A reflection of 4 years of Duolingo and language learning!
Sometime in early 2015 I was a silly middle schooler thinking about getting ahead in Spanish. I found Duo, and before I knew it I had blazed through the first 8 or so skills in just an hour. Thinking I just mastered over 2 months of language classes with this awesome learning "hack", I stowed away my account and moved on.
It wasn't a while before I got the "motivation" to return here, though language learning was a grey area overtaken by the "fun and games" side of Duolingo. How could any impulsive young teen turn down 40XP a minute or two throwing Google Translate into Immersion (if anyone remembers when that was a thing!), blasting through levels, XP competitions, and swaths of lingots?
Bad stuff happened. I was spending way too much time in Discussions. Immersion and stream chatting got taken away. All the friends that made XP racing and lingot bombing fun were gone. I lost my 178-day streak. My trees were dilapidated. That year spent trying to get to the top of everything was gone for me.
It was a time I learned I came on here to get ahead in Spanish, maybe having fun with a few other languages. Why did I have to lose my concentration!? I would have been WAAYYY more ahead in Spanish by then!
I didn't give up, and on 2016's Cinco de Mayo, I conquered the Spanish tree! link to my measly celebration post
From then on, I was putting considerably more effort into actually learning with Duolingo. My tree was kept gilded from top to bottom, with 3-5 reviews and timed practices each day cementing my knowledge of Spanish, with a bit of Irish and other languages on the side.
Pretty soon, high school and "serious" learning began. Surpisingly (given 90% of my learning happened with pixels on a screen!), I tested out of Spanish 1 quickly moved on to Spanish 2. Even at that level, I had already built a strong grip on skills like preterite/imperfect usage. At the end of the year, I passed my final exam with a 96% and a ticket to Spanish 3 Honors!
Along the way, I also learned that online learning just isn't the best for me. Old-fashioned teaching, books and writing seem to get me more immersed in a language these days. I don't think I've had serious language practice on here in years.
So what is Duolingo for me now? A fun way to start out a language I'm interested in, and with seemingly countless world languages (shoutout to the hardworking course contributors) there's no place quite like here!
Unfortunately, gamification can sometimes lead to addictive behaviour, even if it normally is a helpful thing. Being moderate is the best approach in most things. Too much of good can be as damaging as too much of bad. I remember how much time you spent in the forums. I was very close to overindulging on Duo myself back then. I’m very glad to hear that your studies are progressing so well.
P.S. It takes courage to admit that you cheated in Immersion. I’m impressed by your honesty. :)
I’m working on the Finnish course, which was recently added into the Incubator. :)
That's great, dude. I am using duolingo to be prepared for my french class in high school.
Wow, what a story of ups and downs of DL! Congratulations on your accomplishments and progress.
Congrats, too, on your maturity in seeing what was good and not so good about your DL use. Good luck as you continue...and don't hesitate to help out in discussion too since you are so "XPerienced".
Wow it's great that you turned it around for school and got honours Spanish!! Well done.
Also well done on getting 14 in Irish. I've been learning it in school for years and i can't get through the first level. Go Maith
I think I've forgotten pretty much all of my Irish by now.
Interestingly, the words I can remember the best are the most difficult or complex words. Sheanmathreacha!