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Is this how duoLingo should work ?

I've noticed that duoLingo German has behaviours that appear counter productive to this pupil. I understand the benefits of repetition, and I try to keep the earlier icons all gold as I slowly progress thru the course. But I don't understand why I keep being pushed back to do Basics 1 and other very early lessons, where I'm quite sure I have gotten the point.

For example, last night I turned every icon topic up to and including Numbers 3 golden, went to bed, came back this morning to find that again Basic 1 was not gold, as were another 17 topics. This seems like a terribly pessimistic view of my learning capability.

Is this expected behaviour? How do people cope with it, I'm to the point where I don't have enough time to start new topics and to keep the other icons golden.

Frustrated in Berlin!

May 17, 2017



It seems that if you repeat the lessons from bottom to top (from owl to basics) some of the rehearsals seem to include earlier lessons so that more than one item gets golden again.


I've seen other discussions where people mention "owl", and I've always been curious what that means. Your comment implies that there is some kind of "owl" level or something, but I've never seen anything like that.


The owl only appears once you've completed the whole tree. It's a trophy that you get. It's at the very bottom of the tree, so when someone says "from the owl" they mean from the bottom.


Ah, okay. Thanks. :)


I don't think it was like that a few weeks ago, then I didn't have problems in maintaining the tree mostly golden, but since they switched to the new website it became almost impossible. Even after doing 200 or more XP per day of just strengthening I don't manage to keep everything golden. I don't really cope with it, I just gave up. I only practice the skills I think need practicing and just ignore the others.


That's odd. Usually I only see 1 or 2 skills non gold, and never the basic ones. However, i think that if you get a lot of mistakes on the strengthening, then it won't stay gold for very long, but if you strengthen it well with no mistakes, it will be gold for longer.


I usually strengthen them with zero or one mistake (always some stupid typo or spelling mistake in English) and still sometimes I need to do the strengthening twice to get that one bar and after 1-2 days they are again not gold. Either they want to make it really hard now or there is something wrong with the code that determines the strength.


Well as I pointed out I go to bed with much gold and wake up with a lot less. And I dream in English!


It's probably because you did it at night


Wondering if you are serious ?


I'm thinking it has to do with the 'At night' Spongebob meme At night


First of all, I don't know that meme, and second of all, I ALREADY HATE IT!


Yes, of course I am. Why wouldn't I?


OK, at least it's not just me then.

I already reported that the word list on the website was way incomplete, for example Katz doesn't appear on mine atm. I think I report this as a bug and cite this forum thread. If you're lurking and agreeing, please post a brief comment, so that the powers that be know its a real problem.


There are some words in my word list that have low strength and are shown as last practiced 2 months ago even though I definitely had them more recently (e.g. Grundschule and Ruhe). I even repeated the lessons where they appear just to strengthen those specific words and they just didn't register as practiced. I'm guessing that might be the reason for having to repeat some lessons over and over and still not being able to keep them gold.


I was wondering where to post about the Words tab! I lurk and agree :)... I love the idea of the words list, but mine does not contain all the words I know I have learnt! Not by a long shot. I go back to look for them but they are not there :/ And a lot of the words in the list have no translation if you hover over them, or if you click on them to get the right hand side pane to show, there will still be no translation, and no working audio translation. It would be such a good feature if it worked and updated correctly. At the moment I have google translate open at the same time as duolingo. I only found duolingo 27 days ago and am finding it immense fun, and am keen to learn. I love it when I wake up in the morning with German words or phrases in my head!


Several people have said to just ignore the annoying de-gilding and keep working on new topics. Just want to say that that negates one of the key features of duoLingo, in that it knows and shows you where you are weak. I think this is a major bug.

(but yes I will follow the advice unhappily)


I completely understand- I had the same frustration. The big thing I realized was that if you are serious about learning German, you'll be moving on from Duolingo. It is fantastic foundation but having a totally gold tree doesn't mean that someone is great with german, it usually just means they're really good at duolingo :) if that makes sense.


Yes it does make sense. But Until I see the owl, I am without that foundation. So would prefer to see duoLingo fix its bugs. But thanks for the advice ....


Do you have the new website (or app) with ads?


I have the same problem with all languages. I can't progress AND keep the tree gold. Something has changed. In my 223 day streak I haven't seen anything like this. I do get the adds. I also work most on the phone app for iPhone. Help!


I don't have a choice of websites, AFAIK. and yes it has ads


Ok, it's my hypothesis that duolingo does tests in order to optimize ad revenues. More difficult to keep the skills gold => users are encouraged do more lessons, hence more ads shown. If this is the reason, you cannot do anything but stop using the service, or at least the part that's incommodating you. Go at your own pace and forget the gold status of skills.


