Language learning App Development like Memrise

In today’s interconnected world, it’s frustrating when you lose out on a potential deal with a Tokyo client due to a language barrier, or guiding a lost European tourist feels like playing charades, and even having a heartfelt conversation with your immigrant neighbor is challenging. Language learning apps like Memrise aim to bridge these gaps, creating a world where connections can go beyond borders.

Memrise isn’t just another boring textbook. It’s a lively community of over 60 million users, all eager to learn languages and make meaningful connections. This app understands the struggle of learning a new language. With fun mnemonics, engaging games, and a system that keeps information fresh, Memrise makes learning enjoyable and rewarding.

By developing their own language learning apps, businesses can help their customers break down language barriers and succeed in the international market.

What is the Memrise App?

Memrise is a smart language learning app that uses flashcards, listening exercises, and even AI chatbots to make learning engaging. It was founded in 2005 by Ed Cooke, Ben Whately, and Greg Detre, who were fascinated by how humans learn. The app offers courses in over 22 languages, focusing on practical vocabulary and phrases used by native speakers. Memrise currently has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Play with over 10 million downloads.

What Makes the Memrise App Unique?

Memrise carves its niche in the language learning app market by offering a unique blend of scientifically backed methods and gamification. Unlike some competitors that rely solely on rote memorization, Memrise leverages proven techniques like spaced repetition through its “SRS difficulty levels” feature. This ensures users encounter learned words at optimal intervals to solidify long-term memory. Furthermore, Memrise goes beyond static flashcards with its “Learn with Locals” mode. 

Here, users engage in real-life conversations with native speakers, encountering practical vocabulary and phrases used in everyday situations. This immersive experience helps individuals develop a better understanding and feel more confident when using a new language. Additionally, Memrise capitalizes on the power of games to keep users engaged. Features like “Lightning Rounds” transform practicing vocabulary into a fast-paced race against the clock, turning a potentially tedious task into a fun challenge. This gamified approach not only boosts user engagement but also reinforces learning through a more interactive experience.

How Memrise Generates Revenue?

Memrise, like many language learning apps, leverages a freemium revenue model to attract and retain users. This strategy offers a free tier with access to a substantial portion of its language courses and features. This allows users to test the app’s effectiveness before committing to a paid subscription.

The premium subscription gives access to the full potential of Memrise, offering a richer learning experience for a monthly fee of $22.99, a yearly fee of $71.99, or a one-time lifetime access fee of $100. These premium features cater to users who are serious about language acquisition. Upgrading unlocks benefits like unlimited daily lessons for accelerated learning, offline access for mobile convenience, advanced grammar and pronunciation tools for improved accuracy, and even chatbot interactions for practicing speaking skills.

Key Market Takeaways for Language Learning Apps

According to BusinessResearchInsights, the language learning app market is experiencing a meteoric rise, with a projected market size of USD 16.63 billion by 2031. This explosive growth is driven by several key factors, making it a lucrative space for businesses in the EdTech sector.

Key Market Takeaways for Language Learning Apps

Source: BusinessResearchInsights

In an increasingly interconnected world, communication across borders is paramount. Businesses are expanding internationally, and travel is becoming more accessible. This fuels the demand for language learning apps, as the ability to speak a second language opens doors to educational opportunities, career advancement, and deeper cultural understanding.

The English language continues to be the primary language used for international communication. Companies like Duolingo, for instance, have partnered with educational institutions like The City University of New York to offer accredited English language courses within their app. This caters to learners seeking fluency for academic or professional purposes. However, the market isn’t limited to English. The high CAGR of 16.38% indicates a strong demand for a wider variety of languages. 

The language learning app market is seeing exciting partnerships that enhance the user experience. For example, Babbel recently partnered with the BBC to offer learners access to authentic BBC content within the app. This not only provides learners with engaging practice materials but also leverages the BBC’s reputation for high-quality content. Additionally, companies like Busuu are incorporating gamification elements and AI-powered chatbots to create a more interactive and immersive learning experience.

