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New German tree for everyone (soonish)

Good news everyone! The A/B test of the new German tree has been successful and everyone should get the new tree soon (we don't know when exactly, but probably within the next couple of days).

"The results are really good:

New users: +4% unique sessions +18% total sessions

Old users: +6% unique sessions +31% total sessions

That's the power of tree editing."

  • Luis
October 15, 2015



Congratulations :) We all look forward to editing our trees.


These figures show that tree versioning actually works nicely. We are also looking forward to your edited courses in the future =)


These numbers don't tell me anything. But the new tree is really good and if the numbers mean you can keep it and other teams can dive into tree editing as well, that's indeed great news. :D


We will definitely keep the new tree, that's 100% sure =) We do not know exactly when tree versioning will be fully available for all courses, but this A/B test has been an important step.


Wow, so many negative comments! Some people forgot that it's about practicing itself rather than collecting golden circles. Peace :) Thanks to the team.


Sure, but most reactions are very positive =) Thanks to you for appreciating it!


You do have a good point but for me (in my opinion) it just feels good to have that golden circle y'know?


No, the issues most people have is that all of the hard work people put is, has essentially been thrown out the window. Having to go back to the very beginning is counter-productive and is very frustrating for the adult learner. It makes one feel that any progress made has been a waste of time. For me, it has nothing to do with gold circles, but having been through the tree almost twice and having that progress pulled out from under me.


I agree .Having reached about four fifths of the way through the course, partly to take my mind off on going medical treatment, to be faced with the mass of updating almost made me give up.I agree that repeating an exercise reinforces learning but some sentences are repeated within the set four or five times.I feel it has been set with the new school course in mind. Onward and upward


Sorry to read from your medical treatment!

You describe technical issues that do not have anything to do with our course, though (starting from scratch and sentences who are repeated 4-5 times within one exercise). Do you still encounter these bugs?


Thanks for your opening comment, Yes I am encountering these 'glitches'. In one exercise I had to translate Liebling (in either direction ) about six times. I have been working assiduously down the tree and find that as fast as I am completing a section (mostly correctly) Strength bars are opening in the ones I completed one or two days ago .I am averaging about 100+points a day but feel I am running on the spot. To add insult to injury my Fluency rating has been down graded from 39% to 37%.At 77 years I am beginning to feel life is too short As I commented previously 'Onward and Upward'.


Thanks for your message. Staff knows about these issues and I simply hope that they can settle this matter. I want to add a personal opinion concerning the fluency rate: Don't rely on that. Never. Seriously, I have no idea why Duolingo implemented this, it's the biggest flaw that we can see here. I know that Duolingo tries to be as supportive as possible thanks to its gamifications, but I honestly truly dislike this fluency feature.



I'm curious: how long has it been under A/B test?

Also, what are exactly the stats "% unique sessions" and "% total sessions"?


We're currently just guessing, but christian thinks that "unique session" means one single session between two cookies and I think that he's right. Total sessions would then be every session combined. These figures are actually really great and that's very good for your future courses ;-)


Thx for the answer.

So "+4% US" mean that in average users do 4% more lesson during each session and "+18% TS" that users ¿make/validate? in average 18% more lessons?


Would you please explain "between two cookies"? Do you mean something like "all the activity associated with a single http session cookie"? Or Duolingo-specific cookies? (I've never looked to see what kind of cookies they drop.)


I was just guessing - I don't know how these figures have been measured, thus it could be either a normal session cookie or a Duolingo-specific cookie or no cookie at all.


Interesting, the new Es-Fr tree was launched a few days (4 or so) after this one. So there's a good chance that it may also be close to ending the A/B test. Unless of course the results are inconclusive and they may prolong the A/B testing.

It would be interesting to see a "snapshot" of the trees before and after the new versions, e.g. difference in number of words, lessons, sentences and/or skills. Currently the notification only says that "something" is changed to improve learning, which doesn't really help to understand the changes and/or their benefit.

In some cases it may be entirely possible for the team to actually reduce content or quality (due to mistakes) rather than adding to it.


For FR<-ES tree, there are explanations here. :)


Nice, that's a very in-depth change. Maybe the incubator contributors can suggest that the number of changes are shown in the top notification when the new tree goes live (e.g. A/B testing ends).


I am absolutely itching to try out this new tree!!


Weihnachten im Oktober?!

DL wizards: how do you dudes determine if the new version is a 'success'? Is it based on the increase (or decrease) in sessions per version? Do I get to leave (glowing) feedback upon completion?

edit: wow people sure are getting salzig over this change


Just got this... I was almost done with the old tree, oh well :) more is better!

  • 1633

Ha ha! I had finished the old tree, but finished at level 17 and was really shaky on about the final third, so I was just keeping the tree golden and racking up the points with the plan of getting to level 25, then do the reverse tree. Imagine my surprise to find this new tree! Suddenly my tree was no longer golden! But it's really very good. I like it better. I am zooming through the early stuff and racking up lingots! Plus I do think this is more effective. Great stuff!


I was so close to finishing the old tree, feeling depressed lol

  • 1633

I had recently finished, but I'm finding this really good! You'll discover that most of the levels only require one lesson, so you can zoom through this and rally rack up the lingots! Plus, this tree definitely is better. I was planning to continue reviewing until I reached level 25 anyway, so this change actually helps me. Just try it! I think you'll find it's better, and you will learn more German. (I admit that when I first saw my golden tree all colorful again, I was quite depressed about it too, but I plunged into it and now I'm happy.)


I just started a few of the lessons from the beginning and it seems to be going quickly too. I suppose it's not so bad, I'm happy to see new words too.


Very happy with the new tree so far! It's quite fun going back and working on expanding the basics, and of course getting the other tenses in sooner is great! Thank you very much for the updated trees.


