,000- 100,000.

However, If you want to develop an app like Duolingo for a hybrid platform, then the app development cost might range from $80,000- $150,000.

Now, this is just a rough estimate of your Duolingo app cost. The range can relatively move higher or lower depending on the type of advanced tech stack, functionalities and features used. Apart from that, there are distinctive factors that affect the mobile app development costs, which is why you need to consider a breakdown of all factors.

Let’s begin with understanding the factors that contribute directly to the Duolingo app cost.

cost estimate for your eLearning app

Factors that Contribute to Duolingo App Development Cost

The cost estimation of Duolingo like app development may vary from one education app development service to another. Moreover, the primary factors listed below also play a vital role:

1. App platform

The choice of building an application for Android, iOS, or both makes a difference in the cost value. This is because the required tech stack, app complexity, and other factors vary per the platform involved.

2. Frontend development

While some programming languages and frontend development environments are open-source and secure, others demand a higher fee to use. Also, a few of them do not offer customization in terms of tech stack. All these factors again create a significant difference in the language learning mobile app development cost.

3. Backend development

When it comes to developing education and mobile web platforms, backend development languages, frameworks, hosting servers, etc. add to the cost of the Duolingo app.

For example, when you choose microservices architecture over monolithic, you get better futuristic services but at a higher cost. Likewise, the use of Node.js costs less when compared to that of Java.

Likewise, when you do not ask your hired development team to pay for backend hosting services, you get an opportunity to reduce app development costs.

4. Design process

Again, the cost to design a mobile app also affects the overall cost of creating an app. So, it is imperative to be familiar with the factor that influences the cost of the Duolingo app, which includes not having a clear vision of what design elements to use, what design tools to prefer, the use of animation content, and more.

Besides, various companies charge separately for user persona, UX research, and user journey mapping. In such a scenario, it is better to hire an e-learning app development company that does not charge separately for the research and guesswork.

5. Testing

Last but not least, the tools and efforts related to the quality assurance process also reflect the difference in the overall cost of creating an app.

Here’s an exhibit of the above factors;

Task/ FeaturesDevelopment hours (/hr)Development Cost

(in $)

Frontend (for app)532$15-20,000
Content and exercises840$30-50,000

Now, another Duolingo app development cost breakdown depends on the features you integrate in your eLearning app development.

Top Six Features to Include in Duolingo-Like App Development

To create an app like Duolingo, you need to implement an advanced set of features to ensure high engagement and scalability. These features are associated with up to 60% of the final cost of a Duolingo-like app.

Check out the top features required to build an educational app.

Features of Language Learning Apps like Duolingo

1. Profile and settings

The foremost feature to consider while developing a Duolingo-like education application is Profile and Settings.

Here, users can save their personal details and see all the activities they have performed so far. Also, they can make some changes to the shared content or its privacy, ultimately enjoying a safe and satisfying experience on the platform.

2. Course and levels

Here, users are offered an opportunity to pick from 100 courses related to 40 languages and decide the pace at which they wish to learn. This means that they can choose if they want to learn on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

3. Language practice and revision

This is the feature that defines the actual purpose of the application. Here, users come across different speaking and listening exercises, alongside those requiring choosing from multiple options or translating the displayed content.

4. Push notification

Push Notification is yet another feature that you must consider while creating an app like Duolingo. This feature reminds users to complete their course if they miss out on any. Also, it contributes in terms of motivating users to leave their laziness and focusing on achieving their targeted goal soon.

5. Gamification

Gamification is one of the core features of the Duolingo-clone app.

This feature deals with adding gaming elements to your application and is used in different forms in the application. Two of the prime areas of usage are:

  • Experience and Levels – Gamified elements, like Animation and Sound effects, are used to make the screen super-engaging.
  • Achievement and Badges – Whenever you complete any course or task, you are awarded a badge and associated items. Also, there’s a leaderboard screen where you can see all of your achievements and feel motivated.

6. Social media integration

Last but not least, the Duolingo application offers users an opportunity to log in via their existing social media accounts.

While this feature impresses users looking to learn a new language or polish their skills in one they already know, what makes them pick Duolingo over Babbel or any other e-learning app is their UX strategy.

While we are done with the required features that affect the final Duolingo app development cost, you must take into account the steps to develop a successful Duolingo like education app.

Also read: Cost to Develop a Language Learning app like Babbel

Step-By-Step Process to Create a Learning App like Duolingo

According to Statista, Duolingo has 500 million worldwide users, which is expected to increase in the upcoming days. Therefore, businesses are now planning for e-learning mobile app development and follow a strong strategy for developing an educational app. Here is the step-by-step process to create a language app like Duolingo:

1. App idea based on language learning apps

Before you step into the world of mobile app development, get a clearer idea of why a language learning app is necessary. You need to have a clear idea about what type of e-learning app you want, which begins with clear research.

