Critique on Crown System - Too Much Repetition!
I'm a bit disappointed with the Crown system. I get what they want to achieve. They want to give the user more challenge and make sure they really remember all the words that they've learned so far. But the execution is rather poor.
I know I dont seem as an experienced user but I'm one of those users that uses Duolingo as a 'once in a while'-thing. I'm active certain periods, and I'm less active the next. What I liked about this website is that is grants you a lot of vocab that you could go through relatively quickly. I loved the 'test out' option because, while being a beginner at some languages, I often have a basic knowledge of vocab, or I recognize words based on closely related languages I do know.
Also, I'm a fast learner. Despite Duolingo already repeating a little too much in my experience, I initially found it worth the patience because it ensured I remembered it. Now with this crown system, the amount of repetition is way too much. I need at the very most 3 times to remember something and it's very frustrating when you can't just review what is about to be discussed in the lessons so you can choose to either go through the repetitions or test out and skip to the next.
I didn't ask either to update towards this version. I agree with other users that I liked the golden tree system better. It would have been better to increase the level of difficulty depending on how far someone is on the tree. That would be most logical. And I get that you need some repetition, but why does that repetition go into the amounts of 10s and 20s while you already repeat a lot in one lesson.
E.g. (I really did try to give it a chance) I wanted to see what challenge it could grant me, so I tried reaching the higher levels with the hiragana levels. But the amount of repetition necessary to even reach level 3 is insane. It would mean you'd have to repeat the characters at least 100 times. That's ridiculous!
Would it be possible to change it or somehow fasten up the pace? I really dont want to get bored with Duolingo. It's such a wonderful site.
Crowns = Grinding, especially at the lower level. Duolingo added the worst part of gaming to the system, a darn shame.
I've since cancelled my subscription- unfortunately I paid for a year, so I still have 9 months left.
The site has been absolutely fantastic before, but it's just a weird sudden shift, and the content is the same from 3 crows up to 5 crowns.
I think it just seems so off-putting to see I have to do something 100 times in order to show myself I've made some progress. Especially when basic colours and family members are already ingrained in my brain. As is it to not be able to pick out an individual lesson from a section that I find myself struggling with.
I thought it was just me being a cranky-pants about change, and I had no right to complain about something that was completely free to me. Especially when it not only has reintroduced me to a language I wished I had continued with in school, but other languages of cultures I've always been interested in. I'm incredibly grateful. But it seems like a lot of other users have the same concerns and issues with the system.
I get that you don't have to work up the crown level once you feel like you've gotten a pretty good comprehension on the lesson, but that was part of the drive of the site, not to mention the learning. I think all of us enjoyed seeing the changes to our tree as we advanced.
I've read that going back to the old system is not an option, so I totally agree with your suggestion of quickening the pace, or at least some kind of tweaking or another.
I totally agree. The change in the tree was very satisfying and motivating even though it's not the most important thing with language learning. But it's just fun! And yeah, I liked being able to review certain parts. I'm not really difficult towards change, as long as it isn't change that is unnecessary.
I still want to thank Duolingo for allowing me and other people to have a centralized platform where you can learn dozens of cool languages!
I suspect the problem boils down to the team seriously underestimating how obsessive we all are about gilding our trees. For all intents and purposes, completing the first 1-3 tiers of each skill is equivalent to what existed in the old system, and they specifically recommended that we continue our studies with this in mind. But of course, myself and many others continue stubbornly pushing through all the new levels, against their recommendation, to see that shine.
at first I was blaming people's addiction to golden trees, and I think this would've been accurate if they had actually added new material to the crowns as they indicated they would. instead I blame Duolingo because literally all they did was make it possible for you to get permanent gold all at once (which is pointless), and impossible to get gold at all until then. the golden trees served a purpose - reminding you when to practice a skill and telling you when to stop - now they serve neither of these purposes.... you think you're supposed to stop at gold when it fact you should've stopped ages ago and come back later. This is not the right way to learn languages. yes they told us not to do them all at once, but they took away the signal to stop doing them all at once, which was the entire point of the old system. no wonder people are confused! I personally don't care that it takes forever to get gold... what I do care is I thought there would be new material but they're just rehashing old material and taking away variation... it's incredibly annoying.
