https://www.duolingo.com/jbshuttleworth

An Inefficient Change to 'Strengthen Skills'

I really like using the "Strengthen Skills" tool to keep up on lessons and words from lessons past. However, whereas it used to randomly choose lessons to quiz me from (keeping the content fresh), it now methodically works up from the most basic words and lesson. Because Duolingo slowly "un-strenghtens" my skills for even the most basic lessons, that means that each day I must spend time translating words like "the dog eats" or "the kids play," even if I'm 2/3 of the way through the tree.

I appreciate not losing my most basic skills, but given these words and sentence structures are also included in the later lessons, it just seems silly to constantly retest me on them each day, especially given how basic they are.

Does this seem odd to anyone else? Or is this how it should ideally work?

November 1, 2015

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Bee_and_Puppycat

This happens to me everyday. It's been driving me crazy, because when I am finally finished with strengthening everything, I don't want to do any more French because I've already been doing it for an hour.

Another problem is the "Strengthen Skills" hasn't been working properly. Usually it will strengthen a few skills, but lately it will only do one at a time.

Another issue I've been having is when I go back to strengthen a skill, Duo throws in different translations that I haven't yet learned, and then it takes me twice as long to strengthen that particular skill.

I am about half way done with my French tree, and when I have to strengthen more than ten skills for an hour without learning anything new, it makes me discouraged and I end up not even wanting to do French.

Sorry for the long post.

November 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ali_and_Colton

Yes, yes, yes. I am so frustrated that I have to keep returning to the same skills, even though I'm working every day. I end up spending an hour on old crap and then, as you said, I'm too tired to move forward. I have two kids. I'm trying to keep my language skills strong but this feels way too regressive way too often. Shape it up, Duolingo.

November 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Tattamin

Yes, it does feel weird. I keep waiting for content from more recent lessons to turn up but it's mostly basics, at least in the Norwegian course. As a workaround I'm re-doing lessons or strengthening individual skills, but I'd really like to be given a mixture of what I already learned for practice.

November 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jul_simon

I agree with you, this is not the way the strenghten skills button should work... the previous version was much better and really mixed skills.

The issue has already been reported in some recent posts.. I list a couple of links below, if the Duolingo team could see that a lot of users are not satisfied with the change hopefully they will switch back! https://www.duolingo.com/comment/11256387 https://www.duolingo.com/comment/10522046

November 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Bagolylovag

Yes, I've just wanted to post the same, but I'm glad to see that it is already being discussed here. It is indeed very annoying to always translate the very basic sentences while never getting to the more difficult ones. It would be really much better if the skills to be strengthened were randomly selected.

November 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/dejadru

I'm glad to see this thread--I'm very dissatisfied with how "strengthen skills" is working because it's impossible to catch up now. I was on a several day streak, and each day I was spending two rounds strengthening and only one round on a new topic in order to "catch up". One night I counted how many completed topics I needed to "top off" and it was 13. The next day it was 17, again despite my working several days in a row. I know this is just a free app so no right to complain, but I'll probably look for something else. If any of the DuoLingo technical staff see this, I really encourage you to have the completed skills diminish less quickly. It feels pretty discouraging.

November 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/dejadru

A little update: for what it's worth, I was able to catch up in 22 days. I did only catch-up skills, 40 or 50 points at a time. I also lowered my goal from 30 to 20, hoping it would slow the rate of my decreasing skills, but I don't think that helped. Unrelated, but for the last 4 days, only 1 or 2 completed skills decrease, so that might be fixed. And if the skills are next to each other, or only one away in the tree, if I choose Strengthen Skills instead of pick an actual skill, Duolingo seems to combine the lessons so I get credit for 2 categories. Maybe it's getting better?

December 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jbshuttleworth

So is there any way to "actually" get this on the radar of Duolingo? I'd like to imagine that they take a look at this forum frequently, and with so many people agreeing to this issue, you'd hope it'd be high on their radar.

Duolingo folks, any thoughts here?

November 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/NicuOlah

This happens to me everyday.

November 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/bergenhopps

Completely agree.

Also, I would not only want skills randomized, but also a combination of skills when strengthening.

