Company founder Luis Von Ahn told the publication that there's "a huge demand globally, and mostly in developing countries, but illiteracy is an issue even in the UK." He added: "We can make a real dent in this market." And Duolingo can reach potential users in developing nations, thanks to the availability of cheap smartphones. Most likely, what will hinder its use in remote regions is the lack of steady access to WiFi or mobile data.
Duolingo ABC will start by teaching kids to recognize letters, then words, and then sentences before moving on to paragraphs. Von Ahn says the company worked with literacy experts to decide on the various teaching approaches it'll use, such as focusing on individual sounds in words and on the relationship between written characters and spoken sounds. The app was also designed to widen and improve the child's vocabulary and reading comprehension. Of course, ABC will also feature gaming elements like the main Duolingo application. Its gamification aspect will probably be crucial in keeping kids motivated -- after all, it's already encouraging adults to fire up the main Duolingo app to learn new languages.