Suggestion: a new practice system
Hi Duolingo I don't know if this is the right place to post a suggestion to improve Duolingo, but I'll try. First of all thank you so much for opening a wonderful world of languages and this amazing opportunity to learn for free.
I've noticed that my golden skills degrade pretty fast and that a lot of people were concerned about their tree not being fully golden. It's really difficult to keep the tree golden if you have a lot of completed skills (and of course most Duolingo perfectionists will prefer a golden tree). My suggestion is that after you've passed a checkpoint the "Checkpoint passed" button is replaced by a "practice" button with as many (or more) questions as the shortcut, and like that it would be possible to practice all the skills at once (like if you take a shortcut, the whole tree will become golden).
I hope you like the idea! It would make it pretty much easier to practice and also easier for Duolingo to estimate the fluency level (which is again convenient for those who have linked their Duolingo fluency levels to their LinkedIn profiles)...
Thanks again for the best and most fun platform for learning languages!!
The "Strengthen Skills" button to the right of the tree allows practicing all completed lessons that need practice. The skills degrade quickly at first because repetition is very important to the learning process. Eventually, they will stay golden for a very long time. Also, don't worry about the fluency level too much. It is inaccurate and maxes out at around 60% because Duolingo does not teach enough to make one fluent.
Thanks for your reply. I know about this button and I don't find it equivalent to what I suggest at all. When I go to my Spanish tree (full) it's all low leveled, and then when I try to strengthen all skills I find that it will concentrate on the first two or three skills and repeat them over and over again until they are golden. Pretty boring as I speak quite a lot of Spanish. It would be way more convenient if there was as opportunity to take a large and challenging test like the shortcuts and then it would gilden the skills that you've mastered like it does in the shortcuts or placement tests. Then you could strengthen the remaining skills "manually"... I find it impossible to keep all my trees golden as I don't have three hours to spend on Duolingo every day :-p
I agree that the strengthen skills button could be better, or new types of the button added. For me it actually doesn't target skills that are not gilded, but only the most advanced skills in the tree. I usually like this, except when the easier skills un-gild. I once had Basics 1 un-gild, and even though the advanced lessons cover what it teaches, it wouldn't re-gild with weeks of the strengthen skills lessons. Felt like a waste of time doing that lesson manually.
Ahaa, it sounds like your strengthen button works better than mine. I tried it on my Spanish tree yesterday and it made me say "Ella come una manzana" twenty times and after that my Basic 1 gilded. In a full tree, thanks duo. I totally agree with your statements about repetition being very useful, but I learned Spanish in Spain and I think it will take 72 years for me to forget what "Ella come una mazana" means. In my other languages I'm not as annoyed with the strengthening button but in Spanish it seems hoooopeless. To re-gild my Spanish tree it would be easier to delete the language from my list, take a shortcut in it and then do the remaining skills manually, but then I would lose my level in Spanish, and I'm not interested in that obviously. That's why a shortcut-strengthen button would be perfect for my Spanish (and all other courses where you wish to gild all the skills you haven't forgotten at once).
Thank you mishio!! I'm so glad the polish boy finally found his dog! Maybe the Spanish chica will eat fewer apples in the future if I follow your practice path... thanks!
The problem is that you're referring to yourself and not the majority when speaking about both the "Strengthen Skills" and the "Shortcut".
See DuoLingo has an algorithm based on every users' performance to know what is the average time before one forgets a word or a lesson. Let's say that the average time before one forgets the word 'man'/'hombre' from Basics 1 is one week. So Duolingo will make you practice sentences containing this word after 1 week. If you remembered it, DuoLingo will take that into account and lengthen the forgetting-time for you. Let's say 2 weeks. So Duolingo will make you practice sentences containing this word after 2 weeks, and so on. After a while DuoLingo will notice that you master some words and not others (not really according to the lessons). You can master 95% of the words of Basics 1, 75% of Animals, 50% of Present 1, etc. and forget the rest. Meaning that Basics 1, Animals and Present 1 won't be golden, but as you forgot only few words of them you can revise them all at once. That's how the "Strengthen Skills" works (at first I thought it could only make me revise 2 lessons at once, but yesterday it made me revise 3 at once, so I guess it can go faster).
