https://www.duolingo.com/Oh_Stylo

Feedback: extremely dissatisfied with recent changes.

Lessons need to be made longer again. Period. This continual habit of shortening lesson lengths is flat-out not working. I have learned nothing since the new change. When there's eight words to learn in a lesson, and you see each one once, and in the exact same order, and the exact same sentence, with absolutely no variance or change, then how exactly are we supposed to be actually learning now? What, pray tell, was the reason behind shortening lessons? Does it really mean anything if you can finish lessons faster now and come away with no memory of what you just learned?

The most inexcusable part is that, in some lessons, you don't even get to see all the words! In an attempt at variety, I tried strengthen, and encountered words for the first time because these new shorter lessons simply are NOT long enough.

If this was how Duolingo was when I first started using it, I wouldn't have stuck around. I feel bad for all the people I have told about it who barely got to experience what it should be like before everything got made shorter again. It's gone from being something I look forward to every day to just being something that annoys me. Until this changes, I'm done with Duo. I simply cannot reach my goals anymore with the new way this site works, and I can no longer in good faith recommend it to friends who are interested in learning a new language. I'll continue my language education elsewhere, thanks.

May 30, 2016

43 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/bookrabbit

In my opinion they have applied the algorithm that shortens the lessons in the wrong place. It is better suited to the strengthening exercises where if you remember words you don't want to repeat everything but if you get things wrong you need to do extra. The first time through a lesson you need to get each word in both directions and a variety of formats to have the best chance of remembering it so the shortening is indeed a mistake. I think their approach has become rather too haphazard with too many a/b tests and not enough attention paid to which bits people actually feel the benefit of. Long reviews when unnecessary are demotivating. Repeating questions you have got right over and over again to pad out a review session to the length they require is demotivating. Having a colourful tree but no way to focus on the parts you really do need to review is demotivating. The short exercises would be a perfect way to cut through the sections you already know, but instead reviews seem to have got much longer recently. Short reviews encourage me to keep going. If they take too long or are repetitive I feel my time is better used elsewhere.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AureliaUK

I think their approach has become rather too haphazard with too many a/b tests and not enough attention paid to which bits people actually feel the benefit of.

^^ This. It's becoming a complete dog's dinner.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/twduke

I agree somewhat with this, especially how variations are not used or different sentences are not used to learn all the nuances of the language in addition to more vocabulary. Also previously learned vocabulary should be incorporated into later lessons as well as different versions in verb conjugation at the level one is studying.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Soullos

As a new user, I'm not familiar with what is was like before, but based on what you have said and my limited experience, even I'm wondering "WTF Duolingo"? Some lessons are very short. So short there has been a few times where a new word never showed up. I was first introduced to the new words on a review/strengthening session, scratching my head all the same... If anything, each new word should show up at least once initially if Duo wants to keep these lessons short. But a longer lesson with more word/sentence variation to better teach you "how" to use the word effectively, would do wonders.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage

I generally don't mind the short lessons since I like to review as well as do new skills but now that they are so short we aren't getting all the new vocabulary that seems a little too short.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

Duo tests and makes changes it things are best for Duo and the majority of the users, not any single individual.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AureliaUK

I suspect it's progressively gearing the product more towards schools. Shorter, less demanding lessons to keep the interest of schoolkids who appear to have the attention span of a goldfish.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda

Despite being clearly designed for adults, yes.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper

I also have the attention span of a goldfish :P. I'm all for speed. I highly prefer short lessons, and would get bored / annoyed with repetitive lessons (same word several times). School has always been like prison for me because of the super slow lessons, that's why I like Duo as I can progress at my own pace.

But yeah, they could add an option for those who prefer longer lessons.

