Italki Vs Duolingo: A Review Of 2 Great Apps

Since I first started learning English, practicing and speaking English has been a troublemaker for me. Especially if you live in an EFL country, it gets more challenging.

The English lessons at school were not enough since they were not based on a communicative teaching approach. So I was learning grammar and vocabulary at school but I couldn’t speak English in the real world. That’s why I started looking for language apps.

I have tried out numerous language apps so far and found effective and helpful language apps that focus on speaking and communicating like Italki. I also found many apps that focus on sentence structure and vocabulary like Duolingo.

So, in this Italki vs Duolingo review, we are going to elaborate on their special features one by one, as well as compare their effectiveness for language learners. Let’s get started with the Italki review first!


Italki: First Look

italki vs duolingo

Italki is more than just a language learning app. It also makes you socialize within its learner community. We can say that this app mainly focuses on language learning while actually using the target language.

You can study any language you want with professional teachers or community tutors besides practicing with a native speaker in the Italki community. They decide their own schedule, and price and they have various qualifications and experiences and come from all around the world. Basically, Italki is a platform where language learners and language teachers meet.

How To Use Italki?

First of all, you should know what you are looking for as a learner. What do you expect from your teacher? While some language learners want to practice speaking, others may want to learn grammar rules. Once you decide what kind of a language class you want, finding a suitable tutor becomes easier.

Community Tutor: Some community tutors may lack teaching certificates or experience whereas some maybe even better than a certificated teacher. They are generally friendly, approachable, and patient with their learners. If you want to focus on your speaking you can go for a community tutor who is a native speaker.

Professional Teacher: Professional teachers have teaching certificates and most of them graduated from a language teaching department. They have amazing teaching experiences all over the world. If you want to focus on general language or prepare for an exam like IELTS, you can go for a professional teacher.

Besides their prices, reviews, and schedules, you can also see where each teacher comes from. This can help you master a specific accent or dialect in your target language.

Almost all the teachers on Italki offer 30 minutes trial lessons which are great to try as many teachers before purchasing regular lessons.

If you found your teacher now it is time to schedule lessons. Just click on the “Book Now” button or, you can contact the teacher and ask them any questions you may have before beginning. Booking a lesson is easy because fortunately Italki show when the teacher is available based on your own time zone.

After booking, you will be able to select an online meeting platform like Zoom, Skype, etc. Also, Italki has a video chat platform called Italki Classroom, you can also select this one.

Let’s get to the payment. The prices are based on USD, so you can either pay with USD or Italki will convert it into your own currency. Lessons start from $5 and go up based on the teacher and lesson length.

Features Of Italki

Italki Lessons

I must say that one-to-one online classes are perfect for practicing speaking because there is nobody to judge your mistakes and you can just speak at your own pace. Sometimes these things can be challenging for introverts or relatively shy learners (like me).

Lessons are as unique as the teachers on Italki. They include different materials and topics for each lesson. Some will be more suitable for you while some won’t so it is really up to the teacher and your needs. So, I recommend you find a teacher that has a teaching method suitable to your learning style.

Italki lessons have the same format more or less, you basically just chat online with them during the whole lesson. Some teachers tend to correct every mistake, while some others let the mistakes go, and some take notes and go over them at the end of the lesson.

Italki Community

There are several free community features that you’ll find in the Italki app. It kind of works like a social media feed where you can come across other teachers’ and learners’ posts such as language materials, questions, polls, blog posts, etc.

In the “For You” section, there are a bunch of posts that you might be interested in, categorized into topics. These posts include things like general language discussion, conversations on more specific topics like food or books, people asking specific questions about languages, and lots of learners looking for language partners to practice with.

You can also write about your ideas on any topic to provide yourself with feedback from native language speakers. Or, you can ask for some language tips let’s say for grammatical issues and again a native speaker in the community will reply to your question.

Language Partners

Although lessons on Italki are rather inexpensive, if you are willing to spend more money, you can enjoy using the resource as a way to connect with a language partner. With such a large community of users, it is easy to find someone to practice languages with. This is even easier if you are a native English speaker.