What are the Must-Have Features of a Language Learning App?

Building a loyal user base goes beyond just offering language instruction. The most successful language learning apps understand the importance of fostering connection and engagement. Here are some key features that can set your language-learning app apart:

1. Speech-to-Text Technology

This feature, similar to Memrise’s “Speak It” functionality, allows users to record themselves speaking and receive instant translations. This is particularly valuable for languages with complex writing systems, like Mandarin Chinese or Arabic. By making spoken and written language more accessible, businesses can reach a broader audience and help learners grappling with unfamiliar alphabets.

2. Customized Learning Paths

Catering to individual learning styles and progress is crucial. Algorithm-driven, personalized lessons, like those offered by apps such as Babbel, adapt to the user’s strengths and weaknesses. This ensures continuous progress and keeps users motivated. By tailoring the learning journey to each user, businesses can maximize the effectiveness of their language learning programs for employees or customers.

3. Built-in Correction Systems

Features like Memrise’s “difficult words” function allow users to flag challenging words or phrases for focused review. Additionally, side-by-side comparisons of corrected and original attempts can solidify learning and improve accuracy. This not only benefits individual learners but also translates to a more confident workforce for businesses seeking to expand their global reach.

4. Diverse Learning Activities

Effective language learning requires a multi-pronged approach. Apps should offer a variety of tasks beyond just text translation. Features like audio transcription and voice recognition analysis, similar to Duolingo’s listening and speaking exercises, can enhance listening comprehension and pronunciation. This well-rounded approach caters to different learning styles and ensures a more comprehensive understanding of the target language.

5. Interactive Chatbots

Chatbots equipped with real-time query responses and speech-to-text support can provide users with a safe space to practice conversation and receive instant feedback. This can significantly boost user engagement and mimic real-world language interactions.

6. Online Communities

Integrated online communities, similar to those found on apps like HelloTalk, allow users to connect with native speakers and fellow learners. This opens doors for cultural exchange, resource sharing, and language-related conversations that go beyond the app’s curriculum. Businesses can utilize these communities to cultivate brand loyalty and foster a sense of belonging among their customers.

7. Real-Time Learning Sessions

The thrill of real-time interaction can significantly enhance language acquisition. Features like live video conferences with teachers, similar to those offered by italki, provide users with the opportunity to practice speaking and receive personalized feedback in a dynamic setting. This fosters deeper engagement and boosts confidence, making users more likely to stick with the learning process.

8. Gamification

Let’s face it: learning a new language can feel like hard work at times. Gamification elements, like those found in Duolingo’s league system and points rewards, can transform language learning into a fun and competitive experience. Leaderboards, badges, and in-app rewards incentivize users to practice consistently and make learning more enjoyable. This not only benefits individual users but also translates to a more motivated workforce for businesses that encourage language learning among their employees.

9. Performance Tracking and Analytics

Data is king in the app development world. A user-friendly dashboard that tracks learning progress, similar to Memrise’s progress bars and streak displays, allows users to monitor their strengths and weaknesses. This transparency helps users stay motivated and celebrate their achievements. Businesses can also leverage this data to identify areas for improvement within their app and tailor their content to meet user needs better.

10. Language Learning Social Networks

Social interaction is a strong motivator. Incorporating features that enable users to engage with native speakers and other learners on social media platforms can establish a more captivating learning environment. This helps to build a sense of community and gives users the opportunity to practice their language skills in real-world situations. By facilitating these connections, businesses can develop a dynamic ecosystem that supports language learning and enhances brand awareness.

How to Develop a Language Learning App Like Memrise?

Building an edtech app like Memrise involves several key steps, each crucial for developing a functional and engaging platform. Businesses and companies aiming to enter this market need to focus on the following stages:

1. Market Research and Planning

Thorough market research is crucial to understand the current market, identify the target audience, and determine the unique selling points of the new app. This phase involves analyzing competitors like Memrise, Duolingo, and Babbel to pinpoint gaps and opportunities. Companies must outline their business goals, project scope, and financial projections.

