Last Updated on: September 20, 2023
Duolingo is an educational app and website that aims to teach language through gamified activities and lessons. However, we’ll not talk about language learning but about Duolingo’s approach to self-improvement.
Here are ten self-improvement lessons and ideas I learned from Duolingo while learning to read and speak German.
Table of Contents
1. Start Ridiculously Small. Have a Daily Goal.
Duolingo always encourages its users to learn a language in just a few minutes per day. However, you can always spend more time. Depending on your preference, you can choose between basic (1 XP per day) or intense (50 XP per day) exercises.
Similarly, we don’t always have the time to spend when we’re working to improve a certain part of our lives. Sometimes, we need a few minutes per day to get started or a ridiculously small daily goal that will act as our fuel.
For instance, when writing, I aim for just 100 words in one sitting, but I often reach 500 or more words. Starting small can also be applied to fitness, relationships, and work.
Sometimes, we need a little starting power to push us into the flow. As Woody Allen says, showing up is already 80% of success.
2. Gamify Your Process.
One of the most effective strategies implemented by Duolingo is by gamifying its user experience, which uses daily goals to push you to work and rewards you with gems for completed tasks.
Likewise, we can also use this strategy in real life. We can add daily goals, reward or point systems, and even daily challenges to keep our focus. Then we can reward ourselves with a prize at the end of the day or week.
3. Celebrate Your Progress.
Duolingo loves celebrating small wins, whether a perfect lesson, a continuous streak, a completed challenge, and more. Then they give you a small reward, like gems and badges.
Celebrating your progress is an important life lesson. It doesn’t matter how big or small your accomplishment may be. What’s important is that you are progressing.
Sometimes, we need to give ourselves a pat on the back or a small reward, like a massage or coffee, before resuming our work.
4. It’s Okay To Miss Days.
Missed-day repairs are my favorite Duolingo feature because it gives you a leeway by allowing you to continue your streak by giving you up to three chances before it breaks.
Consistency doesn’t mean a single continuous thread that should never be broken or you’re a failure. We must be kinder to ourselves that sometimes life gets in the way, and we may miss a day or two.
However, it is still important that you don’t miss twice in a row if you’re serious about your habit-building.
5. Playing With Friends Is Better Than Playing Alone.
Another good thing about Duolingo is its social aspect, where you can add friends who will be like your congratulatory or support group throughout your language-learning journey.
Like in life, we need friends to be with us while working towards a goal. Though they may not always understand what we’re all doing, having a friend to share your achievements is precious.
6. Competition Can Sometimes Be Beneficial
Duolingo also has a leaderboard feature where you can see your fellow learners and compete with them every week. You’ll either rank up, retain your rank, or get demoted at the weekly reset.
This is also why a healthy sense of competition is good to have in our lives, not as a way to measure our self-worth but to be an external source of motivation – though internal motivation is still preferred.
7. Look at the Bigger Picture.
The German Course in Duolingo currently has 114 units, and after almost 500 days, I am just at Unit 19. At first glance, my goal of finishing the course still looks too far.
However, the daily learnings are building blocks to a better understanding of the language and a step closer to communicating better with my relatives in Germany.
Just like in life, we need to look at the bigger picture of our goals and clearly define why we do what we do so we will never get lost. Ask yourself, are you working on things that will take you a step closer to your goal?
8. You Can Use Your Prior Knowledge in Other Contexts.
I am learning German, and I noticed a lot of words that have some similarities with English, whether with spelling or pronunciation. Well, this is expected since English is a Germanic language.
My other friends studying Spanish saw a lot of similarities with Filipino languages. Of course, this is because the Philippines has been under Spanish rule for more than three centuries.
Similarly, we can always use our unique experiences and knowledge from one aspect to another, a process called transfer of learning.
9. Pressure Can Make You Careful.
If you’re subscribed to Super Duolingo, you’re unafraid to make three mistakes in a single lesson that will end the session. But if you’re not subscribed, there is the added pressure of ensuring you will not fail thrice.
Similarly, in life, there are instances when we can have almost unlimited chances of making mistakes. However, some things need more careful thinking, like education, marriage, and career.
10. Repetition Leads to Mastery.
We have all heard that practice makes perfect, but we often forget that repetition leads to mastery. In Duolingo, they will drill you repeatedly with words and phrases to increase recall and pattern recognition.
Similarly, we can learn many things by deliberately practicing and repeatedly working to create better habits that will lead to mastery.
Everyone needs to work on self-development because it forces us to improve in whatever field fits our strengths and goals.
Start small, gamify your process, be consistent, work with others, celebrate your progress, and take your time. Soon, you’ll look at your journey and be surprised by your breakthroughs!
God bless you on your journey.