YES! You can't see me right now but I've made the classic 90's "cha-ching" gesture. Also I think this is not a thing, but next time I want to volunteer to try the new tree, okay? Like feel free to put me on the side of the A/B test that gets the new stuff :p


UPDATE: I love the new tree!


I'm quite happy about the change: it looks better, at least for the additions to the first units. I'm still a bit disappointed because the number of learned words has decreased by about 5%, I hope that they'll be taught again in the units that are still blocked.


Thanks for the kind words! There are two issues here:

  • Our team has erased some words from the old tree that are not that much in use anymore.
  • There seems to be a bug concerning the word count as it doesn't increase. We cannot do anything about it since it's a technical issue, but we can forward that to staff and wait until they solved the problem. It'll work eventually =)


Thank you for the explanation!


Danke schon! Ich liebe es!


Yaaaay! :D Thank you so much for the extra lessons and information!! I'm really excited about this. :) Thank you thank you for Duolingo. :)


Thanks, German Team for all your hard work! I'm excited.


The new tree and new skills are welcome and great, but I'd have a suggestion: would it be possible to make those shortcut buttons available again? Lots of the new lessons already know to me ... yes, yees, I know, learning a language is of repeating, and you are completely right. :) But it would also be nice to concentrate on the harder - and already unknown - lessons, instead of the known ones, plus repeating the faded skills as well... really takes a long-long time. Thanks for any comments! :)


That's a great idea!


That would certainly be a positive solution to a lot of the gripes here. I hadn't even noticed that we can't test out of whole "checkpoint sections" if we've already passed them like we could (presumably that hasn't changed) if we were just arriving to them in the tree. Would that alleviate the frustrations some of you are having?


Yes, you can actually use shortcuts, but reconsider pressing that button. Duolingo can't ask every question, every word that shows up in the individual tests, so you can miss a lot of knowledge this way. Also, as I'm doing the new tree now, i'd reconsider my suggestion, because it is really useful and entertaining! So simply go through it, it worths the effort! :)


That's true—you can test out of individual skills; however, if only one lesson has been added to an old skill (which overwhelmingly the case) it's not really advantageous. As a language teacher myself, I understand your point, AarPoe, but I also sympathize with those who are frustrated with having to complete "Er heißt Karl" 7 or 8 times just so they can get their gold skill back.


but I also sympathize with those who are frustrated with having to complete "Er heißt Karl" 7 or 8 times just so they can get their gold skill back. - That's a technical bug and we are only responsible for the course content. Do you still encounter these issues?


I tried to check, but it's hard for me to tell exactly. I THINK the issue was that just one lesson was added to the "Introductions" skill, and it was 99% "Karl"-based. It's possible that is has been fixed, but, regardless, there are 4 lessons in the "Introductions" skill, only 11 new words in those 4 lessons, 5 of said words being "Englisch", "Deutsch", "Hans", "Karl", and "Julia". Taking from Spanish, "lo bueno, si breve, dos veces bueno"—"The good, if brief, is twice as good". Summary: editing of this skill is strongly encouraged.


got my updated, looks fantastic so far!


Wow! this tree is super. I got bored of present tense. I tried to maintain a diary in German but a diary without past tense is boring. Good that future and past tenses are presented (:P) early in the new tree.


Oh! That's so great. I feel kind of stupid I've been learning German a while and am still stuck with present tense only!


You'll eventually get used to it ;-)


I got it! I can't wait to do it, looks like a lot of fun.


I love it more :-)


I'm loving this new tree. Vielen Dank :D


Really good job :) I started to be bored after repeating constantly the old lessons.


I love the new tree! I am only 1,700 points away from Level 25 and my tree had been golden for quite some time. The freshly bloomed tree with its new words gives me reason to stay in German a little longer.


@Grandmumm — same here (except I have 2,000 points left). What a nice surprise for us!

  • 1471

Is this why half of my lessons suddenly show as incomplete? How was this determined?


Thank you very much. It's very useful!


I love the new layout and the approach the Duolingo Team has taken.


I just spent an hour regilding around 40 skills, jumped up a level, earned 80 lingots, and had a marvelous time! I am so grateful that I am using a free ap that is being worked on and improved for everyone's benefit by volunteers. What an amazing thing this is! I just want for you to know that you are very much appreciated, and kudos for all of the thought and effort that you have put into making this the very best German course...ever!

I am shocked at how many people do not realise what a gift an ap like this is. It is so simple, convenient and fun, especially compared to my language attempts with a textbook and a cassette tape in the 80's....

An upgrade and improvement in a free ap and it has ruined your life? The Germans have a word for what I am feeling about that: Schadenfreude.


What do those percentages mean?


"We're currently just guessing, but christian thinks that "unique session" means one single session between two cookies and I think that he's right. Total sessions would then be every session combined. These figures are actually really great and that's very good for your future courses ;-)"


Great! I do like the new tree—there were tons of changes and new material, I'm just now getting close to finishing me new improved German tree! Hope other languages get new trees as well!


I've just acessed the new tree and it's immense. I guess I'll have no other choice then going through it :-)

Thank you guys, this is a big step for DuoLingo. And I guess that the other courses teaching German will like to have this tree of yours as well. Have you heared anything about them also using your tree? Or it isn't that simple? Because you have not only added new skills but also edited a lot of the old ones, deleted some sentences ect. and that might be a problem. Do you know more about it?


The German course for Arabic speakers will be based on the new template.


Didn't they started their tree before yours passed A/B test (and even before A/B test started maybe?)?


Do you happen to know if the German for French speakers course was based on the new template?


I think the German for French course was started in the incub far before the new tree of DE-EN course was ready to go into A/B test. In such case, no chance it has been based on.

After comparing just the beginning of both tree, they are clearly not the same. So the answer is no.


New courses will probably have it as template.

But, in any case it's just a template with which the team starts but has to work on it after: you (generally) don't teach Germa n the same way to native speakers of language 1 than to native speakers of language 2, so the tree has to/should be adapt consequently for each course teaching German.
And you can replace "German", by any other language in the above text.