2. Defining Core Features

The app should incorporate essential features similar to Memrise, including a SRS to optimize memory retention. The focus should be on conversation practice by offering practical vocabulary and phrases used in everyday scenarios. Incorporating various learning styles, such as flashcards, audio lessons with native speakers, and AI-driven speaking practice, can enhance user engagement.

3. Incorporating Native Speaker Audio

High-quality audio recordings by native speakers are crucial for teaching accurate pronunciation and intonation. Companies should collaborate with native speakers to produce clear and natural-sounding audio content. Features like Memrise’s “Learn with Locals,” where users can watch video clips of native speakers, add an authentic touch to the learning experience.

4. Developing the App Backend

Robust backend development is vital for handling user data, managing content, and ensuring smooth performance. This includes setting up databases, servers, and APIs that can support user progress tracking, spaced repetition algorithms, and content updates. Companies should ensure that the backend is scalable to accommodate a growing user base.

5. Creating Content

High-quality, diverse content is the backbone of any language-learning app. Businesses should collaborate with language experts to develop comprehensive courses. User-generated content can also be a valuable addition, allowing app users to create and share their own learning materials. Video clips featuring native speakers, like Memrise’s “Learn with Locals,” can enhance pronunciation practice.

6. Integrating AI and Machine Learning

AI and machine learning can personalize the learning experience by adapting to individual user needs. An AI chatbot for conversation practice, similar to Memrise’s new “Communicate” feature, can help users build confidence in speaking. Machine learning algorithms can also optimize the spaced repetition system, ensuring users review content at the most effective intervals.

7. Basic Grammar Integration

While Memrise primarily focuses on vocabulary, it also offers basic grammar explanations in some courses. Companies should integrate grammar lessons that are easy to understand and relevant to the vocabulary being taught. These lessons can be presented as short, interactive exercises that help users grasp fundamental grammatical concepts without overwhelming them.

8. Testing and Quality Assurance

It is important to conduct thorough testing to identify and fix bugs, ensure compatibility across devices, and confirm that all features are working as intended. Beta testing with a specific group of users can provide useful feedback on usability and content effectiveness. Quality assurance should be an ongoing process with regular updates and improvements based on user feedback.

What is the Cost To Develop a Language Learning App like Memrise?

ComponentDetailsEstimated Cost
Research & Planning– In-depth competitive analysis- User research for deep audience insights- Comprehensive UX with detailed wireframes and prototypes$10,000 – $20,000
Front-End Development– Polished and interactive UI with custom animations- Gamification with rewards and personalized learning paths- Dynamic interface using AI$40,000 – $80,000
Back-End Development– Robust server infrastructure- Powerful analytics for user behavior tracking- Real-time chat and personalized content recommendations$40,000 – $100,000
App FeaturesFlashcard System: Advanced spaced repetition and multimedia integration (video/interactive elements)$10,000 – $15,000
Spaced Repetition Algorithm: Customized algorithm adapting to individual learning patterns with AI optimization$20,000 – $30,000
Multiple Review Modes: Variety of review options with adaptive difficulty levels and personalized feedback$10,000 – $20,000
Listening Skills: Advanced speech recognition and interactive listening exercises with AI-powered conversation simulations$15,000 – $25,000
Speaking & Pronunciation: AI chatbot with NLP capabilities (potentially $100,000+), “Learn with Locals” features, real-time interaction, extensive video managementHighly Variable
Offline Mode: Selective offline access and content synchronization$10,000 – $20,000
Streaks & Gamification: Comprehensive gamification system with social learning, leaderboards, dynamic challenges, and personalized rewards$10,000 – $20,000
Testing & Quality Assurance– Cross-platform testing on a wide range of devices- User acceptance testing (UAT) with real users$10,000 – $20,000
UI/UX Design– Cutting-edge UI focusing on visual appeal, intuitive navigation, and personalized layouts- Implementing user research findings for optimized learning$10,000 – $30,000
Total Estimated Cost$180,000 – $300,000+

Here are some variable factors that impact the overall development cost,

1. Advanced Spaced Repetition Algorithms

Memrise’s signature strength lies in its spaced repetition system. Unlike simpler apps, this system requires complex algorithms that go beyond basic scheduling. Optimizing learning by adapting review intervals to individual memory retention patterns and incorporating AI-powered learning personalization adds significant development costs.

