Kahoot’s Answer Streak Bonus

“Answer Streak Bonus was created, first and foremost, to encourage deeper learning by rewarding answer accuracy. The problem with the classic speed-based points system, which runs at the heart of Kahoot!’s lively gameplay, is that it’s too easy to fall into the “rush to answer” trap…Turning Answer on adds an extra points system that rewards players for getting multiple questions right in a row. Once the game starts, players that get two correct on the trot are treated to a snappy Answer Streak animation on their devices and are awarded 100 bonus points for their efforts. If they then get one wrong, the streak will be broken and reset, so they must wait for the next question for their chance to rebuild it…”

“Those that manage to get a third consecutive question right will see their streak hit level 3, increasing the bonus to 200 points. After Answer Streak 5 the bonus is capped at 500 points to maintain game balance, but the streak level can grow indefinitely…Our gameplay testing has shown that, perhaps counter-intuitively, the streak level is a greater incentive than the bonus points. Players just love trying to build up to highest possible number because it becomes a badge of honour to show off and treasure…The secret sauce of Answer Streak Bonus, therefore, is jeopardy. Through their own in-game actions, players quickly learn that playing well means thinking carefully and that it is in their interest to avoid the risk of rushing to answer.”

Quizizz Question Streaks

In April, Quizizz introduced streaks into their app. I’m assuming the photo below shows the feedback a student gets after doing a set of problems. They are able to show accuracy, points scored, rank, and a handful of other stats. They display number of questions correct, incorrect, unattempted, average time spent per question and longest streak.

Duolingo A/B Tests: Streaks + Progress

This article highlights the various A/B tests Duolingo ran to test their streak meter ideas. Here are some of the takeaways:

#1: Visibility of Streaks (Progress)

They ran a test where the streak meter was very visibly shown at the top of every page in the app. This small change made a big impact on the number of daily active users they saw using the app.

“The results were impressive. A 3% increase in daily active users (DAU) and a 1% increase in day-14 retention (D14, those still using the app after 14 days). This uplift makes a big difference in the long run.”

#2: Emphasizing Streaks Frequently

They tried another update where they showed the streak count after every lesson. This raised the DAU by 1% and D14 rate by 3%.

#3: Wagering Streaks

The third A/B test throws in a challenge and fun incentive to keep up streaks. If the user can maintain a 7 day streak, Duolingo will give them double their wager of 5 lingots. If they can’t maintain it, they will lose 5 lingots. This test had very interesting results. There was a 600% rise in in-app purchases along with a 5% increase in D14.

It should be noted that Duolingo is always free to use, but users can now pay in-app for a subscription which allows offline use (perhaps crucial for maintaining a streak) and removes ads from the interface.

This test, Gilani mentioned, was also tried with a two-day streak wager, but the increase in D14 and DAU was minimal enough that it was abandoned.

A/B Tests from #1–3 (Left to right)

#4: Relieving Pressure from Streaks

Duolingo noticed that people aren’t very active on the weekends. They tend to lose their streaks as a result of this. To help them get around this issue, they created an item called a Weekend Amulet. They can spend their points on an item like this to protect their streak.

Offering this to users to say “you don’t have to play on the weekend” again had a big impact on app usage. The results: 4% increase in D14, and users 5% less likely to lose their streak.

Responses about Duolingo’s streaks:

  • Streaks motivate you to keep going and doing more.
  • Streaks act as a status symbol (if you are above 300+)
  • For every 10 days you complete, you earn a lingot.
  • It’s upsetting and demotivating to accidentally lose your streak.
  • The longer the streak is, the more motivation you have to maintain it.
  • It’s unhealthy how obsessed some people get with their streaks.

Appendix

Short note on streaks from a psychologist studying basketball:

“When athletes are on a streak of any kind, the challenge is to keep their focus on the game at hand,” said Dr. Eddie O’Connor, a clinical sports psychologist in Grand Rapids, Mich., and a fellow and certified consultant through the Association for Applied Sports Psychology.

“The context and pressure of winning/losing streaks can distract players from what is essential. So a streak could help or hurt, depending on is the athlete uses the streak to improve concentration or if it becomes a distraction…If they allow their attention to be about the streak and not about performance, absolutely,” Flowers said.

“If it happens, we’ll see the play change. It will be more about LeBron taking every shot or Dwyane Wade taking every shot. That’s when things can become more of a problem, because it’s less about performance. It’s more about ‘Let’s make history.”

Streaks can help or hurt students in their ability to perform well on questions. Students may get caught up with the streak count in the same way they might become obsessive about their ELO skill rating. While we want students to care about their streak count, it’s important that they focus on their performance more than anything else.



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