So, in fact IMO, the best would be for new team to have access to all existing trees as template and to, at least, being able with which they want to start.


Not real happy about this new tree at all. I spent countless hours nearly completing the end of the tree the second time as review, and everything was wiped out! All of my progress on the tree was deleted, with some course levels showing ZERO progress! What has happened? That means I now have to go through all of the courses yet a third time because this new tree was implemented?


and everything was wiped out

"wiped out"? You are back as day 0 with only access to the first skill and the other ones not unlocked?

with some course levels showing ZERO progress!

Do you mean it shows "0/XX" when XX is the total number of lessons in the skill?
this would mean that there is at least one new thing in each of the lesson of the skill. So it's great: you'll learn more things by redoing the skill! ;)

That means I now have to go through all of the courses yet a third time because this new tree was implemented?

This means that, if you want to learn more, you'll have to review the skills that teach new things (and thus are displayed with some lessons not "full") compared to the previous version.


No idea what happened to your account, this is totally unusual and not an error on our end. Please ask for help in the troubleshooting forum.


Great! I love the new tree, looks more comprehensive, and I can see the inspiration of course structuring from the A1 German Memrise course, which is definitely a good thing! I'll be using both learning modules in parallel now. Thanks!


Oh God, why, why did you do this to me. JUST WHY?!!! Isn't this ironic, how an improvement in a person's German-learning life can be a disaster in another's? If I only hadn't been taking notes... I want to kill myself... I don't know whose fault it is. I don't even know if it's anyone's fault. Probably not. I wish I wasn't a fussy neatfreak, I wish I was like my friends, wish I could just taking random out-of-order notes without blinking an eye... But I can't. I can't stop taking notes once I have started it. THEY SIMPLY HAVE TO BE IN ORDER. NO. I can't bring myself to take notes out of this mess, yet I have to learn German, yes I have to. I wish I hadn't begun to take notes in the first place. I wish my dad hadn't suggested taking notes in the first place. I'm so stupid, dumb, I'm such a miserable crazy person... No, God why, why, just W.H.Y.???!!! Everything was going well and then suddenly, a note-taker's disaster. WHY?! Why can't I enjoy this blissful update like everyone else?! Why?! Why does it have to be that I, out of the billions of people in the world, have to be a neatfreak who learns German in a continuously-updating website?!

Have a good time exploring the new update, lucky fellow users... I'll just... I don't know what I'll do... I'm mentally shocked...


When I first made this comment, I was very shocked and overreacted a little. I still don't think I can perfectly deal with this new change, but the shock has calmed down a little bit, so first of all, a big thank-you to everyone who gave me advice. You are all very kind people and I'm glad you decided to help me.

A lot of good advice was given about binders and writing programs, but as for binders, I don't have one and the notes need to be accessible/editable at all times. I always carry the Duolingo notebook around in my bag, and a binder has way more volume than the thin spring notebook that I use. As for computer programs, I often use Duolingo on a library computer which means that the text program is really, really laggy or not there at all. Also, how would I carry that around...? But the learning methods you suggested were really good, so I might use them in other subjects.

As for killing myself, I do have some mood swings so that idea has been thrown away.

I thought it over, and I think I'll just patch up my notes, like connecting broken pieces of string to the end of a long one to make it even longer. It's gonna grind my nerves, but I'll have to take that. After all, many more updates will probably take place in the future and this was just my first encounter, but I can't freak out every single time this happens.

Again, thank you so much for your generosity and kindness.


no look hey, i have an idea, 1. don't kill yourself 2. what would happen if you ripped your notes out of your notebook and put them in a binder? you could put them in whatever order you wanted and if you have to do some page cutting and editing you could get one of those fancy plastic sleeves which would make your binder even nicer and more organised, maybe you could rewrite some of your notes to include some things you've learned since you first learned them. it could be cool, your notes could become ... even better :)


Thanks, I'm feeling better now. I edited my comment.


I'm going to suggest to you something that might seem crazy, but isn't unreconcilable. I found the change disastrous within the first few minutes. I haven't been taking notes by hand, but I have been using two separate platforms (Memrise {A1 German} and Duolingo). I'm a neat freak myself. I have the Oxford Starter German Dictionary under my arm wherever I go, neatly highlighted and I use it as a reference to go over again and again. It helps a lot for visual queues. I suggest that you expand your learning outside of your handwritten notes. Don't give up on them, but don't treat them with religious vigor. At the end of the day, it's what's in your memory that counts towards your knowledge of the language.

Whatever you do, don't let change ever discourage you, no matter how drastic it may seem, there's always something positive to take from it. Keep your spirits up, don't hate on yourself for being a straight line in a sea of sine waves. If anything, it's probably most other people who are wrong :)

Just keep the goal in mind. Don't let the structure fool you as the goal. That's just the association between Duolingo as a learning platform, and the structure as a gaming sequence. You've come a long way, and there's no end to learning, it goes on forever, beyond your notebook, and beyond Duolingo, and if some restructuring is what it's going to take, then take some time to think about how to do it constructively, and forget the negative notions you have of yourself because they're just simply not true! And remember, you will only ever be as great as you think you will be, so it's time for some positive thinking!


I'm glad I'm not the only one. I sometimes have minor clashes with other people because of this... I'll make sure to bear your advice in mind.

  1. cut and paste?

  2. accept that your notes are out of order

  3. rewrite your notes electronically, so you can cut and paste in the next update.


I can't really rewrite everything electronically, but I do agree that I have to get over my nerves. Thanks for coming to help.


Or fold out notes. Friend of mine glued an A4 page to the bottom of an A4 page for really long flow charts, and folded it in when she wasn't using it.


