This isn’t a post about Lockdown #2 but a throwback to Lockdown #1.

I realized that some of you may find interesting one of the activities we had going during the first lockdown.

It was a Duolingo challenge and worked like this.

  • We each picked a language we didn’t know.
  • Each week we set a different target using the metrics available (number of XP points, number of days, each day, lessons completed etc.). We got creative with the available metrics however we tried to keep the time commitment reasonable (say 15min/day).
  • Each week also had a “prize” which was usually a treat food item. Some weeks the prize was individual and some weeks cooperative as in everyone had to meet the target and then everyone shared the prize.

Here are the rules we set out.

  • Every week a new person is responsible for setting up the challenge or competition.
  • All players can choose whatever language they want to study except English.  
  • Challenges or competitions have to be “reasonable.”   
  • The challenge/competition designer will be in charge of reviewing results.  Other players can contest the decision of the designer.
  • Challenge must be specified in its entirety by midnight Sunday of each week for the following week. Each week’s challenge starts on Mondays. 

Here are some examples of the types of weekly challenges. As you can see there were daily and weekly targets.

  • Everyone must achieve 30XPs each day.
  • Daily challenge:  Each day the person who earns the most XPs gets two small bags of skittles OR chocolate. Group week challenge:  Everyone must earn at least 30XPs daily otherwise no desserts the following week.
  • Individual daily & weekly challenge:  Everyone must reach level 5 in 4 skills by the end of the week (send me a screenshot) and 30XP daily

This lasted for quite a while… but petered out eventually. It was great while it lasted and provided conversation at the dinner table.

I am not a huge fan of Duolingo for real language learning but it is good at what it does. This was also good for including a family member who was remote. Honestly, I am super sad we aren’t still doing it but the family dynamics are such now that it won’t work.