1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Bring back Immersion


Bring back Immersion

Please bring back Immersion. I know that it didn't work out the first time, but as far as Duolingo has come with developing new languages and new language learning features, it's getting time to give it a second chance. The gaming alone is probably not the most viable way to become truly fluent. Immersion would really help with that. Much of the users of it found really cool articles to translate, and learned really interesting stuff. I was upset to find that they got rid of it.

December 9, 2017



I liked it very much too and it was my primary learning tool here, but its time is done.

There were legal reasons why this was removed, (EU copyright use restrictions) as well as DL's inability to manage its use (or abuses) effectively and I cannot imagine they will ever bring it back.


I like the labs/AI bots much better than Immersion so far. They force you to practice listening comprehension and think about responding to questions, there's no arguing about translation, etc.

There are more labs that could be added and I'd like a way to save vocabulary you don't know, but those features didn't exist in Immersion, either.

I think it'd be nice if the labs section included blogs you could write (and then read/correct other students' blogs.) It'd also be nice if Duo could get something like WeSpeke or GoSpeaky going, but I don't think that will ever happen because those apps/sites tend to be abused by people who are looking to hit on people , and DuoLingo needs to remain friendly for K-12 children, as it's become so much of a classroom tool.

  • 2266

Labs/stories/clubs look like a nice path to achieve advanced fluency. My main concern is the ETA for the full implementation in all offered languages... How long do you think it will take for the labs feature(s) to provide the level of fluency that Immersion provided for all the languages offered by DL?


I'm hoping for Romance languages it will be relatively fast. Non-romance languages with phonetic alphabets will take a bit longer, languages that do not have phonetic alphabet structures would be hardest to implement.

Like I'm sad they do not currently have Stories for French and Italian, but I love it for Spanish.

ETA: Though really, there's no reason why it should take much longer for any language with a Latin alphabet.

  • 2266

I don't think you got the full scope of my question. Immersion allowed various documents (from many fields) to be translated in 'real' time. I have not looked at all the Spanish stories, so I cannot tell how complex they get but my guess is that they do not come close to the level of complexity, breadth and depth of the Wikipedia types of articles... Becoming "fluent" in a language is not possible unless one can reach the expertise level in a domain of interest like science, art, etc... Therefore, it looks like the path DL has taken, will allow people to reach advanced levels in general areas of the target language when and if the stories will be provided... The Immersion path would have allowed any user to, 'relatively easy,' reach the desired depth in many given fields of a target language...


As they stand now, the stories require (and teach) nowhere near the level of "fluency" (here suggesting vocabulary and ability to cope with somewhat difficult grammar) that one could get by doing medium hard - to - hard Immersion articles.


I totally agree that the stories are a great feature, especially with regard to listening comprehension,and I hope they continue to expand on them, both with regard to sophistication and length. Your blog idea is also a good one, promoting more complex translations and helping each other. I know that the old immersion will never be back, but hopefully they will be able to provide something for more advanced users, and promote the community cooperation we enjoyed before.


Mmmhm. I'm sad that right now they're only available in Portuguese and Spanish, though I'm breezing through the Spanish ones very fast.

Blogs would be nice because it could be like Lang-8... Except you would be cooperating with other DL users. It would also be nice if they could, like I said, make a chat option. But it would have to be vigilantly moderated, even if it had no video option. There's always a very active gross segment of websites. I suppose people could rate language exchange hosts positively or negatively so that ones that are trolling or hitting on people get banned faster.

  • 2266

Thanks for resurrecting this topic on its 1st anniversary from being removed. This was by far the most debated issue regarding DL, that I recollect. Unfortunately, it seems that DL folks are going "full" speed with the Labs feature which seems to be the replacement of Immersion and the new path to achieve "real" fluency... Monetizing a feature like Imersion (as DL folks found out) is not as easy as one would hope... Look at the struggles they 'seem' to have with the current, rather simple, monetization system!!


I used immersion quite a lot too.

But, looking at it from Duolingo's point of view:

Only 1% of users actually ever used immersion. Over 90% of users are now on mobile. It took up quite a lot of time for Duolingo staff. So, it won't be coming back.

Most of us would rather Duolingo spent resources (time/money) on Labs/stories, podcasts, chatbots etc; things that more people would want to actually use.


Please try http://translatihan.com
Mark van Roode, a former active member of Immersion, is the manager of this substitute for Duolingo's immersion.