First of all, it's Ok to take notes. Probably Duolingo isn't the best course for doing that. It is a flexible tool that adapts to you but it also asks you to adapt to it. To be fair Duolingo never had a precise order, you can take lesson in whatever order you like... at the same level in the tree. So you adopted an ordering criteria by yourself, which is what you felt was more natural. Now you have to select a new order, could it be chronologically? Or maybe just number the pages you wrote, and start from scratch in a blank page from the base of the tree and refer to a page when you have already took notes about a topic. Or also cut the pages per topic and reassemble them as the look with the new tree. This may look like a lot of work (and probably it is) but it'll help you to recap of the lessons. Good luck with your study


Exactly. It felt like settling down in some house, then abruptly being told that I had to move to another country. But I've regained my sanity now, and thanks for all the help you've given me.


I am using the new tree. VERY good. I like the additional vocabulary and another step closer to being somewhat competent with German.


Great, I got the new tree today. The only downside so far is that my German tree was all golden yesteday, but now - the golden colour has gone... I have to say that the update came just in time. I was starting to get the feeling that Duo didn't have anything new to teach me any more. It was repeating the same ol' phrases over and over again. But now - it's a fresh start again :)

P.S. I couldn't stop laughing when Duo introduced a new German word "Duo" in phrases like "Guten Morgen, Duo" :D


Congratulations and well done, Team Duolingo! The changes you've made are incredibly valuable and do a wonderful job at bridging the gap between learning the language on your computer and/or phone and using the language in real, interactive situations. You might hear some grumbles and gripes here and there, but those are necessary growing pains in the mission to spread free language learning all over the globe. Thank you, and keep up the good work.


This is really exciting. :D From what I've seen of the new lessons so far (just dove in and did twenty of them), there's a lot of valuable new vocab in here, and the tree certainly looks more approachably structured. My only problem is that I want to stay up late doing lessons now!

A huge thanks to the team for the new tree. :)

(also, those are some great a/b metrics!)


I've read through this whole discussion and am genuinely taken aback by the strength of feeling here. Like some of you, I was a little upset when I first logged in last night and discovered that my tree was multicoloured again (I recently came back to it and was in the process of going back through and making it gold) but I gave myself a little shake and decided to give it a go again from the beginning. What a massive difference to the skills. The tenses available are better and they're super easy to fly through and add to my knowledge (which results in more lingots, which gives me extra lessons in the store). I love the new tree and the extra German knowledge contained therein. I'm here to earn German as I feel Duo is the best platform of those currently available. The fact that they update surely just makes that more true? Language evolves....

I love the new tree. Vielen Danke.


I agree. I am learning German because I want to, not for any other reason. Any improvements to help me learn, well I am all for it.

  • 1949

I've just finished the German tree and need to complete it again. -.-


This is the best thing that's happened to me all week. (Not sure what that says about me . . .) Loving it!


Do you guys suggest a specific way we should approach the -now- incomplete lessons? Should I go through them in order?

Thx for the new tre, its awesome :)


I dig it. Thank you!


This is like my favourite game just added a whole bunch of new stages and levels! Frustrating and exciting at the same time. But mostly exciting.


Hab heute den neuen Baum gesehen und wollte mich auch bei denen bedanken, die auf dem Kurs gearbeitet haben! Ihr seid leiwand!!


Interesting. That was either a fast A/B test or Duolingo wants to push the tree versioning out of the door. Assuming the incubator announcement was the day the tree was launched, it was close to 3 weeks of testing, 17 days so far.

I think that once tree versioning launches Duolingo could probably place a maximum and minimum on number of words required to reach Beta. Although a lot of teams seem to cope quite well with loads of words, others seem to burn out and reduce contributions. It would also place a requirement on Duolingo to quickly negotiate TTS or natural voices once it reaches a certain threshold, rather than the same holdups after two years of incubator experience.

Anyway, this is good news, hopefully other teams will have their new trees soonish. Any news about the new bonus skills?


Is there an easy way to tell what version I'm on? I plan on starting German soon, but I don't want to start if the tree is going to be updated soon.


The only way I know is to open the javaconsole of your broswer and type there duo.user.attributes.ab_options and read the result.


I tried to search the source code of the homepage for what you suggested. Nothing. While I did manage to find a lot of A/B tests, none of them seemed to have anything to do with the German tree. Is there any skills that gained/lost lessons, and could I figure out what version I'm on by the number of lessons in a specific skill?



Yes, it's normal: since my post the A/B test has ended (so with it not being anymore an A/B test, it doesn't appear anymore in the list). The new version is now the only version of the tree.

  • 1374

If the second skill is "The", you have the new tree. I think by now most/all users should have the new one.


The A/B test isn't anymore listed in the list of A/B test (javaconsole), so it's likely that the A/B test ended thus everyone has it by now. ;)


There are currently five courses teaching German (from English, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese and French) and three in development (from Turkish, Italian and Arabic).

Did the non-English courses start with the old tree structure of the English course? Or did some or all of them design their own tree?


Did the non-English courses start with the old tree structure of the English course? Or did some or all of them design their own tree?

They start with this one as template but can change anything they want.


What will happen when the new tree becomes available? I will just see the substitution? Or there will be a way to learn the different words in my past units?


You'll have the new tree and all the new words/lessons/skills will be "not done" so you'll have to do them.


Ok, now I got it. This person explains exactly what it is like: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/11052318


So if I want to speak German this tree is better than another one? I started German a while ago but deleted the course because I wasn't happy with my progression but if the new tree is good I might try it again. [I haven't read many of the comments below by the way.]


So, I'm supposed to edit my tree? Can anyone explain how to do that? It would be very helpful.


No. The team of volunteers creating and improving the tree made a new version of it. It then has been A/B tested (thus only part of the users --$ chosen randomly --- have had this new version, that's the principle of A/B testing).
If the test is positive, Duo will switch everyone to the new version. If it's negative, everyone goes (back) to the old version. That's how work all new version of features that are A/B tested.

You don't have to do anything except keeping practicing as usual.


