Analyzing Gamification of “Duolingo” with Focus on Its Course Structure

  • Duy Huynh
  • Long Zuo
  • Hiroyuki IidaEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10056)


Gamification is the application of game-based elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts. Many learning platforms have applied gamification to increase motivation and engagement. Duolingo is a popular language learning platform which has applied gamification. In this paper, game refinement measure is employed to evaluate the gamification of Duolingo. The results show that the range of game refinement value of Duolingo is reasonable in such as serious environment. By assuming a milestone in a language course as a sub-game, it is supposed that the challenges in each milestone could adapt the advancement of learners’ skill.


Duolingo Gamification Language learning platform Game refinement theory Attractiveness 



The authors wish to thank the anonymous referees for their constructive comments that helped to improve the article considerably. This research is funded by a grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), within the framework of the Grant-in-Aid for Challenging Exploratory Research (grant number 26540189).


  1. 1.
    A brief history of gamification: part III the definitions.
  2. 2.
    Barata, G., Gama, S., Jorge, J., Gonalves, D.: Engaging engineering students with gamification. In: 5th International Conference Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS-GAMES) (2013)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Carvalho, M.B., Bellotti, F., Berta, R., De Gloria, A., Islas Sedano, C., Baalsrud Hauge, J., et al.: An activity theory-based model for serious games analysis and conceptual design. Comput. Educ. 87, 166–181 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., Nacke, L.: From game design elements to gamefulness: defining “gamification”. In: 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments, pp. 9–15 (2011)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
  7. 7.
    Gee, J.P.: What Video Games Have to Teach About Learning and Literacy. Palgrave Macmillan, New York (2003)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hamari, J., Koivisto, J., Sarsa, H.: Does gamification work? A literature review of empirical studies on gamification. In: 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Hawaii, USA (2014)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Iida, H., Takahara, K., Nagashima, J., Kajihara, Y., Hashimoto, T.: An application of game-refinement theory to Mah Jong. In: Rauterberg, M. (ed.) ICEC 2004. LNCS, vol. 3166, pp. 333–338. Springer, Heidelberg (2004). doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-28643-1_41 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Iida, H., Takeshita, N., Yoshimura, J.: A metric for entertainment of boardgames: its implication for evolution of chess variants. In: Nakatsu, R., Hoshino, J. (eds.) Entertainment Computing. ITIFIP, vol. 112, pp. 65–72. Springer, Heidelberg (2003). doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-35660-0_8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kapp, K.M.: The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-Based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education. Pfeiffer, San Francisco (2012)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Klopfer, E.: Augmented Learning: Research and Design of Mobile Educational Games. MIT Press, Cambridge (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Muntean, C.I.: Raising engagement in e-learning through gamification. In: 6th International Conference on Virtual Learning (ICVL2012), pp. 323–329 (2011)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Nossal, N., Iida, H.: Game refinement theory and its application to score limit games. 2014 IEEE Games Media Entertain. (GEM), 1–3 (2014). doi: 10.1109/GEM.2014.7048120
  15. 15.
    Scepanovic, S., Zaric, N., Matijevic, T.: Gamification in higher education learning - state of the art, challenges and opportunities. In: Serbia: International Conference on e-Learning (2015)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Shaffer, D.W.: How Computer Games Help Children Learn. Palgrave Macmillan, New York (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sutiono, A.P., Purwarianti, A., Iida, H.: A mathematical model of game refinement. In: Reidsma, D., Choi, I., Bargar, R. (eds.) INTETAIN 2014. LNICST, vol. 136, pp. 148–151. Springer, Heidelberg (2014). doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-08189-2_22 Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Takeuchi, J., Ramadan, R., Iida, H.: Game refinement theory and its application to Volleyball. Research report 2014-GI-31(3), Information Processing Society of Japan, pp. 1–6 (2014)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Which countries study which languages, and what can we learn from it?

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Information ScienceJapan Advanced Institute of Science and TechnologyNomiJapan

Personalised recommendations