2. AI-powered Features

Features like Memrise’s MemBot, an AI chatbot for conversation practice, are a unique cost consideration. Building a convincing conversational AI engine requires strong natural language processing capabilities, which can be costly. Companies should carefully evaluate the cost-benefit of such features, especially compared to simpler alternatives like pre-recorded phrases with native speakers.

3. “Learn with Locals” Functionality

This feature, showcasing videos of native speakers, presents a unique development challenge. Extensive video content management, storage, and potentially real-time interaction functionalities with these speakers significantly increase complexity. This can translate to higher costs compared to a standard educational app.

4. Focus on Culturally Relevant Content

Memrise goes beyond just translating words; it aims to introduce users to cultural nuances. Developing content that incorporates cultural references, humor, and idiomatic expressions specific to the target language requires additional resources and expertise compared to a purely translation-based approach.

Tech Stacks Required to Develop a language learning app like Memrise

To develop a language learning app like Memrise, companies need to utilize a robust tech stack to ensure the app is not only functional but also provides a seamless user experience. Here are some essential tech stacks required.:

1. Frontend Development

React Native can be a great choice for building the front end of a language-learning app. It enables the development of cross-platform applications, ensuring smooth performance on both iOS as well as on Android devices. React Native is known for its efficiency in creating responsive and dynamic user interfaces, which is crucial for engaging language learners.

2. Backend Development

Node.js, combined with Express.js, provides a strong backend foundation. This stack is essential for handling server-side operations, managing databases, and ensuring that the app can process user requests efficiently. Node.js is particularly effective due to its non-blocking I/O model, which supports real-time data interactions, a key feature for language learning apps.

3. Spaced Repetition Algorithm

Implementing a spaced repetition algorithm like Memrise is fundamental. This requires a backend system capable of scheduling and presenting vocabulary and phrases to users based on their learning progress and performance. This stack involves complex algorithms to optimize memory retention over time, a key feature of language learning apps.

4. Audio Integration

Audio playback and recording features are essential for language learning apps. Using services like Twilio or WebRTC for real-time audio streaming and playback ensures that users can practice pronunciation and listening skills effectively. This enhances the interactive nature of the app, similar to Memrise’s integration of native speaker recordings.

5. Video Content Management Systems

For features like “Learn with Locals” in Memrise, incorporating video content management systems such as Vimeo or Amazon Kinesis Video Streams is crucial. These services enable the storage, streaming, and playback of short video clips featuring native speakers using the language in authentic contexts. This enhances cultural immersion and language comprehension.

6. Progress Tracking and Analytics Tools

Implementing robust analytics tools like Mixpanel or Amplitude is essential for tracking user progress and engagement metrics. These tools provide insights into user behavior, learning patterns, and content effectiveness, enabling companies to optimize course offerings and enhance user retention strategies based on data-driven decisions.

7. Real-Time Communication Tools

Integrating real-time communication tools like WebRTC or Twilio enables companies to offer virtual classroom functionalities within the app. This feature supports live language tutoring sessions, group discussions, and peer-to-peer interactions, fostering collaborative learning experiences. By facilitating live interactions, businesses can differentiate their app and attract users seeking personalized learning support and social engagement.

Top 5 Competitors in the Language Learning App Space

The language learning app market is highly competitive, with several key players offering diverse features and learning methodologies. Here are the top five competitors dominating this space:

1. Duolingo


Boasting over 300 million downloads globally, Duolingo reigns supreme in popularity. It leverages a gamified approach with bite-sized, interactive lessons, making language learning accessible and engaging. This free app thrives on a freemium model, offering an optional paid subscription that removes ads and unlocks extra practice features. Duolingo can be accessed on both iOS and Android platforms and has an impressive 4.7-star rating on the Google Play Store as well as a 4.5-star rating on the Apple App Store.