Soon after, you can start planning out the functionalities, features, technical stack, and other things you would like to implement in your e-learning application.

2. Platform for Duolingo like education app development

Businesses are often confused about the right platform they need to choose for their educational app development. It is always suggested first to determine the type of development platform and then move on to the development process.

In this competitive world of the online learning market, choosing the best platform for your application is a major factor that can determine the success of your mobile app. Make your choice based on the factors like app development, time, complexity, location, business needs, target audience, and so on.

3. Advanced tech stack

Depending on the type of language learning app development platform you choose, pick the technology stack accordingly. Various platforms consist of different technology stack methods and needs.

For instance, for developing an Android app, the programming languages required are Kotlin and Java, while iOS app development requires programming languages like Objective C and Swift. The same is applicable for the development parts of your educational app like Duolingo.

4. Create an appealing UI/UX

A poorly-designed e-learning app will only lead to uninstallation and nothing else. The users will uninstall an app if they find it difficult to navigate the features or unattractive.

Thus, it is crucial to keep the design process attractive and simple, ensuring that your e-learning application does not experience frequent uninstallations.

You need to keep a check on the following factors:

  • App’s usability
  • Wireframe
  • Information architecture
  • Visual design

5. Education app development process

Once you are completely done with the steps mentioned above; you can now begin with the development process of your language learning app. Start with creating an MVP version of your mobile app to know the viability of your app idea.

Creating an MVP is not only cost-effective but also helps you to know how your target audience is interacting with your app idea. Read this blog to know why MVP is important in software development.

6. Test your educational app

App Testing is a crucial part of your mobile app development process. Once you develop an educational app, test it for bugs in order to keep your application 100% bug or error-free just before its launch in the app stores.

Testing your mobile app will help you identify the loopholes of the app and other errors that can be rectified on time. Testing is a quality assurance process that will help smoothen your e-learning app development process while boosting the chances of revenue coming your way.

7. Education app launch

This is the final step of your language learning app after you have performed all the steps mentioned above successfully. Having an app launched isn’t the end but the beginning of taking your business to new heights. It is recommended to hire a reliable e-learning app development company to guide you throughout the entire process smoothly.

eLearning app services

As stated above, here’s an exhibit of the above process and its associated cost:

Task/ FeaturesDevelopment HoursDevelopment Cost
User interface design90-100$6,000-8,000
Design implementation70-80$5,000-8,000
Multiple resolution support50-70Depends on the development company
Core logic160Depends on the development company
App setup and launch24-30$5,000 onwards
Total450-500 hours$30,000-$50,000

While you are now aware of the rough Duolingo app development cost estimate, you might also want to discover your options and strategies to make sure you are going the right way.

10 Effective Strategies to Make Your Duolingo App Development Right

The top features of an app like Duolingo not only entice the users but will also enhance engagement. Other than the features, there are few strategies that you need to put into consideration to understand how to build a language learning app.

Here’s a list of effective strategies that can keep your education app ahead in the market:

1. Easy to use app

While building an app like Duolingo, you need to ensure that your app doesn’t irritate your users. They are here to learn something, and you have to make their learning process easier. Therefore, keep the application as simple and engaging as possible.

Focus on the UI and UX concept of your app and avoid excessive ornamentation.

With too much graphical ornamentation, your users will find it difficult to interact with the app and navigate it freely, thus going for uninstallation. Make your app fun and engaging by including simple exercises. You can also learn the tips and tricks for reducing mobile app uninstallation.

Follow a simple approach to make the exercises easy to understand. Create a clean UI to select puzzles, challenges, games, and other numerous language choices to ensure your users are engaged and interact well with your app.

2. Put gamification and learning together

E-learning applications like Duolingo take complete advantage of the gamification process for keeping the users engaged. With gamification, the learning process becomes fun. The entire learning process revolves around solving quests, puzzles, and getting points.

These apps are now transforming the entire learning procedure with the inclusion of exciting games with incentives, achievements, and challenges. So, if you are planning to create an app like Duolingo, then start with gamification at every step in order to make your app a success.

3. Chatbot integration

Language learning bots are just exceptionals. Duolingo is majorly popular because of its bots. The bots help practice vocabulary and foreign language. But where to start if you are also planning to build a language learning chatbot app like Duolingo? The AI powered chatbot learning framework will soon replace human tutors.

In case you have used Duolingo, then you will notice that the chatbot prompts you to submit the right response. In fact, bot texting has now become more effective than any other communication platform. And who knows, your billion-dollar learning app idea may just work.

Duolingo UX Takeaways

4. Simple yet engaging onboarding experience

Many business enthusiasts make the mistake of considering onboarding screens as the area where they could share all of their apps’ features. However, there are various users that wish to explore the app on their own or get irritated by seeing this user manual.