Danka. Have a lingot for helping me.


Hi! Did this new tree somehow affect my course, because today many already fully completed lessons changed to zero. I don't want to do them all over again.


There are a lot of new skills, words and sentences so that you have the possibility to learn even more German. That's a good thing, isn't it?


Ok, thanks. I'll give it a try. :)


Well I was almost finished with the tree. I should have completed the German Tree on November 25th. Today I log on to find the content has been changed and my schedule has been destroyed. Not exactly happy about it. I wish there had been an option to finish the old tree before upgrading to the new tree.


It's taken me one "strengthen" session in each section to regain the goldening where I've had all lessons completed, and generally there's only one lesson added onto the ends of old skills.

I was in the middle of refreshing my tree - it took me 3 weeks to refresh and strength half the "old" tree. It took me 2 days to catch up to where I was with the "new" tree. You'll be caught up in a week, easy (and it's okay if it takes you a long time and your phone/laptop runs out of battery - you can now ask for eine Steckdose for recharging!)


agree, it was much less painful and went much faster than i thought at first :D


Sorry to read that! We posted these updates concerning the tree versioning 5 months and 2 weeks ago so that it should have been clear that these changes are in the making, but I'm also aware that not everybody reads these updates. The team added a lot of new words and repeating the old ones should not take that long, but I see that this may be a bit discouraging right now since you won't meet your goal. On the contrary, you can learn even more German and that's the good news =)


I'm wondering if there's a way to click over to the incubator page from the duolingo home page... Is there a link button I'm just not seeing/finding? I'd like to see updates when/if there are any, but I had no idea that page was even there until I clicked specific links in comments.

I did see advance notice in the discussion boards, so I was really looking forward to the new tree. I'm so thankful to all of you that work so hard on Duolingo- it's a great resource! Thank you!


I recommended ages ago that Duolingo should put the link to the incubator page next to the "home"/"words"/"activity"/"discussion" section and I have honestly no idea why they have never done this.


You should have sent out emails. I don't have a lot of free time, so usually I come on the site and do a couple of lessons for 30 minutes or so. If I have less time I'll just do some practicing. I don't really go into discussions or any other part. So this was a complete and total surprise for me. I feel like suddenly all my progress is gone and I am basically starting from the beginning.


We should have rather sent out more than 16.5 million emails instead of posting 2 updates that everybody can easily see?


I don't think there's a need to be so sarcastic.

And how can anyone "easily" see the updates? I would never have thought to check for German in the incubator, given that it's already a course.

"Easily see" would have been a banner at the top of the tree. Like there is now, telling us the tree has changed.


I was simply asking a question. It wasn't my intention to be sarcastic or even ironic.

By "easily" I meant that everybody has had the possibility to read our updates, but you are right that these have not been easily accessible for everybody. I'm about to recommend an idea internally in order to improve the communication with the community. Thanks for your comment!


Volunteers have no way to send emails to the users (imagine a wrong manipulation and it's an email to millions of users... ;)).

And what would have changed an email, wouldn't have you feel the same except you'd have known it some minutes/hours sooner?


I finished my German tree three days ago! At least I had it accomplished for a few days before this! I guess it's a good thing though - it will give me more to work on - a wasn't really relishing doing the strengthen skills exclusively, and that fluency rating it gives me seems a bit exaggerated. 40-some skills to go!


not sure why your comment was downvoted - someone can't tolerate opinions different from theirs? i'm in a similar situation, so i understand you well.


Seems so, I upvoted his comment last week.


Hey, guys, thanks for the new tree. I would like to know how do you construct it? Do you consider any feedback from users? I like the new lessons about internet, banking, but I don't want to spend my time learning the words for bees, bears, and other animals. I would like to vote or rate the usefulness of particular lessons.


"Do you consider any feedback from users?" Of course we do, that's why we answer here as well. I understand where you are coming from, but the tech department (these guys are in charge of all this technical stuff) won't implement such a feature since every user has his skills that he really likes or dislikes. We know that other words are maybe more important at the beginning, but this originates from the very first tree version and it would be a lot of extra work to change this situation. What I personally do is that I just learn these skills once and then I abandon them/let them alone.


I think that the lessons are teaching the words that are used the most in "common language", so you'll be able to understand most phrases. Of course the process is not perfect as the new tree proves.


So new words were adding to the old lessons? And I have to redo most lessons again?


If you want to learn the new words, then yes, you have to pass the lesson containing them.


I was two thirds with my tree and now it seems I have to start all over again. I have to go though very basic vocabulary. Not excited about this.


You'll pass it quickly if it's that basic. ;)
And you'll learn some new things in the process.


I'll spend a lot of time doing things I don't need to review while I forget the things I am having trouble with.


If it takes you more than two or three minutes a lesson, then perhaps you didn't know it that well?

I mean, I've had to redo "phrases" after a week, but that's because "gern geschehen" had never entered my vocab and while I'd seen it around and vaguely knew where to use it, when I got asked to translate "in Ordnung" I went "...?"

Other than that, I've had to strengthen "Some-" (fair enough, the irgend-words are new to Duo as a group and I had to peek first time round to straighten them out), Food 2 (a few new words to me), and my last Dates (I think was probably due for decay anyway).

Everything else has stayed golden (and I've been on holiday so my Duo use was minimal) and I'm basically back to finishing re-golding my tree.

I mean, I'm expecting some lessons to decay really fast, but that's because I was terrible at those pre-update, or because there was a lot of new words with the update.


"Strengthen skills" "Non timed practice" Treat it as a timed practice session - takes approx 30seconds per skill, if you genuinely know it.

