https://www.duolingo.com/Anita98586

What is the REAL motive behind the new crown system?

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Like many recent posters, I do not like the new crown system and want duolingo to allow us to revert to the prior version. Being forced to repeat over and over the same mind-numbingly boring easiest lessons is a waste of time, is demotivating and does NOT promote learning.

I wonder if the real motive is to force users to view more ads more often. Since there are only 6 (extremely easy) questions in each of the little sections, you are constantly returning to the main page where ads are placed. In the old version, you might be immersed for half an hour struggling with TWENTY difficult questions before returning to the main ad-rich page.

Like the annoying websites with "slideshows" that force you to read content one tiny slide at a time, I'm wondering if revenue is the motive, rather than learning.

It's too bad, since in the past, Duolingo HAS been a great learning tool, exactly because of the way it used gamification to make the process addicting and engaging. This new version is the antithesis of engaging and addicting. It is like being a pro tennis player stuck playing against a 5 year old.

10 months ago

30 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/LeeBrownst1
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Many of the motives for skill/crown levels were laid out in the official announcements. Here are some reasonable motives other than exposing us to ads.

(1) After you gilded the tree, all you could do is review. There were no new challenges, even though new material did trickle in. Now users have to earn about 50,000 XP before they reach the top tier.

(2) Crown level has replaced fluency percent as a measure of mastery. Very few users understood how to make the fluency score work for them, so Duolingo replaced it. In addition, the fluency score could fall, which was discouraging as well as confusing. Crown level never falls.

(3) "Strengthen Skill[s]" exercises after a certain point started including very difficult (long, complex, idiomatic) sentences toward the end of a lesson. This was very unpleasant for some users, including me. Now you have to get to a high crown level to get the more difficult items, and getting to that level is optional.

(5) People complained a lot about how their skills were decaying so fast that they couldn't make any progress. Well, that's not a problem any more.

(6) Learning is more self directed now, allowing users to practice as they prefer. Of course, this freedom means that users have to find a method of practice that works for them, which might not be easy to do.

(7) Consider the problems of adding more advanced material (for example, a second semester's worth of vocabulary and grammar). If you got upset with having to re-gild one semester's worth of decaying skills, imagine how much worse two semester's worth of decaying skills would be. The previous organization didn't scale up.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/daffodil2015
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If I may

(1) All you can do now is review as well, because the lessons are the same for CL3 and CL4. Before the crown system, however, you had the option of choosing the individual lessons you wanted to review, be it with difficult words or with difficult grammar Not anymore. To me, the new system is much less flexible than the old one.

(2) The fluency percent was completely unreliable (and I say good riddance), but if you're suggesting that once you reach CL5 in all skills you're 100% fluent in your target language, I think you might be severely disappointed once you get into the real world.

(3) Getting to the higher level is not "optional" for more advanced users, all of whom have been placed at a maximum of CL3 for all skills, as explained in the FAQs. Some of us wanted the more challenging content - the only way you can get to it now is by doing endless repetitions so you can get to that supposedly more difficult (and, in my experience so far, non-existent) content. If there was a test-out option to get to the hard stuff more quickly, advanced learners would not have been so dead-set against the new system.

(4)(5 - you don't have a 4) Skills decayed with time, just like in real life knowledge decays if you don't use it for a while. With the skills no longer decaying, the new system creates the illusion the once you've mastered CL5 in all your skills, you never ever have to practice again and you'll remember what you learned until the end of days. This is most definitely not true, take it from someone who's learned four foreign languages. Once you stop practicing or using the language, the knowledge dissipates and you find yourself struggling for words in a language you mastered years ago.

(6) As far as I'm concerned I don't see how I can actually choose what to practice. I'm CL3 in over 95% of my skills. All I can do is do the lessons for CL4 in the order chosen by Duo, not by myself.

(7) There is no adding of more advanced material - the tree is essentially the same, with the same lessons, just repeated for various CL levels.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sirIesdor

Technically, there is a test-out option, but only for sections of the tree, not for individual skills.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/daffodil2015
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PS - I have 151804 XP in total for the Spanish tree, more than half of which were gained through Immersion, so not through repeating Basics 1000+ times. According to their own stats, I should be a CL5 times three :)))

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anita98586
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thanks much for the very helpful explanation as to the rationale...

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mk939
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  1. No ads on the computer.

  2. Respectfully, you may choose to do the lessons over and over again, but no one is forcing you. You only need to get to level 1 to unlock the next skill.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anita98586
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Hi mk939. Thanks for the comment. I am not "unlocking" any new skills since I've finished the Spanish tree and the reverse tree. Once I finished the trees, I am still very weak in Spanish (this program only takes you to a low level of course) and need much more practice. "keeping the tree golden" has been an engaging way to encourage me to return daily to the program to continue to strengthen what I've learned through repetition and re-testing.