Once you find a language partner, you are supposed to help them learn and practice the language and they will help you in return. Both sides will help each other out.

Pros & Cons


  • Prices for different budges
  • Great teachers even at low prices
  • Flexible lesson hours
  • Additional features in the Italki Community


  • Hard to find an available tutor online from time to time
  • Italki itself doesn’t provide any language materials like other apps


Duolingo: First Look

As you know, Duolingo is the most popular language-learning app and it has a great number of language courses. In my opinion, Duolingo is perfect to learn the basics of a new language and have general knowledge of that language.

Duolingo is based on the grammar-translation method which has been a highly criticized language teaching method by language teachers and experts for years. But still, it had a place in every learner’s language journey. If you are a total beginner, a Duolingo course will teach you many things like sentence structure and new vocabulary. Moreover, learning grammar is pretty simple with Duolingo.

But is Duolingo enough to master your language skills, especially speaking? Let’s go through this quick and concise Duolingo review together! If you like, you can also check out this detailed Duolingo review.

Features Of Duolingo

Gamified Approach

Every language course consists of a tree system in Duolingo. As you finish lessons one by one, you reach a checkpoint. As you complete lessons, they turn into gold but they may crack after some time, so it means you should revise those lessons. To pass a language course, you must complete all checkpoints. Unfortunately, every time you make a mistake a heart goes down and when you have no hearts anymore you will have to wait until they are filled again.

Motivational Competition

What I like about Duolingo is that you can compete with your friends as well as 50 random Duolingo users on the leaderboard. The leaderboard is updated every Monday so you always have a chance to get the first place. In Duolingo, there are ten leagues in total. Only the first 10 learners level up to the next league, whereas the last ten learners are demoted back to the previous league.

Lesson Design

In Duolingo, you can practice writing, reading, speaking, and listening in each lesson. The lessons follow the same plan no matter how many checkpoints you have finished. All activities are focused on translating between two languages. To be honest, I am not a fan of this teaching method because there can be both grammatical and contextual differences between those languages, and making a translation word by word is not a healthy approach at all.

Short Stories

On Duolingo, you can read short stories according to your proficiency level. There are various sets of stories that have different topics. The more you read, the more difficult they become. Each story turns into gold after you finish them but you can reread them anytime.


Podcasts are a free feature of Duolingo. Unfortunately, they are not available in every language. As far as I know, they are available in English, Spanish, and French. If you are studying one of these languages, why don’t you give it a try?

Pros & Cons


  • Great start for beginners
  • Huge language repertoire
  • Long-lasting motivation
  • Provides language materials
  • Free


  • No topical categorization
  • Not suitable for advanced learners
  • Repetitive lessons 
  • Unuseful phrases 
  • Distracting ads


Which Is Better Italki Or Duolingo?

Actually, Italki and Duolingo are very different from each other in terms of content, even though they both aim to teach languages online. Duolingo is based on translation between two languages, Italki on the other hand, is based on communicative language teaching and gives you the opportunity to practice speaking with native speakers.

If you want to communicate in your target language or let’s say you want to master your communicative language skills, then Italki would be a perfect match for you. I can say that from my experience just give it a try you won’t regret it!

But, if you are a beginner who wants to learn general rules of the language as well as vocabulary at a slow pace, then Duolingo would be more suitable for you.

Still not feeling content? Maybe wondering what are the other alternatives out there? Give this amazing language app below a try!


Learn Languages With Ling App!

If you are still feeling indecisive about which app is the best for you, here is another great language app for you: The Ling App!

The Ling App is an effective language learning website offering more than 60 language courses. Ling App has already been featured by many platforms and it has been scored 4.8 by thousands of users on Play Store.

It has a gamified teaching method with interactive language practices and activities. You can master your new language with all aspects such as reading, writing, listening, and speaking by using the Ling App for only 10 minutes a day. I guarantee that you will become much more motivated to learn a new language thanks to this app. You can get the Ling App from both the App Store and Play Store. What’s more, is that you can try it out for free!

What are you waiting for? Download the Ling App and start learning right now!

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