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  5. Crowns are NOT an Improvement


Crowns are NOT an Improvement

I am not sure why you thought that making people revisit skills they already have--the basics--was a better idea than adding more content to the site as a whole. There are other tenses in French, such as the Passé Simple and Plusqueparfait that you could have added. You could also add more challenging exercises as new content that would actually teach something. Now, I must go back to the <>, "A red apple." phase to bring everything up to speed yet again. This was not an improvement. It is a setback for many of us who were up to date and didn't need to revisit the "Basic Information." Heck, I passed out of that section when I first signed on because I have four years of college French already. Please reconsider.

April 7, 2018



Right now I must agree with you completely. Crowns = junk.


It is not that Crowns are junk, but that we insist on having everything golden, except that was for the old system. You only need level 1 to go down to the next lesson. Spend the time on the lessons you want. There is more content. So, don't try to do a lesson 36x's to get it golden. I know we were all hooked on the appearance of our trees, but really we should do what works for us. I do use the early lessons to switch my mind from one language to another. So I will do an earlier lesson here and there and then spend real time on the later lessons.


The "gold system" had the benefit of a very clear UI, it was immediately evident what you should refresh.

In this new system, the UI is a lot more cluttered and unclear, and it is not as obvious what you "should" (would benefit most from) be (re-)doing.

Personally, I will probably ignore at least the first third-to-half of all courses and only really properly bother with the post-beginner grammar units - but why would it be considered smart design, or desirable by DL to have its userbase ignore vast parts of their language courses?

Maybe it's just the completionist in me, but I find it frustrating to think I OUGHT TO ignore, what, 40-60% of a course? If in ideal use I will be ignoring most of the course, should I not try to find a better designed, more useful language learning method?


Hear hear. I think it's reasonable to have to work as much as Duo now requires to get to 5 crowns on the advanced topics, but it's frustrating and irritating to have to ignore "incomplete" on so many elementary levels. That is not a satisfying learning model.


The gold system never worked for me. Skills I had completely forgotten showed gold. It didn't make sense to me. It is true that this new tree is less visually clear, and I thought I had lost all my progress at first.

I say we give it some time, try out the new system, and make our judgments then. It might just be that it's different. ¯\(ツ)

Regardless, a change in the system is no reason to give up a language. So don't give up.


The problem is that you can not practice something in particular with the timer if you have not finished all the 5 levels which can be really boring and time consuming for very little advance!


Did the people who chose crowns not have to do them? I feel like this was dumbed down, not improved. It's awful now.


Agree. It has disrupted my learning. At least make 'Crowns' optional.


Yeah, I am really loathing the new format, too. I can't tell what I need to work on now that everything is back in colour. I also don't like how we can't preview lessons. Previewing helps me to know which new words I will be learning BEFORE I start the lesson.


You can preview lessons here scroll down to where the skills are listed and click on the one you want to preview.



You can also check your progress here: https://www.duome.eu/Hermione256/progress


These days I'm using https://duome.eu/username/progress myself, and I think I've struck a good balance.

For French, I'm trying to keep everything at at least 75% strength as a baseline. For anything at 50% or lower, I do a session. Sessions accessed by clicking on the skill at duome.eu are lessons that contribute to your crown-level progress, so this way I get the best of both worlds.

Then, as long as everything's at 75% or greater, I do lessons in the skills with the lowest crown levels, accessing them directly from Duolingo, which also has the effect of increasing their strength.

I do at least an eighth of a level per skill at a time. Currently I'm working through all my level-2 skills, an eighth or so at a time, before going back through them again, so eight times through all of these skills will bump them up to level 3. (At lower levels it could be less, as there are fewer lessons, but this is what's currently working for French from crown level 2 to 3.)

For now I find this method to be a good balance between spaced repetition and making progress through the crown levels.


Very useful. It compensates a bit this bad system.


I totally agree! Also, why have the vocabulary lists and usage notes been eliminated? I found the information included there helpful and always printed the pages to use for study. Another thing I don't like about the new format is that the student is very frequently asked to just click on the correct boxes in order to translate a sentence. As someone who has studied Spanish and French for over 50 years ( and Dutch for 2+ years), I don't find this to be challenging at all! I'm not sure if I will stick with Duolingo if improvements are not made.


Click the lightbulb. The notes are there.

When you're given the word boxes, there is an icon at the bottom of your screen to switch between word bank and typing.

More info and screen shots at https://www.duolingo.com/comment/26612939


I speak my answers directly into the microphone. It creates a much more natural conversational response rather than translating word for word.

I used to teach French and German in a high school in the United States at a time before testing was so important. In first year classes there was no reading or writing at all. It was only listening and speaking, in the same way as babies and toddlers learn their native language.


