New progress marker idea
Let me know what you think of this idea. On top of putting next to your names on discussion boards, the flags of the languages you're learning with their levels along with the streak number, Duolingo can put a running per day average of points during that streak. That way it cuts down on people just doing the bare minimum to keep a streak going. Also if you see your average compared to others is low, it motivates you to do extra work. Not only that, but since practice work is easier than going through lessons, it gives people reason to do more practice sessions, which is important, to keep their per day point average high. It might also cause everyone to focus more since now whether you pass or fail, means more.
Also, to add to that, since this wouldn't apply to everyone, since not everyone is working through the lessons and are doing immersion translations or keeping up with practicing weak words after they are through with the tree instead, a per day new lessons passed number could be put on peoples home pages rather than next to their names on discussion forums, to again motivate yourself to keep some level of new lesson learned minimum going for a streak. And again this is on your home page only so basically only you see it.
I thought of this when I was wondering how many lessons do people do over a period of time. So since the above really wouldn't determine that since people could work all day or just a few hours...., what do you normally do as far as new lessons? I think I do two or three new lessons per hour and I do each new lesson like four or five times to pass it.
I don't think this would be a good idea. You have to be very cafeful about the comparative aspect, as that can be very desmotivational if not done correctly. This would only push people to make points and rush all over the skill tree doing new lessons, even if they didn't fully comprehend the previous ones, just to keep on what is supposed to be a normal pace of points/lessons. Some people complete the courses in 3 months, others in 1 year. Comparing to others is vain, because everyone learns at a different pace. It doesn't really mater if you do 70 or 400 points a day, or 1 or 10 new lessons, as long as you feel that you are actually learning, and only you know that. On the other hand, the streak count is not meant to be competitive and comparative, instead it is a great way to incentive people to do at least one quick practice. Some days I had to do the bare minimum to keep a streak going because I really didn't have time that day. Imagine how desmotivational it would be, the next day, to have to start from 0 again! I may be wrong, but I like how it is now and it has helped me so far.
The last thing I want to do is demotivated anyone. When I first thought of the idea I was 50/50 on it specifically because I thought some would as a result feel they aren't doing as good and therefore give up. But then I thought about it a bit and the positives outweighed the negatives. All this does is bring the gamification idea to another level and puts it more to the forefront. They already show your weakly, monthly, and all time leaderboards numbers on your home page to compare with your friends. This basically does the same thing except is a tag that follows you and gives meaning to the streak.
You make a small point with the doing a bunch of new lessons without really learning. Now since that will only get you so far til it bits you you know where, because you didn't really learn it right in the first place and lessons further down take much more longer, things average out. Either way truthfully anyone that would want to keep a high daily average would not do new lessons, they would do a lot of timed practice sessions, because each answer typically done in less than a minute, gives you a point, compare that to doing a new lesson that takes like 15 to 30 minute and you get only 10 points out of it. So you see this would shift peoples priorities to were it needs to be which is practicing and then when they venture off into new lessons they go through them more easily because the foundation is solid.
The new lessons average on the home page idea, based on your thoughts, I would agree doesn't help. Focus should be maintained on building a strong foundation and repeated practice sessions rather than new lessons does that for you. And a new lesson average, would not serve so much to motivate anyone. In the end any game is fun or addictive when it reaches a balance of being hard and easy. If adding an average daily points per streak marker, teeters Duolingo in to the too hard category, then it is demotivational and they shouldn't do it. Based on the response so far, that looks to be the case. Though I would like to think that people are smart enough to realize some people have a lot of time to dedicate to duolingo and others not so much, so this would not be so much a comparative competition, but rather a individual competition, then its only motivational, and in the end even if your number is one, at least your coming everyday and trying. Thanks for your thoughts, I don't want this if no one else does.
I think ryaton is right. It is very good you think about new ideas and I think there is a charm to your idea for sure, but I don't think it really adds something to the experience rather than interesting informational value. I think Duolingo does already a lot to keep you motivated like the whole gamification of learning a language and the notifications to remind you or what do you think about the friends option! However, what you can do and what I do is to look at my weekly progress where you see a pile of coins. I try to at least fill up that pile daily. For me it works as a confirmation that I have done enough and to give my brains some time to absorb the information just learned.
My learning strategy is to not learn too much at once - like 1 skill or a couple of lessons per day - but often go back to previous topics. You will see when you have learned a new skill, that particularly skill will appear in previous topics ass well. That's good because you will practicing in a more varied and organic way.