Strengthen Skills Too Slow
I have been using Duolingo for a couple of weeks now, studying German. And I keep coming across a problem: I'm trying to keep my tree gold, and the exhaustive effort to do so keeps me from learning anything new. I'm only about a fourth or a third of the way down the tree, having completed about 30 skills or so. But I feel like my Strength bar for these lessons decays really, really fast. It's currently to the point where I have to spend something like an hour practicing skills I already know, many of which I have mastered by now. For example, the first few lessons, Basics, are extremely easy for me at this point, but no matter how well I do on them Duolingo keeps telling me I need to strengthen them constantly. Every skill on my tree loses its gold status within a day or so, which means if I ever want to make them all gold I have to practice every single skill within a 24 hour period, every 24 hours. Whenever I strengthen new skills, others become weaker, and I can never plug all the leaks. I'm told the Strengthen Skills option uses a variety of words from various lessons, and doing it a few times can strengthen several skills at once. In my experience, though, it only ever strengthens one, maybe two, skills. It's supposed to use a bunch of different words, right? Because mine spends every single exercise using words from the very earliest skill on my tree (which is often Basics). Is this supposed to happen and you're just supposed to commit hours and hours every single day to keep the tree gold? Or is mine just broken? Because the German tree is quite long. If I have to spend this long on a quarter of it, how will I ever learn new lessons? And even when I do, won't it just make it that much longer to strengthen everything as I go on?
Well I don't know what's changed but I didn't have that difficulty completing and keeping my french tree gold. However now a little more than half way through the Spanish tree and finding it very time consuming to reguild past lessons and progress through some new ones. Am getting to the point of ignoring the color changes and reviewing where and when I want. It's annoying though, have been in the habit of returning everything to gold before starting new.
There is always a certain number of complaints about this, but they really seem to have jumped in both number and substance in the past week or so. I'm guessing there's some sort of A/B test going on. Strengthen what you think needs strengthening, and ignore the noise. Personally, I've almost never used the whole tree strengthen skills option for basically the reasons you point out, and that was true even when degilding was a whole lot slower (until a month or so ago there was a big test that actually slowed it down that I was a part of).
I joined the site to work on my long-stagnant Russian skills. Since I already had a good grammatical base, my priority from day 1 was to find the parts of the tree that I knew were new to me. It was fairly immediately obvious that Duolingo's degilding was simply not up to the task of helping me track those down: things I knew did degild; things I knew I needed a lot more work on wouldn't because I'd already worked on them some. In short, I've never really worried about degilding. I have regilded my Russian tree a couple times, but before the algorithm change, things decayed very slowly since I'd worked on them a lot, and even after months regilding might have only involved 20 skills out of the 70.
It definitely is! It didn't used to be that way, but now the decay is really fast. There's a Skill Strength Viewer userscript, that shows you a percentage of how well you know the skills.
At the moment it's ridiculous. All the non-golden skills on my tree I know between 62.5% and 71% of. There are lots of skills weaker than that (even some at 15%) that are still golden, but I first did the lessons before the website rewrite... Currently I just go by the userscript. If it's high enough I just leave them as they are for a couple of days.
I also feel like the general Strengthen Skills button doesn't mix up the lessons anymore. Maybe they are just experimenting during the rewrite and it will be a bit more manageable in time. At least I hope so.
Well, individual strengthening and Strengthen Skills both take the same amount of time, 21 questions (assuming you get them all right). But Strengthen Skills can (albeit occasionally) make multiple ones gold at once. I'm inclined to use that option for that reason, but it seems that it should be much faster than one, maybe two, gold at once
I have been experiencing exactly the same problem, for about the last week. Now about halfway down the tree, each day I find as many as seven new regilding requirements for the modules already done. Sometimes an exercise just strengthened demands restrengthening within the same session, even when there have been no mistakes. And the strengthening exercises are endlessly repetitive, constantly covering the same small portion of the subject in hand. The general Strengthen Skills module was recommended, in another, older Discussion forum, as a way of combating this, but is in practice useless, as it currently merely takes one to the most elementary of the modules marked as needing regilding. I've used Duolingo for three languages (also Greek and Portuguese) over the past six months, and this has not been a problem before. Certainly, one can just carry on learning new modules and ignoring what happens to the previous modules, but does one hit a barrier once they have degraded beyond a certain point?
I am so frustrated by this! It does seem to have gotten worse in the last few weeks. I finished my tree but find it impossible to keep it golden. I was traveling and only did a lesson each of the last two days to keep my string alive, but now I have 36 lessons to refresh, and some need to be done more than once to achieve full status. Some topics need to be refreshed more than once a day! This makes me so frustrated that I want to quit.
When the frustration spikes, remember what matters: your learning, not some pixels on a computer screen! :)
Indeed, it is most unfortunate that Duolingo is making itself much less user friendly, particularly for users who have made significant progress on their trees. I have to imagine this seeming test comes about because they're trying to see if they can get the median user to stay for three weeks instead of two or some such. The negative impacts on people much further along than the median user are collateral damage — all the more reason to pay it little mind.
I certainly agree, but I can't do that with Strengthen Skills. The strengthen skills option never mixes my words, it always starts from the very beginning of the tree. Which means if the very, very basics aren't at full strength, it starts there and I can't practice any others using Strengthen Skills unless I work my way all the way up. The only other option is to strengthen them individually, which is even slower than what I'm doing now.
I definitely agree. I'm certainly grateful that I am practicing so often because of all the things I'm remembering. But often it's, like, the very first lesson it keeps having me repeat--words like boy, girl, I, he, she. Words that I use in just about every other lesson. Why's it think I still need practice on them?