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Ability to "cherry pick" skills to be learned

I'm a huge Duolingo fan! It has helped me work my survival French in both France and Quebec and has been a wonderful tool for teaching Spanish.

I'd love to be able to assign a particular skill set for my Spanish classes that doesn't require them to have already completed everything prior. For example, I cover "to be" (Ser/Estar) pretty early in the year for both Spanish I and in Spanish II without necessarily going over all of the 20 other lessons prior to it.

Also, when I teach Spanish II Honors, I introduce Present Perfect, Future Tense, and Imperfect all before the Preterit, which Duolingo places ahead of these skill sets.

Anyone else think it would be good to assign "per skill" rather than (or better, in addition to) sequential order??

Thanks Duolingo for all that you do!

January 11, 2016



Hello! I've explained this before, so I apologize if I'm repeating something you've already read. Right now, the way Duolingo is structured, it is not built for unlocking the skills in random order. The reason for that is that each skill is dependent on the student knowing everything that was taught up to that point. We use vocabulary from other previous skills in order to teach new terms and words. And we highlight new words as they are introduced to ease the student into the concept.

If a student is ready to tackle skill 20, the system assumes he/she is familiar with everything taught in skills 1-19 and is arriving at 20 with appropriate scaffolding. If not, the lessons might prove difficult and the frustration could affect efficacy. I do agree that it would be cool for a teacher to make that choice (knowing the potential consequences).

Now, if a student is completely familiar with the content of skills 1-19 but just doesn't want to go through each skill, they could take shortcuts and unlock up to that skill in a few minutes. That's a way you could get them into the appropriate place if they didn't take a placement test when they first started.

Please note that this does not mean we won't offer this ability—it just means that, considering the way things currently are, it's tricky to do this. We've heard of many teachers doing either the shortcuts (checkpoints), adapting their curriculum a little to make it a closer match to the skill tree, and even some that are sending Duolingo assignments completely independently of their curriculum because it did not initially match (or because students are each reinforcing their language skills at their own place). I hope this is somewhat helpful (and I will take note of your suggestion). Thanks!


Furthermore, it would not be fun if we had the ability to choose randomly the skills to learn! ;)


We also have to remember the tenets of Duolingo:

  1. The best education that money can buy should be free, not a luxury
  2. It should support itself, not lean on funding
  3. It should be in your pocket, not in some building
  4. Learning should be fun, not a drag
  5. It should be based on data, not opinion
  6. Data should be used to personalize education, not just personalize ads
  7. It should be designed for the student, not for the system

We as teachers sometimes forget tenets 5 and 7 a lot of times when we used Duolingo.


Thank you for your reply. I understand the structure, and do hope that the ability to do a certain skill out of order to be occasionally permissible at some point in the future (and yes, I'm fully aware of what consequences that could bring)

I don't want to seem ungrateful for this excellent free learning tool. Perhaps I'm more concerned about the progress of the Spanish language on here. For example, I've been working on French, which taught me the verb "to be" in one of the first few lessons whereas Spanish doesn't offer it until 20 other lessons are covered; it just seems like an important basic concept that should be introduced sooner so if it's not going to be moved, the ability to skip to it would be beneficial.

Thanks again!

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