Immersion could certainly be adjusted to conform to copyright restrictions if DL maintained a closer control on the content. The abuse could be controlled by qualifying participants and closer monitoring. I surmise if it were a benefit of DL plus, the number of contributors (me included) would increase dramatically, and most abuse would be eliminated, as those folks are not usually willing to spend money in order to accomplish their mischief.

It truly was a marvelous way to increase proficiency in language ability, while opening another window on the world. Maybe DL will consider infusing some kind of "immersion" function into the stories. The "right" to participate might be predicated on completion of level 10, for instance, when the number of stories has progressed to that level.


You're volunteering quite a bit of staff time and effort to keep Immersion going. While it would have been nice if Duolingo was willing to provide that time, they get to make their own organizational decisions about how they can most effectively use staff time and energy.

As well, there was, as I understand it, another legal issue, involving the use of unpaid volunteers to do work for a profit-making venture of a for-profit company. I suppose that if Duolingo had gotten completely out of the translation business, that problem might have gone away, but, since the whole point of immersion was to bring in money to keep the rest of the organization going, it seems unlikely that Duolingo would have been willing to do that.


Almost none of immersion was used for profit. The quality was mediocre at best, if not actively sabotaged with nonsense. They started with this model at first, but it simply never worked.


You're right that it was unprofitable. Duolingo is still a for-profit company even though it wasn't profitable.


Good point. As a former businessman, I understand resources have to be utilized as efficiently as possible. That only a small percentage of DL users participated in Immersion is a powerful argument. I have no expertise whatsoever in administering a site such as DL, but was hoping, that with some "tweaks" a form of immersion less troublesome to maintain could be reinstituted and maybe even bring in some extra revenue.

  • 2266

Agreed 100%. Too bad DL folks did not figure out a simple monetization scheme for it! Google has and never looked back on providing free value added features to their users!!


If better features were available to people who can pay then it would not be in line with Duolingo's main goal of providing free education to all


They have already crossed that line with DL plus. Providing some services to produce revenue actually enhances and supports the goal of providing free education for all.


Duolingo has so many issues that have gone unaddressed at the moment. The last thing we need is Duolingo resurrecting a feature that, according to Duolingo statistics, was used by only 1% of all Duolingo users and neglecting other issues that are affecting the majority of users. Not to mention, Immersion was completely unusable for users in the EU.


These 1 % were at the same time probably the same users who actually finish courses and get hooked long-term.

If immersion was only available to users of a certain level (plus something like duration to avoid cheating), the abuse shouldn't be a problem any longer. Also, since language courses are done by volunteers, why not have volunteers moderate immersion? They could lock critical translations and report them. I guess the actual abuse cases left to spend staff time on would be close to zero.


What was immersion? From the comments, it seems like it involved some sort of community-evaluated translation of texts?


Yes. You could select text and translate for xps. Long ago now.


I'm not totally convinced the old Immersion was very valuable. However, I agree that DL should expand our options for learning. Enjoy a Christmas Lingot.


I found it immensely valuable. A group of friends and I were working on translating a famous 19th century Italian novel together, and I learned more that way than anything in the rest of my language resource tool kit. But as a whole the system was too attractive to trolls and people uninterested in learning.


Being a member of that group I second every word. We all learned a huge amount and became a close group of friends into the bargain, meaning that we also learned a lot about each other's cultures too.

Like you I found immersion invaluable and personally, I am still mourning its loss. The "improvements" are a very pale shadow of immersion at its best.


It was certainly very valuable. It's how I learned after years of struggle to actually read Russian with a certain amount of ease. I think it would have been even more valuable for the languages where it was never generally available (like Russian) than for the languages where it was. The jump from Duolingo tree to authentic content is a whole lot smaller for a French or a Spanish than it is for a Hebrew, Russian, or Swahili. Immersion helped bridge that very large gap.

And Immersion on the reverse tree was a stupendous way to practice writing in the target language. The Brazilians had this figured out; there seemed to be more of them in Portuguese to English Immersion than native English speakers most of the time.


You could try this out: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/22228863

I don't know if they're still active; I haven't popped in for a long time, but they were going gangbusters for a while.


I think http://translatihan.com/ - a pretty slick site - has largely displaced it. Anyone is free to correct me.


Nice try and I would love to see your request succeed but sadly, Duolingo has made it clear that only gamefied learning that is easily adapted to schools and the app stand any chance whatsoever. This is a big mistake in my view as, despite its faults immersion was a valuable learning tool when used properly and with a like-minded group of serious translators.

RIP immersion. :-(

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.