2. Babbel


Babbel focuses on helping learners develop practical conversation skills, making it suitable for those aiming to improve their real-world communication abilities. The app uses a research-backed methodology and has over 10 million paid subscribers worldwide. Although there is a free trial available, a paid subscription is required to access the full course library. Babbel can be used on iOS, Android, and desktop platforms, and it maintains a strong 4.3-star rating on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

3. Busuu


This app combines interactive exercises with personalized feedback from native speakers. Busuu reports having over 100 million users worldwide and offers a free tier with limited lessons. Upgrading to a premium plan unlocks additional courses, grammar explanations, and offline access. Busuu is available on iOS, Android, and desktop platforms and enjoys a 4.1-star rating on the Google Play Store and a 4.2-star rating on the Apple App Store.

4. Drops


This app focuses on building vocabulary through short, visually appealing lessons. With over 50 million downloads and a focus on gamification, Drops caters to learners who prefer a quick, bite-sized approach. The app offers a free tier with limited lessons, while a premium subscription unlocks all languages and learning features. Drops is available on iOS and Android platforms and boasts a user rating of 4.6 stars on both stores.

5. Anki


This free, open-source flashcard app caters to self-directed learners who enjoy customization. Anki allows app users to create their own flashcards or download pre-made decks for various languages. While it requires more upfront effort from the user, Anki offers a powerful and flexible learning experience. Anki is available on iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac platforms.


These days, the ability to bridge language barriers isn’t just a professional asset; it’s a passport to new cultures, deeper connections, and a richer understanding of the world. This is why language learning apps are booming, empowering individuals to unlock the potential of languages. For businesses, creating a language learning app can be more than just a strategic move – it’s a chance to empower people to chase dreams, build bridges, and forge connections across borders.

By focusing on user experience, cutting-edge features, and culturally relevant content, businesses can create language-learning apps that don’t just teach languages; they spark a love for them.

Interested in Developing a Language Learning App Like Memrise?

Idea Usher can be your guide. Our team boasts over 500,000 hours of development experience, tackling complex features like spaced repetition algorithms and AI-powered chatbots. We’ll help you craft an engaging learning experience that leverages cutting-edge technology to empower users to conquer new languages. Let Idea Usher turn your vision into a reality.

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Q1: How to create a language learning application?

Building a language learning app requires a multi-step approach. First, define your target audience and core functionalities like flashcards or spaced repetition. Then, consider features like AI or gamification. Research development teams and platform compatibility factors impacting cost. Finally, prioritize core features, potentially launching an MVP to gather user feedback before adding complex functionalities.

Q2: Are language learning apps profitable?

A2: Absolutely, language learning apps can be quite profitable. The market has witnessed a surge in recent years, with users seeking convenient and engaging ways to acquire new languages. Many apps utilize freemium models, offering basic features for free and premium features like advanced courses or conversation tools through subscriptions or in-app purchases. This strategy allows for a large user base while generating revenue from dedicated learners.

Q3: How long does it take to create a language-learning app?

A3: The timeline for developing a language learning app depends on its complexity. A basic version with core features like flashcards and progress tracking might take around six months. However, for a feature-rich app boasting elements like AI-powered conversation practice or gamification, the development cycle could extend to 1 year or more. Prioritizing core features initially allows businesses to launch faster and gather user feedback to guide further development.

Q4: How much does it cost to develop a language learning application?

The expense of building a language learning app depends heavily on the features you prioritize. Simple apps with core functionalities like flashcards and spaced repetition are less expensive to develop than those packed with advanced features like AI chatbots and speech recognition. Additional factors like development team location and whether you target one or both major mobile platforms also influence the overall cost. By focusing on essential features initially and potentially launching an MVP first, businesses can test the market and refine their app before investing heavily in complex features.

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