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Just some thoughts I have at the moment about duolingo's problems

Just a few thoughts I have at the moment about duolingo, which are really demotivating me to use it at all and I want to share in order to get them out of my head.

The decay rate or at least the algorithm is awful. For me it should be an indication, that I need to review stuff, before I continue, but the rate of decay and the affected skill are just insane. The 3rd week in a row I’m not able to progress, because a lot of skills need to be reviewed, which do not really make sense. For example today I had the fifth of a 117 skill-tree to be done and I’m at skill 83. Yeah okay, some words might be off after time, but then again, I need to do the sentences 2 or 3 times in one practise run, which is just insane. And with the “learning goal” set to 30 xp per day, which is fine for one day, one is basically just reviewing basic stuff from around 200 days ago (my current streak with only this language). In the meantime I will forget the newer ones, which want to be reviewed as well, but I’m not able to unless I want to have my other skills be rotten away. And yes I could leave them as they are, but this would speak against the review at all.

The iPhone app became a bunch of crap. It’s nice to learn if you are in the train or in your lunch break, but the app is not useful anymore for it. Once it loses the network for a second it take ages to grade your lessons and if you are lucky, it won’t even count your progress, just adding the xp or being stuck in loading the “you had a mistake” screen. It’s really annoying to learn with it, which is quite sad. And a lot of stuff is still missing, which android already got: the sentence discussion which is so essential to look up if you are not sure about something (especially helpful for me, since English is not my native language and the one I’m learning also has its specialities). Or the beautiful “Sunday time-challenge” which is awesome or the achievements (okay not the big deal but still). Instead we got the crappy life-system. They were intended for monetisation and to prevent binge-learning. Instead it punishes learner for doing mistakes, because it removes a life for a failure, not one for completing a lesson. So if you are learning a new language, you should be encouraged to do mistakes and learn from it. Duolingo (at least on iPhone) instead punishes you and demotivating you, a really bad way of treating learners in my opinion.

Oh and you can’t even specify on iPhone, what is wrong with the exercise if there is something odd, there is just a button “something is wrong”, really helpful for the course admins..

I really enjoyed learning with duolingo and I recommend it to a lot of people, but it doesn’t make a lot of fun to use it anymore and I’m really sad about this. I really hope that you get your things together you green owl.

July 31, 2017



I can't really say much for the other issues but as for the first one you know what you need to review better than a computer does so just review what you need to and then you will be able to progress.


Agree, on the other hand this would make the review function obsolete, and I think it wasn't as 'broken' as now before, feels more random and unreasonable now


I don't understand why it would make reviewing obsolete, the point of a review is to go over stuff you have forgotten or are not so good at, the point of reviewing is to learn not to make things gold


Oh I didn't mean review in general is bad, but the "review" function here. Yes it is important to review indeed! But when it tells me I should review it and it's just nonsense, so that I have to keep track of what I learned and go from skill to skill redoing some stuff, it makes the review function here useless.


Oh okay I get it now sorry. Yh to an extent but it was designed based on the memory of an average person so it's fine if you are average but there will always be people who fall one side or another that it won't work for


Yes, what I like to see is, if they really be showed as "to-be-done" if you make the mistakes, for example with plurals. Then one could rework this topic instead doing things just based on time.


About your first complaint: I can only speak for the PC version, but the fewer mistakes you make in doing an exercise, the longer that skill will stay golden. It's worthwhile to repeat a lesson once or twice to get the answers 100% right, so that it won't "ungild" quickly. If you do your lessons this way, you will remember the lesson much better--you won't ungild rapidly, either. It's a good way to strengthen your knowledge of the material and your memory.


could be a solution, but in my opinion repeating it a second time even if you had some mistakes, let alone none is boring as hell. And the skills are decaying/refreshing in the same rate on PC and app AFAIK


that is why do it on a lap top! :)


But app has japanese and bots and clubs pcdoesnt


from time to time I'm doing it on the laptop as well, but usually I don't have it open when I'm on the train. To have it on the smartphone, learning while waiting for something for example is really nice, if the app would be working


oh, okay, but what train like traveling train or...