I totally agree. I just decided to continue with my French today to be greeted with 'Crowns' and Level 2 on Basic French. As I progressed through the 'Crown' levels I noticed that I constantly repeating the same phrases, words and conjugations. There is only so much I can learn 'A red apple' or 'I eat', 'the dress is red' and so on and so forth.

It's freaking ridiculous because there are much more basics than that. This is more repetitious busy work than learning.

I didn't think you could break the wheel, but here we are.


I agree. In the Welsh course, the levels aren't really graded according to difficulty. The higher levels have more exercises but they just repeat the same words and phrases.


I went back over "Greet" in Welsh, and it's just "Bore da", "Prynhawn da", "Draig dw i", "Nos da" for lesson after lesson after lesson.


Je suis français et j'apprends l'anglais depuis un an avec duolingo. Mon fluency score était de 77 %, niveau 25 et 51000 XP. J'étais content de mon apprentissage et je faisais des progrès. Mais le nouveau système des couronnes est complément nul. Pour retrouver un arbre doré, il faut refaire les exercices basiques encore et encore !!!!!!!!! Pour rien !!!!! Ceci n'est qu'une perte de temps inutile et c'est très démotivant, cela va à l'encontre du but recherché par Duolingo qui est de motiver les étudiants. Pour les utilisateurs avancés, il faudrait mettre en place un système pour valider l'expérience déjà acquise et pour éviter de recommencer l'apprentissage au début ! Si vous ne faites pas cela, je vais QUITTER Duolingo !!!!!!!! I WILL LEAVE !!!!!!!


Je n'ai pas encore essayé le nouveau système pour les froncophones, mais je pense que les nouvelles couronnes dans l'arbre pour les anglais a amélioré le système. Vous avez raison, les exercices basiques sont inutiles. Mais le but n'est pas vraiment d'avoir des niveaux d'or. A votre niveau, Duolingo ne vous aide probablement plus. Quand on a atteint un certain niveau élevé, il faut chercher d'autres moyens d'apprendre une langue. C'est la même chose pour moi, j'ai dû trouver d'autres sites pour mieux apprendre le francais. Mais je reviens tous les jours à Duolingo et je fais quelques exercices parce qu'ils m'aident encore.


Bonjour ! Vous pouvez retrouver le progrès de votre arbre doré ici: https://www.duome.eu/Dominique2222/progress

Plus de resources: http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/English


Level 3 of Basics French has 6 lessons of 10 questions where you find yourself typing variations of 'Oui, je suis un garçon', and then level 4 appears with lesson 1 of 10 being the same. Very demotivating. How many for level 5? Do I really need to type 'tu es un homme et je suis une femme" 260 times over 26 lessons to get the thing completed?


My exact complaint. I am trying to buy into the new system (simply because I know the makers are not going to go back to the old system so it's either get on board or get out) but I'm really not impressed with having to start so many beginner lessons over from scratch and then repeat, repeat, repeat the same 4 sentences over and over until I want to stab myself in the eye. Duo suggested that with the new system the lessons would have more content and get harder as the learner progresses but even a rank beginner can only type I am a man so many times. I went through a few skills to test this and on crown 4 I am still typing the exact same sentences as crown 1. At the moment, I don't see any increase in challenges as the levels progress inside each skill, I just see the same sentences being repeated. Perhaps in more advanced skills??

At the moment, it's boring, it's repetitive and it's certainly not engaging or encouraging at all and while skipping off to other skills is an option, some people prefer to complete entire sections before moving on.

Sadly, I have a feeling no one upstairs really gives a hoot what the peons think.


I completely agree with you. I feel that the application goes back a lot. It is a shame.


I agree. The idea of improving the content is noble but the execution has been clumsy


Wow .. I was doing so well and now I am having to start over completely from the beginning. This is so demoralising it's enough to bring me to tears.


I agree. And there are people on here criticising us for expressing our truth. They clearly are in a different mind space and don’t understand. They’re all Zen-like “oh well doesn’t matter, yay some more content”. I get that but it could be delivered a little more expertly.


Also, you can no longer test out of a skill :/ I was getting major points this week from that!


I agree. With the new crown system, I thought the idea was that they were adding new material. The crown system simply makes you repeat the same 20 sentences over and over and over as you progress through the crowns in a unit. The material really doesn't progress that much or get harder as people have claimed. Why would you see the same sentence repeated in crown level 4 as you do in crown level 1 if it did?

Mindless repetition is seriously an old school technique and it's one of the reasons a lot of people quit learning languages. I'm not sure why we need to use new technology to get that back. I see a lot of people posting about not liking the repetition. Why do people keep posting responses that don't acknowledge this? Asking learners to repeat the same sentences over and over and over is not an improvement. I don't think this is because people naturally hate changes. I think it's that they honestly hate this one.

