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I Don't Do Duolingo Too Much Anymore :'(

I used to do Duolingo a lot but recently I have stopped doing. Before, I earned more than a thousand XP on some weeks. This week, I have just earned 40. Lately, I have been earning less than 100 XP points.
I don't know why I am not doing Duolingo anymore. Maybe it's because I haven't been on for a long while and there are so many skills to strengthen I'm discouraged? Maybe it's because I lost my 108 day streak? Whatever the reason, can someone please help me/ motivate me to do Duolingo again because I'm going to Paris in the summer holidays and, even if lots of Parisians speak English, I want to speak with at least 2 or 3 people in French.
Any help will be greatly appreciated,

June 10, 2017



I felt the same way when I lost my streak recently. I think that Duolingo has a little bit of a perception problem when it comes to motivating people to keep learning. On the one hand, they are quite wise about using extrinsic motivation (streaks, lingots) to encourage people to keep working every day. But the problem is that extrinsic motivation does not always translate into intrinsic motivation. People will quit if they are only participating for the sake of keeping up that streak.

As a teacher of English as a Foreign Language (25 years experience), I know that you have to determine if your students - each individual - has an intrinsic or extrinsic motivation for coming to class. Extrinsic motivations are things like grades, or getting a certificate that will automatically give you a higher rating/ pay scale at work. You're not learning the language because you want to speak THE LANGUAGE; you're learning it as a means to an end - to get that passing grade, to get that higher rating at work, to be able to put it down on your CV so you have access to more jobs.

People who have an extrinsic motivation are going to be 'encouraged' to work by the 'threat' - real or implied - of failure, losing the end-goal (the passing grade, the CV point, the lingots, the streak, etc.). So yes, they will work as long as you keep dangling that carrot in front of them (maybe lingots and streaks should be symbolized by a carrot). But take away the carrot, and you take away the motivation - and lose the student.

As a teacher, you want to make lessons in such a way that the student begins to enjoy the subject for itself; the student wants to come to class and be able to DO something in the language, for example. Or the student begins to feel good about himSELF as a speaker of a particular language. This requires great care and often individual tailoring of lessons on the part of the teacher.

Teachers who make it 'too easy to fail' will quickly lose students whose motivation is only extrinsic (for example, teachers who make their first test/quiz extremely difficult have a high drop-out rate, because success - not failure - increases intrinsic motivation as the student begins to think, 'I am a person who can master this material.,' rather than, 'If I don't master this material, I will be punished/ will lose something I value.')

Personally, I think that the extrinsic motivation of losing your streak so easily can have exactly the effect it has had on you - it's too big an investment and too big a loss. If they allowed you to 'freeze' your streak for a week or two - for example, to go on vacation - they would not be risking the kind of disappointment and giving up that you've experienced. Also, while they are right that a little practice is helpful every day, we also know from research that the brain continues working on problems when we leave them for awhile; in layman's terms, information also needs time to 'soak in' rather than simply being practiced again and again. Many great intellectual and creative leaps were made outside the lab or when NOT working directly on 'the problem,' but doing something completely different. For me, without a smartphone, being able to take a total holiday or religious retreat away from all technology would mean losing my streak - and I value those holidays from technology. So Duolingo is working against me by having too-strict rules about 'missing a class.' '

When there's too much to lose, you lose students, who will transfer to a more flexible teacher.

Intrinsic motivation is different. For example, if you are learning French because you already have a great love of French culture (or are in love with a French person), then you will not only come to Duolingo and learn French here, you will watch French films, read French literature or websites, listen to French music, learn to cook French food, read French history, and seek out French people to talk to and make friends with. (In fact, in a 'real' French class, all that cultural input is part of the course, because grammar and vocabulary are really an old-fashioned way of learning a language; you need to come to know and admire the culture in order to start to have intrinsic motivation, just as it's not enough to be able to 'speak' French to fall in love with a French PERSON - you need to know a lot more than grammar and vocabulary for that.) If you already admire French culture you will be extra-keen to keep learning French because 'French' is somehow already 'part of who you are,' part of your identity. If someone has always dreamed of a special trip to France and wants to be able to talk to the people, read the newspapers, be his or her own guide, go deeply into the day-to-day experiences of shopping, going to church services, using public transport, etc., and being able to understand everything - then that person has an intrinsic motivation to learn French, and will keep working on Duolingo or going to classes even if he/she loses a streak.

