1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Ideas for spending coins


Ideas for spending coins

As another user pointed out it would be really cool if we were able to 'buy' things with the coins we are earning. Obviously I am not expecting real life items but perhaps we can brainstorm some ideas / get some feedback from the experts? In my mind you would still retain your 'score' (which currently is the coins, replace it with 'score') but be able to spend your coins.


  • Other 'more fun focused' lessons (eg region specific slang/ curse words/idioms - have the ability to lock inappropriate content out if the user is deemed to young so parents can let their children loose on here without having to worry). I think some of these can be really important to know especially if it sounds similar to another 'innocent' word.

  • Access to 'games' for example such as randomly generated crossword puzzles in a language you select, with all the clues in that language.

Would love to hear your feedback / ideas...put your gamer hats on

July 10, 2013



That would be cool! Perhaps you could spend them on virtual trips to places that speak the language you're learning, then you could get a postcard from that place. It would be cool to see your collection of postcards grow as you visited more places! :D


I like that idea a lot! Then the users learn about the countries where a language is spoken, giving them some cultural background information. That would really add to the Duolingo experience. Excellent idea sir!


Exactly! And there's definitely no shortage of places you could visit. Plus I think having something more tangible than the coins would really encourage people to use Duolingo more, like a little prize for all the time you've put into your lessons!


An important strength in your proposal is that it still retains users' focus on the experience of learning. The rewards become satisfying learning opportunities instead of merely some kind of way to show off to others or something else that would be unrelated to acquiring skills in the target language. This is related to what has been dubbed by some researchers as intrinsic motivation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivation#Intrinsic_and_extrinsic_motivation .

Anyway, good idea!


I agree with you, it would make your learning a real pleasure:)


Yeah that way people learn how the language is used in different regions and countries. For example a commen mistake people who have learnt Spanish in Spain make when they go to Latin America is to use the verb 'coger' which people from Spain use for 'to take/drink' ie 'I drink a beer, I take the bus' etc. In LA they use 'tomar' which also means 'to take/drink.' Now 'coger' in LA is actually a vulgar way of saying 'to have sex' (use your imagination here) so if you use it insted of tomar you are actually saying 'I have sex with the bus, I have sex with the beer,' which I imagine can be quite embarrassing though let's face it, quite hilarious.


As a native latin american spanish speaker, you wouldn't be made fun of. Coger still means 'to grab' in spanish. 'Coger el bus' would indeed mean to take the bus. People use that expression. And 'coger' una bebida, albeit slightly strange, would still not be misinterpreted. 'Coger' only means 'to have sex' in very context-specific situations, where it is made very clear what you mean.

I know it's not the point of your post, and what you say it's true. Just wanted to clear that out.


An avatar with purchasable features would be delightful.

Or perhaps some kind of abode that you could decorate, furnish and expand with components characteristic to a culture you're learning the language of. Id est: earn coins from Italian levels and you can unlock Italian renaissance art, or earn coins from Spanish levels and you can purchase Mudejar architecture or distinctly Spanish fauna for your garden.

Is that technically an avatar too? Can a locale be an avatar?


This seems so goofy.

I love it.


this is such a good idea I would love it and possibly also use duolingo way more because of this feature. I would want to collect everything! duolingo pick this up please!!!


I would LOVE, LOVE, to have that as an option.


kinda like a language mini game sort of thing. you could do different games in a language your learning or just fun quiz things, you could be learning and having fun!


Pretty much! Also, to use the example of the crossword puzzles, you could give people the ability to post their own crosswords for the whole community to answer. Have the ability to translate the clues similar to the way the articles work perhaps. Building the crosswords could even be a seperate mini game ie. you are given a word and have to try and explain the word in the language you are speaking. IE. "how would you describe a horse?" and you would write "It's an animal with four legs, wears shoes and eats hay." etc Perhaps use the answers from this to generate the crosswords. When I was with my Spanish tutor he always used to explain words to me that I didn't know in Spanish, and it improved my skills drastically. I imagine this would work in a similar way by having to construct your own explanations.


I agree.. and cryptoquote puzzles, and other kinds of word puzzles as well.


Also, maybe you could buy virtual gifts for your friends to encourage them or to thank them for help.


ya, maybe extra lives for a lesson?


I would love that...


I like the idea. Perhaps we could buy language related souvenirs for our home page. A virtual bottle of wine for French or some tapas for Spanish.


Yeah or nice trophies you can display on your profile. Not a bad idea.


What about trophies with a leader board for the trophies?


Nah, it shouldn't become a competition.


Why not? My friend and I already treat is as such, and it is very stimulating. I'm sure I would spend less time here if there were no interaction between users, and even less time if there was no way of quantifying progress.