I had my issues with the decay system, namely, that it occurred too slowly in Japanese and too quickly everywhere else. But I don't think its removal was a good idea, for the same reason that both of us have stated above; it encourages people to pursue a topic until they get their gold sticker and no further.
It actually seemed to me that the problem you mention for Japanese applied more broadly. People would keep their trees fully gold for years on end but still have demonstrable problem areas. Just getting things to gold wasn't enough to allow one to make good progress on a specific area of confusion. I also think the harder exercise mix with crowns may well have people realizing they have more problem areas than they realized.
Between French and Esperanto I was logging well over 1,000 XP a day just to maintain easy skills I was quite familiar with, but I had to manually go back through Japanese each day because it was sure I knew these words I had struggled through once upon a time. On the former, at least, I came to suspect I was part of some kind of Duolingo experiment.
What I would like to know is, does learning more difficult things eventually lead to earlier skills to automatically become more difficult, or if it would be possible for an algorithm to automatically place a learner on a higher level based on the amount of correct answers they've given.
I tried the crown system yesterday when I got it, first I did the first hangul skill a couple of times to see what would happen when I reach a higher level, but there's no way I'd repeat the same exercises 12 times as I'm already able to read hangul. Then I skipped all the alphabet skills and moved on the basics and that seemed to work better (also on level 2 it only requires 8 repetitions to move on).
I would still like the tree to reflect my actual skills so that as I'm already able to read hangul, the alphabet skills would automatically jump up a level or two and eventually when I've done enough skills, they'd be (more or less) permanently on level five. Right now it seems like that isn't happening.
I don't see the problem, but maybe I'm in the minority. Repetition is excellent. I have to repeat concepts many times in order to engrain them into my memory. I need to be able to recall concepts in real time and also be able to spontaneously apply them in various contexts. The only way to do this for me is by frequently repeating the concepts over a long period of time. I like the crown system because it encourages this kind of study.
That’s exactly how the old version worked, except the lessons were blocked out and you could return to them as they weakened. After finishing your tree in the previous version, certain skills would get weaker and you’d need to re-do them. This helped keep things fresh, even though the same old exersizes where there to repeat. I don’t see any benefit in being forced to go back and write ‘the boy eats apple’ in english over and over again.
So spend your time on something challenging. Yes, I understand it's annoying to have a different-colored tree. Perhaps there will soon be a "level quiz-out" to promptly get everything you know well to gold. And if that comes, you'll be all the more annoyed to have spent the time to get there without it.
I think a really good option that would help give users a nudge towards not binging on a few skills would be to bring back the decaying gold skills.
Basically when you earn a crown, that skill goes gold, and it gives the user a satisfying, visual cue that you have completed the skill, and signals you that you can move on. Later, as was the case in the old system, that gold may fade when you need more practice, yet you'll be on the next level. You can always go through and complete to the next crown level in order to get back to gold.
What do you guys think? I think this could be a good hybrid, because as some other users mention, I see a LOT of long-term learning benefits to the crown system that solved some important problems from the old system.
I agree this is a good idea. Maybe they could do a double circle around the skill to show both golden skill and then crown progress. Alternatively just keep it gold around the circle or make whole skill golden once crown is earned instead of graying it out to show zero progress for next crown, then once there is decay or the user begins new crown progress it can be partially greyed
Crowns themselves are an odd concept tho... do kings even have 88 crowns? I’d have gone with gold rings and a crown only at the end
Okay, I was defending the crown system at first before I had done much of anything with it. I think I was confused because the app is still on old system and I was still mostly using the app. If you like old system, use the app for now. Now that I actually started to go through the crowns, I see what people mean by the repetition. First of all the old system was already hugely repetitive and pointless past lvl 14. Now, what? They just made it EVEN MORE repetitive! Brilliant. Their stated purpose for this was to make it more variable and challenging - it is neither, in fact the total opposite. You cannot implement your crown system without actually putting in the extra labor to make it work by adding new sentences, precisely what you said you would do. I tried lower skill crowns, extreme repetition - higher skill crowns take an absurd amount of time just to complete one exercise. I finished like 15 exercises in basics in the amount of time it took me to finish one exercise in a high skill. Removing option to select specific word groups? What does this have to do with crown system? Nothing, you did this for no purpose at all other than to force people to focus solely on crowns without adding complexity to your system. If you only added new sentences to French tree, you should have only added crowns to French. My French tree hasn't updated yet.
