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  5. where's the gamification?


where's the gamification?

I remember outfits for my owl, a more reliable lingot economy with gems for lessons.

I now have my children involved (the 8 and 12 year old. the 5 year old could do the mouse based lessons, if I could find a way to turn off the keyboard/typing based parts) and the lack of gamification is sort of hurting. My 8 year old was very excited by her first lingots and now thinks there's no point when all you can do is buy a couple lesson functions.

So, where's the gamification going? Is it something that is being eliminated in favor of a scholastic drill drill drill system?

September 15, 2015



Managing an economy is hard. I guess they didn't figure out what to really do with the lingots.

Personally I think Timed Practice is the "gamification" part of Duolingo but I can definitely see your point. I imagine 8 and 12 year children won't necessarily see the fun in the game.

I still miss the hearts.


Oh, there are levels of fun in the game for the children. There's just not.... enough to maintain the fun, I guess.

I personally love timed practice. Definitely a great feature.


Since I've joined they've removed the three hearts and you fail system. That took away the bonus lingots for lessons in which you lost zero hearts. They added and then subtracted the Duels.

They've added two track suits (to the Android app, it's never been available on the website), added three bonus skills (Christmas only available in December). They've added the Coach, Words, and Schools features. The Streak Freeze, Double or Nothing, and Timed Practice already existed. There are lingots for 10 day streaks as well.

Is there something in particular that you didn't want them to remove? Being more specific is the most helpful feedback people can give to Duolingo.


The track suits aren't available for the kids, then. (using the web) Schools don't seem to work for homeschoolers anyway, and I'm not sure what coach and words features have to do with the gamification aspect. Can you explain?

streak freeze, double or nothing, time practice, and quizzes exist. (as I mentioned earlier, the lingot economy is mostly just extra lessons. I think I mentioned that. pretty sure. Yes, I left out the streak freeze)

I understand and respect that you find my questions to be about "progress on duolingo as a whole". It isn't that. I am not dismissing, nor denigrating the additions to the learning software itself as learning software. If I gave the impression that I felt that they were removing actual software, that was wrong.

When I first was introduced to duolingo, gamification was a large part of the "idea" of it. I now understand that there are tracksuits available for android versions, but there's not a lot of.... gamification beyond "XP exists, lingots exist" and a very few specific platform elements such as android tracksuits. Lingots basically reflect your XP (they pretty much track as there's nothing much to do with them)

Perhaps my concerns are completely isolated. I find that in the other gamified activities I encourage the kidlets to do, there are other ways to spend point tokens, and ways to demonstrate progress (collecting items for a display wall, for example).


I guess I see the main "gamification" aspects as XP and levels. I don't have kids, so don't really know what kinds of things would grab their interest. Perhaps you should make some specific recommendations.

I agree with @Usagiboy7 that I don't see that the gamification aspects have really been reduced, unless maybe you count the elimination of duels. But I'm sure you are right that adding some (optional) features to grab the interest of children may be good.


any small reduction, when the gamification is this limited, is pretty big :) - just removing the hearts system is a big impact. It makes the XP and lingots even more duplicative (meaning they track each other fairly well and there's really not a difference between them, except for a VERY few limited things to spend lingots on)

Specifically regarding the hearts, I don't miss that aspect from a beginner or child's point of view. Guinea pig A would do better with that, since he's 12. But Guinea pig B, my 8 year old has too many typos in the english typing portions, etc. the "go until you are done" thing works FAR better for her than a 3 strikes system would. She'd be in tears.

Guinea pig C, at 5, would do well with the software without typing (I've mentioned this before) and more granularity in choosing exercise types would be useful in general terms. (REALLY useful. I can give a set of examples on utility for adults, from driving to libraries, to tuning specific personal weaknesses)

XP is of limited use as a progress metric. It's good for maintaining a minimum daily exposure (like feeding your pet or avatar in other gamification systems), it tracks, obviously, with level. And the XP does NOT necessarily track with skill sections progress beyond a minimum, because you can keep getting XP on the same 5 completed skills forever. And that's not a bad thing!

This is fine, and a good thing. drilling basics 1 and 2 extensively is a great foundation for "kitchen immersion" in the home, for example. But in an open economy of gamification, you'd want to add a bigger bonus to completing skills and checkpoints.

You'd also want to add some more complicated lingot bonuses for speed drills, flashcards (I like the no drama flip and flip flashcards, but a self competitive version would be nice as well), and probably some form of community tutoring interaction. (I have thoughts about that, but it's a slightly more complicated area than my other thought about mechanical turk tutoring, which would be a good market for lingots)

The basic gamified economy factors would need to be included to go forward with that. A wall or house for your owl/avatar. The wall or house is where you generally display items you get through performance, seasonal specials, community support, etc. This type of thing isn't really a trade economy, but it's a pride and reputation economy. You can see this in most forums you visit.

specific avatars for different languages with a lingot cost. Level badges, checkpoint badges, "perfect skill" badges (quadruple length timed exercise that gets all elements of a skill involved.), furnishings. the basics stuff from any number of gamified systems.

There are potentially very special and useful gamification economy items for duolingo, as it's "community progress" competitive as well as "self" competitive. There is no need to PVP, and it is a general detractor from the community to go that route. but avenues for significant recognition of community support would add a lot, in addition to increasing the breadth of the basic "self progress" gamification economy.

I could go on forever and diagram things, and then show the options for initial control of the unintended consequences (no manufactured economy can escape them) but I'm probably getting deeper than anyone at duolingo wants to think about.


Your 5 year old and maybe even your 8 year old are young enough to pick up a second language as a second native language of theirs! :D

Like I said in another thread, Duolingo is good for older kids and adults to learn another language, but is not good enough for a small child to become a native speaker.

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/10568531 includes a list of tips on how to raise a bilingual child, and some of these tips can be done in classrooms as well as at home. :) It also has a link to http://www.lazymomsblog.com/2014/05/12/how-to-raise-a-bilingual-child/

At https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9629453 another parent asked about using Duolingo to teach a 5-year-old Spanish, and some of the comments (especially from beadspitter!) are about other methods to help a 5-year-old become a native speakers of Spanish better than Duolingo can.

Note that the immersion mentioned in those comments isn't the same thing as the translating-articles section of this website that Duolingo misleadingly calls "immersion". Here's a better description of what immersion means in the context of language learning: http://www.carla.umn.edu/immersion/faqs.html


Thankyou for your feedback. I posted about this seperately. Since we have a native yiddish speaker in our household who is doing the german track to improve grammar, and since we homeschool, and since we have buy in from the whole family, we are using duolingo alongside a mixed "kitchen immersion" plan.

I understand how immersion works outside of translating documents, I had the good fortune to be stationed in spain at one time. Works pretty well.

The 8 year old is mostly doing fine with duolingo, it also helps her typing and english spelling skills. For her AND the 5 year old, though, it is primarily a matter of inclusion- of doing what the rest of the family is doing- and not a one and only method of learning german.


Christof, that's great that your family is already using other methods too! :D

I agree, using Duolingo (and its gamification) as a substitute for other video games is also a good idea.


While this doesn't directly address your questions, I wonder if you'd have better luck starting them off with an online typing game.


I posted in another thread about the homeschooling. THe children have used various typing games, though all in english. They have some use, but really lack the context of real world typing.


I think Xp levels ought to go beyond 25. And streaks ought to have some game challenge/reward.

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