(My lesson of the day is that there is some German I do not know despite having passed the lesson ages ago)


i have only one question, when i strengthen all skills, will i get the new lessons there (that appeared now in the skills i was done with in the old tree) or will i only strengthen the words i have already learned? the latter seems more logical and convenient, but you never know. :)


Both old and new words/lessons/skills/sentences will be learned and strengthened =)


does this mean that i will not be able to revise the words i have learned until i have learned all the newly added lessons in the skills i've passed? since they are new now, they will obviously come first....


when i strengthen all skills, will i get the new lessons there (that appeared now in the skills i was done with in the old tree) or will i only strengthen the words i have already learned?

Only the ones you already learned (either with the old tree or recently with the new tree).

MultiLinguAlex meant by "new": the words that weren't in the old tree and that you have learned with the new tree (by doing the lesson were they appear in the new tree).


oh, that's really great! i was concerned because that could make learning complicated, but now i'm relieved and just feel happy the course has become so much better :D thanks a lot! :)


Is there any way for an individual user to go back to the old tree? It is very disorienting, after having spent a month learning and keeping track in a specific way, to have everything look different and to have to sort of start over. If there is a way for me to continue with the old tree, please let me know.


> If there is a way for me to continue with the old tree, please let me know.

Once the A/B test gives a positive result, there is only one tree: the one that Duo's metric judged the best one.
So no, no way to "go back" to a tree that doesn't exist anymore. Moreover the new tree has more vocabulary (apparently) so "going back" to the old one would have you learning less.


In the end it's better to learn more, it's just the idea that you need to go back to level 1 to do each module which contains between 2 and 7 lessons, when you've reached level 10, for example. This can be discouraging because it makes you feel you lost all progress so far. But, after completing a few lessons, i realize that the update presents disadvantages only apparently, because one shouldn't forget the fact that the final goal is to learn a language as best you can and not simply reach the final level as if it were a game.


Yes, it's not (only) a game, the goal is to learn a language! ;) ;)


I am in a similar situation and I feel the same. Maybe someone will answer this question. It gives me the feeling that I need to redo the chapters, since all of a sudden most of them do not appear orange anymore, and this is disheartening.


Doing "again" the skills will, normally, mainly have you work on new lexemes that have been added. So it'll not be really/totally redoing the same. The skills that have nothing new are still "completed" (since you have nothing new to learn there).


This update should have had a description. I see that many users are asking pretty much the same question.


Team member sommerlied shot indeed a description here, but it's also clear that not everybody reads these updates.


Thanks for the link. All I've seen is "Notice something different? We’ve updated your skill tree to teach you German more effectively." Would have been helpful if the info link was posted there to begin with. Like me, probably many users don't bother to search on the website for the description. So, once again, thank you for clearing the fog :)


Would have been helpful if the info link was posted there to begin with. You are absolutely right. I'll recommend your idea internally and see whether there will be a change in the future.


Hi! I just got the new update. I could tell that a lot was added as I looked through some of the sections I already did, but besides having new terms, those sections were also missing some of the terms I learned previously. I was wondering if the terms I already learned are gone, or if they were shifted around to different parts of the tree. I was looking through the sections I can't access yet, and it seemed that some units that weren't broken up before are now in multiple sections. Does that mean that I will be able to relearn terms I already did? I don't want to end up forgetting any of the terms I learned as I progress through the course.


Things have been shifted up/down the tree, so there's probably bits that you've learnt that are further down the tree, whereas things that were further down the tree are probably unlocked to you now. And sometimes it's only the second half of the lesson that's gone further down the tree.

(If you hadn't reached adverbs one and two, all I can say is, you lucky so and so. They were a nightmare before)


Goodbye "Adverbs 2"!!! Auf Niemalswiedershen!


Thanks for your help in clearing that up for me!


Having worked really hard to complete the previous tree it's very disheartening to find I now won't finish it before the end of the year - wish there'd been an option to keep the old tree.

Also, it's incredibly unsatisfying to reset lots of old lessons to "incomplete". Imagine if that arbitrarily happened in a video game!


It's not "arbitrarily ": it's where you have new/more things to learn!
So it's just having you knowing more of the language. ;)


Actually, I get Gee.Alex's point. Imagine doing a whole year of high school grade 10 or 9 and then in the third semester the school suddenly decides to change the curriculum and add or remove lessons. Some universities tend to do this for a whole year or semester, but not in the middle of a trimester.

It is good to improve the course, but Duolingo really needs to change the experience caused by suddenly having a lot of incomplete randomly placed lessons. For example, they could create a new special shortcut to simply group the new lessons in old skills and learn them sequentially. Or create a new kind of skill that does this, and maybe requiring lingots.

Frankly, the tree changes have never bothered me. But the german tree has huge changes to the structure and curriculum. So it could have probably been handled slightly differently.

This is especially important if tree versioning comes out of beta and this will happen more frequently.


It happened to me. They changed my A level curriculum half way through it. The class was given a choice - stick to the older curriculum (which was worse), or lose some exam results and go with the new (better) curriculum.

We unanimously decided to ditch our old exam results and go with the better curriculum (including those that were ditching 95-100% results).


Go for it tiger. This tree is much simpler to play with! I'm in the same situation but catching up is a brizz. I've covered 1/3 already in a day -just got the new one.


thank you very much for the tree´s update, I am very happy with the new courses! by the way, what does A/B test mean? :D :D


Oh no, I just logged in, and what a mess! Gold circles and half-filled colored circles dotted here and there, instead of the perfect gold streak that I had until yesterday... It's as if someone marched into my neatly cleaned room and made chaos; upturned desks, splattered paint, pencils and erasers everywhere. It just feels that devastating. I don't even know where to resume, where to begin, where to start from again; So many new half-done lessons. Now, it wouldn't have been this devastating... IF I hadn't been taking notes of EVERY. SINGLE. LESSON. Literally. I wrote down all the questions and their answers in each lesson in each section, BY HAND. In perfect order. Top to bottom and left to right in the Skill Tree. And to see that all the hard work was for nothing because of this one update... I was working on Occupations. It was time for Lesson 3. Now it's gone. My notes won't be in order anymore. Instead, it would be like, Intro Lesson 2, Present 1 Lesson 4, House 1 Lesson 3, and so on. Besides, for instance, I had finished Household a while ago; taking notes of another Household lesson (not to mention right next to an unfinished section) would grind my nerves into powder.