It would help to see some acknowledgement that this round of "improvements" broke something that many people found to be working well for them. It seems that there was actually no acknowledgement of what was working with the old system.

Not all change is good change.


I agree. Another thing I find is that there are so few sentences that I know most of them by heart, so I just type them out without having to think about it. Most of them seem to be the same as before crowns, just repeated more often.

[deactivated user]

    Here's an idea: downvote the announcement for crowns. The staff had to pay attention the last time it happened when they were proposing a new avatar ring for Plus users and they were more or less forced to fix that issue.

    "we want to be super transparent about this": Why can't they be transparent about implementing Health and Gems, huh?


    Excellent point about Health and Gems, Bill. I rejoiced recently when I got my tree back to gold after a major update of one my courses, and I could use my tablet again without having to deal with Health. The combination of Crowns and Health is devastating.


    I am also finding that when I hover over the sentence, it is giving me a translation that Duolingo marks as WRONG. So I am only learning new words/phrases by making the errors first, and then memorizing quickly what answer they ACTUALLY want.


    I absulutely agree. What a waste of time - like filling in basic form after basic form!


    Apart from all the other issues, I now note that using the ¨strengthen' option no longer builds up these stupid stupid crowns!


    Agree - the new system is completely de-motivating.


    The crowns are gimmicky and a definite step backwards.


    Je suis d'accord avec Dominique 2222 : devoir refaire des exercices basiques alors que nous les avions valides n'a aucun sens et démotive.merci d en prendre note.


    I think the old system was better because I preferred the way the levels dropped back so you new where to go to practice, now i don't have any direction


    I agree with this. The lack of direction makes the learning process way more complicated and mentally taxing than it should be.


    Look I get it that they are introducing new content. And to some extent they are ironing out the bugs but some of the 'right answers' are just downright frustrating!!!! The old versions were quite intuitive even giving you the benefit of the doubt for some typos. Now there often seems to be one answer only. And look no-one dies if you get a wrong answer but simple things like "I think they were sincere, for once" as the only answer to "Je crois qu'ils étaient sincères, pour une fois, when I wrote "I believe that they were sincere for once" just takes away the purpose of identifying right and wrong answers as a motivation in the first place!


    I hope you reported that sentence as Correct. When they add new content, we always have to add alternate correct versions.


    I wish there had been a warning or explanation so I could have avoided the crowns upgrade. It is horrible. I made a few errors and was basically kicked out of the app because of some health meter. How does being blocked from practicing help me?

    Can we at least get rid of the health meter?


    It’s a dilemma because some people will pay for more health while others will watch more adds which helps keep Duolingo free.


    The same problem in Spanish. So at the end is almost like if Duolingo makes itself Hara-kiri.


    I agree, plus i have to go and do my work all over again even though i have completed i. I also liked seeing my french fluency percent


    The Fluency was a matching number for progress in knowledge. The crowns are just a measurement of industriousness. In this they're right the same as the points. So who needs two scales for the same?

    Me and 2 other friends want to have back the fluency!


    Crowns are ❤❤❤❤ !


    Have you gotten the new French tree that's in A/B testing? Apparently they added a ton of new skills having to do with the pronouns y and en, as well as the subjunctive, conditional, etc.

    I think it's also important to keep in mind that each language is limited by what the dev team provides for it. This is a new system implemented across all trees. It feels clunky because no dev team has yet had the opportunity to devise or refine a tree tailor-made to suit the Crowns system. I'd say give it 8 months-to-a-year, wait until you start seeing trees come out planned, tested, and implemented entirely under the mantle of the Crown system, before you start passing definitive judgment on the new system.


    I am deeply pissed off with french duolingo. Thia morning - just now - i tranlated 'je mange une baguette' as i eat a baguette. Marked wrong. What are we aiming for. Understanding french as spoken in our own terms: english as spoken ? I have written about this before. I want to speak to my French friends and be understood. I want to understand them better. Iam continually making reports about translations I disagree with. One was recognised ( 'cock' insteadr of 'rooster') which I was cock-a-hoop about, but what about all the many others ? And when I can't express myself in French it is mostly shortage of the right word, and not wrong grammar. Please excuse my spelling mistakes, i suffer from ET and cannot guarantee to have struck the right key. There are simple solutions to some of these tensions.


    I completely agree. What I need to do is focus on all the harder verb tenses, but it won't even let me unlock them until I complete Basic stuff that I had already tested out of. I am two weeks in and I haven't even got the harder stuff unlocked yet, it feels like I've learned nothing in the last two weeks and I see no point in continuing, it is a waste of time.


    As I have read you can opt out of all of the lessons up to level one at which point everything is open for you to choose whatever you want to work on.