I agree. German skills seem to decay ridiculously fast. I have completed French, Spanish, Italian and German trees, but only German skills decay at a rate of more than two per day. It really takes way too much time to keep them golden and I can’t focus on learning new skills in other languages.

Besides, didn’t Luis say that Duolingo wants to discourage binging? He was referring to new skills, but I can’t imagine that having to re-guild seven separate skills in a day can be good, especially if you also need to re-guild a couple more in other languages.


I have this problem as well. Last week I spent my entire Saturday working on getting everything gold again, and I've been trying to keep it that way, but each day I've got about 40-50 items that are not gold any more. I'm more than happy to practice skills that I haven't mastered yet, but I can spend two or three hours a day just re-doing things that I can do in my sleep. I can find the time to re-geld up to about 10 items each day, but not 50.

If you've practiced a skill for 14 days in a row, and never made any mistakes, then it's counter-productive for that skill to be losing it's gold color every day.


it did that to mine to


I have been finished with both English to German and German to English for months I do about 4 strengthen in each daily and rarely have anything not gold


I ran into the same problem a while ago. Someone suggested it might be because of updates to the course. When I regilded a section via Strengthen Skill, I ran into your problem, but when I redid each exercise in the section, and thereby used any new words added, the gold stuck. You might try that.


It's true what Ralph Macchio told Ponyboy, "Nothing gold can stay."

I don't know if this is what is happening for anyone else, but keeping my gold is very different for me if I'm working from the app on my Kindle, or (still on my Kindle) accessing Duolingo from the browser.

The lessons are different, too. The app gives me a lot more "moving word boxes" type of tasks, rather than typing answers out.

It's a bummer, because the browser and the Kindle don't play well together. I'd much rather use the app, but it's too demoralizing to see all my progress slip away.

(First post, hello!)


It seems to me that in the last couple of weeks, skills degrade much faster than previously.


I stopped having that problem when I finished the German tree. I keep it gold, but there's normally only one lesson to strengthen every few days.

To be honest, I think the best course of action is to not worry about keeping the lessons gold. Progress through the tree by doing a couple rounds of 'strengthen' (rather than clicking on individual lessons) and new skills. Maybe devote one day a week or so to just strengthening (especially if you're finding that completed lessons actually do need to be practiced.)


Reading thru the very interesting blog postings at


I see this advice "Never do a timed practice. Never use hints."

Hints! I do use hints, perhaps this explains a little of what is happening. I don't do timed practices though.


I've noticed this recently too! Skills are showing with only one bar missing, but take two or three practices to go gold again, even if I haven't made any mistakes. This wasn't the case a couple of weeks ago.

I've also noticed my word list is missing nearly everything! I recently went through present 3 all in one go since I had time, but wanted to check the other forms of some of the new verbs, only to find that only 3 out of nearly 20 new verbs were on my list. Looking back through I can see that only 3 or 4 words from my last few new skills are on there.


I found that the more exercises there are in a particular skill, the more exercises you need to do to bring a skill back to full gold.


But what do we do about this? There is ckearly a change and if duolingo doesn't know about it how can they change it back!


I agree,even if I've had no mistakes my gold keeps disappearing, sometimes within just a few hours, yesterday I decided to only bring things up to 4 gold bits, because I never get to the end and really need to practice the highte ones.


I'm with you. I have to keep moving forward. I wanted to keep the tree gold to make sure I was consolidating my learning before moving forward. However I can't keep them gold and move forward so I'm just getting on with it. Shame because I thought the idea of printed revision was a good idea.


Yesterday I noticed that the website behaviour I described has changed. I had followed general advice to ignore the non gold lessons I did ages ago and carried on, just about to start Preterite. Then for some reason I decided to work thru from the first again, and suddenly I am told that refreshing one lesson counts for several others, my fluency jumps from 2% to 11% and best of all, when I came back today - the gilded icons were STILL gilded. So did something get fixed? Did I suddenly get very much more fluent and duoLingo noticed? :-) I'm betting on the first explanation .......


And in 24 hours I gained 25% of fluency and turned a lot of icons to gold. So yes something has changed a lot


I also noticed some better behavior, so I think they rolled out a fix or update.


I've noticed that too. I LOVE strengthening three skills at once.


Well this really depressing. I'm also going for 50Xp/day and have stuck to it. But I'm becoming de-motivated, sick of doing the same thing over and over for no reason. I wish somebody from duLingo support - si there anybody? - would comment


As I am also a programmer, maybe we see the site from a more technical point of view. Maybe the machine learning implementation they use is not the best, or got on the wrong path because of some strange data.

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