May 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/bookrabbit

I used to truely believe this, but I am beginning to think that they are losing sight of real quality improvement in the noise created by all the a/b testing. They lack a way to measure the actual progress made by each user (the fluency measure is certainly not fit for this purpose) and so have no way to know which changes are really functional for actually improving learning rather than just retaining users. Obviously retention is important, very important, but so is the quality of the lessons. If they are going to tailor language learning to each user then recognising when someone already knows something and moving on to areas where more work is needed is key. I was excited by the introduction of the short lessons last year as it seemed to indicate progress towards this but instead of using it to review they just made it easier to rush through the tree without really learning much, while making review seem less attractive in comparison as that gets so repetitive and is not well focused.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel

I find it weird that they still focus on retaining the users, considering how many new users join in all the time and they don't seem to be able to provide the service for everyone anymore without monetizing. Maybe it's time to stop growing and start focusing on the content. If they don't do this, their goal is not to help people learn languages but to cause addiction for their benefit.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Tattamin

Ah, but growth is the only measure of economic success these days. No matter whether you achieve gains or losses, as long as you grow you are deemed successful.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel

Yeah, it's like they're trying to imitate cancer.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/chilvence

This just in - Is second hand exposure to "Duolingo" jeopardizing your health? We go to Steve, our health correspondent...

May 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Jmorr1990

I had previously mentioned the issue with words not appearing in lessons. However, not many people responded. It has continued to happen to me. It is quite annoying, and honestly, it makes me not want to use the site. I even filed a bug report concerning this and have yet to hear back. (Ref: here)

I can already hear the flames of "It's a free site" and "If you don't like it, don't use it". I am aware of both. Though my flags may not show it, I have been with this site for a long time; before lingots or the incubator existed, and when the trees were more like flow-charts. That being said, I am a huge fan of DL and everything that they stand for and do.

I realize that they have a lot on their plate, and so I've been patient with the ups and downs as the site grows. However, it is very frustrating when you submit bug reports (I have submitted two in the last year alone), only to hear absolutely nothing back. Ever.

Hopefully they resolve the vocab issue relatively soon.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/LaRouxd

I had been active for nearly a year, streak wise. As changes have been made recently, I have lost interest in using duolingo. Thus lost my streak, motivation, and have gone mostly inactive. I put my spanish to practice elsewhere now. Memrise, mango languages and youtube.

Too bad honestly, I have recommended so many to the ap and site in the past, now I don't feel inclined to anymore.

A more open and straightforward communication with duos users from the company would indeed be nice and helpful, no one knows what's really going on, what the plans are or what's next for development. If it becomes monetized, they have a much bigger obligation to informing the people that are now paying for their service.

Take a hint before you lose your user base duolingo.

May 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Beautyand

Maybe you should tell someone who works for Duolingo. I would but I don't know how. Well, enjoy learning you languages, even if it is not on Duolingo.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/kuah

Just a thought: I am wondering if perhaps shorter lessons are better for people just starting, and review/strengthen sessions are for those further in the learning process such as yourself. There is not a need for every feature to cater to all users.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ennekim

I agree. I sometimes like the shorter lessons, but that's just my opinion. I would definitely like longer lessons, but maybe Duolingo bases them on how efficiently someone can learn words. For example, questions in French for me was a very short lesson but I still gleaned a lot from it. If I needed to look back at some words I didn't understand, I strengthened the lesson. However, with 'harder' words (and harder is a general term) or with many words to learn, a longer lesson would be needed.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper

I agree that they likely did some test and came to the conclussion that short lessons are better in one way or another.

May 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ennekim

Also, I believe that we need to take the responsibility of wanting to work towards learning a language on ourselves. Duolingo doesn't need to baby feed us every step of the way. While I also think that they need to take part of the responsibility on teaching us, we need to do our part as well. Learning is a team effort, and yes, I am quoting from multiple teachers. :)

June 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel

The comments here prove what I've thought for a long time. The user base is so large and heterogenous that it's time for Duolingo to stop treating us like we're all the same. Some need to take things slowly, some can handle a faster pace. Some want repetition and some don't. I'd really like it if they'd introduce some possibility to choose the way each of us prefers to use the site (instead of the A/B tests. How about letting us decide how we want to use the site and then looking at that data (what percentage decided to take long lessons vs. short ones, what percentage preferred variety vs repetition etc.).