I think that losing your streak is kind of like failing a class after putting a lot of effort into it. It's a moment in your learning process when you have to stop and ask, 'What am I really doing this for?' If it was just like a linguistic video game, and you were doing it to rack up points, then when you lost the streak, it was 'Game over,' for you.

So losing your streak is a crucial moment in your process here. Fatty.Lumpkin below puts it starkly: What were you learning French for - the points? Or so that YOU can become a person who knows French?

Is your motivation extrinsic only (winning the game, so to speak)? Or is your motivation intrinsic (I am a person who can communicate in French)?

If you can switch your motivation from extrinsic to intrinsic, streaks will cease to matter.

But there is the reality of your disappointment: 'I put all that work in, and lost my extrinsic reward.' That's a real crisis. But remember, 'crisis' does not mean 'disaster.' 'Crisis' means 'a turning point.' It's up to you whether this 'turning point' is a turning toward renewed commitment, or a turning away and giving up.


What a powerful post! You shared a lot of interesting ideas and perspectives.

If they allowed you to 'freeze' your streak for a week or two - for example, to go on vacation - they would not be risking the kind of disappointment and giving up that you've experienced.

If they allowed us to freeze our streak for a week or two, it wouldn't really be a streak any more, and it would dilute the "weight" that a long streak carries. I understand how difficult it is to lose a long streak; I've lost a couple of long ones myself.

I've seen other folks suggest another badge/level/lingots/carrot: some kind of display of how many days total you'e done Duolingo (how many days you've met your goal). Or perhaps a percentage, showing that your account has been active on Duolingo X/Y days.

[deactivated user]

    When I lost my 135 day streak, I felt Free. I will never get caught up in the numbers game again.


    Then don't call it a streak anymore. They could call it charge, and you lose charge at days you don't practice. You could even gain more charge than 1 if you practice a lot in a single day, because maybe it could count as a sort of immersion for the sake of the learning process.

    And maybe not only it would be more difficult to gain more charge on a single day, but also it would be more difficult if you already have a lot.


    I think you make very good points about extrinsic and intrinsic motivations, and how they are, or can be, related. But as far as the streak issue goes, my goodness, it's only a software algorithm. Why place so much gosh darn importance on it? Are we trying to win the approval of mindless software, lol? If it suits one to practice two days on and one (or more days off), for example, then obviously that's the way for that learner to do it. Even if the mindless computer program takes the gold star away, heaven forfend! : )


    Remember why you're doing DuoLingo in the first place. Is it because you want to earn points and maintain a solid streak? Or is it because you want to learn French? If it is learning French then never give up. Each language we learn even if it is only a little bit becomes a part of us and we need to nurture it every day!


    I've lost a couple of long streaks myself: 186 and 420 days. It's a kick in the gut, and it can be difficult to get motivated. The fire and enthusiasm is.. lacking, and hard to get back.

    I've found two things to be true:

    1. Language learning is a long, Long, LONG (never-ending) journey. You will have peaks, valleys, and plateaus. At first you learn a couple dozen words and you feel like "Gee! I'm learning this so fast! This is awesome, and so much fun!!!" And later on, you start forgetting the words, and mixing them up, and the verb tenses kick you in the butt, and you get frustrated and think "What's the use?! I spend hours on this stuff and I am never going to learn it!" But then you'll hear a snippet on the news or in a song and you'll just know what it says, without even thinking about it, and BOOM! that fire is re-ignited. Peaks, valleys, and plateaus. They happen. Expect it, roll with it, realize it's not forever.

    2. A person gets burned out. Sometimes all I do on Duolingo is log in, get my measly 10XP, and log off (or hang out in the forums). Sometimes I'm burned out on language learning entirely, and that's my entire language effort for the day. Other times I'm just burned out on Duolingo, and I go watch "French in Action" videos, or watch videos on the "BookBox" channel on YouTube, or translate a song I like, or challenge myself with RFI Savoirs (I will never make it even to A1 in French, I am convinced >.<) If you find your motivation lagging, try mixing things up a bit. Make it fresh and interesting again.