higher skill crowns take an absurd amount of time just to complete one exercise
Isn't that at least partly because they're just harder? Like maybe you find them difficult and need to practice them more?
Removing option to select specific word groups? What does this have to do with crown system?
B/c having to actually come up with the words oneself is a much bigger challenge? Like the kind of thing that one would be expected to do to further develop one's skills?
It's looking to me like you thought you'd gotten all you could out of Duolingo by level 14 because you'd gotten good at selecting word answer boxes on the app. There's always been more than that to Duolingo. Now there's a lot more more: active command and recall of the couple-thousand word vocabulary and accompanying grammar taught in the tree. It's going to take you a lot more than getting to level 14 to get it, though.
Um no I taught myself French and have been semi fluent in it since long before Duolingo existed. The upper lvl exercise was more tedious than hard. And no I don’t need to go above lvl 14. There is more I can get out of it but at this point is more tedious than anything. Entire French tree was pretty tedious to me though, since I’d already studied it and was just improving on grammatical nuances and small amount of vocab mostly. I tested out of a bunch of lvls can’t remember how many.
But I actually take back the previous comments. I found crowns tedious/useless bc I was doing them on a language I’m already semi fluent in. They’re more useful for a language you’re new to. I like them much better for Norwegian than for French.
I feel like I'm the only one agreeing with most of your points. Most people do the same skill 50 times in a row, which isn't beneficial at all. The new system makes sense when you take all of the skills you think you need to work on and practise a few of them once, rotating so that after a while (~50 days for what I'm doing) all of them are one crown level higher. You can bet that I'll learn a ton of stuff during those 50 days I wouldn't have done if I just kept my tree golden.
I haven't seen a thread or comment yet from someone who used the system a good bit and went from liking it to not liking it (I'm sure there are some people like this; the world's a big place). However, it's long been easy to find examples of people going the other way, e.g. the examples of the people posting two of the most prominent negative threads in the main English and French language forums a few weeks ago later publicly retracting their earlier position. It looks like enough days have passed since the big roll-out that the tide of opinion is starting to shift for those who only got crowns a few days ago.
I particularly liked this example of the genre.
Do I really need to make 15 times the Introduction unit to remember it? My English is almost Advanced (I believe I'm a Higher-Intermediary), so it really bothers me to repeat things over and over again. I was hoping to see new things, new sentences but they're all repeated ones.
My cellphone's keyboard already can predict all the words I'll use, because it's way too much repetition. I can't deal with it. I look at my tree and it's all level 1-3 and I've completed it has already 9 months. So, there are things, like the first units, I shouldn't need to review. I think they should make some kind of test, to find out how much do you know (at least for the older users) and make a "special tree" for you.
Idk, I'm just disappointed because I was having expectations way too much higher.
The lack of increasing difficulty makes the feature pointless, whereas the drawbacks (e.g. not being able to repeat individual lessons for review) are numerous. I sincerely hope the difficulty issue is related to the curators of the course not filling out the appropriate data yet, otherwise, I just don't understand the reasoning behind this new system. Hopefully things will get better over time.
As a software dev, I understand that smoothly transitioning to a new system like this is an impressive feat and must have taken a monumental amount of work, which I truly appreciate. But speaking honestly, I think the design of the new system hasn't panned out, and although I can only speculate as to why it's in such a state, I think everyone can agree that it's beneath the quality we've come to expect from Duolingo.
