Celebrating my 2000 days streak...
After celebrating my streaks at 500 day intervals twice before, I think we can safely call it a tradition now, so if you haven’t read my previous 2 celebrations and you’re looking for some languages learning tips, or if you’d like to know a bit about my background before reading this post, please do read my Celebrating my 1000 days streak… post and my Celebrating my 1500 days streak… post first. People have found them helpful :-)
So what have I learned since then? Aside from the additional languages (I really lost track of when I started which, but who cares!), I have learned that motivation cannot really be created by an app, by a machine. It has to be created by humans. As I encourage more and more people to use Duolingo or watch videos and listen to podcasts in foreign languages, it slowly became obvious that the problem often isn’t with technology or lack of resources, but rather a lack of motivation, and that motivation is a very particular thing to every individual.
Motivating people I meet in real-life has always come naturally to me, whether I was helping them with their study material back in school, teaching them programming, piano or languages. I’ve always found it amazing and very fulfilling to see how transformative motivation can be in people’s lives. I had initially thought that an app like Duolingo could replace that, so more and more people can have their lives changed for the better, but things didn’t work out that way. I was able to motivate people to start learning on Duolingo, but if those people didn’t already have an internal motive to learn, they often gave up soon, unless I was following up on them regularly.
When it comes to learning languages, what I find is often lacking in learners is the willingness to let go of their old ways (of speaking and learning) and have an openness to become, essentially, another person! Another obstacle, of course, is the (false) perception that it is ‘difficult’. People often confuse difficult with “it takes time”.
What also holds people back is the other (false) perception that they need to be constantly motivated, but that isn’t the case. Motivation is volatile, it comes and goes, we cannot rely on it. What we can rely on, though, are habits! And Duolingo is great at helping us establish good habits! So whenever we do have motivation, it is essential to use that valuable time to establish the correct habits for learning, which are supposed to take around 2 weeks to get formed.
So the secret is to develop strong enough habits that keep you moving forward, even when you feel you lost your motivation, which is often just due to being tired. Habits are reliable. Motivation is not. Having said that, motivation is essential in the beginning to form the needed habits in the first place. So if you don’t use that initial blast of motivation to start things the right way, you will likely give up due to less than splendid results or exhaustion.
The most essential habit, I think, is listening to the foreign language(s) you’re learning every day, even when you don’t understand what is being said and constantly opening your ears to new sounds, which don’t exist in other languages you know (see my Celebrating my 1000 days streak… post for more details on that)
Change is also important. Whenever we do the same thing over and over again, it is only natural that we eventually get bored of it. I should know. I’ve been doing Duolingo every day for the last 2000 days, and Duo has remained essentially the same throughout those years: translate sentences. That’s why, if you follow me on Duolingo, you will notice that there are some periods where I gain just enough points to keep my streak going, and there are others where I gain as much points as a month worth of studying, but that doesn’t mean that my language learning takes a break during my down times. It just means that I am focusing more on absorbing foreign media material and socializing with people speaking that language. It’s all about keeping it interesting by spicing things up. And language is ingrained in so many human activities, it’s really easy to integrate it into anything you already do! For example, I write all my phone reminders in Chinese, which is also super handy, because I can see more of them on the tiny screen of my Apple Watch! I just love how concise Chinese is! :-D
So yeah, language learning is easy: it’s easy to make it fun! Which means that you can do it for longer, anytime, anywhere, and you will become better at it, it’s unavoidable! It’s only a matter of time...
2000 days = 5.479452 years.
2007.5 days = 5.5 years.
2000 days * 15 minutes of Duolingo = 30000 minutes of Duolingo
30000/60 = 500 hours
500/24=8(1/3) straight days of Duolingo (even though your probably practiced far more than 15 minutes per day) [correction: 20(5/6) days]
6 Level 25 languages. 2000 days. You, sir, are awesome.
I've never thought about it this way though :-D I actually have no idea how much 'effort' it takes to gather that many points. All I know is that some days I got a lot more than 277 xp (in the thousands), and some days much much less. The thing is, I value listening to podcasts and videos in foreign languages much more than practicing here, because much more of the senses are involved. I tend to focus on Duolingo when I feel that I need to hone my skills and take them from passive to active, when I don't currently have a language learning partner (which is often the case, unfortunately).
Correction: Isn't 500/24=20 5/6 days? Two and a half times larger than you division, and two and a half times more imppressive.
Yes, you're right! I actually just understood what he meant by that last number because of your correction :-D I never thought about it this way, I mean, one has to sleep! (regular sleep is super important for learning by the way). So I would have divided by 8, which is the average number of working hours per day.
Wow! Awesome numbers! Thanks for taking the time to write them. That makes you awesome too! :-D
After developing the habit, it becomes quite normal and not so impressive, like drinking water :-)
Grattis för dig!
Can you suggest or make a post about spreading fun of Duolingo? I have tried motivating many of my friends to use Duolingo but none of them have kept practising more than 30 days.
