LF Feedback: Fewer skills + more lessons or more skills + fewer lessons?


I've been working hard to try to fix the errors in the current course while also working on the expansion. In doing so, though, I've run into a philosophical issue I wanted users' feedback on.

At some point in time in the rest of the tree I'm going to introduce adjectival comparison, for which there are four main things to learn: (a) the forms of the three comparative grades (comparative, superlative, and equative); and (b) how comparand phrases are formed (i.e. "than" phrases). Obviously (b) is going to have to be introduced right away, else it will be a very boring series of sentences, but it then occurred to me to ask: Would you, as a user, rather have three skills, each one focusing on one aspect of comparison, or one super skill with many lessons that teaches all of them?

As a user, I think I prefer the former (more skills that are more focused), but as the course designer, it's probably easier to do monster lessons. Looking at other Duolingo courses, I've seen a mix of both philosophies. Since you're the ones actually using the course, though, I thought I'd ask you. What are your thoughts?


September 14, 2017


I agree with stu.21 courses with 10 lessons are a little bit frustrating.

Also, Kirimvose for creating this awesome language, and this awesome course! You're such a great inspiration Mr. Peterson! Geros Ilas!

September 15, 2017

As long as there are not fewer lessons in total, I definitely prefer the former option (more skills that are more focused). Great to hear that you are currently working on the expansion already! Any estimate on an ETA for the release of tree 2.0?

And of course, thank you for creating the course!

September 15, 2017

Too early to say at this point, but things are finally slowing down wrt cleaning up contributor errors in the first portion, so there's more time to devote to new stuff.

September 15, 2017

Duolingo courses aren't meant to be done too quickly, and I find having more, shorter skills is more motivating when it comes to covering the optimal amount of new material every day. Also, long skills with many new words can sometimes turn gold whilst still containing unpractised words.

Are there any plans to add audio to the HV course? That is its greatest deficiency at the moment, in my opinion.

September 15, 2017

The plan with audio was to get it when the tree was done. First part is 3/5 of the three, so the rest needs to come first.

September 15, 2017

That makes sense; thank you for replying. I was somewhat concerned that there was no reference to audio at all in any of the incubator updates.
I am still a little concerned that GoT will have concluded by the time the tree gets finished and a lot of the momentum for audio will be lost...

September 15, 2017

Just so everyone's clear on the process, it's not Duolingo holding up High Valyrian audio: It's me. I want the course to be complete and error free (or at least Tree 1) before I give them the green light on audio (and there is a real possibility that it will be me doing at least some of the audio). And since High Valyrian is my language, I can assure you, my interest in it has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not GoT is currently airing, or its run has concluded.

I love my languages, and it's a dream come true to have a Duolingo course on one of them, but I can tell you from experience that it's a real bummer to be recording audio in a professional setting only to discover a mistake or two (I've recorded audio for both of my books, and had that experience both times. It is beyond frustrating). The only problem with me doing the course is that I do have other things to do that come first (at the moment, three different television shows and one video game). I really am going to try my best to get this finished up sooner rather than later, though—hopefully by the beginning of season 8; definitely by the time The Winds of Winter is published.

September 15, 2017

Thanks so much for your continued dedication to this! It's great to know that audio is on the roadmap. It is ok with me if GoT has finished airing, because the language is interesting in its own right. Plus, gives me an excuse to re-watch the series.

October 18, 2017

[deactivated user]

    There is still plenty of momentum for Quenya and Sindarin here and Tolkien has been dead for a long time now. I wouldn't worry.

    September 15, 2017

    I think I prefer having it all in the same place. This is primarily to avoid each skill being about exactly one language feature which I feel makes doing the lesson unneccesarily easy since you know what pattern is expected and don't really need to think.

    September 15, 2017

    A similar subject would be the length of the lessons themselves, I would like to have skills with lessons of similar sizes. There are courses, with skills that are made up of short lessons and very long ones at the same time. For example, lessons with 7 exercises, and suddenly lessons with 20 exercises with extra long sentences. That breaks the flow of you studying the language, and makes less predictable how long it will take you to finish a skill.

