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'Hearts' on Android limiting learning potential

Has anybody else who is learning on the Android app been 'updated' to the hearts system? As I understand it, lingots have gone (and have been replaced with an arbitrary 500 gems?), and hearts have been added.

One mistake costs you one heart out of five, and if all five are lost then your lesson is over, until you go back and revise old content 5 times or cough up some money. This feels like it limits learning potential, unnecessarily harshly. Mistakes are an integral part of learning. It may not be productive for a user to 'complete' a lesson when the majority of sentences have been retried two or three times, but there is no reason why failing the lesson in this way should lock a user out of learning more new content for an extended period of time, as is now the case.

August 28, 2017



I think one of the biggest draws to me on Duolingo is that I can choose how I want to approach it. Some days I just want to strengthen the skills I've recently been learning, or let DL pick what it thinks is weak for me. Sometimes I just want to focus on learning new skills, because I haven't learnt any in a while due to practising. Now I have NO CHOICE other than to go and practice skills if I fail on completely new, unseen and unexplained words / phrases. 25 hours to get 5 lives back. When you can only use DL at certain times in the day... let 25 hours sink in.

Of course the solution at the moment is don't use the Android app. So now again... the CHOICE has been removed. I have to use my laptop, but I cannot always use it. And the slippery slope argument is... the web version is next.

Guide. Don't force. Allow us choice.


It's called Health. Hearts is the old system from a while back (although you can still see it when testing out, or if using the Windows Phone app).


Interestingly, and without any formal update, my app has reverted back to the old system, within the last hour. No more hearts. I can only assume this is testing for things to come.


And now it's back to health! Once again, without any update on my phone, as if a switch was flicked.


This was started on IOS first and people made dicussions saying they hated it and threatening to delete the app yet it has changed nothing and as you say (I havn't been able to update yet) has been rolled out to android now so clearly it doesn't make a difference to the metrics or Doulingo doesn't care so the only person this will effect is you.


As a new user that doesn't know the before times, I actually like the health system. It only counts when you learn a new lesson the first time, not when you redo a lesson or practise your knowledge, so it's not like you get stuck. It just means that when learning a new skill if you make too many mistakes you have to practise, and the Practice mode of the health component is pretty intelligent, always throwing lots of examples of the topics I just got wrong at me.

It doesn't make me likely to ever spend any gems though - after 2 weeks on duo I now have ~1300 and they keep going up lol - but for learning I actually really like it. It stops me learning more than a couple of new lessons at a time without practising. Then again, my general learning style is lots of repetition. I do 15 odd lessons a day, but only 2 or 3 are usually new ones.


I don't really have an opinion either way, I just get bored of seeing so many discussions saying exactly the same thing and thinking that it'll change something. If Duolingo makes a change then they make a change, it's really not a big a deal as some people are making it out to be.


I did appreciate when making this discussion that it's been had before a hundred times. The difference was that I'd never seen it on android before.


That's fair enough. Actually do we know if Duolingo ever really see the threads? I know lots of companies don't really pay much mind to such things in their forums as there's no real way to know if you have a vocal minority or a silent majority situation, and all change has its detractors. I'm paraphrasing a higher up from a prev organisation I worked with once told me. I believe the stats they worked off was that you're about 8x as likely to complain about something you don't like as praise something you do like.


Oh yh Luis outright said the worst advice ever given to him was to listen to his users and he stopped doing it probably due to very unrealistic expectations we have.


I've seen some of the older iOS discussions and was hoping that they would have prompted this being scrapped. Seems that's not the case. I hope that this doesn't make its way to the web version.


The hearts system was also on the internet/computer for a while but was swapped out. I agree with you that the heart system is not very good.


It's heartening to know that it's already been and gone from the PC version, though I gather that iOS users have been forced into this for a while. I hope it remains gone from PC.


Yeah! Me too, and I don't think it will come back. :)


This is one of Duolingo's bad ideas. Right in the middle of a lesson you run out of heart power and they DEMAND a huge payment to get a refill. How does this ENCOURAGE people to learn a language?


Duolingo claims to have implemented the system to purposefully limit the amount of time people do Duolingo a day so they don't hurt their learning experience by over-feeding information to the brain. I'm not a fan of it myself but if anything good can be taken from it at least people can be encouraged to practice the old stuff occasionally at the least. (I do the practice lessons often just because it helps me learn through the repetition).


What they (the DuoLingo business and developer team) do not care about is, that you might have pre-learned all the vocabulary outside of DuoLingo, that is any flashcard system like Memrise, Anki, vocabularycourse.net vocabulary trainer VT, etc.

Either I pre-learn or Memrise or do first the lessons on DuoLingo and re-learn/review all the stuff within short-term (4-5h/12/24h++) defined spaced repetition (SR) intervals, which DuoLingo can't provide for a full skill (7 words x 10 lessons = ~70 words/skill).

I can even pre-learn levels on Memrise, which the new DuoLingo locks me out (direct URL links do NOT work anymore - like on the old Duo portal).

Why should I want to get limitated by health/gems, why should DuoLingo care how much vocabulary or grammar (new) skills I really want to practice on DuoLingo? (usually I do not run through the tree) when I really know what lessons/skills I want to do today on DuoLingo?

Mondly is using tapping, just like Memrise learning mode, even on the web.
Duolingo web is using typing (thankfully).
I am not a big fan of the existance of "5 hearts" on Mondly where each error is counted and rated, until the learning session is over.

I would be not a fan of locking learning sessions by health.

I am already upset of the distinct order of skills from top to down and how DuoLingo has designed their system and that you can not jump directly into a new (grammar or vocabulary) skill, which is still locked.....just because vocabulary is hard-wired into lessons and the robot system is not intelligent enough to check it's "words learned user database" before actually presenting vocabulary in new skills and new lessons.


I don't have the app, so I don't have personal experience with it. However, this heart system, from what I keep hearing, seems like an unintended punishment system. Furthermore, I feel like this encourages users to look up online translations/dictionaries if they are on their last heart and nearing the end of the lesson, where they know if they make one mistake, their progress will be removed. Again, I don't know if that's entirely true, but that is what it seems to me.


I agree. Arguably that's just another way of learning anyway - looking up, memorising and repeating, rather than guessing incorrectly and learning from it. But it's the choice that's important.


Have you guys tried a rollback to a previous Android apk version?

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