I've had a similar experience with people as well, which is the point of my post. If people don't already see the value (and fun) of learning a language, they will come up with all kinds of creative excuses to not learn one. It's a natural human tendency to protect the status-quo and not spend any extra energy on activities that are perceived as 'extraneous'. People still think that learning a language is difficult and boring, mostly due to the way they made us learn in school, and the only way to get them to forget that experience, is to help them have a new better one.
What I noticed, whether it comes to motivating people to learn languages or anything else, is that the only way to 'erase' such bad learning memories is to replace them by new ones. Therefore, the only sure way for this to work with people that still aren't bitten by the learning bug, is to gently accompany them throughout those 30 days and show them how to make learning fun, until they start perceiving the good results themselves, and start feeling how fun it is.
Duolingo alone is never enough (see my Celebrating my 1000 days streak… post for more details on that), and it will become boring after a while, especially if they only use the mobile app (which I only use for emergencies!). The mobile app is so passive, that barely any real learning can be done with it in the long term. But to get people to have enough discipline to turn on their computer every day to do a lesson, they'd have to feel how fun it can be to learn a language. For example, with my friends, I often insert foreign words into our conversations, just for them to feel good about being able to speak and understand another language, even if it's just a few words. This, and my constant reminder of how easy, fun and useful it can be to learn a language, often works, but not always. People are unique. You have to know the person well enough and have a close enough relationship with them for this to work. Nobody can change without at least a small willingness to do so from the inside after all. We can only do so much. What I decided to do, instead of focusing on motivating people who don't seem interested, is to help people who already have an interest to achieve their goal better/faster.
You have a very strong view that the app is so passive :)
Tell me more why you think that
It's not a view, it's a fact, by design. The mobile app simply asks you to think less. The website requires you to type much more offen, and this kind of active learning is more beneficial in the long run. I've tried using the mobile app exclusively for a while, and my language level suffered because of it. I have also noticed that friends who relied on the mobile app only, often didn't acquire much real-world language skills. The concept is simple: the more effort you put into learning something, the harder it becomes to forget it.
Yes. It is a fact that the app asks you to type less frequently compared to web. But non typing is not same as passive. You claim that a low level frequency of typing in the app is the crucial thing making the app inefficient. I think we shouldn’t even compare app vs web because they are used in fundamentally different ways. Examples:
User is very determined and want to dedicate time for learning. He uses big screen with physical keyboard and his interface consists a lot different applications whose the user can easily switch between them. A desktop is designed to this multi-app scenario. Combining different applications together is hard and requires knowledge.
Non-determined user. Has not scheduled time for learning. Has no knowledge of different aplications he could use to do a learning session.
I am that very same dedicated user that tried to learn using both the mobile app and the website. I also avoid multitasking, even on a desktop, because it is detrimental to learning. Creating an association between the spoken sound and the written word is an essential skill to be able to pick up words you hear quickly later on, and typing with a physical keyboard helps accelerate that process. Muscle memory is also important. I am not talking about what is best for Duolingo in terms of market share. I know that they would acquire more users when they make it easier on mobile devices. I am just giving advice to people who feel that Duo isn't teaching them much. Learning with the mobile app gives a false sense of achievement, as most tests are passive. Using the website, you learn more/better in less time, and what you learn sticks with you for longer.
Congratulations! Keep it going.
Congratulations! I'm on Duolingo since more than a year, but I lost a 94 and 193 days streak, so I know it can be very hard to keep up the streak.
Yes, it can be challenging in the beginning to develop the discipline to do it. It was for me at first, too. But over the years, I’ve learned to organize my whole life in a way that encourages good habit formation, and Duolingo’s streak system was one of the triggers to push me in that direction. Thanks Duo! :-)
Yes, thanks Duo :-) By the way, I've never seen a person with 25.957 lingots! I have 1176 Lingots, and if I had never lost my streak, I calculated that I have about 2.000 Lingots. And even this is only 10% of your amount of lingot :-)
Haha...lingots...I stopped looking at them years ago, as they’re pretty useless. If I could only buy food with them :-P
Congratulations on reaching a 2000-day streak and for writing an inspirational and interesting post. I've kept your 1000-day post in my "followed discussions" using it for ideas and somehow missed your 1500-day celebration. Thank you for giving your insights on language learning - especially for the long haul. Respect! Looking forward to your 2500-day post. :)
Thank you for taking the time to express your support. That gives me more insentives to keep up these posts. It makes me really happy that my writings helped someone. See you in 499 days! :-D
Woah! I remember you! I was there when you did your 200 or 500 days of Duolingo! (I'm not sure which one) it's been 2 years since I came to Duolingo. It's been a long time. I used to be Pranav_prakav.. but I created a new account though my old one is still in use. Congrats! You have come a long way!
Thanks! I hope you get there too, but more importantly, I hope you learn the languages you’d like to learn well. There is nothing more rewarding than acquiring a real-world skill :-)
Congratulations on reaching your 2000 streak, awesome! Plus, thank you for sharing great motivational tips. I've been here for 5 years but only recently kept a daily DL practice, which in turn has led to French radio, C.D's in the car and french tweets to translate - short and in topics of interest are very useful. Subscribing to DL Plus was intended as a thank you to DL but parting with money helped push the motivation button too. All this started with my mind to look for ways to achieve learning languages so yes, began with a human, possibly!
