https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AAnanchenko

The updated german tree: I am a bit disappointed with quality

A year and half ago I completed the whole german tree and moved on to Spanish and French courses. Then the tree was updated, some topics were expanded or even added.

I have just completed the updated tree and the difference between the older and newer material is tremendous. The quality of new lessons is definitely worse, much worse. I do not know why but many lessons are now only 7-8 questions short, which surely makes it harder to memorise new material. Sentences are often stilted or have only one repeating pattern. It also seems that translations from german to english outweigh the opposite, there should be more balance. Learners need more practice translating into the learned language.

While new additions are welcomed I think the new material still needs further improvement.

October 19, 2016

22 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jimnicholson

translations from german to english outweigh the opposite

This bit is the Duolingo software, not the course content. You can do the revere tree to get the opposite effect.

And the shorter lessons [again under software control not course design] are supposed to be because Duolingo has found the drop out rate is lower. Or at least this is what their testing is attempting to establish.

October 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AAnanchenko

This bit is the Duolingo software, not the course content. You can do the revere tree to get the opposite effect.

It seems to me (only seems, I may as well be wrong) that 3.5 years ago when I started using Duolingo the balance was better.

October 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jimnicholson

They talk more often about user engagement than learning rate, so if that is their priority, then Duolingo isn't going to be an optimal learning solution for most people. Unless somehow it can adjust itself for each user. I imagine the problem with that is, that when a user drops out, they drop out for good, and probably without much warning.

The best thing might be to have elected challenges. Perhaps bring back Hearts as some sort challenge mode like we have with Timed Practice. Or a mode with only translating to the L2 leaning language. However, they have said that they don't want to make Duolingo more complicated.

October 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hohenems

They talk more often about user engagement than learning rate...

This. In my opinion, Duo has been dumbed down over the years to better suit people with short attention spans that want some sort of immediate gratification, and young children.

October 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hohenems

You aren't alone.

October 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TeamEXP

Your comment reminded me of a Micheal Jackson song XD

October 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/widle

Yes, they adjust these things all the time.

October 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/widle

One of the reasons for shorter lessons might be that there are less words in each lesson now. (Which is course design.) People used to be discouraged by large lessons and skills, so the current trend is to divide them into smaller chunks.

October 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AAnanchenko

Actually there are lessons with seven new words and only seven questions, one question per word, which is not enough for learning.

October 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jimnicholson

Yeah, I had wondered if the software adjusts itself based on the words/sentenced defined for a lesson. I've not seen anyone try to prove that though, but it would make sense. I still thought of that decision as being part of the software - it might be a bias I have due to my background as a programmer. However, I can understand the opposite view.

I am concerned though, if shorter lessons - in the long term - are also being driven by the need to show more adverts. So it is no longer just a balance between learning rate and user engagement, but they are also balancing a third variable (revenue from advertisements). I realise only some of the Android users are seeing adverts, but it is all in the mix.

October 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SBensted

I've recently started the German course and I have thought that the balance of translation leans too far towards translating from German to English. I find translating into German is a much better test of skill, though that may be a personal preference not shared by others.

I like the length of the lessons, if I am not sure I can always repeat the lesson or go through a few of the strengthening lessons until I am.

October 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raisinnoir

Are you doing the reverse tree? You will have to translate more English into German; also you gain a wider vocabulary. An added benefit is reading the comments of the native German English learners with each other. You can add your comments in German. It's a helpful experience.

October 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schrodinger-cat

While this works, it still sounds like a hack to me. It is also very unpractical to do (you lose the global vision of all the languages you are learning). The software should adapt to the level of the users imho.

October 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raisinnoir

I was replying to SBensted"s comment and attempting to address the points he raised. I'm wondering what you mean by losing the "global vision" of "all the languages" one is learning. Could you explain this interesting concept? I find that each language has its own flavor, similarities aside.

October 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schrodinger-cat

I am not talking about any concept, it is on the contrary 100℅ pragmatic. My comment refered to the way the apps (I rarely use the website) are made. If I switch to the reverse German tree (German to English for example), my courses listing displays only German to English, and I cannot access the 6 courses I see currently, unless I switch back to any "English to something".

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AwLYMM

I personally prefer 10 questions per XP and if need be more XPs , as I use other sources for additional information. If I was paying for this I could present a few gripes, but as it is free without annoying adverts. I think duolingo is overall fantastic.

October 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carolyn250

I have also noticed the shorter length of lessons towards the end of the tree. And one huge smile! They told me that there are many camels in Australia. In zoos maybe?

October 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carolyn250

Oh my goodness! I have never heard that before! (I live in Canada). Hats off to the Duolingo educators for knowing way more than I do. And thank you for the link.

October 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/christian
  1. Unfortunately, we (the volunteer contributors) have zero control over the ratio of English to German and German to English translations and the exact length of a particular lesson. They're entirely controlled by an algorithm set up by Duolingo staff.

  2. You're not using the latest version of the course. The latest version was rolled out to 50% of new users a couple months ago, and we haven't heard any news from staff as to whether or when it will be rolled out to everyone.

As you can imagine, this is really frustrating for us contributors as well. We spend a lot of our spare time on Duolingo and it's disappointing to see how little our contributions seem to be valued by Duolingo's management.

October 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wataya

It's unfortunate I can upvote this only once.

October 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AAnanchenko

The shortness of lessons is a new plague. It is not a feature of this course. I started German for russian speakers a few days ago and there are lots of short (and I still think thus ineffective lessons) lessons. How can I learn 7 new words with only seven questions and tranlations only one way? That is stupid. Memrise seems more robust in learning technique but they suffer from short attention span too and have broken all of their very good A1 and A2 courses (I finished their spanish A1/A2 courses and work on my german there too) into SEVEN shorter ones.

October 23, 2016
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