Using a "Shortcut" is completely different. "Shortcut" are used to know your actual level, not to make you revise your lessons. It assumes that someone who knows how to conjugate in Spanish knows every word used in Basics 1 (which is completely false, but hey!). This assumption cannot be extended for revision. If you do remember how to conjugate in present doesn't mean that you remembered how to introduce yourself. That was my case in Hungarian, I could remember some advanced units very well, but I still struggle with some sentences of Basics 1.
In both cases, and if you do have a good level of Spanish in real life, you have to understand that DuoLingo doesn't know you. It only knows you through exercises. Therefore maybe you do speak Spanish every day and you don't need to be reminded how to say 'Hello' or 'How are you?', but DL doesn't know that. In fact, some people cannot practice the language they're learning at all, so DL have to check if they still remember the Basics 1.
I agree with you in that the languages I learn only through Duolingo I really appreciate the repetition. And my suggestion was not to replace the strengthen button, just to fix have another button that said "redetermine level" and then it would be an advanced placement test or shortcut to make all the skills you master golden at once without losing the level like you would if you started the language over again. I finished the Spanish tree some years ago and for long periods I will concentrate on other languages (or not use Duolingo that much) and then when I start using it in Spanish again I don't want to say "el hombre come una manzana" five million times. But of course, if it were another language that I had only learned here and not practiced in real life it would be really helpful for me to repeat everything a lot, I just feel like it's a waste of time and super overkill in this specific case of me learning Spanish. That's why I'm trying to suggest an alternative button, not a replacing button.
There's just one thing though... Duo's idea of repetition is to repeat the same sentences to the point that you memorize them without really learning anything. Practice is practically useless because of that. I recall the answers without even thinking about the language. It's pretty a much a waste of time unless you want to just memorize canned phrases.
In my experience Duo's idea of repetition is very useful for the German tree for English speakers. But maybe the Spanish tree is much easier?
And my other golden trees (Dutch-English, English-Dutch and German-English) are never un-gilding at an schedule of 10 XP per day.
So, I agree with SemperDoctrina in her first comment.
(small edit at 13 March 2017)
@Pentaan I agree that repetition is indeed useful.
But, not when it's to the point of memorizing sentences and not the words that make up the language. Most of the repetition I fly through having typed the answer before the robotic voice finishes speaking because I have memorized the sentence inadvertently. In the rare chance that something comes up that isn't memorized I get tripped up a bit. That tells me I'm not learning the fundamentals of language, just memorizing sentences.
In my case, it's okay. I'm just using this as practice while taking a course in school. But to actually learn a language by memorizing sentences? That's not really learning and were I not practicing for class, the Duo style of repetition would be a huge waste of time.
@fomoco94 You are ready for a new challenge in Duolingo!
Start the 'reverse tree' the course 'English for Spanish speakers'.
In this course you will have to translate much more from English to Spanish. Especially in the web version of Duolingo.
And it gives you the opportunity to read and write in the Spanish discussions. This is really a great feature of Duolingo.
Here is the link to the official Duolingo Help Center for 'How do I switch my Duolingo course language? https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/217005666-How-do-I-switch-my-Duolingo-course-language-
And here is a link to a discussion with a good advice given by hughcparker: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/21155333
A native English speaker couldn't get the fluency to 100%. That's how broken it is.
It's not exactly broken, it's just incomplete. Even if they added every word to Duolingo, true fluency still cannot be achieved without real-world speaking and listening practice.
Wait did you mean the separate English fluency test (not the fluency meters for Duolingo trees)? If you did, then yeah, I've heard it is broken.
Maybe I was confused. I personally ignore the fluency meter for the most part. I just don't find it helpful.
this is a good idea. my skills are getting pretty hard to keep all golden.