Reverse trees and laddering in the new crown system

Hi, sorry, another post about the new crown system, but as I have not yet received the update, I'm curious what it will mean for the way I use DL.

So what is your experience with reverse trees and/or laddering in the new crown system? I have seen people saying that the new system makes the standard courses more useful as more difficult translations into the target language are provided. Reverse trees and laddering, which previously fulfilled this function, thus would seem less useful. Yet I would be interested to hear if this is actually the case in the view of those users who are still doing them in the crown system.

March 26, 2018


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I think reverse courses might have lost a bit of value, but laddering is still pretty solid! Haven't actually tested any of them out yet, but that's the impression I got.

March 26, 2018
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Indeed, I don't think this will really affect laddering, as the main point of that is that your native language isn't involved, and that hasn't changed.

Well I don't know if that is necessarily the main point of laddering. Both laddering and reverse trees had the advantage of more typing and 'thinking' in the language you were using as a base for the course. But it's true, the advantage of not seeing any English remains even in the new crown system.

These have been my thoughts for reverse trees and I already wrote several comments down in this thread (summarized from others user reply incl. moderators I quoted / multiple threads), trying to find a "single home" for staff suggestions:

Crown system improvement:

For laddering trees I would like challenges and translations to have about 50% ratio (or customizable 60:40 / 70:30).

What are reverse trees and laddering?

a reverse tree is doing a course in the opposite (reverse) direction. So if you finished the "Spanish for English speakers" course, you would then do the "English for Spanish speakers" course.

laddering is using a non-native language to learn another non-native language. So if you finished the "Spanish for English speakers" course, you then might try "Portuguese for Spanish speakers" and practice both Spanish and Portuguese without involving your native English.

I think you're probably right that the crown system closes some of the gap between standard and reverse trees. At higher crown levels, I'm asked (for example) to do more typing in Spanish on my Spanish-from-English tree and vice versa than used to be the case. I still like my reverse trees because they have content that the from-English trees don't and because doing them keeps things fresher than just repeating the from-English trees over & over, but they're not as different in terms of the types of questions they ask as they used to be.

I don't think the crowns update affects the usefulness of laddered trees as much. Even if there's more translation into German in my German-from-Turkish tree, for example, I still have to know or figure out what it is that they're asking me to translate which, since I am definitely nowhere near a fluent Turkish speaker yet, is still a useful exercise in itself.

(In other news, I would just about kill for a Turkish-from-German tree, but I'm under no illusions that native English speakers looking for more symmetry in our ladders are a group it makes sense for Duolingo to put much time or energy into catering for.)

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