how about some random stuff going on? it's getting a bit boring working through skills to keep the strength bars full... and maybe not really productive... totally understand the work ethic but maybe there could be a random element in the study so that when you select "strengthen skills" you are not having to work in sequence? of course this should only apply to unlocked skills. thanks, john

June 19, 2017


It used to be more random.

Then Duolingo changed it.

I doubt Duolingo will change it back.

Do you recall when?

My time sense says changes started to happen almost 2 years ago, but did not really arrive for most people until almost a year ago.

These two posts seem to confirm the start of Duolingo experimentation (or error - I'm not convinced this part of the changes was originally intentional):

I think Duolingo were still experimenting at that time - so what the posts above talk about seemed to be a temporary disabling of Strengthen Skills rather than the implementation of an effective alternative algorithm - but eventually Duolingo removed (most of) the randomness (for trees which weren't completely gold) and had it pick from the start of the non-gold skills.

These two posts seem to confirm the more widespread change as happening about a year ago:

I think I recall there being multiple stages of change to this over a very extended period of time - so I think it used to pick a number of (weak) words from around the tree to build a lesson around, and then it went to picking a (weak) skill from somewhere on the tree (and then it sometimes included 1 question from somewhere else in the tree), but now it seems to be more firmly rooted to making the user revise the tree in order of non-gold skills.

I know there are users who still believe it to be picking from a wider selection of the tree than just the first few non-gold skills, because they experienced it being random (or found it picked weak words/skills from anywhere on the tree) when they started out. As long as someone keeps their tree mostly gold, they probably wouldn’t notice the difference. But - whatever the algorithm is doing behind the scenes - the result now is that when your tree is not gold it targets the earlier skills one at a time in overwhelming preference to weaker later skills.

Obviously because Duolingo run A/B tests, and make things work differently on different platforms, the timeline can only ever be approximate, and some people won’t have experienced every stage of the changes, and the number of users any particular change affects is rarely all of them at once.

And I kind of agree about putting in miscellaneous topics to keep it a bit more interesting, like how they have sports and arts but it's not in a particular place, just dropped in.

what does work in sequence mean?

Duolingo puts the skills in a particular sequence to help your learning the language.

John is the guy who wrote the post. Sort of like at the end of a letter when someone writes: Thank you, Amanda

Agreed. Strengthen skills has ever struck me as less useful than it could be, so I have wound up hardly ever using it and just picking skills myself.

i do use the timer with "strengthen skills" which is good fun but i feel it would be useful if there was some random element in there. for example at the moment i would have to select the last skill i acquired to study it but it would be great if the "strengthen skills" feature could grab any one of the skills you have already achieved so you are keeping up with them all. appreciate the feedback, john

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