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

Unwelcome change to "blue-button" practice on Android phone app.

Today the blue-button practice facility changed from being a conventional lesson... to a "one-minute" against-the-clock-speed-test kind of thing.

This is NOT of any use to me. I have to emphasise that.

At one fell swoop the original practical refresher lesson has become a test of finger dexterity more than anything else. And, because it is the phone application, we forced to do this new-style dexterity task on a "keyboard" that is about as unsuitable for typing accurately, or at speed, as it is possible to get.

There isn't even the option to restore the previous worthwhile practice facility.... Good grief! New ideas are great, but a CHOICE would be nice! As it is, the change is unnecessary, and seems cruel.

Why IS this? Why are they doing these things to us?

Is there a new post of resident SADIST at Duolingo... who's job it is to devalue and damage the application and cause as much fury and frustration in users as is possible?

Really! Being serious I am amazed by how much the wonderful idea behind the application has been devalued and contaminated in the short 235 days in which I have been using it. Goodness me! Think of the dismay and sheer anger that was caused when the well-loved "Immersion" feature was snatched away so perfunctorily.

(Please note: I didn't even get to try the Immersion thing, because the first I heard of its existence was because it didn't exist anymore! People were justifiably furious, and they STILL are!)

And this is not to mention bugs that hang around for ever, like the phone app word-tile exercises arriving in a pre-completed condition, with all the words pre-selected and arranged in the right order on ONE giant tile.... There is nothing to do except hit "Check." (I think that particular error is nearly two weeks old, now.)

I am truly concerned that Duolingo is turning into something I don't really want to bother with any more.... and that is REALLY ANNOYING, after the amount of time I have already put into studies here. Also, I feel betrayed because I have recommended Duolingo so widely among my friends. I am now beginning to feel I have done them no favours.

June 17, 2017

50 Comments

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

New things are nice, actively removing features is not. Whats even better is having options.

Please give me the option to do non timed tests again. As someone whos just starting to learn, I don't want to be rushed when trying to practice. But I would like having the option of a timed challenge when I'm ready for it.

June 17, 2017

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

I completely agree, the speed test is worse than useless especially on a mobile phone where I do all my practices. To make things worse, I switch between an English keyboard and the Esperanto keyboard as the need demands. Each switch costs me between 3 to 6 seconds.

Come on Duolingo, get real, don't try fix that which is not broken.

For now, I'm looking for alternatives to Duolingo.

June 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sarah-Drake

I have to agree, i HATE the new change. I like to say each phrase carefully out loud a few times to work on my pronunciation, and you definitely can't do that with rapid fire questions. I don't understand why the complete change instead of a just an additional option, because theoretically i wouldn't mind doing that kind of practice just not as my sole way of broadly practicing words

June 18, 2017

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

I would also like to add my voice to this. I often stop on each sentence to practice pronunciation and accustom my mouth to new words. I can't do that with the new timed practice.

Additionally, I can't type very fast on a keyboard with a non-English script. I might know exactly what letter I want to type for what I -know- is the correct answer, but finding that letter on an unfamiliar keyboard is another story completely, so timing the practice doesn't test anything worthwhile.

I have only been using the app, not the website, as I'm not on my desktop that often, but using the app with only this timed practice function is going to be near worthless to me.

June 18, 2017

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

Hi effyleven,

you "speak out loud" what I´m feeling about this change.

As I noticed the change today, the first thing I did, was looking for a possibility to change it back to it´s "old" state. I´m using Duolingo for 168 days now and I loved it the whole time, because using it to learn daily felt naturaly to me.

The option to do timed exercises isn´t new and could be done on the website before. But from the start on, I hated it. I´ve hated timed excercises my whole life and therefor never used them if I had a choice. For me personnaly, they put unnecesary pressure (even stress) on me. That destroys the whole fun in learning languages.

What makes me angry here is the missing option in the android app, to switch back to the "normal" practicing functionality.

That sucks!

I hope they will roll back this change soon (or make it an option).

June 18, 2017

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

Thanks guys. I used use the function four or five times a day.. whenever I had a spare minute, in fact. And now it is gone. :-(

June 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Caro57263

Thanks for raising this topic! I would like to add my complaint to the list. It is not practical to do the 60 seconds test on the small keyboard of a phone! I especially liked to have time to let the correct answers sink in, so please bring the old version back!

