If I hate the negative reinforcement aspect of this program, is it possible to change it?
Due to time constraints during my spring/summer work season, I'm unable to work on my French. I find it very frustrating that I'm always going back to the basics, and not progressing from what I've already learned. Yearly, I must leave the program for a few weeks, and it's hard for me to believe that I've lost 20% of my language skills during that time.
I always respond better to positive reinforcement, as most people do.
Is there an option to allow students to hold at the level they've attained and develop new language skills, even after a time lapse? If not, I'm considering dropping this altogether! I'm bored.
No, there is no switch in your brain to stop your knowledge from weakening so there is no switch in Duolingo. You can just ignore the fluency percentage like everyone else who have realised that it is a rubbish metric.
"No, there is no switch in your brain to stop your knowledge from weakening"
There's a big red one labeled 'practice' located right next to the amygdala, I believe. :)
You should be able to do the next available lessons, even if the old ones have become ungilded. If you feel like Duolingo's skill deterioration doesn't represent your skills, then feel free to ignore it The ungilding cannot be prevented though.