    And: PARIS!!!! OMG put me in your pocket please!!!! (Dans sa poche !!! <- I guess I am learning a little bit)


    I've seen you write French before et tu parles très bien français ;) t'n'es pas un débutant... A2, peut-être..?

    Oops! I switched languages mid sentence.. sorry!


    Perhaps it is time for you to find other ways to practice your language. Have you finished your tree? Are you still learning from Duolingo? Maybe you just need a break. Maybe you need to find a different way to learn French. Watching movies? Reading books? A language exchange partner? I find that when I am doing other things to learn, I feel motivated to come back to Duolingo for practice. If I just did Duolingo, I would get bored and quit.

    [deactivated user]

      You are absolutely correct. Only using one medium to learn gets very boring very quickly. Im motivated because I have an end goal. Speaking with my Italian friends in person or on Skype. They speak little or no English. I think that the end goal is most important, if you are learning a second language for no other reason than something to do, when the going gets tough ultimately you will just walk away.


      What can I do to help you? And don't mind about your streak. I used to lose 274.


      I've lost 2 streaks. 89 and 20. I always add them out loud to my current streak when I get on Duo. Like everyone says, music, tv, books like bookbox, especially movies you know by heart -you can replay in French. I'm learning Spanish, and as I've looked around, most of my movies are dubbed in French. bad for me/good for you!! Keep building your Streak For Fun AND DON'T FORGET THE NUMBERS FROM THE PAST. Add em all together. Duolingo may forget your old lost streaks, But You Won't.


      Same here:

      Progress Report

      It's also mostly the too fast decay that demotivates me. I could ignore it, but what would be the point of a decay algorithm if I ignore it. I liked that duo told me what I needed to revise. And having to do the same thing over and over again in a matter of hours or a day if I was lucky was just so discouraging...

      I hope we'll get our motivation back!

      [deactivated user]

        There was a post on here a few weeks ago about the "word count"including " last practiced" and how it is a load of rubbish, I and probably you and everyone else, will have words showing that they havent been practiced for months, I know for a fact that some of mine have been presented to me very recently. Your point about the spaced repetition algorithm is very valid, but its obviously not working as designed to. So ignoring it isnt any detriment,


        I hope they'll fix it. I still do some lessons (otherwise I would not get the 60 XP), but fewer then I did. I always add cards to my Anki deck simultaneously and study them instead.

        But good to know it's a known bug.


        My motivation to learning spanish is - Think of how cool it will be to tell someone that you are bilingual! It is such an amazing skill set to have. :D


        You are so right. I learned French while living there when young, and when my kids saw me speak it (badly, but they didn't know) on a holiday in France they were amazed. I realized then how valuable it really is. I'm now learning Italian, and will improve my French after that. Looking forward to Spanish and German perhaps.

        Apparently learning new languages is one of the best ways to prevent cognitive decline when you get older, so I'm very keen now!


        Same here. I enjoy learning languages because I want to be able to speak more than one language, especially a less common one like Esperanto or Norwegian (less common in the UK at least).


        It's hard to know how to motivate you without knowing why you are struggling to be motivated. However, I think the previous comment probably hits the nail on the head. If you're doing it to earn points and keep a streak going, you aren't likely to be enthusiastic. But if you're doing it so that you can speak with people in France in a few weeks, you'll need to learn--so hop to it!! Also, I would suggest not focusing on the streak. you lost, but if streaks and points motivate you, then look at it as an opportunity for a fresh start and see how high you can go before your trip.


        Since Duolingo does not motivate you anymore, try to make a new motivation by yourself. For instance subscribe to a club and motivate by contesting with some others in there.

        There are more: Try to motivate yourself putting a scope to achieve: A number of XPs everyday. You can even reset your tree and try to make it from scratch. XP is a virtual educational coin, and lingots too. You can invent yours. Use the Words part, it is very useful and helpful in French, but it doesn't exist in all languages. Even you can try the reverse tree.

        Everybody can be motivated by something he can imagine. Specially you who are intending to go to France and you want to use the language in everyday life asap.

        [deactivated user]

          You want to speak with 2 ot 3 people in French ! Seems like a good motivator to me.


