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August 2017
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TD Magazine
Cool Tool: Duolingo

As business becomes increasingly global, the need for workers who can communicate in more than one language has increased dramatically. Research from New American Economy shows that demand for bilingual workers in the United States has more than doubled during the past five years. The supply of these workers is limited, though, and training them can be expensive.

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That's why talent development professionals should get to know Duolingo, a free language learning platform for both mobile devices and desktop computers.

The process for getting started with Duolingo is easy. First, visit the website (Duolingo.com) or download the app. Next, hit the "Get Started" button to create an account. You'll be prompted to choose a language to learn from more than 20 different options, ranging from Spanish to Swahili to Vietnamese. Then, you get to choose a pace for your learning—"casual," "regular," "serious," or "insane"—which leads the platform to recommend how many minutes a day you should spend studying.

Once you've finished those steps, you're ready to start completing lessons. Consisting of a variety of speaking, listening, translation, and multiple-choice challenges, each lesson features aspects of gamification. For example, Duolingo lets you instantly see which answers on a challenge you got correct or incorrect, with immediate feedback on how to improve. The platform also keeps people coming back with its game-like "Streak Count" function, which records how many days in a row you spend learning a language.

About the Author
The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.
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