At Busuu we are confident that our methodology helps people learn to speak a new language, but we wanted to prove this through an academic efficacy study. We decided to work with an independent research team in the US, who had previously conducted efficacy studies into a number of other language learning software providers.
The research team
The research team consisted of Roumen Vesselinov, PhD, from City University New York and John Grego, PhD, from the University of South Carolina.
- The study ran for two months from February to April 2016.
- It focused on 196 Beginner-level Spanish learners in London and New York.
- They all studied with only Busuu for at least two hours per week for eight weeks.
- They sat standardised entry and exit tests: Webcape, which measures written proficiency, and OPIc, which measures oral proficiency.
- Participants’ time online was tracked for the whole study.
At the end of the eight-week study period, participants who had spent enough time on Busuu were invited to sit the exit tests. Those who had studied for more than two hours took the written test only and those who had studied for more than 16 hours took both the written and oral tests. Participants also answered a questionnaire. Any students who had used methods other than Busuu to study had their results excluded from the final outcomes.
- 84% of participants who sat the written test improved their result.
- Of those, 42% improved by the equivalent of one full college semester of Spanish or more.
- 10% moved up by the equivalent of 2 college semesters and 6% by 3 semesters.
- 75% of participants who sat the oral test improved their result by one level or more.
- Of those who studied for 16 hours or more on Busuu, 100% made a significant improvement to either their written test result, oral test result or both.
- 100% of those who answered the exit survey said that they would continue to use Busuu after the study ended.
- Participants gave Busuu an average net promoter score (NPS) of +8.4.
Average hours of study required to match one college semester of Spanish
Average gain in Webcape test points per hour of study