A Touch of Class?
I love the social aspect of Duo-lingo, and the friendly, helpful and welcoming atmosphere on the discussion boards. My one gripe is that it is difficult to find people at a similar stage of learning to make friends with and help get the motivation of being in a group.
Duo lingo already uses a lot of background software to work out what we are struggling with and what we need to refresh when they give us practice lessons.
Would it be possible to use the same information to recommend friends who are at a similar stage of development, so that we can form "classes" and help motivate each other as we progress?
One way to connect would be to imbed member's icons into lessons (with their permission of course!). This gives information about the person and in the language being studied. Translate a sentence, learn something about someone. Perhaps best when the person you learn about is close to your own skill level. (Say, you're studying Italian, you see my icon and this sentence: Montalbano vive in montagna. You learn I live in the mountains. Another time you come across my icon and you read: Ama il giardinaggio. He likes gardening)
You don't need to do much more than that. Just an ice breaker.
Ask people for 3 sentences about themselves. For beginners keep it simple, in the present tense, nothing compound. We give permission for Duolingo to use our sentences, and you allow us to opt out at any time.