I agree that duolingo does not use force at all. Instead, they have successfully used gamification to make users WANT to use the program every day. Wow. How many learning websites can boast that kind of success. They've made it addictive for many of us users to "play the game", where the result of playing is LEARNING... .

Many kudos to duolingo for making this a great program... and I hope they find a way back.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mk939
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Duolingo has its limitations in general - it was not designed/intended for "pro players". They're trying though. That's why they made this update in the first place. They wanted to provide us with more opportunity to practice and eventually the ability to work on more difficult sentences. I would disagree that the material has gotten dumbed down - some people are just going back to the basics and expecting them not to be basic.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anita98586
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Thanks mk939. Not sure what a "pro-player" is, but having simply finished the Spanish tree and reverse tree, I am far from "pro"-anything. I NEED lots of practice and repetition. And duolingo was successfully supplying that ... Kudos to them ... Up until a few days ago, duolingo did a fantastic job of supporting learners who had "finished the tree". Maybe it WASN'T "designed or intended" for this purpose, but it is excellent learning tool.

You're right too, that the material has not gotten dumbed down. I glanced at the more advanced lessons and they are still as difficult as ever. Maybe I just need to ignore my (now highly developed) quest to "keep my tree golden" and look to other motivational tricks.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/waitingforgoddot

I think that's what it boils down to. Letting go of gilded trees. I find that there is a lot more opportunity to reinforce what you're learning through repetition with this new update. If you're going back through an already completed tree, the repetition gets super annoying in the basic levels. But if you're learning a new language the repetition at the basic level is extremely helpful, especially if you're not using a grammar supplement, in my opinion.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heike333145
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Nobody forces you to do the easiest sessions over and over again. I started with the most recent ones, the most difficult. And I don't do many sessions of the same skill at once; I vary the training as I find comfortable.

I have no inclination to assume any other intentions than the ones stated in the FAQ and other statements Duolingo has made.

Also: There are no ads in the web version. There are no ads for Plus members.

For me, the crowns system as a whole makes a whole lot of sense because I can reach a complete tree with just crown level 1 in each skill, or I can develop certain skills further -- it's all up to me, and I can always see what I'm doing. For me, this is perfect.

(cross-posted with mk939)

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/daffodil2015
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Errr, guys, I do have ads in the web version - they appeared maybe two weeks ago?

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anita98586
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'Thanks for your comment, Heike and You're right, duolingo isn't forcing me to do anything. In fact they are not forcing me to show up at all on a given day. It is something in their effective use of gamification that has made me WANT to show up and do a few lessons. Kudos to them for that. Plus their way of indicating where I need to exert effort (non-golden modules) is very helpful in directing my daily efforts.

Perhaps most people, or maybe new learners are not motivated by trying to keep a golden tree golden. Maybe maintenance of the golden tree has been my downfall. It is a big part of my motivation to open duolingo and to put time into the program every single day. That was one aspect of their venture into gamification that resonated with me. Perhaps that isn't true for everyone.

I'll continue to try to figure out other ways to stay motivated in this new system.

Just one user's view.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heike333145
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Yes, we all are different. I keep coming back every day because I love learning languages.

And the great "plus" of Duolingo for me is that it simply keeps track of where I have been in each of my languages (unlike my language books -- I have to open them, and search for the page ....).

I learned about this motivation (and sometimes stress) of "keeping golden" only in forum discussions. Although I also saw the note by Duolingo "keep your skills golden!" when I completed a skill, I mostly ignored that and simply learned at my own pace.

And the new system supports me in that: I can see the level I have reached in each of my skills, and I can select the skills that I want to develop further. This is ultra-cool and gives me a whole new feeling of freedom and determination.

Just to explain my own approach. I hope you find a new connection to language-learning on Duolingo. :-)

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anita98586
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Thanks Heilke for explaining your system. Your approach could work for me too. My motivation, like yours is also "a love of language" to be sure. I'm curious with the crowns how you determine which modules most need your attention during a given session?. In the old system, the "non-gold" modules were good indicators of where effort was most needed... Now, all the modules say "2 crowns" so I'm not being reminded of where skills are fading .

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Heike333145
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In most of my languages, I have 1 to 3 crowns. So I can set a goal of making all my skills 2 crowns at least, for starters.

Another aspect: I want to focus in particular on grammar because grammar gives me the structures. Words can be looked up in dictionaries, but the structures are the items that should be trained, repeated, well understood.