City-wide, subway, traveling, even bus or on my balcony not being able to handle a pc because I'm holding an ice cream cone


IOS app...I have used the Duolingo app on my iPad for about a year now, worked suitably well until came the "Health Index" wherein I started becoming penalized for making mistakes. Not binge learning, gosh, I have been working away almost daily to learn a language, would like to be able to push my boundaries without losing access to the app for 4.5 hours. In the meantime, the IOS app has become so unstable that it crashes each time I load it in the morning, usually 2-3 times as I wait for it to reload. And wait. This morning, crashed 4 x before it came up. Where is the "Health Index" for this app ? And curiously enough, and I wish I could have gotten screen shots, I found a question that had three wrong answers. Each time I answered it correctly, my "Health Index" dropped. So I tried the other wrong answers, then the correct answer again, until my "Health Index" bottomed out and I was precluded from using the app for another 4.5 hrs. Talk about disincentives to learning...I know, I know, use the PC app. Problem is that of portability. Not easy commuting with a PC. And this PC app is an enormous bandwith hog that I would rather not use. Please to fix the IOS app, already....


Yes, there is something wrong- the algorithm or something. I think that something has changed over the last couple of weeks that has caused the decay rate to become extreme- for example, I recently had just restored the entire tree to gold only to have a couple dozen+ decay OVERNIGHT. The decay rate has become hopeless- which means that you can no longer use it as even a hint as to where you may need practice because the feedback is now just garbage. And of course, the fluency percentage is out the window as well because it is clearly dependent on having that gold tree. (I don't pay attention to gold skills anymore.)

Today I completed a skill at 10/10 only to have it suddenly pop down to 7/10 (which I had finished only a half hour earlier). I redid it, and after I finished it popped back up to 10.

I had a 8 day streak lost despite completing the work to keep the streak intact (I don't pay attention to streaks anymore).

You are right about losing a data connection causing problems. The software clearly does not retry frequently enough. I suspect that it may use some type of retry interval-doubling algorithm, because it just sits there when my phone is indicating a data connection.

I believe that the app is not caching enough state data to keep it working smoothly and accurately; I would be tempted to buy the version that allows me to download lessons, but I'm worried that it would be money down the toilet.

I frankly agree with your characterization of the software, except I have it on android, and it doesn't work well there, either. In fact, as best I can tell, the app has become less usable over the last couple of weeks.

You are right- it is not fun to use anymore; getting some positive reinforcement is an important part of learning, but it is pretty punishing to do all the work to get the tree gold only to have it lose gold on 25+ skill two days later.

This is bad, the app is just plain unsat.


I do not understand why ppl try to focus on IOS with all known limitations as you all know that nothing will change.
Can't you use any other platforms like web or 2nd mobile phones (Android or Bluestacks emulator) just for language learning?

Time to throw away your IPhone, at least if you want to use DuoLingo, isn't it? :-)

Do you use the "DuoLingo skill strength viewer" user script for the web?
You can select your own skills for review.

Don't use the global "Strengthen skills" button, as it always will select the (first) skills from the top of the tree.

Just ignore the DuoLingo non-golden skill decay rate and use a 3rd party flashcard tool which uses different spaced repetition (SR) algorithms like Memrise, SuperMemo, FlashCards Deluxe, languagecourse.net vocabulary trainer VT, etc.

Maybe something where you can ignore well-known words or permanently move them to the last Leitner index card box (for non-review)?
All stuff you can NOT do on DuoLingo, therefore you endlessly review the basic stuff over and over again...


well I don't want to buy another phone just because of duolingo. and in fact, this app was working (besides the missing features). The argument, throw away your phone, because the app is not working is a bit strange, just fix the app already. Why having an app in the first place than? Or do you throw away your devices if one thing is broken?

Indeed SR is a nice solution and I try to use it, it's just that I'd wish for one working learning app, not having the need to switch between them, at least if the first app could do better


I think constant reviewing is useful of course, but I agree, it is hard to keep the owl happy

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