Now, I know that I am a fussy neatfreak, and this update would help I lot of people learn German efficiently, but, I just want you to know that this major good improvement made one person's day one of the worst days of all her German-learning days.


Hi there :) I know it won't be as neat, but I think you'll find that if you create a referencing system (like see p.14) within your notes, and create a new chapter that is comprehensive to the new unlearned material from the sections you had previously finished, you'll find that it won't be difficult to get accustomed to the change :) There are lots of new words in the tree, so many positive changes that this tree will leave you knowing much more German than the older tree. There's a long way to go from here, don't get discouraged. Take it as a chance to strengthen the skills you've already learned, and also break out of the norms of your learning process!


Is anyone else experiencing app crash on iOS, in lesson 4 of conjunctions on the new tree? It's happened to me 3 times in a row now; can't get past it.


No, but my lesson 4 consisted of just one translation. Using iOS 9.0.2 on an iPad.


Is this why I have to re-take a lot of my courses? My entire course is "open" and not unlocked as I go along.


I saw the new tree and thought it would be a major setback filling my tree. But at least after one day I like it so far.


I'm really happy about this. Anything that gives me more to learn and in a more clear way is very welcome.


The tree is making me more productive... by making me redo just about all the skills. But I like the addition of the The skill, as I had no idea of what genders were when I first started, on mobile.


It's great to have new words. But I really wish there could have been an option to defer this. It's those of us who are in the midde or 2/3 of the way through the tree who will have problems. I set a goal to finish my German tree, and the deadline of the goal is at the end of October.. I calculated how many lessons I would have to do per day, spent a lot of work to make sure I would make it, was down to under 25 skills to go...and then suddenly one day I log in and have about 80 to do!

There is no way I can make the goal now. This...sucks. Especially if you're in a goal setting competition with others and have now lost...

It really would have been better to either allow a deferral option, or, if the site can't support such a dual system, then to have a clear visible warning on the tree page itself in plenty of time. Then I would have taken this into consideration by setting the goals. Few people, especially new users, would think to look on the incubator page (as someone mentioned in a post above).

It would have so been very easy just to have text at the top saying "This tree will be radically updated in xxx months" and saved so much frustration.


I love the new tree, but it doesn't load on my phone app... and I was more comfortable with Duolingo for phone, cause I don't have always time to connect from a desktop. Will be the mobile applications updated later, or is this just a problem of mine?


They normally update the Duolingo apps later, but I cannot tell you an exact day for that.


Oh, I understand! If this is just a temporary problem, I will wait the update. Thank you!


thank you so much for your hard work on this! really like the bits added :)


I had just finished refreshing my tree and was a little taken aback to discover the update, but I must say, the updates are a great improvement, gut gemacht!


The new German tree seems great. And I do understand that everyone, even those like me who had come far in the old German tree, has to use the new one. There is something, though. I have 3 to 4 checkpoints that I could pass to get to where I was at before the tree changed. But I can't, because it's written "Checkpoint passed". So I have to re-do almost every single categorie and it's a bit frustrating to be practicing "Ich bin Karl" Couldn't you allow us to skip multiple categories at once? As it is, I fear I won't be able to learn anything but a few words before long. Thank you for considering my comment :)


I do not like the new tree. I was 3/4 and have to start over and already I am behind in the new tree The word in Adverbs 2 were not the words in adverbs 2 They were in adverbs 1. I want to learn German I don't appreciating starting all over


If you really want to learn German that is the best thing could happen to you.


Where was the warning? I do not like this. I had a system in place as to how I was learning and practicing. Now I can't just strengthen my skills, but I must take tests? I have been doing duolingo for over two years and this might make me stop.
I am so angry and also disappointed that I may have to find a new way of learning German.


"Where was the warning?"

We posted updates 5 months and 2 weeks ago here. Furthermore, why don't you simply add the new words for your notebook and that's it? I may not see your point, but I cannot understand why you have to start again from scratch after two years.


Cause jekyllhj7 wrote the lessons one under the previous one and so there is no free space to write down the new words of the lesson/skill.


Again, dev team does not understand the user experience, only the experience from the dev side. This will merely force people to find alternatives to Duolingo. It is very unfortunate that you forced people to switch to this new tree, rather than just adding the new functionality to the current tree.


> rather than just adding the new functionality to the current tree.

It's like that that Duo did it.
It seems you're experiencing a bug where all your lesson are reseted to zero. Would you have a screenshot of your tree to share so we can confirm the bug and maybe find a solution?


Now I can't just strengthen my skills

You can still strengthen the things you already learned. This will not result in goldening some skills (since there are new things in some of them) but still result in you strengthening your knowledge of the things you learned in the past.

but I must take tests?

If you want to learn new things, no need to take test. Just take the lessons.
If you just want to strengthen what you already learned, just keep using the strengthening thing.

I am so angry and also disappointed that I may have to find a new way of learning German.

After two years of "just" strengthening things you learned isn't that good to have new things to learn?


I wasn't JUST strengthening. I don't have hours a day to study. I study the old fashioned way. I had a notebook with all my vocabulary written in it - according to each lesson (so I could easily find it if needed) Since the entire thing is restructured, my way of studying no longer works without starting from scratch. All of the lessons I thought I had finished, must now be worked on again. I must start a new notebook, since I don't have room in lessons I thought I had completed.
Original users should have been able to keep the old tree with possible additions.
I used duolingo becuase it fit my way of learning. I was able to spend 20-30 minutes a day (some days more) and move forward. Some days That I didn't have a lot of time, I would just review already learned lessons.
This is very discouraging. Basically two years down the drain. I feel like I wasted all of that time since I have to start to take lessons from the beginning again.