June 18, 2017

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

Workaround
for cancelling the "one-minute" against-the-clock-speed-test" in the Android app.

  • don't click on the "blue-button" practice
  • click on an individual skill
  • click on "Weakest words"

And go to the "Google play store" to give a negative feedback.

June 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eric-in-El-Paso

Just changed my review on the Google Play Store. that is a good idea. Maybe if enough people do that they will notice.

Another way to help get it changed is to not use it. If their analytics show no one is using the feature they will change it.

June 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eric-in-El-Paso

I hate the new "one-minute" timed lessons. All it does it make me feel frustrated by only getting 4 or 5 right. Mostly it encourages me to just skip the hard or long questions.

If they want to do timed a much better idea would be to create a set group of 100 or so lessons and then save my time on each one. Then when I redo each lesson show my best time before starting so I can try to beat it.

In any case not allowing the option to use the previous standard refresher lessons almost made me angry enough to delete the app.

June 18, 2017

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

We know how you feel, ED. Thanks for commenting.

June 18, 2017

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

One remark about this.
You can actually activate the microphone and use speech to text to complete the exercises.
You will practice a different skill than writing but maybe that is your solution in the meantime.

June 17, 2017

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

Yes. Thank you. I have discovered that on the tablet already, and am giving it a try. So far the venerable owl seemes quite pleased with my attempts at spoken Norwegian. But then again, I have been vocalising the words since I started Norwegian, about 200 days ago. I did have a problem, though. I risked making a comment to a phrase forum, but when I hit the "discuss phrase" button the program crashed back to the DL home screen, and all my progress was lost. Oh dear. Thanks for posting. I appreciate it.

June 17, 2017

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

I can't type as fast as I need to on android.

Simple as that.

And there is no speech recognition for Irish.

June 18, 2017

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

Assuming the new timed test will strengthen the weak words like practice did.

I'm just trying to get to 1000 days streak and finish the reverse Spanish tree before duolingo implodes on me.

June 17, 2017

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

Yeah, that was a really unpleasant surprise. Now, I love doing the speed tests...but only on THE DESKTOP. With a COMFORTABLE KEYBOARD.

June 19, 2017

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

This change is for the worse. I cannot think of anything worse than this change in fact, other than making the application payable. Now is the window of opportunity for the competition. If there's a Duolingo clone out there, please recommend me it.

June 19, 2017

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

On my apple device, the option to "strengthen" at the end of each lesson in the "learn" page has now become "practice" and increases my health the way the practice page used to do. Is this not the same on android?

June 18, 2017

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

1) Android phone has 1 minute timed test requiring great dexterity to even SPELL anything correctly.

2) Android tablet has "Strengthen skills" button which leads to "Start practice" page which opens a conventional lesson testing your knowledge to date.

3) PC. Don't know, but believed to be similar to Android tablet.

4) iOS. Don't know.

Today's date: Sunday 18 June 2017

June 18, 2017

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

On Android and awoke to the new timed strengthening feature :-( Monday June 19/2017. It is especially frustrating when on a listening exercise duo doesn't speak and the clock marches on. I would rather be timed on how long it takes me to complete the whole lesson and work on improving my time.

June 19, 2017

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

UPDATE: Apparently it is even worse on iOS/Apple devices.

It sounds like their whole lesson tree is now a timed thing, with a severe penalty regime now in force. They are even more cross about it than we are.

Their nightmare started two weeks ago. Read about it here...

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22857665

Sunday 18 June 2017

June 18, 2017

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

This is not the case on my iPad or iPhone. My practice has not changed. I have no available update and app was last updated on the 7th. The only change is that the final lesson in each "leaf" of the tree on the "learn" tab used to say "strengthen" and it did a practice of that leaf without awarding health. Now it says practice and does exactly what the practice button on the "health" tab does.

Edit: it also added an option to buy a timed practice with gems. I can switch to timed if I choose.

