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It was late. She desperately made her excuses and promptly left her friend’s house. On the way home, she realised that she wouldn’t make it back to her house before midnight. It wasn’t specifically the house she was in a rush to get back to: it was the stable wireless internet connection there. Reluctantly, she pulled over in her car, fumbled around for her android phone and hastily booted up the duolingo smartphone app. Precious moments later, the all too familiar trumpeting chime signalled that she was out of hearts. It had gone past midnight. She had lost her 177 day duolingo streak.

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And that’s how my Mum lost her duolingo streak. I’ve had a similar harrowing experience, frantically trying to maintain my duolingo streak before midnight whilst I was out of the house and waiting at a bus stop while it was raining.

My duolingo streaks never mature into three digits’ worth of days. However I do respect that language learning definitely requires constant practise if you really hope to make some decent progress. Currently I am focusing on learning Danish, and maintaining my Thai. None of these languages are available on duolingo yet, so I was trying to do some French on the site (I was previously using the site to learn German, but I had language interference with my Danish studies).

After a while, it became apparent that I was really not motivated to carry on with my French duolingo streak. I’d do the bare minimum to maintain the streak, but I didn’t really care about the language learning aspect at all. Eventually, I became too complacent to even carry on the streak everyday, frequently purchasing ‘streak freezes’ and becoming increasingly dependent on them. It got the point where I was running low on lingots and I had no more ‘streak freezes’. When my streak eventually ran out, it was hardly surprising to me.

When I lose my streak on duolingo, I find it harder to start over again. I feel a little bit deflated and like I’ve lost a lot of momentum to carry on. In reality though, it’s just an arbitrary number. My Mum is back on the wagon, and building up her duolingo streak once again with her German and Italian. As for me, I’m going to wait until the site has languages which are more inline with my current studying (which will be a lot easier over time, as more and more languages are added to the site!).

Do any of you have stories about duolingo streaks you want to share? Do you even feel it is a useful feature? I implore you to let me know in the comments – let’s get a discussion going!

Bonus – tricks to keep a duolingo streak

  • on the website: do a timed practise session. Get one correct answer. You have maintained your streak
  • on the website: translate sentences in the ‘immersion’ mode. You have maintained your streak
  • on the android app: go to the beginning of your skill tree. Do the ‘basics’ lesson. You have maintained your streak
  • on iOS devices: play head to head against a robot. You have maintained your streak.
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