Basically two years down the drain. I feel like I wasted all of that time

No really: you learned a lot! The change in the tree didn't make you forgot all that. ;)

May I suggest to you to use free simple programs like mnemosyne-project for vocabulary?
You can add the vocabulary in it, tag each entry like you want. For example one tag by lesson but you can put several tags on an entry so can also tag them as NOUN/VERB/... and anything you want.

Like that, any future update will not "ruin" anything. You'll just have to add new entries and change a few tags if some lexemes have been moved from one unit to another.

In addition such programs being flashcards program, it'll be another mean to strengthen your knowledge.


Like I said, old school. I write things down. I use a desk top computer and use a spiral notebook to keep my vocab. When I was reviewing, I'd have my notebook there open to the page for that lesson so I could look up a word if I needed to.
I work better going from start to finish, so with the "new" words, I'l be starting from the basics again. Seems kind of stupid. I'll just have to possibly check out other channels for learning that might work better for me. Loved the old system. Oh well...


I'll also suggest that you create a new chapter in your notebook that is dedicated to the new words in tree. This chapter could be divided into sections based on level of difficulty or even based on the course packet. Then, you can create indicators in the previous sections you've written (like: see p.27) as a referencing system when you choose to review from your own notes! :)


Hi there! Might I suggest that, although much has changed in the tree, you continue using your writing system, which is a great addition to the Duolingo structure (as it is not designed to help you write but instead to help you read, type and pronounce) and just go over the skills that have changed for you in your tree, adding the new things you learned while going along?

In my own case, I had already reached about 25% through, and the change did indeed disrupt my structured way of learning, but I am welcoming the disruption, and taking it as a chance to strengthen all of my skills again (hence resetting my progress and retaking the basics).

I'm using both Duolingo and Memrise (A1 German) to reduce the visual association between my understanding of German and Duolingo as a platform. Perhaps it's a good time to refresh the basics and even diversify your approach to create new visual and auditory queues! Don't get discouraged, you've come a long way and your frustration only indicates how passionate you are to learn, so keep going, and don't let your comfort zone limit your learning process! ;)


Thank you for the feedback!!! I totally agree with you. I was almost completely done going through the entire tree a second time as review, and all of my progress was completely wiped out, thus forcing me back to the very beginning. Horribly executed launch of the new tree.


Keep your head up, jekyllhj7! It might seem like a pain in the posterior at first, but the updates are REALLY good. The Duolingo team has made changes that make the tree more useful for using German in real life situations. You can still keep your notebook (which I also have), but it would be sad to see you give it up after 700+ days (incredible, by the way!) a week into the new update.

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I cannot express my feelings. After having golden owl I have 120 lessons in front of me. I am imposed to start with Basics1 - die Frau, der Junge and so on. I think I will throw Duolingo away.


I understand your frustrations, @jdjadu, but the goal should be a better and more complete understanding of the German language. Duolingo has gamified the language learning process, and the Golden Owl is a great achievement, but the updates ultimately are for the best. Just think about Mario—the poor dude has to reach SO MANY castles before he can finally save the queen in the end.

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I have to say that this was my initial reaction too and it makes me really sad. :( While I feel there are definite improvements to the structure and I'm sure it would dramatically improve experience for the newer learners, for those of us that already worked so hard to get to the end, this is super disheartening...

I'm happy having new words to learn, it's just I really wish there had been a better way to implement them... say for example that just 1 new word was added to each of the 120 lessons, it means we have to type out a further 17 sentences per 'new' lesson, giving a total of 2040 sentences, and I can already feel the onset of RSI just trying to catch up with this all again.

I still of course love Duolingo and think the service that the staff work so hard provide is fantastic. :) I just hope that next time there's a tree update that they would consider providing a way to focus just on the new content that is added rather than having to repeat lots of the less relevant stuff too. (On a similar note, I'd also say the same about the strengthening skills, that it would be nice if we could target say 1 contextualised sentence per decayed word rather than 17 corresponding to the level that word happened to be in).


I totally agree with you!!! I've spend hundreds of hours using the system I set up and then had to start from scratch, which has been very frustrating. I too, will be looking for other options since Duolingo released this update without giving users the option.

Furthermore, I don't like "refreshing" basic courses all over again after I already mastered them, and finding nothing new is presented in them.

And while Duo is free, it is disappointing that they chose to force users into this new HORRIBLE format of going back through their entire tree and taking all of the courses over again. This was poorly executed by the Duolingo dev team.


GRR. Suddenly (if I'm interpreting the pretty graphics right) I have no longer completed a whole bunch of lessons. I've got 1/4 of some lesson labelled "Phrases" and 1/4 of some lesson labelled "Intro". As compared with still being 4/5 at remembering my long completed "Christmas" lesson. (If it weren't for that, I'd have thought you'd changed your way of telling me how much I needed to review each individual lesson.)

And I had no clue this was coming, since it's apparantly only mentioned in Discussion - which I've avoided since an "improvement" a year or two ago drove me off the site for most of a year.

I don't supposed there's any documentation about this "tree editting" feature. All I see is that the material's been rearranged, probably into lots more lessons (so more scrolling on the home page, which I already found inconvenient), and no apparant way to get details except by clicking through on each one. But with a name like that, maybe I can get smaller icons and more items per horizontal line, and get back to almost parity with the site 2 or 3 years ago. (When a UI change drove me off duolingo for the best part of a year, the result being both ugly and inconvenient.) I really dislike having to go back to the main screen to start a new lesson, and then having to scrolldown repeatedly to get to that lesson. It's annoying at 37%, and gets worse the more I learn.


since it's apparantly only mentioned in Discussion / I don't supposed there's any documentation about this "tree editting" feature.

Wrong, we started informing the whole community 5 months ago and wrote another update 2 weeks ago: click me!


blink I guess I'm not part of the community then.

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