This is where Duolingo has outshined in the market. The application has minimal screens with short and crispy content; making way for users to land on the platform at the earliest and explore it themselves.

5. Delayed registration process

This language learning application does not force users to create an account at first. Rather, it lets users choose the course, and level, and perform a few lessons. After this, it displays a positive message to encourage users to register for an account, “Time to create a profile to save your progress and continue learning for free”.

This way, it shows what the application can do and how, before making it imperative to create an account. Something that increases the chances of user conversions.

Besides, the application has made the registration process short and faster to give a pleasant experience to users.

6. Push notification

Knowing the fact that building a push notification strategy can increase conversions, Duolingo has also introduced different push notification mechanisms into the app. They have used this technique to remind users about their daily/weekly/monthly goals and encourage them to take another course with some positive and personalized content.

7. Progressive onboarding experience

Another mistake that app designers and business people make is limiting the scope of the onboarding experience to the point the user enters the app. This is where Duolingo has proven to be an expert.

The application has introduced onboarding elements throughout the application. This way, they have succeeded in simplifying the workflow and delivering a higher level of personalized experience to users.

8. Speed and convenience

The application has also worked on delivering higher speed, convenience, and a valuable experience to its users – something that only a few applications like Netflix have nailed.

9. Positive messages and encouragements

The Duolingo app has also worked on adding positive vibes into its design. They have introduced positive messages to encourage users, in case they fail. This way, they have given an impression that they understand their user pain points and have the knack of how to bring them back.

The effect of which is that more than 45M users use the application every month.

10. Voice recognition

Lastly, they have looked into how to use voice recognition and Artificial intelligence for delivering a better user experience.

These features make Duolingo enjoy the limelight in the language learning industry. However, they are able to perform smoothly and deliver exceptional experiences because of the tech stack used.

So, let’s uncover the tech stack these apps are backed with.

Tech Stack to Consider for Building a Duolingo-clone App

Tech Stack to Consider for Building a Duolingo-clone App

The tech stack of the Duolingo app, that power up the features and make it a top choice  of every user, includes:

For Native development:

Java, Kotlin, Objective-C, Swift, Scala, and Swift for native development

For Backend development:

Backend is backed by Python, Vue.js, React.js, and Angular.js. CSS, jQuery, and Bootstrap are used to create the UI/UX design journey.

For Data management :

MySQL, Postgres, MongoDB, HBase, and Cassandra are considered for meeting the database management needs.

Similarly, Hadoop and Spark big data frameworks, Apache, and IBM are often considered for real-time analytics, and Amazon Data Services or Google Cloud Storage for cloud storage needs.

But, wait!

Before we make a stop, shouldn’t we also consider some of the significant development challenges and the ways to monetize Duolingo like education app development?

So, let’s check for the development challenges you might face in the process of creating a language learning  app.

Challenges You Might Face in Duolingo-like App Development

While there are various challenges associated with developing a Duolingo-like education application, the two significant challenges are:-

1. Delivering impeccable chatbot services

Duolingo’s bot is available in more than one language and delivers longer sentences. To create one such language-learning chatbot, you need to dive into complex algorithms and integration processes, especially when starting from scratch.

This demands higher efforts and budget, and many times does not even deliver results in the form of intelligent conversation as expected. So, it is a risky investment both for business people and developers.

2. Integrating voice technology with bot

Another such challenge that can be faced by the development team is integrating chatbot with voice-recognition technology. This is so because the voice technology is still immature with fewer sources to make this possible.

Something for which experts suggest to partner with top education apps development services only.

With this covered, let’s see how this language learning mobile app makes money (and you can too.

Bonus Read- How Do Apps Make Money?

Business Models You Can Follow For Your Duolingo Clone App

Duolingo Business Model

The Duolingo business model is Crowdsourced. It makes some text/content available to users for translation as a part of their learning course.

When multiple users give the same translation for any particular content, the website considers it as the right translation and saves it as the translated text. This text is then shared with organizations like BuzzFeed and CNN in return for some monetary benefits.

Besides, Duolingo also earns money by embracing the following these monetization models:

1. In-app Advertisement

This is another Duolingo business model, where the application allows users to enjoy free content but loads it with advertisements from brands who pay on the basis of CPC and CPI.

2. Subscription Model

Here, the application provides an ad-free experience alongside various other perks to users, when paid. The app lets users gain gems and in-app currency to unlock content beforehand and get more chances in competitions.

Also, the language learning app asks for a fee of $49 for enrolling for a certification in any language.

3. Freemium

Educational apps are now offering freemium features or access to special courses through payment. Freemium is one of the best ways to gain a huge user base for your e-learning platform; as it gives a chance to users to explore your app and know more about it.

In case, your users want to explore a few special courses or features of that application, then they need to pay for it.