Second edit: I've only had duolingo 70 days and I had the health feature when I started

June 18, 2017

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

Update: UPDATE! I gratefully acknowledge the return of the original blue button refresher exercise to the Android 'phone app. The horrid timed tested dexterity thing has gone! Hooray! A blinding flash of common sense has occured at Duolingo. To my knowledge, this is the first time an actual backtrack has occured at DL. Hmmm... If only we could do the same for Brexit, oh, and that other guy, what's his name, now...??

July 6, 2017

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

I am new to this community and I have never experienced the old website. I don't understand what the practice button used to be, what was it?

June 17, 2017

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

The previous version of the blue "practice" button on the Android 'phone app opened a conventional lesson; one like any of the other numbered lessons within the "fruits" on your language tree. What made it different was the source material the practice lesson employed. It drew on ALL of the topics you had previously studied, and therefore allowed you to refresh them all, but with an emphasis on your personal weaknesses, whatever they might have been... or so I believe.

It happens the website and tablet versions of DL are still working this way... at least, they were a few hours ago. But that may change.

What is infuriating about the dexterity/speed test is the unkindness of rolling it out on the 'phone of all things... nothing could be harder to type on accurately and at speed. My use of the word "cruel" is therefore intentional, and not exagerated. All of which is compounded by NOT really learning anything about the language.. so far mine have been one and two word answers.

I know that Duolingo is supposed to be "game-ified," but trying to play Tetris while selecting Norwegian letters like 'ø' 'å' and 'æ' on a 'phone's touchscreen keyboard is deeply DEEPLY counter-productive.

What's worse, I do not think I have seen Duolingo back-track on any previous decisions of this kind, so while I hope for a reversion, I do not expect one.

Sorry, Imperie1. I did not intend my reply to be so long.

June 17, 2017

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

Thanks for the reply, It's great knowing what was before what I have known.

June 17, 2017

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

I'm talking about what it was like yesterday! This is a VERY recent change!

June 17, 2017

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

Not for me. I've had this since I started.

June 17, 2017

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

The computer version works just like it always has. The change has apparently only been done to the phone version. And yes, it sucks.

June 18, 2017

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

UPDATE: On the Android TABLET version of Duolingo, which may or may not be the same as website, the blue button is still operating to provide a multi-topic refresher lesson, not a dexterity test against the clock.

The button is labelled "Strengthen skills," and is located within "Daily Goal" panel on the right.

For as long as I can I will be using this version for practising, which I do most often on my completed French tree.

It comes in handy for maintaining experience points when the whole tree is already golden. You just can't do that with the dexterity test. It is hopeless.

June 17, 2017

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

Hmmm.. That's strange. It gets hard when not everybody has the same experience.

Can you give more details? What phone type? How long since you started?

Errr... Which courses are you doing? That might have something to do with it, if anything new doesn't hit them all at the same time. In fact, I could be complaining about something that's been going on for months. TIA

June 17, 2017

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

Im using a PC

June 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/swingbeatnik7

A lot of valid points... one thing though: according the co-founder Luis, less than 0.5% of users were using the immersion tab.

June 17, 2017

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

Only 0.5% eh? Well, that must have been quite a lot of disconsolate people, because the complaint thread was massive... and they were very upset.

June 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/swingbeatnik7

Yeah... I've seen them. I guess you can post a complaint to the reduction of features without using them? Idk

June 17, 2017

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

okay i usually wouldnt do this but i'd like to point out that duolingo doesn't owe you anything, it reads like you think that just because you reccomened it to a few frineds that the experience should be catered to you desires and they did this to annoy you, which is pretty arrogant considering your using such an amazing resource for free and then to say they betrayed you by changing something and you dont like the change. Its literally used by MILLIONS of people so no you haven't done them any favours by recommened it to a few people?!?!

June 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StevenRost2

I recently purchased the $10 a month option. Yes, they do owe me something. I'm paying them $120 a year subscription for their app. I hate this new feature, and if it isn't changed soon, I will be cancelling my subscription with them. I'd like to let them know why.

June 17, 2017

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

Thank you for your support. I was thinking of paying the fee myself, so I could download Norwegian and be independant of wi-fi and network... that's for when I'm in Norway, next week. Now, I don't even know if I'll stick with it...(??)