Good point, never thought of that


another idea would be to create an RPG out of the entire skill tree traversal, during which you might purchase certain items for your avatar to make you more successful in the virtual world? This may tie into a the "fun focused" lessons concept..


The 'gamification' that exists now is good, and helps to make it enjoyable-- but it would be easy to take that aspect too far, and thereby create a distraction from learning.

Avatars, minigames, and such, I believe would work to the detriment of Duolingo's strengths (as a language learning tool), and if implemented would make the site harder to recommend over less distraction-ridden alternatives.


I think it would be okay, if it was an "optional extra" that could be easily avoided (or used), depending on the user's preference.


Maybe ebooks in those languages?


For the coins - I was thinking of spending it completely towards the languages, e.g. - videochats with users better than us to clarify something or talk in a chosen language (the host for the videochat receives the coins- not all of them) - unlocking video materials for a given language, e.g. simple documentary from spain, while i'm learning spain - being able to generate a page after lesson or couple of lessons as a shortcut, with images of new words, examples of use and so on and so forth - further to be printed - how about a videos/talking of the words or a lesson entirely conducted by a famous person, e.g. Salma Hayek - additional lessons with slangs, accents and cultural info


Yes, a little incentive to learning


I like the idea of unlocking content such as colloquiallisms or minigames with coins, but such a procedure scares me in that it essentially puts Duolingo in the garbage dump of free-to-play/freemium category of games... especially if the decision were made to monetize the main learning portion. Regarding a suggestion for minigames - I think it would be interesting to challenge other users with a timed translation (e.g. 30 seconds after the challenge is opened by the recipient), with the translation line drawn from the immersion database and somehow ranked by estimated difficulty.


Agree! Duolingo, do NOT monetize the main part of the course! It is important that that part, at least, be free.


Id love something that will allow you to explore the languages culture, that would be awesome ;] x


If getting coins is the main motivation, it would seriously lower the quality of the translations that keep this site running. there are plenty of games to play on the internet where you can spend coins. make learning the language your priority, not dressing your avatars.


some partnerships with other games might be a great option here. being able to "spend" your coins elsewhere would fairly powerful


"tokens" for side games might be a good way to spend these coins as well. Maybe a badge count (similar to your level and streak count) is created and badges are earned from side games. This would be something akin to Kongregate's method of creating badges


I think the coins could be spent to get things to prettify our home screen, so that when friends visit us they can marvel at our taste. Also I love the idea of buying virtual gifts for friends as motivation!


Sound like a similar idea that another online learning language site has in place ;)


What site? I love Duolingo, though I wouldn't mind something more game-like.


yes, i was thinking similar to sparkpeople or clubpenguin (my kids play it, not me, honest!).


I definitely agree. Changing the theme, colours and background for the home screen would be awesome!


That would be great:) I live the trees and river, etc, in the background, but it would be awesome to change it to your taste!


Maybe you can, for a good amount of coins buy the right to choose what article you have dibs on translating, since more people like translating and not so much checking.


with a certain amount of counts you can unlock a new language maybe like esperanto something


I would really like to hear some feedback from the mods about this!


I find the most productive interaction I have with Duolingo is/are the BOTs. I would like to be able to use my lingots to purchase more conversations (I have completed 33 ). To shop for them, so to speak. Open a lingot store, for "music" discussions where the bots have different instruments or are professions in parts of the industry, sharing a new subset of understanding based on the selection you are interested in. Or down the promanade is a shop for fashion, you go in you can design simple outfits and/or learn fashion talk. Across the way could be an auto dealer/parts store, where the mechanics all have different specialties you can select and purchase interactions about vehicles. Maybe a book/print shop for publications magazines books newspapapers leaarning that lingo. Maybe further down is a pet store, you can buy multiple conversations about pets/animals. The travel agency on the corner offers trips all over the world you can talk with a Bot about....I want to talk about kangaroos in Australia with an OutbackBot (you can use that) as a guide. many of these are already loaded as the Bots part of the learning but I would like to be able to purchase more realted to my personal interests and the word sets I would likely use to express those interests in a new language. Not that I talk about kangaroos all day in English haha!


Any hunger games fans here? : )


awesome idea! i'd love that...


sounds like a great idea!


that is a good idea after all the points are shaped like coins.


just give us an avatar and coins can buy us clothing, hats, etc..


Perhaps some digital stickers that you can place on a page of the app.


I think it would be great to give a chance to add pictures for words in vocabulary for those who earn for example 10 pictures for more than 100 coins in one week. So you guys can be sure that such people are serious about Duolingo and would not add random or weird pictures and it will contribute a lot for the project


memory match is a real good one


i really like the idea of purchasing minigames


I’d like to use mine to buy streak repairs.


That's a cool idea.


I love that idea. I hope they decide to do it.

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.