4. Paid Apps

Paid apps business model simply means that your app is not free to download. If people want to utilize your app, then they must first purchase it from the App Stores. Paid apps for e-learning platforms can cost as per the services provided.

While these are the business models that Duolingo prefers, there are various other strategies that new-age businesses can emulate to earn money from a mobile app, with Affiliate marketing being on the top of the list.

With this covered, let’s wrap up this article by covering a few tips that can make your app prepared for the future.

Five Takeaways For Effective Duolingo Like App Development

We have already covered the Duolingo app development cost factor, however, it is crucial to align your app needs with your customer needs. For this, you might need a few bonus tips to understand the success criteria of Duolingo app.

1. Focus on customers

One of the reasons Duolingo is leading in its respective domain is that it solves users’ pain points better than others. So, taking the same forward, create your own  language app by planning as per your user expectations and needs. Target local markets to get a microscopic understanding of their requirements and implement them in the global market.

2. Introduce “real-time translation” and writing feature

There’s hardly any language learning application that offers the functionality of translating any word in real-time or learning how to write them. So, it is again a profitable opportunity to consider while building a Duolingo-clone app.

3. Localize your app

App localization can help to get more conversions and loyal customers. So, hire the experts and localize your app content in languages spoken by your target audience (usually in those that are majorly used by them).

4. Embrace latest techstack

Create your own language app by embracing the latest technologies in your business. Gamification and Artificial Intelligence are making a good profit. No denial of this. However, with the changing market, it is necessary to welcome other technologies too.

So, look ahead to integrate AR/VR, IoT, and other such trending technologies into your process of creating a language learning app like Duolingo.

5. Follow UI/UX trends

Knowing that the UX is the secret sauce of Duolingo’s success, it is again a profitable act to consider the top mobile app UI/UX design tips and trends.

For instance, Appinventiv created smarter digital tools for teachers in Gurushala, that aimed to save time while presenting an engaging and exciting lesson format. We ensured that the website is easy to navigate and user-friendly for both teachers and students.

Nova education app by Appinventiv

6. Promote your app

Last but not least, it is necessary to take the right steps for promoting your application. While the Duolingo team relied only on ‘Word of Mouth’ marketing, you can turn to other effective methods to promote your app and get better results.

In fact, it is better to invest in pre-launch app promotion to prepare the market for your application and enjoy higher downloads. And eventually, get back the money invested in the form of Duolingo app development cost.

How Can Appinventiv Help You With Duolingo Like App Development?

Appinventiv is a leading education app development company that has redefined learning for millions of students and trainers. Our team has vast experience in building next-gen education applications with state-of-the-art features using the latest learning techniques – gamification, social learning, blended learning, and interactivities.

Talk to our experts to leverage eLearning application development solutions loaded with features and functionalities.


Q. How much does it cost to develop a Duolingo-like application?

A. Duolingo app development cost for a single platform like Android or iOS can range from $25,000- 100,000. However, If you want to develop an app like Duolingo for a hybrid platform, then the app development cost might range from $80,000- $150,000. This range might also differ depending on your app requirements, therefore, it’s best to consult with an experienced education app development company before getting started.

Q. What is the development team’s structure for creating an app like Duolingo?

A. For creating an app like Duolingo, a development team’s structure should be as follows:

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

Hire a professional e-learning app development company like Appinventiv, to get these professional skills in order to make your app a reality.

Q. What are the features of Duolingo that made it famous?

A. Duolingo, the popular e-learning platform is famous because of these reasons:

  • The platform provides 10,000+ words and 23,000 sentences per language.
  • Any user can enhance their skills with this platform as they can start as a beginner or an experienced learner.
  • The app has 40 most popular languages, including French, English, Portuguese, Hindi, etc.
  • It includes everything about a particular language, for example, grammar, basics, phrases, etc.
  • The app has a skill tree which is divided into 9 units and these units get complicated as the learner passes the previous unit.
  • The application also has vocabulary lessons where the users can match images with words.
  • It also has a resource library that contains stories, practice sessions, podcasts, and other specific events that a learner can follow up on.
  • Leaderboards make it more interesting for the users as they can compete with the other users around the globe.

Q. How long does it take to build an app like Duolingo?

A. App development is time-consuming. Building a language learning software requires a lot of patience as it involves the complex tasks of engineering at both frontend and backends like UI design, data integration, and development.  Building an app like Duolingo might take 4-9 months, or more based on the complexity and other requirements.

To get detailed insights on this, check out how long does it take to develop a mobile app.

Q. What are some of the effective monetization strategies for building an app like Duolingo?

A. Are you planning to earn more revenue from your language learning app? Try the below-mentioned app monetization strategies today:

  • Pay-per-course
  • Premium Subscription
  • Freemium
  • Additional Option
  • In-app Purchase
  • Ads Model
Sudeep Srivastava
Co-Founder and Director
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