Duolingo's style of teaching really fits me well
I just wanted to say something positive as I see all sorts of criticism in discussions (and I don't spend much time looking at the forums except recently when I was wondering whether it would work for me to do two languages at once). There are are a number of different learning styles, and I myself gravitate towards an immersion kind where the student doesn't need to specifically force all of the one-to-one correspondences--I don't memorize; I simply assume that I'll eventually notice the patterns, and that they'll stick as I become more familiar with them and care about it. This does mean I get things wrong quite a lot, until things fall into place. I found wonderful insights into many topics not related to my study when doing Norwegian, and felt emboldened to pick up Chinese again: yes, this is far and away the best approach for me, although I imagine it might seem illogical to some others. I try to guess a lot of the time, and often guess wrong, but at the same time, I see if there are grammatical puzzles to solve, and it's a wonderful feeling when they click into place. In remembering hanzi I'm looking at overall shapes and making often quite silly associations, like man-looking-through-telescope-on-table or spoon-beside-ladder. Sometimes the sound of the word has a bit of a hint, especially as shown in pinyin, for instance when there are two similar component for 'duo'. All I'm trying to say is: yes, it does work, although if you're used to doing it a different way you might be frustrated to begin with. But new languages are opportunities to develop different metal patterns and ways of thinking (as well as means of communicating and understanding little things like 'people' and 'literature' from other cultures). And of course if you're keen, you're going to want to test your knowledge and develop it with YouTube videos in your target language, as you get closer to being able to use the language with actual people. Well, that's what I do. There. Good work, Duo.