So I think over time, some of my skills will actually be golden, and others will be colorful. I'm not a great fan of monochromes. ;-)

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizadeux
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I've had ads in the web version for a long time. Of course, you can hide the ads if you so choose.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pQp7zNt2

I am currently looking at a web ad right now. But it does have a remove ads button option.

Since I realize that nothing is free, I leave the ads remove button unchecked. Perhaps Duolingo can add a daily donation bar like Reddit to obtain additional fundings. I think at this point there are plenty of Duolers who would brainstorm funding options.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/daffodil2015
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I would pay, but only if they reintroduced the lost functionality and flexibility. They can leave the crowns, if they're so fond of it, but bring back the features that they cut, like practice and timed practice of individual lessons, not skills in general. (Bringing back Immersion would actually make me pay as much as they wanted in a heartbeat, but I know that's not going to happen :p).

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sirIesdor

I probably only don’t know because I started in January, but what’s Immersion?

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BusJo
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That "remove ads" button on the computer takes you to a screen that tries to sell the PLUS version to you; so for the free version computers do have ads.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flanzo
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I wouldn't doubt that the new system is a way to get more ad views, since it appears that the effort required to get gold on a skill has been increased by far too much. The 'reward' in the gamification has been moved so far ahead that I personally have no interest in using Duolingo anymore.

When I finished my Italian and Spanish trees I was very proud of myself and keeping everything gold was rewarding, now I'm being told that I need to spend what I assume is close to the same amount of time it took me to finish the tree in the first place to get it gold again?!? No thanks. There are far more effective learning strategies. Duolingo just isn't worth the time investment anymore.

I had a feeling that when they added advertisements that it was going downhill. This only reinforces that feeling.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/spiceyokooko
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Being forced to repeat over and over the same mind-numbingly boring easiest lessons is a waste of time, is demotivating and does NOT promote learning.

How do you know and how can you say this when the only skill you've taken to crown level 5 is the first and easiest skill in the tree—Basics 1. Yes, surprise, surprise, Basics 1 is going to consist of easy words and sentences, because, drum roll.. it's the first lesson in the tree!!!

All the rest of your skills are a mixture of 2 and 3 Crown level. You haven't even bothered to level up any others beyond Crown levels 2 and 3.

No wonder you think all the lessons are 'mind-numbingly boring and easy'!

Try doing some of the more difficult lessons at level 5 and see how 'mind-numbingly boring and easy' they are for you.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anita98586
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Thanks for the comment. You're right that the difficulty increases farther up the tree. And actually, now that I've been in the crown system for awhile, I actually DO appreciate many aspects of it. You're right too that it was ONLY in the Basic that I decided to go for Level 5... and it was indeed THAT level that was boring... Prior to crowns I was total gold on both the Spanish and English (reverse) trees, so having all that gold demoted to level 2 and 3 (and much level 1 even) was disheartening... but now, I've quit worrying about it... and actually appreciate being forced to practice MUCH MUCH more. During the totally gold phase (pre-crown) I think I was falsely believing I had more skill than i really had ... and the new crown system forces you to confront your weaknesses.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BobbySweetkitty

Crowns is horrendous. You can use duome.eu/yourusername/progress to mimic the old system.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maria_321-

Does anyone know of a "Discussion" forum for language learners outside of Duolingo? I LOVE the Duolingo discussion groups. But, Duolingo removed them over a year ago. For some reason, they popped back up tonight, but I expect they'll be gone again tomorrow. I have really missed reading other people's ideas for learning their target languages. I appreciate the insights others share. I learn so much from these posts. If this is just a glitch, and Duolingo removes the Discussion groups tomorrow, where do others go for this type of focussed discussion? Duolingo discussion keeps me motivated, encourages and challenges me, allows me to note my progress or lack thereof, and connects me with others around the world. What other such resources do any of you know about?

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maria_321-

How do you know what level you are at in Duolingo, CL3 or CL5, etc?

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maria_321-

Thomas, I love the link for your Workaround idea, but how do I get there? When I click on the Practice button from my home page, it just takes me into a new lesson. How do I get it to go to my progress page?

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maria_321-

Thomas.Heiss Thank you so much for all your tips! I really appreciate it.

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Maria_321-

Thomas.Heiss I was really impressed with the Anki Spaced Repetition System when I first learned about it. Gabriel Wyner’s book “Fluent Forever” introduced me to the SRS concept and I have set up my flashcards in that format. However, I found creating my own Anki cards enormously frustrating and time consuming. It sounds like you have used Anki, is that correct? How do you create your own Anki decks quickly, or do you use Anki decks already created by someone else? If you do use others, which ones are the best? The quality of already created decks in both Memrise and Anki seems to vary widely when I’ve looked at them.

8 months ago
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