Do You Always Strengthen?
Hello! I wanted to ask some more experienced Duolingo users if they always/frequently strengthen their topics to gold.
Yes, I always prioritize strengthening, because I know that there is no point in opening new lessons if my knowledge of the ones I already started before is still unstable.
For instance, I'm 4033xp away from reaching level 25 in German, while my German tree is still 40 skills away from being completed. I think that there is no point in rushing by opening new lessons if I still have not reached a steady command of the lessons I already did before. That would be like just piling a lot of lessons more to simply forget later on.
It took me a very long time to let go of the desire to have everything be gold. The only way I was able to complete the Swedish tree was by letting go of the impossible standard of having everything be gold all the time, otherwise I couldn't learn new lessons.
Instead, I made fun, silly rules like "Maintain a connected line of gold topics" or "have at least one gold skill in every [horizontal] level" before advancing to new lessons.
This allowed me to finish the tree and eventually go back and strengthen the weaker skills. Now I have almost all my skills at gold, or at worst with 4 bars. On the mobile app you can even see whether the 4 is actually really close to 5, so I tend to prioritize practicing the 4s that are closest to turn into 3s.
Instead, I made fun, silly rules like...."have at least one gold lesson in every level" before advancing to new lessons.
This allowed me to finish the tree and eventually go back and strengthen the weaker lessons. Now I have almost all my lessons at gold, or at worst with 4 bars.
Sorry, but you are pretty much confusing skills with lessons.
Skills are the tree topics.
Lessons are x/10 contained within a single skill.
I'm a native Hebrew & English speaker, so I did the Hebrew tree out of curiosity and to help out with beta testing.
I've been learning Swedish (top priority) for over a year. It was a bit of a random choice, my husband has several friends in Sweden and also my grandmother spent two years there after World War II. For Portuguese, I have a few Brazilian friends so relished the opportunity to practice speaking with someone.
Yes! When I first started, I sometimes would get up to five of the new sections that weren't gold at one time, but I pretty quickly learned that that meant that I really wasn't learning all the words. So I went pretty slowly, and made sure everything was strengthened to gold before I even started a new skill. Took me a while to get to new skills sometimes, but I finished my tree in exactly a year, with everything golden! And now, I only need to do about 20 XP a day to keep it fully golden! :D
Yes. I strengthen my topics everyday until I feel confident enough to add more words to my vocabulary.
Everyone has a preference though, this is just me. Some people like to keep their topics perfectly golden, while others only care about getting to the end of the tree.
I say, continue at your own pace, because you don't need to copy how others learn. Everyone has their own way of learning, you just need to find yours ;)
Yes. I do a minimum of two strengthening exercises every day in every language, even if the tree is gold. If even one skill has decayed, I do a minimum of three (more, if more skills have decayed). It's worked quite well to the point that three of my trees can now go for a week (in case of holidays or too much work) and not a single skill will decay.
No. My general practice for trees I'm focusing on is to work on a skill until I'm getting good results in timed practice. Then I move on, confident that I have a reasonable basis there. If skills degild but I think I'm still comfortable (at the level the tree demands at that time) with the material I'm seeing, I'll frequently leave off the regilding until I get to that skill in some later pass through the tree. If I'm getting confused, I'll go back and have a look at everything, degilded or not. My method does involve much more work per skill than many seem to put in, however.
I like this approach. That's also my sense. Sometimes I get a non-golden skill at the beginning of the tree, even though at this point I could do those exercises if you woke me up at 2am and with one hand tied behind my back... Not really relevant.
If I can do a timed exercise and get 15-18 right out of 18 (with 0-3 wrong for typing too fast, etc), that usually means I don't really need to strengthen.
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Why? Well it's important to go back and make sure you understand or review everything but I found that a break once in a while works as well as daily repetition. I like to strengthen a skill or two (or five) for every new skill I do.
I didn't do that for the Spanish course (strengthening every day to the point where it was 100% gold when I finished it) and honestly learning it was a bit more miserable. I completed the Swedish tree with 10 skills not fully strengthened and that experience was easier for me. I decided that I didn't actually care about the tree more than what I know. I would rather have fifteen skills done at level 9 and know half of the content then rush through everything and only know the basics by the end of it.
It is not if you advance at a safe pace. The more you practice one skill, the more its strength is lasting. If you prioritize strengthening over rushing, you will be much more likely to be able to keep them all gold, and of course you will truly remember more.
What's the point in starting new lessons,
if your knowledge of the previous ones is still unstable?
What is the point in boring repeating old lessons.
Result: At some moment I would quit Duolingo.
At the moment Duolingo's staff is using an algoritme, that lets the skills decay too fast.
When I have time I try to keep my trees gold in Duolingo's web version. Nowadays it is nearly impossible to keep my trees gold in the Android App.
Personally, I don't learn enough from constantly repeating Duolingo's short sentences without context. I am learning much more from using the languages, like ......
- reading and trying to write in Duolingo's discussion forums
- reading the daily news on the internet
- watching English, German and French films with subtitles on TV (my mother tongue is Dutch)
- visiting England and Germany and trying to talk to native speakers etc., etc.
I second this sentiment. I was getting bored trying to strengthen everything without learning new words. Letting go of the (for me!) perfectionist standard allowed me to progress in the tree and maintain a sense of accomplishment.
Now, I don't bother keep my trees super-golden. Instead, I am reading Harry Potter in Swedish which has pushed my Swedish far beyond what I could've gotten from Duolingo alone.
That said, I second the comments by others that this is a personal choice and I can see the arguments on both sides. The important thing is to pick an approach that suits you and that you can be persistent with!
Word reviews (weak, difficult, incl. short-term spaced repetition 4-5/12/24h interval) has been moved to Memrise.
Theme / topic sentence/phrase "learning" has been moving to Mondly.
You could install the user script "DuoLingo skill strength viewer", which works as of V0.2 with base language English.
Then you could (randomly) pick those skills, with a very low percentage (e.g 10-39%) or do weekly any skills <50% how you like.
Actually I see no benefit at all in using the "(global) strengthen skill**s" button which only picks skills from the top of your tree - and most of the time those (easier) skills which you are already comfortable with.
It is better to manully choose those skills (with a little help) where you know, that you need to practice more.
So let the "strength viewer" script suggest you some skills, and then pick those which you have the feeling that is has been some days or weeks that you have seen those vocabulary / grammar.