November 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/markbooth

I realise this post is a year old but I just wanted to add my voice to all those saying it would be much better if "Strengthen Skills" worked like it used to, randomly selecting from the tree or selecting from skills that you haven't done for a while rather than just the most basic ones. It definitely feels a lot less inspiring when you keep finding yourself redoing the skills you just strengthened a few days earlier.

January 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/carlroberts91096

Yes, Duolingo should change this, I strengthen my skills each day in Spanish, only for the levels of the other more basic things that I remember easy to go down again, i'm trying to keep my whole tree in gold, but that is seeming impossible haha

November 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lelieblad

Edit: Nevermind. Seems Duolingo hates me.

Had two strengthen skills sessions strengthen multiple skills in the Dutch for English speakers course, but now it seems to have gone back to strengthening one at a time. Make up your mind, Duolingo!

November 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lelieblad

Okay, this is both weird and cool. It seems sometimes Strengthen skills strengthens 2-3+ skills at once, sometimes 1, and sometimes finishing a lesson strengthens old skills! :D

I think I like it.

November 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Bagolylovag

The problem is not that. It is good that the topics are interrelated. The problem is when you strengthen, you always have to start with the easiest lessons.

November 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/freeboprich

This is the first time I've felt the need to give a lingot, well said!

It strikes me that the major problem with Duo is the fact there's not enough flexibility to the way lessons and practice sessions are structured, so I end up (as you pointed out so well) spending so much time on the same old dead questions I've got right a million times before rather than actually pushing any of my boundaries and really expanding my learning - mainly because I've spent an hour or so practising each day before I can actually get stuck into a new lesson.

And even then I end up having to repeat the same sentences sometimes even when I've answered them correctly before, because Duo has no alternative examples for me to work on outside of the rigid structure of each lesson... that's another limitation, but I believe it's linked to the inflexibility of the build in general.

December 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Jay_Wolverine

I requested a feature a while ago, to let users control what lessons to include when clicking on "Strengthen Skills". The purpose of the request is different, but I figure if that is done, it will help here as well

Please refer https://www.duolingo.com/comment/19009926

April 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JeffA2

I think they changed it because the old behavior was confusing to some people. Since sentences were chosen from a wide variety of lessons, much of the time you would not immediately see the result of the strengthening. That is, no single lesson would re-gild, so people felt like nothing had happened. The new method is weighted toward just a few lessons, so gives more immediate satisfaction. I agree, though, that it would be better if it did not always focus exclusively on the easiest non-gold lessons.

November 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lelieblad

It seems to be an A/B test.

In my Dutch for English speakers course, 'Strengthen skills' only strengthens one skill per session. In my English for Dutch speakers course, it strengthens several per session.

Hopefully the test will be ending soon and they'll decide to go with the second option.

November 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/slinkous

it is lower to higher because it wants you to gradually work on harder and harder sentences

November 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jbshuttleworth

But when I've been on Duolingo for 8 months, almost 2/3 of the way through the tree, and when my late-stage, noun-heavy lessons already test present tense, simple verbs, why do I have to go back to translating "The dog eats fruit?"

This isn't a problem with not losing my basic skills (which I agree is important) - it's a problem in how Duolingo continually forces you to retake simple lessons whose skills you practice in literally every more advanced lesson.

November 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Bagolylovag

Yes, this is exactly the point. When you learn new skills, it is obvious that you need to go gradually. But when it comes to practicing, it doesn't make much sense to always repeat the vary basic ones, while neglecting the more advanced ones.

November 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/slinkous

if you want you can choose which lesson you do by clicking on the skill and then on practice skill.

November 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jbshuttleworth

But then what's the point of even having "Strengthen Skills" if all it does is methodically move me up the tree? I don't need a button to do that - I can do that myself.

What would be nice is to have an aspect of randomness to this, where I'm strengthening different skills, rather than the same basic ones over and over again.

November 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Bagolylovag

You are absolutely right.

November 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/slinkous

however, you strengthen skills when you do lessons

November 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DavidWesto5

This problem is driving me crazy also.

May 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Giti995307

I totally agree - the revision is very ineffective.

August 25, 2017
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