Babbel, the Berlin-based language learning app, announced today that, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will make its service available for free to all K-12 and university students until the end of the period. Previously, the company offered similar treatment for students in Italy, the UK, Germany, Spain, and France.
Currently, the service offers courses in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Indonesian and English. Students who want to enroll (or whose parents force them to) only need a valid school address to start.
“The number of students affected by the closure of high schools and universities across the United States is increasing daily, and it is anticipated that the education system will be further affected in the coming weeks,” said Julie Hansen, Babbel & # 39; s CEO of EE. USA “As the students are forced to stay home, Babbel is in a position to help right now and that is exactly what we want to do. In this time of global concern, we remember the similarities we have with other people around the world, rather than what divides us. “
The company also tells me that it is seeing increased demand from schools looking for ways to keep their students practicing their language skills while they are out of the classroom. However, even without taking these students into account, the total number of Babbel subscribers is actually at the moment, which is a surprise, since most people probably aren’t thinking about learning the basics of a language for your next vacation.
“Since people around the world are tied to their homes, we see strong acceptance in the learning activity,” said Babbel CEO Arne Schepker. “More than ever, large numbers of people are starting a new language journey with Babbel. This is something that makes us extremely humble and grateful. If our work helps make your day a little better, I think this is more than we could have asked for. ”
In all geographies, Babbel is seeing the same trends, where new subscriptions slow down as the pandemic becomes paramount and then picks up once school closes and shelter-in-place rules go into effect. The same is also true for existing subscribers, who, on average, are now more active as well. However, unsurprisingly, “traveling” is not a great motivation for new students than it was before this pandemic.
The popular free language learning app Duolingo is also experiencing similar growth. The company tells me that its growth in new users has increased 40% worldwide, and especially in countries that have been aggressive with their isolation measures. In the last week alone, Duolingo experienced a 91% increase in new users in the US. USA, and even greater growth in European countries such as France and Spain. With TOEFL and IELTS testing centers in China and other countries closed, Duolingo’s certification program is also experiencing close to 300% growth in China and Korea.