android app is useless now
the awful switch from open questions to basically word order exercises that was done to the duolingo android app made it completely useless in my opinion. i can guess the solutions even without comprehending the meaning which makes it much less efficient for learning. before this switch i was learning italian almost all the time through the android application, but now i find myself unmotivated to use it because i know i will gain nothing from it, so i am either doing duolingo on the laptop or not at all. also, in my opinion, there is no sane reason for this kind of switch except of giving app-users an illusions that they are making quick progress, when in reality they are just guessing and not memorizing their guesses.
It works fine as a step up in difficulty for me learning Vietnamese from scratch.
For a language you're somewhat familiar with, or which has close ties to languages you're familiar with, the change will have represented a step backwards in difficulty. That's why it seems trivial to you to rearrange words in Italian, but doesn't seem so trivial for me in Vietnamese.
But anyway, I try to say the sentences before I look, both on the web and on the app.
And the app gives me more exercises in new lessons than the web does (in general) - which puts the app ahead for me. I like the extra contexts when I'm introduced to a new word.
I have been using the web version on my phone every day for over a year. I never use the app anymore. No reason to. The web version works fine. The web version is better because it lets me do timed reviews and because it's safer when I travel to a different time zone. The app used to have a bug that caused you to lose your streak when you travel to a different time zone. Maybe the app is fixed now but I don't trust it so I always use the web version when I travel
I think the exposure to the language does help. I find the webversion of Duolingo is often too hard. I had to quit a lesson that just kept dragging on - I was at 50 exercises before I quit.
I'm sure my German and French pronunciation have gone up by leaps and bounds because I keep hearing things pronounced through the app.
I also struggle with some specific lessons even though I completed the italian tree, but i understand that i struggle with these lessons because i haven't learned them properly. app in its current state is making lessons easier to solve, but that does not mean it makes learning better, quite the contrary, it obscures the fact that you dont know how to use some words/grammar as long as you know enough of the language to infer the solution.
And yet, after 3 months of using the android app I can speak and write in French (I had some in school). E.g. Although I never practise on the computer, when I try I finish the sessions in no time. This leads me to believe that it can be very beneficial. Before you learn something it's nice to get acquainted with the word/sentence in such a forgiving environment. Later I am able to write the sentences correctly on my own and by then it's fine with the boxes as well, since I am already well acquainted with the sentence and words. Psychologically it is very helpful, because no one is good at something in the beginning, but the android app's boxes don't give you that impression, so you soldier on with confidence and do more lessons. Of course I practise speaking French to myself and almost always stop whenever I am confused about a sentence and read through the discussion boards (always helpful, even when I'm just curious!) What would help a lot is if they added the notes & tips for lessons.