    September 15, 2017

    I think an important thing to consider when making monster skills is the reviewing. If their are 5+ lessons in a skill, there will still only be about ten review questions when you go to strengthen that skill.

    September 22, 2017

    In general, I think the smaller, more focused skills are more enjoyable. The most important detail though, is that the skills are balanced. By this I mean, that it feels odd to me, as a learner, when a course that usually has 3-5 lessons per skill suddenly throws a 9 lesson skill at me (or vice versa, especially with skills with only one or two lessons, if the course also contains several 6+ skills).

    September 15, 2017

    Thanks for the communication, Dedalvs! I personally prefer shorter skills and more skills, although that might just be me. I don't like how some courses have skills that are ten lessons long. They are such a drag. So, I would prefer the three skills, but I don't know about other users. Looking forward to tree 2.0!

    September 14, 2017

    I agree with this. Personally, I like setting a goal of doing one or two new skills a day, but when there are ten or more lessons, it can feel like a huge grind and become demotivating.

    October 21, 2017

    Agree. I prefer shorter skills. Some courses have skills that are too long, and if the number of lessons exceeds 6 or so, you feel like you're not making any progress at all! Longer skills make learning a bit more boring. I would say the sweet spot is from 3 to 5 (included). Besides, it's strangely psycologically rewarding and satisfying watching the skills turn golden...

    January 11, 2018


    I think from my experience with High Valyrian it would be useful to have more skills. This is for several factors.

    Firstly it allows us (the users) to understand the intricacies of High Valyrian, which is something I found particularly useful in the first few skills, in particular the gender skills, the accusative/Basics 2 skill, and the animate/inanimate - this/that - determinators skill.

    Not only that, but I think it would mean the course is more focussed, which is something I've found particularly useful about the course. Unfortunately I can't comment further because I haven't got further than the first checkpoint because High Valyrian is a tough language to learn, especially the different genders and cases! Look forward to seeing the rest of tree.

    P.S. Is there any estimations for when the rest of the tree will be released? The same question for mobile release as well? Thanks David/Mr Peterson!



    October 1, 2017

    If it's an idea that I'm unfamiliar with, I definitely want specialized lessons on them. If it's concept that exists in my language, I think it's fairly easy to translate over.

    September 27, 2017

    Personally, I prefer shorter lessons, but a lot of them. This gives us the chance to not only learn the language element, but to solidify it in our minds by way of many examples. Thanks for all your hard work on this! It's certainly the most robust and interesting conlang I've learned.

    October 3, 2017

    Thank you for the course and thank you for asking people's opinion about this.

    I know that this is an old thread, and I believe there is already a second version of the tree (which I do not have - a different layout has been mentioned by at least one other user).

    Slightly off-topic from the size of units in general I wanted to ask that the family unit be split up. Not just to make it smaller, but to separate the introduction of terms for family which translate to one word in English.

    Possible ways to split it would be:

    • immediate family early on (as already exists), cross cousins (etc) in one unit, parallel cousins (etc) in another unit
    • immediate family in one unit, father's family in one unit, mother's family in another unit

    When I come across it all in one unit, none of it sinks in. I strongly suspect I would learn these terms better if they were split apart just a little on the course. (I have no proof that it would help me learn better, it is only a strong feeling.)

    On the size of the units, I have always been in agreement with what appears to be the consensus of this thread - smaller is better (well, up to a point; in the past I liked 3 to 6 lessons in a unit). With the recent changes to Duolingo to add crowns I feel this the more strongly - at the moment the only way we get back to a word is by doing all the rest of the lessons in a unit; if it has 10 lessons, that means at level 0 or 1 we have to do 9 other lessons to get back to it, but if it has only 3 lessons (just as an example) we have only to do 2 other lessons to get back to it.

    I hope the staff at Duolingo identify this too, and either include a way to repeat/select lessons within a unit, or recommend to the course creators that the number of lessons in a unit be small.


    May 6, 2018

    I would really enjoy audio, so that i can hear how everything is pronounced? Will audio be added?

    EDIT: I just read through the other comments, so you don't have to answer this question

    December 16, 2018
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