Here's to hoping these issues will be addressed in time.
It's an attempt to turn it into a classroom teaching tool that won't actually compete with other classroom products. It's the most depressing thing that's happened in the world of educational software recently. It feels like the day the corporations actually won. Thanks Luis. Thanks.
I agree that it must have been a huge effort to create this system and I appreciate it a lot. I'm not a software developer, so I can only imagine the work behind it. But they really missed out here.
They shouldn't have made it a substitute of the entire system. It would have been a great concept as an extra feature in the tree. I can hug developers of websites that grant me more challenge. I adore it. It shows they really care about the content of their website and strive to continuously improve it. But just adding more repetition doesn't equal more challenge. It's surely is more challenging to grind through but that's because it's tedious as hell. More challenging material would include longer sentences, a combination of the words learned in the lesson, and more complex structures using material already discussed in previous lessons. Perhaps even exercises designed for a specific difficulty. E.g. hearing a question in that language just once and then having to answer it correctly. That's challenging and it helps you develop listening skills!
The pace is only slow if you make it slow. Don't do the repetition if you don't need it. I can see it would be tedious if it was compulsory but it isn't. The earlier skills probably don't need five levels but it will add needed depth to the later ones. Most of the people complaining are needlessly grinding through simple levels for the sake of a number when they should be advancing through the tree and learning new material. There are a surprising number of previously unseen sentences there for even long term users to find if they don't get bogged down with a competitive urge to finish the whole thing at once. Language learning isn't a race. Time is an essential ingredient.
I get your complaint. A lot of people spend 30 minutes on just a few words. I'd get bored of that very quickly. But what I really mean is that they've changed a system that worked really well. Personally, I didn't like the golden tree system just for the sake of the circles turning gold. I liked it because it gave you a clear overview of your progress.
I agree that learning a language shouldn't be rushed. You need to grant yourself the time to process the material. But what the huge benefit of the other system was that it helped you keep track of your progress. With some levels decaying, you knew what to review, because regardless of how fast you learn, you will forget things. The golden tree system was very succesful in reminding you to review words by making use of the golden colour 'decaying'. That's a really clever method.
With the crowns, all lessons seem 'equal'. It's hard to see which lessons you need to review, and it's quite a shame that you can't see what material is going to be discussed anymore. Now, all material is slowly introduced through the repetitions without showing you in advance what was going to be introduced. The overview of the material at the beginning gave you a sense of structure and choice because that overview in combination with the 'test out' function gave you full control of how preferred to study the material.
The reward system wasn't the primary reason why I used Duolingo. It's the efficiency, flexibility and ease that came with it that attracted me. As I read somewhere else, they shouldn't have fixed something that wasn't broken in the first place. The intention behind the Crowns is admirable but it doesn't add anything. It rather downgrades the quality of an amazing website!
they shouldn't have fixed something that wasn't broken in the first place
It seems like people have all of a sudden forgotten one of the most common and biting critiques of Duolingo pre-crowns: insufficient translation into the target language. From what I'm seeing, crown levels have tackled that head-on.
At crown level 3 I'm getting exercises where 7 out of the 8 sentences involve writing in the target language, divided between translation and transcription. At crown level 4 the bulk is translation, the most challenging type of exercise. Nothing like that ever happened before. Not all of the skills have that high a ratio, but all have more than was there before.
Sure, but that's a ridiculous kludge if you stop to consider it (also plenty of trees have no reverse available), and not the sort of thing many people would think of without being the sort of person who haunts the forums (which very few users do).
I don't understand the time consuming argument. The idea isn't to get to crown level 5 in one go.