June 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eric-in-El-Paso

Does the $10/month subscription cover all languages? I've only been studying Spanish but have been thinking about trying French and/or German. Up till now I'd happily pay $1.00 a month to get rid of ads but thought $10 was way to much. I'd rethink that if it covered all languages.

June 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StevenRost2

Yes it covers all languages. I'm studying German, French, Spanish, Swedish and now Japanese. All have a "plus" associated with them. Where the "plus" stands for the paid option.

June 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eric-in-El-Paso

thx

June 18, 2017

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

Yes. I know Duolingo is a great idea, and free to use by anybody. That is why I am so annoyed to see it being messed up in the way I describe.

June 17, 2017

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

yh i mean i get that that is your opinion and sometimes people don't like changes but to go as far as to saying that the people who work so hard to give you free education are "sadist" and "cruel" purely because they made a change that you didn't like, and having done quite a bit of programming myself i can tell you that it is horrifically difficult to fix a bug in the code and it takes 100x the work to even find the mistake then it does to write code, like i couldn't even think about doing it as a career because if so much as one bracket is out of place the code is messed up, so i have a lot of respect for the people that work at that and i understnad when it takes quite a long to fix like it would take me way longer than two weeks to fix an error

June 17, 2017

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

Your are right. I do not like the changes, and I have given good reasons why not. But being free doesn't give any excuse. People who give their time freely to charitable endeavours, still have to turn up on time, and do their jobs effectively.

June 17, 2017

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

Well they clearly are doing their job effectively because you and millions of other people are here learning languages, and making posts accusing them of being sadists.

June 17, 2017

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

It is NOT effective when they turn something that works well into something that doesn't serve any useful purpose at all.... namely the practice facility on the phone app. It wasn't thought through.

It is now a silly dexterity test performed on the sort of keyboard it is almost impossible to be dextrous upon. That is why it is sadistic... AND it has little do with any language learning.

Now, if you cannot understand exactly what is being complained of, please do not respond again. Thanks.

June 17, 2017

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

This is obviously not an error, so talking about time-consuming bug hunt in the code isn't really relevant. And just because it's free doesn't mean that taking away useful choices for no apparent reason wouldn't be a bad move.

There was both timed and non-timed practice before. Now Duo forces everyone to use the timed practice on the phone app. I can't think of any logical reason for this change. Why fix something which isn't broken? Doing things in a hurry isn't a good way to learn. Especially on the mobile app, because typing with a phone is much slower than with a keyboard. And, you can still do the normal practice if you choose the lessons yourself, so why was the change made in only one place? It makes no sense. Luckily I mostly use the computer version, which (so far at least) works like before.

Also, there are many threads open about this on Discussion, but not one of them has an answer from anyone on Duo's side.

June 18, 2017

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

I have an issue with your whole line of reasoning there, but I won't go into it and would just like to point out that no matter what their supposed statistics say, I learn much less effectively under stress. These timed lessons not only constrict me to my phone for the duration of the lesson (I like the option of pausing it to do something important), it forces me to be hasty, make errors that I otherwise wouldn't have, be it because of a typing error or judgement error and is just a change for the worse as far as I am concerned.

Moreover, while I certainly see the motivational aspect of constricting the time available for a task I cannot see any POSITIVE motivational factors by introducing such a punishing mechanic in a language learning app.

Have you met any person who learned to speak a language under timed constraints? I am baffled by this change. How this was thought to be a good addition I am utterly puzzled and, while I don't feel entitled to Duolingo's service or functionality, I am angered by this nonetheless--because I have seen it do better, which is precisely the reason which led me to the app, the reason that made me stay, and the reason they have been making money off of showing me ads for 211 days in a row now. I feel entitled to an opinion.

June 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StevenRost2

To add to your reply, when I travel, and try to speak the native language, I'm told constantly to slow down, think about what I'm trying to say, and speak slower. I find that making a conscious effort to slow myself down, helps me to communicate in a more understandable fashion.

A speed test to learn triggers the "try to speak as fast as possible" reflex, which tends to have me speak in incomprehensible sentences. I'm trying hard to get away from that.

June 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BLRT2000

idk man, recommendation=exposure, and more exposure=more money. They have ads and subscriptions now. ;)

July 7, 2017
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