          I encourage you to continue and celebrate the first day of a new streak and hopefully many, many more to come. You've expressed your desire to learn French and the importance it has for you to speak the language when you visit Paris. The streak may be of importance to some and not to others, but I do understand your feelings of temporary discouragement after losing your previous long streak. It's also understandable how feelings of doubt come to the surface when you view a tree that needs some extra work. Take it one step at a time. I had a four month streak and lost it last year. It was not a nice feeling. After that, there were other things that needed my attention and I didn't get back to it. I was away from DL for about eight months. 55 days ago I came back. I decided to put some extra effort into turning my tree golden again. The effort paid off. During the process, I was able to define more clearly what really works for me, and that is daily practice (independent of how much time I want to dedicate to it); therefore, I will be using the streak as a "simple" useful tool that measures daily practice. I'll do my best not to break it, but in case it happens, I am determined to start another streak right away. I definitely want to maintain it, but without growing attached to the streak number shown. I do have streak freeze to keep my ego happy just in case I miss a day :)))

          Congrats on the 40XP you've earned so far. Why not give a different spin to your statement by focusing on completion of a skills you want to work on instead of measuring it by XP? The computation of XP will take place automatically and you will only focus on the FUN part of learning as the DL system moves you to higher levels. This is the continuation of a new beginning for you. As you move along you'll be able to determine what works best for you and before you know it, you'll be back in full swing!

          We all draw inspiration from various sources and amazing individuals in different aspects of our lives. When it comes to the DL community in particular, I draw inspiration from individuals who are "actively" practicing/studying. Some of those individuals have high cumulative XP scores. They may or may not maintain high streak numbers. Their level of proficiency may vary as well as the multitude of mediums they utilize to learn the languages of their choice. I strongly believe that dedication and consistency are some of the attributes they have in common.

          WittyKitty, I wish you all the best as you get ready for your summer vacation. I hope these words of encouragement resonate with you. You are igniting today your desire to continue. Tackle it one step at a time. One branch at a time without looking back. Have fun in the process. Take your time.
          Happy Learning, I send a lingot your way.


          Some people learn like a HAWK....see it, got it, know it. Some of us learn like a ALLIGATOR....get as much as you want, save the rest for later. I learn like a PITBULL DOG....small bites, but never quits. Although, I've lost a streak or two due to internet problems in 3rd world countries. What ever you learn will enhance your travel experience. Ignore any French who discount your efforts in that language. haha


          I learn like a SNAIL and a DUMMY. slow and stupid lmao


          Some people can learn faster than others. Some people can catch on quickly. I've found that if I down myself about things then I feel a lot worse about everything else about myself. You should try to say only good things about yourself. You will get better on your language over time. Just smile and don't give up. :D


          I highly doubt that. :)


          This thread contains excellent advice, thank you so much!

          The thing for me is: Although I am an intrinsically motivated language learner, simply because I love languages and their different ways of expressing ideas, I've found myself in a very peculiar situation in the past few days: I've been a member for about ten days now, and I set off with my intrinsic motivation. But over time, and following the discussions here, I found that I became more and more attached to the numbers (streak lingots) indicated in the upper right-hand corner of my screen, and I started feeling the need to build up these numbers and keep them high.

          So I can fully understand your frustration about losing a long streak. But this anxiety that I can understand and now to a certain extent feel myself can actually reduce my intrinsic motivation. Instead of going on DL with the thought: Oh, I'm eager to see -- what will come next?, I try to fill up each language in order not to lose my streak (although my Hebrew would actually need some offline work).

          So, on the basis of this beginning experience, and on the basis of your excellent posts, I decided to keep up until Tuesday (because this is a seven-day-in-a-row challenge ;-)). But THEN I will break my streak every ten days on purpose. Just to avoid changing from the intrisic-motivation mode to the more anxious extrinsic-motivation mode.

          I feel very happy with my decision, and please remind me whenever my streak gets longer than 20 days LOL Thank you so much!

          [deactivated user]

            You just made a very wise decision imao. Mankind has an obsession with numbers, either making them bigger or smaller. At some point the numbers become mkre important than the learning, " omg, i must practice today, or i will loose my 200 dsy streak " and some people end up taking a day off work, not going to school not cleaning the house ..... etc. Never let Duolingo rule your life in this way, the numbers trap is like heroin !


            @Muss403695: That's some good advice :D

            [deactivated user]


              Di niente.....,E 'che ho ragione ??

              Io uso la Goggle traduzione, perché io non sono italiano

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