Yeah. So i tried the crowns on basics and a top lvl skill and both of them were annoying. One was too easy and the other was not hard but just tedious. But I’ve been semifluent in french for at least 11 years. I just started Norwegian and with that I am noticing a little variation already in crowns system. So if you do basics in a language you’re advanced in it may be a waste but try it on a new language. It’s not so bad. I haven’t reached higher in crowns so I can only speak to first 2 crown lvls rn
the crowns system is such an amazing idea! and it would totally work if there were any higher content for you to learn.
stuff covered in the higher levels of lessons (if anything new /is/ covered) gets covered in the rest of the tree anyway. the point of a lesson is to lead into the next one, and gradually increase your vocabulary.
increasing the amount of times you have to repeat it to level up at each stage bothers me too. i was really excited to level up all my skills to crown five and check out all the new content in the trees i've finished but there really doesn't seem to be any...
it's just too much unnecessary effort to get to level 5. and it makes me feel as if i'm missing out on something or that my language learning will be worse off than if i got to level five. it's a bit demotivating :( i doubt i'll see my whole tree gold again for a while.
stuff covered in the higher levels of lessons (if anything new /is/ covered) gets covered in the rest of the tree anyway.
The extent to which this is true varies markedly by tree. Go looking for past subjunctive outside the past subjunctive skill and one may well find oneself searching in vain. The extent to which I can practice some important but difficult aspects of Catalan seems greatly expanded (presumably the sentences had been missed too often before so were "retired" from use until now).
Sure, it is good to see material in use further down the tree, but if one only has recognition ability of it, one keeps being able to recognize more and more still unable to produce much. The crowns target this problem specifically. I'm getting a lot more translation into the target language than I did before.
In my opinion It all comes down to this: with this new system the efficiency in your studies with Duolingo are now decreased drastically.
In the old system you could learn the skills and after a while Duolingo would decrease the meter to show you it's probably time to review them in order to get them golden again, I don't know if the algorithm that defines for how long you don't need to review the lessons is based on the forgetting curve but it used to work. This way you could review only what you need to and keep going with new skills, the crown system doesn't allow you to have and idea about what you need to review.
The problem they're trying to solve I think is when you complete a three there isn't much more to do on Duolingo, and the less you use the app the less income they earn from adds (if you aren't PLUS). I think that's why they came up with this crown system.
I think we all want a system where you only review a skill if you're about to forget it, in other words, if you need it, this would maximize the efficiency of the learning process and avoid useless repetitions only.
In my point of view I just want something to remember me to review so that I can go back and review only what I need to, and learn new skills, the other system was working for me.
"Don't fix what isn't broken"
And now it is broken. GG Duolingo. We can't even choose to select or train a certain part of one topic like we did before. And yes the repetition is absolutely ridiculous. The system of Duolingo was based on the Forgetting Curve, now it's based on nonsense. Learning a language is time consuming enough as it is, having to repeat one word a thousand times is just retarded.
To me it always looked like the system was optimized to not scare off new joiners with the kind of decay rates that legit SRS systems like Memrise employ. Sure, that can lead to a kind of optimum for Duolingo's bottom line / overall learning for the wide mass of Duolingo users, but that's different than an optimum for any one individual's learning.
Hi everyone! I totally agree with OP.
Two years ago I mostly used my cell phone, and it had different kinds of exercises. Match the pairs, listening, translating (own language to target language and viceversa), speaking, fill in the blanks, choose the right sentence... (can't recall any other, but there probably was another one). The PC version, on the other hand, was slightly less fun than the cell phone version, but decent, with different types of exercises. I think the speaking was not working, but it was there.
Two months ago I started doing my exercises again on PC (after a 6 month break) and noticed that the exercises were mostly two types: translating and listening. Besides that, there were two fill in the blanks, and one choose the right translated sentence, per exercise.
Now, with the new system in place, we have more rounds to complete, and that has its pros and cons. However, as stated by the OP and many others, when you use a system that increases the number of exercises, BUT you only have three types of exercises in place... This will just lead to boredom.
I liked the super fast pace we had before, combined with the different types of exercises. I liked the short lessons on the PC version, that took me less than 5 minutes, or even less than 2 minutes. These lessons were so short and fast, that there was no room for tediousness.