Awesome! Yes of course it began with a human, and it will continue with a human too. The human doesn’t always have to be present. Motivation can also come from the idea of being able to speak with native speakers in their own language one day, too, even before ever meeting any of them.
I see you’re already on a nice streak, and involving yourself in all those French activities will sure get you there! Keep it up! :-)
Exactly! The problem with a lot of learners is that they only do one of those things, or they practice in an ineffective way, like flash cards!
What practicing with flash cards makes you good at...is remembering flash cards. That’s it! They’re not that good at helping you develop real-world language skills. If someone already knows the language and hasn’t practiced it in a while, they might help activate it again, but honestly, there are much better (much more fun) ways to do that.
Unfortunately, most teaching programs these days rely more on repetition (including Duolingo) than variety of contexts and engaging all the senses, which is the natural more effective fun way to learn.
Congratulations! You really achieved something most people would never even dream to accomplish.
You got me curious (and a little envious I have to admite), so I would love to know: - Do you follow a defined plan or have pre-determined goals (p.e. this month I have to get level A1 or know X amount of words)? - Do you always focus on one language at a time or learn multiple ones at once? - What would you recommend to learn german (podcasts, websites,etc.) (my current objective hehehe)?
1- No, I don't follow a definite plan. I couldn't care less about how many words I 'know'. Brains aren't storage devices, they are pattern recognition machines that require a lot of input. Forgetting a word and relearning it in a different context is actually very beneficial in helping develop the real-world skill of using that word when needed.
2- I prioritize a language when I start it, to form a 'core' for it, which would take 1 or 2 months of daily listening to random media in that language (mostly podcasts). After that, I make sure I am confident enough in its grammar not to confuse it with any other language I want to learn next, before I start learning another language. Also, I don't learn 2 similar languages at the same time in the beginning stages. I waited at least a year before I started Portuguese after Spanish, and I also plan to wait a bit after starting Swedish before I really focus on Norwegian. Having said that, after many years of experience, I have become much better at juggling multiple languages in a day without much effort. It has become natural to me, since I base everything on the way the language sounds, and they all sound very different from each other, even if some have very similar grammar and vocabulary, and appear quite similar when written.
3- German was actually the reason I signed up for Duolingo back when it was in beta. It's a lot of fun to learn, partly because there are so many good resources to learn it. The ones I focused on the most in the beginning were those of Deutsche Welle. They are quite good! Having said that, what helped me the most in learning German were their awesomely well made Point-and-click adventure games! The ones made in Germany these days are just sooooo gooood! It is actually the first thing I did when I started learning German before Duolingo. I just started playing a (heavily story-based and dialog-rich) game in German, without having a single idea of what was going on! I just kept restarting it over and over again, and looking up words in the dictionary, until I understood enough to progress through the game! Eventually, I subscribed to Steam just to play point-and-click adventure games in German. They have a way to filter games to only those that have German audio, which is awesome! If you're not familiar with how point-and-click adventure games work, you can start with a 'plain' one made by the Goethe-Institut especially for German learners. It's not as exciting or emotionally engaging as a normal game, but it's a good start! They have two of them actually, one for beginners and one for more advanced learners. In any case, please do read my Celebrating my 1000 days streak… post for language learning tips, if you haven't done so already. Have fun! :-)
Do you ever, when beginning languages, study two dissimilar languages at the same time e.g. German and Chinese?
Also, how does one access "point-and-click games"? Can we go to a website to plays games for free, do we buy computer discs for the games, ......?
Learning dissimilar languages is the best way to learn multiple languages at the same time. I actually explicitly avoid learning similar languages at the same time, until I get to an intermediate level in one of them at least.
As for "Point-and-click Adventure Games", you can access them just like you access any other type of games. The best ones are available for sale on Steam
Well done. You are an inspiration! I hope to catch up to you soon
"More Songve Duolingo terms" dept.: 100 = Century, 1000 = Millennium , 2001 = Space Odyssey
Wow! Congratulations!! The longest streaks I've ever managed were 85 days and 37 days...I'll sometimes get in a groove with Duo but then on a busy day I'll forget all about it. Hopefully you extend that streak another 2000 days.
Thank you for your kind wishes! When I first started maintaining a streak, I used to do Duolingo as soon as I woke up, so nothing jeopardizes it during the day. It only takes a few minutes, so you could try that! :-)
I decided to try that, and it has worked out pretty well in trying to get another big streak. Thanks for the tip!! :)
So cool! Thanks for letting me know. It makes me happy that it has worked out for you. Continue comme ça ! :-D
One day at a time :-) It's easier to achieve if you focus on perfecting the daily habit rather than thinking about the long term goal. I also have a reminder on my phone that automatically repeats every day, so that helps :-D
Judging from your streak, you'll get there one day, too :-) and thanks!
Great job! You pointed out very well the facts about learning a language and Duolingo!
congratulations on your success,how confident do you feel in you chosen languages?