    There are still many errors although some bilingual students are reporting mistakes and recently the volunteers in the incubator have started to really work on making those changes.

    They have also added more alternative correct sentences so that we don’t have to memorize the one that they gave us as the correct answer in order to get out of the lesson.


    I was just getting to the point of getting a solid gold tree and this crowns nonsense was dumped on me. I just quit Duolingo.


    The first time you make a skill golden is equivalent to Crown Level 1 which may be blue. You can quit of course, but perhaps you might like to check here though where you can still see if your tree is golden and practice those skills that have faded. https://www.duome.eu/DiconMontf/progress You have a lot of golden skills and a lot of skills at 75% and a few at 50%. You can practice any skill from here through the dumbbells and see the tips and notes through the lightbulbs. The practice does not count towards crowns though, but since you don’t like them, perhaps you won’t mind that. I continue to do some through crowns and some through the old spaced repetition here.

    Someone else has also pointed out that some of the vocabulary appears added to the tips and notes there and you can see the vocabulary lesson by lessson through the following site which also has a lot of resources listed. If you scroll past all the resources, there is a list of all the skill names and you can click on each. http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/French I don’t know if it has been updated with the new words from the last update though. I think with those two sites that I have the tools do do everything that I was previously doing and they might help you too. The thing that I like about Duolingo is the discussions where so many people are so helpful. The users share what works for themselves with each other and there are so many user created sites like these and more through Memrise and Tinycards and through the French forum discussions or whichever specific language discussion.


    I think I finally get what they did with the update It is not about golden crowns any more. Once you know the material you know it. You are done with that lesson and eventually the course. You are self-monitoring your progress. And, no, I don't think it is going to increase in difficulty. Perhaps in a few languages, but not in the one I have been doing.

    So after you have learned all you can you may want to try online conversations with people who will teach you if you teach them your language as well.

    Or start learning a new language here. Stop at the level where you have determined that you got all answers correct. They say that you can expect to get perhaps 40 to 60% fluency with Duolingo.

    That's all folks!


    I hate the new interface. Why is it so difficult. Just give me a button to practice all the words and concepts I've learned so I can keep practicing things until I always get them right? Instead they've made the practice button useless and you have to waste time earning these weird crowns to get things gold? What's the benefit of that? How can I measure my progress?


    You should give Clozemaster a try. App and web versions.

    There are no forums, notes, or categorized lessons. It's just sentence after sentence after sentence. Tens of thousands of them, practically forever. You fill in the blanks, and repeat things until the algorithm thinks you know them. Each session is a fixed number of questions, but you just do as many sessions as you like.


    I completely agree. I have a French degree and had tested to the very end of the tree before the change. I like to have things complete and I feel compelled to close out the now level 1 skills that comprise half my tree in the crown system. I find this so monotonous that I have basically given up even using it beyond a single lesson to maintain a streak. If we could test out of EVERY level of a skill, rather than just the “level 0,” then crowns wouldn’t be so bad. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be using it until something like this is implemented.


    In a test account I reset my French progress and am able to test out of multiple skills at once to get them all to level 1, as well as testing out of levels for individual skills currently at level 1, and the latter is available for the individual skills even though I haven't got the whole tree to level 1.


    Do you have the “key” symbol which allows you to test out level by level?


    Down with crowns!

    [deactivated user]

      The crowns really are awful. I thought forcing the daily goal on people (and removing the progress bar) was a bad motivation killer, but this is far worse.
      What makes me sad is that there are so few good programs/sites for practicing Hebrew, but now that Duolingo has removed another layer of user autonomy, I just don't see the point in continuing with it.


      For the first few simple skills, getting to Crown 5 is a huge pain and extremely repetitive. I do see some good things about the Crown System and it looks pretty cool, but I think the old one was better for learning.


      I was not happy to be "starting all over" for the second time in a week or so. But give this system a chance. I am trying it out, reviewing things, seeing what daily system will make sense, just like I did when I first started a tree. It may not be so bad.


      The Crowns system is okay. I hesitate to judge it just yet. However, I do have issues with the fact that it's not clear which skills I should be refreshing, and when. I'm an independent and motivated learner, but I still like to have basic external direction so that I can focus all my energy on learning the language itself, instead of putting a lot of energy into figuring out which skills I need to refresh. I'm fortunate to have plenty of time during my day to make those kinds of decisions, but for busy people I think this lack of direction will impede their progress. Personally, I think Duolingo should have waited to implement Crowns until they had some kind of spaced-repetition algorithm in place.


      What does,"Please reconsider" mean? Do you think that if they change it back that they will give all your process back?



      Crowns are weird. The thing I do is to skip the unit one I get it. I never regold anything. But yes, that's a shame, their stupid "repeating is learning" scheme will be not so stupid if it was not so extreme.

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