So, what I think this system needs is a greater variety of exercises. That way, the lessons would seem shorter. Meanwhile, I just try not to pay attention to the crown system, and try to do the same amount of exercises I've been doing before it was set.
I do want to mention another thing. I really miss the old lesson interface, where you could see the mini lessons inside it, like a board, each with its own set of new words below it. So, if I wanted to improve certain words, I would just need to click the lesson, and then the desired mini lesson.
This new system interface doesn't have a lesson interface. You just click on it, and get ready for an insane amount of the same type of exercises. We still have the tips and notes page. However, I think we still need the list of the words that will be presented on each round of the exercises. In my case, I am learning German too. So, I choose the lesson Adjectives: Nominatives 2. And that's it. I don't know what new words will be presented. I just get lots of new words shot at me, without any previous notice.
PS: today I wanted to earn a crown... I did a first round of a lesson, the second round... and was almost dying when doing the third one. SO, I gave up. Now I'm three rounds away of that crown..... yay!... (I guess...)
So now they've changed the color system, but that still doesn't allow for targeted direction to weak lessons. And now they all look the same. I want to log in and see 2-5 lessons that I should be working on most. I don't want to decide. I'll never choose to do subjunctive.
I fear that part of the reason subjunctive remains a big bugaboo is precisely because the word strength system never gave you the encouragement to spend the time on it to really move your competence with it forward. Pour yourself a glass of wine or beer and decide to spend a concentrated hour or two on it. You'll make a whole lot more progress with one solid hour than you will with 6 ten-minute sessions spread over weeks or months.
It's a handful of generally mechanical rules and a bunch of words to learn. English speakers won't get a real feel for a Romance language subjunctive mood if they only ever see it being used; that's nearly for sure. But if they have to use it (where by "use" I mean just click the hover hint whenever you need), then it'll begin to come into focus. It'll begin to just sound right. In short, they'll be on the path to learning it the same way native speakers did.
People who don't like the crown levels seem to complain a lot about how mind-numbingly easy the repetition entailed in the crown system is. Make it so! Practice subjunctive until it's mind-numbingly easy. That'll be a great thing to have accomplished!
There are good and bad things about the crown system. Like others, I liked the option to repeat a lesson I'd just done if I'd had a little trouble with it, and the crown system took that away.
However, the crown system has certain screens containing a cute little turtle which slows down the recitation of the Japanese which is something that I had sometimes really wanted! Also on some screens, more translation is provided so you don't have to rely on those tap hints. I just tried Crown out on reviewing the very first level, but I'm looking forward to trying out more advanced ones...
Today I’m switching my training goal to one lesson and will just do the basic lesson 30 times (and I suspect I still won’t be done with it even though I finished my tree over year ago.). If this isn’t fixed by then, I’m heading to Clozemaster. This is the most disastrous roll out of an update I think I’ve ever seen. And the silence from Duolingo is maddening. Listen to your users!! You have nothing without them.
Absolutely. It was a lot easier when I could go back to a particular lesson that I was struggling with and do that, instead of, well, whatever this is. I really wish that I could go back to the old system, but I haven't figured out how or if I can. I am hoping they fix this soon!
While repetition in general is great for memory it is exhausting and a bit demoralizing seeing that x/20 lessons before you can finally complete the fifth and final tier of a skill.
I'd much rather have more complicated sentences that incorporate previous lessons as you progress through the tree and a limit of 5-8 quiz things before each skill tier is leveled up.
I personally enjoy the grinding, with some music in the background. I find that the repetition is necessary for me to really learn.
Sometimes well-known questions are repeated unnecessarily, but one way to fix that is to try and answer as fast as possible. That way mistakes are often still made and it remains challenging.
I can imagine it would be a lot less enjoyable without a keyboard or the skill to use it fast though.
Also, I've only done a quarter of the french tree, so I don't know if my opinion will change.
I definitely have to supplement Duolingo with another course. I've gone days repeating the same few words and phrases without adding any new building blocks...but I've said "Parabens, menina," enough to congratulate every girl in the Portuguese-speaking world. Maddeningly repetitive.