https://www.duolingo.com/rockerbox

Caution with streaks

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Note: I am not saying this will happen with everyone, but it has/is happening to me.

Recently, I hit the 300 day mark on my streak. Yay! But it also brought attention to another fact: many days I only do Duolingo to keep up my streak.

No, it doesn't sound bad like that.

However, what is bad is when keeping up your streak causes you to forget why you wanted to learn a language in the first place, or causes you to tire.

So a quick word of caution to anyone who is aiming for a high streak: don't make your focus be your streak. If you do, you'll become frustrated, tired, and annoyed by Duolingo, which is supposed to be a fun activity.

To all of those of you out there that have a high streak or are aiming for one and are keeping up with it without becoming annoyed, I would love to hear how you're doing it.

June 11, 2016

34 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage
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Good for you for catching it. I think there are quite a few people who value there streak over learning languages on here even if they came here to learn one in the first place. When holds people back from using time on higher resources it is bad. Duolingo is a nice way to start when people hang around forever how much are they really learning.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/peephole
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I think it's a good thing to remember. I see people freaking out over lost streaks often, and trying to figure out how to get multiple days of streak freeze going or bemoaning the increased price of restoring a streak. I don't really get how a paid-for restored streak helps people feel good about their language learning, but I am not by nature much of a gamer. My current 63 is my longest ever, but I'm not going to be practicing languages here on vacation. (However, I hope to be practicing while in Quebec :) )

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage
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I'm always amazed at how people will spend time on their vacations, and even pay extra for wifi, to do duolingo. That seems a bit unhealthy to me. It is a vacation after all.

Enjoy your trip. And speaking French with Canadians. It would be interesting to see the differences in how the language is spoken over there.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/peephole
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Thanks! I watched a Quebecois sitcom (several episodes) on a flight last fall, and I did not have much trouble. (And in fact, it was a good level for my comprehension in general-- kind of looking for another totally formulaic sitcom in French to watch.) Anecdotally I hear it is rougher (accentwise) outside of Montreal.

I get that getting 20xp (or whatever) can be done in 3 minutes time, which isn't a huge deal, but yeah-- if it isn't easy, I don't see going out of my way to maintain a streak. Time away from a screen is way healthier. I have a couple YA books in French to try.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/prky
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Which television show were your watching?

January 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/rockerbox
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Sadly, I will be someone who does Duolingo every day when I go on vacation in a few days. And it will only be to maintain my streak.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage
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Why would you want to take time away from your vacation for that?

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a
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For some of us, language learning is a fun hobby that you enjoy also when you are on vacation. Maybe especially when you are on vacation, because you have more time for it than when you are working or going to school. Just like some people enjoy running or going to the gym, and also like doing that when they are on vacation.

I don't think I've ever paid for wifi, though, certainly not this decade.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/rockerbox
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I pride myself on my streak too much. And I suppose it's a piece of normalcy and of home, which I'm probably going to need on this very long and already complicated trip.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage
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I can see how some trips do require an escape. I hope it all goes well for you.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/amaratea
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I don't mean to sound aggressive, but how can 2-minute practice actually take away time? My minimalistic makeup takes longer to apply. Not to mention the time I need to decide what to order in a restaurant :D

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ctype.h
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Also, if you have to wait for someone else to get ready too, Duolingo is a lot more interesting than the hotel's visitor information booklets.

June 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage
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2 minutes is a measure of time. When you spend 2 minutes on one thing you choose not to spend it on another. The universe will not magically create 2 minutes for you because you decided to devout time to maintaining a meaningless number on a website.

The reality is, for people who are obsessed with their streaks, it is more than 2 minutes. It's the anxiety people are feeling about something around it also taking up time beyond the two minutes. It's trying to find a signal or buy some wifi.

And if you are only going to spend 2 minutes on it then why bother? You probably aren't learning much anyways.

