Updates have ruined this app for me
Since the update to include health began, I have been unable to keep a single new skill at full strength. I just completed a practice for one of these skills, made zero mistakes and the strength bar remained as it was rather than increasing at all. This happens once a day, too. I now find this app very discouraging as it seems to only focus on mistakes. I used to try and keep my tree at full strength but now that seems an impossibility unless you have an hour a day to dedicate to it. And please, no one tell me about proving my mastery for 30 days. It seems that is designed only to monetize the site since you have to pay by using 200 gems for the privilege.
I also find the speaking exercises quite unhelpful as I generally have no idea what word I am saying incorrectly when to my ear, I sound exactly like the example. I have even asked my husband to listen for my mistakes and he couldn't hear them either. Is there no way to underline the word I am saying incorrectly or communicate it to me in some way if it is already scanning for it?
I would much rather have paid $4.99 for this app and have no gems, ads or health refills/shields.
Just turn the speaking exercises off. If you want to practice pronunciation, use the dictation feature on your device to enter answers in Italian.
Duolingo always seems to be changing things with skill strength decay. I'm not sure if it's related in any way to Health, although the original version of Health obviously made it harder to get strength back once decayed.
I turned them off because I don't think that they work well enough. I think the speaking exercises are a weakness in DuoLingo so I have gone elsewhere to practice my speaking.
As for your original post, I agree that the app is often more frustrating than using the website. I use a mix of the two and I often put-off certain things until I am at the computer so I don't have to deal with them on the app!
As far as decay, I guess I've been lucky as mine has not been very rapid.
Like Marty, I suspect it's Duolingo's speech recognition that isn't up to the task. For all I know it's trying to match wave forms or something (this is what another language learning system I've used displays for its even worse speech recognition, for instance) and what word it is that might be the problem (if there even is such a word) wouldn't even be immediately discernable. If, of the universe of things you could have said in Italian, you say something that iOS can interpret as being what you intended to say, you've probably done the lion's share of what can be hoped from computer confirmation of your pronunciation.
piguy3 said: use the dictation feature on your device
(In case you missed the suggestion.) This is a really good way to practice speaking w/o a partner. Google translate's is probably pretty good, too, judging by how much better its translation feature has become recently.