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"If you're going to be doing Duolingo anyway, make sure Duolingo is doing something for you."

I say this to students often because the more I have students use Duolingo, the more aware I become of two distinct ways of doing it.

  1. Doing it to get it done. These students tend to do the minimum (which is fine). They are more likely to strengthen lessons which are already gold as opposed to learning new ones or strengthening low ones and are also are more likely to blaze through their wrong answers without stopping to look at or consider why they are wrong. They are not only unlikely to ever read the comments but it is not inconceivable that a student like this would not realize that there are comments, despite my introduction to Duolingo at the beginning of the year and continued reminders to view them if necessary. They are more likely to turn speaking off.

  2. Doing it to learn. These students choose skills and lessons that are relevant to what we are doing in class when they can and when they cannot, are motivated to unlock them. They ask questions when they don't know why they got one wrong, they slow down enough to look at their wrong answers so as to not repeat them and if necessary, they look at the comments from time to time. These students keep the speaking practice on because they see how speaking occasionally helps them recall the words/structures more easily when they need to produce them in the context of conversation.

Having noticed these two distinct approaches to Duolingo, I would like to request that for wrong answers, a short time constraint be placed on advancing forward to the next question. (Perhaps 5 seconds?) to encourage students to slow down and look at the reason they might be wrong, perhaps also encouraging students to enter the comments section to see if anything helpful might be in there. It may also encourage users to slow down in the first place, making sure they are applying the rules which they do know to the answers they are writing. I feel as though this would even help me as I explore other languages with Duolingo.

Further, getting students to keep the speaking questions on is something I would like to see encouraged somehow. Perhaps it could be indicated on the dashboard whether or not speaking was enabled during a particular lesson. Perhaps the number of xp could reflect speaking being on or not. I understand and even benefit myself from the ability to turn it off when needed, but my observation is that most students turn it (and keep it) off to avoid speaking for whatever their personal reason. I would like to be able to have the ability to monitor or encourage this.

I understand that the helpful and knowledgeable folks at Duolingo when considering these things must consider that there are both student users and voluntary users and what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander. Has Duolingo considered differentiating between a student account and a personal account?

Thanks for your time.


January 25, 2016



Hello, well-crafted feedback such as yours makes us happy on a Monday! :] I appreciate you taking the time to describe the different student types you have observed, and see the value in doing something like showing the teacher the microphone and speaker settings. We consider all our learners "students" but I understand what you are saying. The differences in accounts of those who have a teacher and those who do not already exist, for example the fact that a teacher can disable some words and social features for their students already makes a "student account" different from a "personal account". I believe more changes will come where students may see some things a little differently depending on what their teacher decides. So I suppose that, in a way, those special student accounts are already evolving into something like that. I will collect your ideas and share them. Thank you and keep them coming! :]


Thank you for this! I had not thought if this being an indicator.

Overall I think that there are a couple of indicators. Most notably, I perceive eager students have actually taken time to look at the tips and notes section, while others have not. I at first thought this was due to the availability. Tips and notes are not available on the phone/tablet app (why?). I have long been wishing for this to not be like that but I have never tried to think the other way around. Maybe students that use the app are just not motivated enough to use the computer with all it's benefits.

I would be interested to see if there is a correlation between the factor : (browser (full) users; app (reduced) users) and the factor (uses speaking exercises; does not use speaking exercises). Especially the easy access to a microphone on phones would work against this hypothesis, but this might make a correlation even more significant.

Now the question would be if "duolingo" collects data on how many people do what with it...

Anyway, have a second Lingot.


ot: Did you know that if you click on "Give Lingot" the page is reloaded and a comment that has not been posted will be lost? My above comment is only a frustrated short version of my thought, because my previous one was deleted when I gave you my first Lingot. There should definitely be a warning about the post being lost. There is a warning "Do you really think this is worth a Lingot?" but not one that tells you about 30 Minutes of writing going into oblivion...


That happened to me once too. It's frustrating. Anyway, thanks to both of you for the lingots and feedback.

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