(And you don't sound aggressive to me)

June 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/TrioLinguist
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I'm ashamed to admit it but the same happened to me. I was happily drilling my German on Duolingo but then it came to a point where only the streak mattered; so I would log in, get a few points, and leave. Then I inevitably lost my streak at some point, lost motivation, gave up on learning German (not for very long), but when I pulled myself together, I just finished the Duolingo course within a week or so and didn't care about my streak anymore, so I moved on from Duolingo to further my studies. I'm rambling, but anyway that's my story for what it's worth ;)

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/rockerbox
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I do what you did so often. Unfortunately, I can't let my streak go back to 0, it means too much to me. (Which will inevitably end badly.)

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Jessica4201
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I was doing this last year, so I decided to stop caring about streaks. But then I found myself at the opposite extreme as I was intentionally avoiding Duolingo some days so that my streak would go back to zero! I think I've found a good balance now though. ^_^

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/rockerbox
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Interesting! Thank you for sharing!

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/OnesimusUnbound

I maintain a high streak, nonetheless there are days I'm either burned out or so stressed I just set my goal to 1xp per day and be done. There are days I'm fired up I can reach 200xp per day. I notice I go through cycles of ups and downs and I simply manage it.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a
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Keeping a streak has helped me to make my language learning consistent and ongoing. Right now, it makes less of a difference, because I'm going through the Russian course systematically anyway. But back when I was learning other languages in a less structured way, keeping a streak made me do at least something every day. It got me over those days when you really don't feel like learning. After a few days like that, I would always rediscover the energy for learning and happily score a lot of more points and/or do other language related things outside of Duolingo again.

Before I discovered Duolingo (and, with less of an effect, Memrise), I had a lot of good intentions and keen interest, but I didn't follow through by actually studying regularly. Having streaks makes me accountable in some small way for my own learning. I don't feel it as a pressure, but rather as a motivation.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Melarish
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I totally agree with this. Even doing a few sentences which maybe reminds you of 1 word you forgot or strengthens a word you knew, is still progress. And sometimes the hardest part is getting started - then once you do, you keep going ;)

Of course, I also agree with what others said: if you live your life around finding wifi to do Duo it's a bit silly :D But it's something I've done and sometimes silly goals can be fun too, as long as you don't get sad if you fail ;)

February 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/StephenPurdon

I am only here to learn Portuguese. My streak is completely irrelevant as all it leads to is Lingots, which in turn are of no real genuine use. The OP makes a valid point. It's about learning a language, something that will be with you for life. The tiny little streak badge on a single page of a website won't be with you forever. It is of no importance in real life. Same for those people who have high 20's in EVERY language on here. Surely if you are strong of mind and character then you won't let a 1 centimetre flame icon affect how you teach yourself a life skill?

Just my two cents haha - Ignore me!

June 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/quis_lib_duo
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I was on the verge of doing DL for the streak and the streak only, but I've incorporated a rule to do at least a few more challenging sentences per immersion session every day to ensure that I need to apply my (developing) skills at Spanish and not just collect XPs. Thus I have ensured discipline and internet / DL access for every trip for pretty much three years now, which TBH I feel is questionable but won't probably change much as I need internet access for work anyways (even during travels).

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/markit8dude

Thanks for this. I lost my 80+ day streak & was sad but lucky I had just read a post not long before by a guy who was losing a 100+ streak (can't remember exactly how much it was) because he was traveling & going to be in an area without internet. He seemed surprisingly calm about it. Weirdly some people were giving him tips on how he might be able to still save his streak. It was like it was stressing them out more than him. I think it's great to remind ourselves the end game is language fluency not a super long streak.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/NewtonsFigs

This is about to happen to me. I look forward to the break. The streak loss is a non-issue. I simply view the streak as a reminder to practice. There will be times when practicing online is not an option.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MelvilQ
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I have 3 active trees (French from German, German from French and English from French) and I change between them regularly (after 2 months or so), so nothing gets too boring.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Stanl78265

I feel that keeping a streak going is beneficial to learning the language. If I skip days, it doesn't take long for me to forget what I learned. That keeps me motivated.