June 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Tattamin

Having a choice is good.
After going through the French and Norwegian trees with little effort, I am currently struggling with Russian. And appreciate very much having the opportunity to use the (Android) app, where things are easier.
Yes, it makes for slower/easier/shallower learning. But it also is much less frustrating to use when progress is slow and a lot of repetition is needed.
And I have come to find that eventually the concepts do stick, that I am creating phrases correctly, intuitively, without thinking about the underlying grammar, just because I feel it "sounds right" - and that is duolingo's teaching concept, after all!
I have decided to put my trust into this method, to not make lists or flashcards or study grammar elsewhere, to just go with the flow and see where it leads me.

June 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Tattamin

I wish I could do that, but I just love learning grammar way too much :D

I am sure I'll be looking into the grammar at some point, but in this case I won't let it interfere with my basic learning. Just scanning the odd Russian conjugation table made me shudder.

June 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel

I wish I could do that, but I just love learning grammar way too much :D

June 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SporadicAspirant

When Duolingo changes how its tools function, it is sometimes necessary to work out how best your learning style can fit in with how their tools now function.

You indicate that the strengthen tool introduces the variety you seek in the lessons. This suggests that one part of the solution for you might be to use the strengthen tool more often.

If for example you were not using it at all before, and were doing each lesson only once anyway, then now you might adapt to the changes on Duolingo by performing up to as many strengthen sessions as there are lessons in the skill. That example is hypothetical; each individual would have different needs which they could individually assess.

I take the shorter lessons as a speedy way of glancing over a vocabulary list with the majority of words for the skill, and speed through it. I don't view this as the single point for a long term memory to be made, but as a swift introduction to the majority of the words for the unconscious rather than conscious memory.

Anyway, I suspect this is an A/B test that is still running. In a few months time things might (or might not) be back to how you prefer them, so if you do leave, in spite of your current bad experience check back once in a while - things might have improved for you.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/bookrabbit

This would be fine if the strengthen tool actually worked well. I find it constantly repeats questions you already answered correctly instead of focusing on the ones you make mistakes on. I am running out of ways to work around the bits that don't work. And of course working around things mucks up the results of their a/b tests as you are still present despite being dissatisfied.

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper

I don't agree, I prefer short lessons. I personally would dislike longer lessons as they would be a waste of time for me. I'd dislike them to be longer and it would most likely hurt my progress as longer lessons would make me get bored (oh the same word again).

So at best they should give an option to choose between the 2.

May 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/strmzzz

When I tried out german the "Der, Die, Das" lesson had literally 3 slides.

May 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ori_ka

I have been away from here for few months and now going through my French tree refreshing occasional skills. Indeed some of lessons have become short but some have stayed as long as before. I like it the new way, it is more motivating and much less boring. And since there are also longer lessons here and there it makes the whole duo experience more fun. But maybe it differs from tree to tree. When German tree was updated I was so much disappointed that deleted the course at all and later took the placement test but never actually came back to it.

May 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/iheartbieber

I love Duolingo!!!

May 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/chirelchirel

I just noticed that in the Android app you can focus your strengthening on weak words! I went to strengthen my French tree which is a mess, because I haven't been motivated to strengthen it. I chose a skill and was surprised to see an extra lesson called "Weakest words" there.

Maybe everyone else knew about this, but for me it was a new thing. I wish they'd add something similar to the web version too.

June 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/widle

I don't think it's new. It's just strenghtening of that skill, and it lists the weakest words. I believe it's the same thing as as Strengthen skill in the web version.

Or do you have two options there now?

June 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/LisaAdams687338

On the contrary, the lessons are too long! I get tired and start making typos because the stupid thing NEVER ENDS! I'm studying this on my own and am in no real hurry. Just let me have short lessons that drill the material and adds new stuff a bit each lesson, but, after about 10 items, give me a break.

July 11, 2019
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