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Letting go of my Duolingo streak

I thought that keeping up with it meant I was being consistent. I was wrong.

A streak is the number of days in a row you have completed a lesson, says Duolingo’s support. If you manage to complete a lesson a day, you can end up with quite a high number. Mine was 467 days on 23 May. Now it’s 0.

I grew tired of the many gamification elements of Duolingo, and found that Babbel aligns better with what I’m looking for in a language-learning app: the possibility to learn at my own pace without nudging.

Too much of a good thing

Consistency builds habits, and habits help the learning process. Learning in a fun way alleviates the inevitable moments when the difficulty of the new language increases and students need motivation. Yet, not every student responds well to the same stimuli. What works for someone might be annoying to someone else.

I ended up reviewing past lessons more often than starting new ones, because I didn’t have enough headspace or time. This resulted in my feeling burdened with obligations and unfulfilled, as my perceived progress was slow.


The following is a visual comparison of the two mobile apps. Babbel also tracks activities, based on the goal that students can set. The count is visible at the top of the page, but I won’t be receiving any notification about it.

I find Duolingo’s user experience choices quite aggressive. They include a red countdown of the hours left until I will lose my streak if I don’t start a lesson.

The interface of Duolingo showing a streak calendar and a notice that says 2 hours until your 467 day streak is lost!
The interface of Babbel showing what’s next (a review and a new lesson). At the top, there’s an activity tracker that says 6 of 7

Choose kindness

As a person that started many hobbies and left them along the way, I felt that being consistent with Duolingo made up for it. Instead, I followed along a game that did me no particular good. By choosing a service that lets me learn when I’m feeling up for it without penalise me, I chose to be kinder to myself.

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Reply: Duolingo’s English course from Italian

Just like you, Simone, I wanted to refresh my knowledge of the English language before going back to the UK. When starting a new course, Duolingo asks whether the person is new to language or not. If not, it tests the level to establish the starting point.

I’ve encountered the problematic phrases you pointed out, and many more. I understand that the course might be for people less familiar with both Italian and English, and yet it makes me question if the same happens in other languages I’m studying from English.