June 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Carolyn250

You make some very good points. But I personally love my streak (something to boast about to the grandkids) and would hate to lose it. I do, however, also believe in vacations and times to give the brain a rest. I solve this by setting my coach to 1 point, and only doing one short exercise each day (an expenditure of about two minutes) while I am on vacation. I then get back to serious study (more than an hour a day) when I come back home.

June 11, 2016

[deactivated user]

    Currently while I'm unemployed keeping up a streak is easy because I have too much free time. I set my amount low in case something comes up all I need is 1 point. Another reason it's easy for me this time around to keep my streak is I make sure to learn something everyday. I did break my streak on purpose multiple times but I find it hard to go a day without doing anything at all so it's high again.

    Sadly I would be one of those types to do Duo over vacation because honestly one point can be done in less than a minute. There is no way in the world I would be on a vacation that didn't have at least a minute to spare. Even when I have been on vacations there's always enough downtime to sneak in a minute.

    June 11, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/thwain
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    Since the streak is related to time on DuoLingo and not on a specific language it is often easy to just switch to a different course to get your XP for the day. That little change of pace can be enough of a break to keep from getting annoyed. I don't personally use streak freezes. Seems like cheating to me. If you miss a day its not the end of the world. And sometimes you just need a break.

    June 11, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a
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    I don't personally use streak freezes. Seems like cheating to me.

    This was what I felt, too, until I took a trip to another time zone and Duolingo retroactively changed on what day I had finished a lesson (while still at home) when my gadget changed its time zone... My graph on my page still showed I'd scored the points, but the streak was gone. I've had a streak freeze in place since then.

    June 11, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/Sialia2
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    I agree with annika_a about language learning being a pleasurable activity. To me, Duolingo is part of a routine that I enjoy, like taking a daily walk. I just returned from a short vacation in the UK, and managed a few lessons in Duolingo and a brief walk before breakfast each day. Fortunately my host had wifi, so that wasn't an issue.

    As far as WildSage's concerns that continued use of Duolingo may deprive people of "using time on higher resources", I don't find that to be valid. I'm currently doing the French and Spanish courses from Russian on Duolingo, and I find that this strategy is very engaging and really reinforces vocabulary and grammar in all three languages. And the small amount of time I spend on Duolingo daily (not much longer than brushing my teeth) is no barrier to using the multitude of other language learning resources that are available, including watching foreign language movies, reading foreign language books, etc. One of the first places I visited in London was Foyles bookstore, where they had a whole wall of books in Russian.

    June 11, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/Katpple

    I have my own method of making sure I'm properly motivated. I set a goal of XP instead of streak. Right now I am aiming to double my current amount (about 10000) before 2017, which works out to 50 XP per day, with one day of 60 XP per week. If I skip a day, no problem! I just do extra tomorrow. But one thing to watch out with this method is not to do a whole bunch of useless practices just to keep to your goal. Also, it won't give you much frustration, because you know if you didn't meet your goal one day, there's always tomorrow to set you back on track. But this doesn't work with streaks. To me, streaks are just convenient ways of getting extra Lingots, but not really that important, providing you do enough regularly, like every two days. It doesn't really 100% need to be daily. Hope this helps ^u^

    June 11, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/amaratea
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    When I didn't feel like duoing, I used a simple workaround.

    • Day 1: Do Duo exactly after the counter resets.
    • Day 2: Streak Freeze.
    • Day 3: Do Duo right before the counter resets.

    This way I got 3 days without Duo without losing anything.

    But again, I just known that human motivation tends to swing so I never take it seriously. One day I just do one lazy practice to get my 10 exp, next day I am in immersion all day long. So taking it easy is the best attitude imo.

    Then again, I am a gamer by nature so I don't see it as an effort.

    June 11, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/Shrekthelord

    I totally understand

    June 12, 2016
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