https://www.duolingo.com/Madhav_Malhotra

Crowns; Test out of lessons

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Dear Duolingo,

I am sure that you may have seen many discussions like this, from more experienced users, in various different languages, voicing their frustrations of having to repeat the same basic exercises again and again.

I would simply like to elaborate on the reason behind these frustrations and propose a possible solution. To begin, when the Duolingo Team announced the crowns update, they explained to the community that we would be able to access more advanced content if we chose to do so. There would be more material for us to learn once we were done with the regular tree. I personally was very excited to update to this new system!

Then when the update rolled out to the advanced users, we were left with most skills at level 3. These skills had to be repeated many many times over to level up and they only had the most basic content and sentences. This is what frustrates the more experienced users on this platform. We were told that we would be able to learn new, more advanced material, yet we are now stuck repeating even easier content again and again. There is currently no way to access the harder content without this frustrating repetition. This is what disappoints so many users, as they are now learning even less than they were before.

Don't get me wrong. I realise the time and effort that went into creating this update was immense, and I don't mean to disrespect that in any way. I realise that this update probably has great results for engaging newer users. However, the update, as it is right now, is not working for more experienced users. My suggestion to resolve this would be to allow users to test out of the repetitive lessons for each skill level, as they can with learning the language tree. This way, advanced users would be able to skip over the repetitive lessons at basic levels and actually start learning newer, more advanced content as was described by the Duolingo Team.

I recognise that repetition has a big role to play in retaining the lessons learned and that this might be one of the motivations behind the current system; however, many users [including myself] have already been working through the available skills for a long time to keep them golden [in the previous system], and have already repeated the content enough times to retain the lessons. Also, more advanced content wouldn't make users forget the basics they learned beforehand.

I know that addressing such an issue will not be easy, however, I would like to wish you the best of luck in doing so.

Sincerely,

Madhav Malhotra

April 14, 2018

47 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Mod
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Staff are aware of this and are trying to find a solution.

I know that doesn't help, really, but at least you know you're being heard.

April 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mereade
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Thanks, it's a good first step to be heard. And actually one of the things I find a bit missing in the Duo staff's official communication. You know, like a page with a list of issues they know of and are working on and issues they know of but choose not to change for a reason.

I think it would make many discussions about any changes a lot calmer and users more patient :-D

I am not sure whether moderators can do something like this, I know nothing about the way staff communicates with you. But if you could for example make a stickied post with a list of common complaints and requests and their status (refused, planned, worked on, completed), I think people would find their way to it and focus more on learning than on the discussion forums.

April 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
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Thank you for responding Lrtward. If they are aware of it and trying to find a solution, then I can be patient and wait for it to be fixed. In the mean time, I'll work on the harder lessons at the end. I've completed tree to level 23, then reset it to start over, but after all Duo has given me, I think I can forgive a hiccup and see what happens.

April 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Madhav_Malhotra
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It actually does. I know that there are a lot of difficulties involved with fixing such issues, and it is great to know that the people in charge of such things actually do listen. Thank you!

April 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RobCrownsSuck

Staff should have properly field tested such a drastic update, taking into account more than whatever Luis's pet group is .. I pay money for this service and they have not even responded to my legitimate complaints, explaining why this service is no longer fit for my purpose.

Anyone who thought about it, would realise people who had finished skill trees, being "guided" to repeat material they were quite happily mainting the strength on, would be incensed by SHAM extra lessons and the big waste of time they have introduced

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
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I'm curious, what do you mean by "Luis's pet group"?

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Madhav_Malhotra
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I feel that while they should listen to your complaints, as with any paid service, they probably could not do much to help. I don't know if there are refunds you can get, but I suppose the best thing to do might just be to stop paying for the service.

April 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/opusduo
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Thanks for putting back the option of testing out of levels in the tree. A much better use of my time and a welcome measure of progress.

June 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/CpB870277
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Dear Madhav, I am not sure Duolingo deserves your amazing politeness. I share your point of view entirely. That's why I'm leaving. And, believe me, I am really sorry to leave, but I cannot find another solution.

April 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RobCrownsSuck

Have you looked at alternatives? I used Memrise, Clozemaster, HelloTalk already .. all good. Busuu has some good features, but I was going to evaluate LingQ. DL is ruined for my purposes

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
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I second Memrise. I find their official courses are great for helping with conversation.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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Ignore the skills you know well. Continue on.

If you want more direction www.duolingo.eu/[your user name]/progress. Duolingo will probably have some facility along similar lines (as regards the weakest skill at least) in the reasonably near future.

April 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
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Pigguy3, thank you for this! I was about ten skills away from regilding my tree. I might just do that before I take a break to improve my speaking.

I'm not really sure why people are getting so upset over a free program.

April 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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Golden tree: highly salient. Benefits of the system: less immediately so, all the more so if one's first instinct is to attempt to recover gold coloration starting from the very top of the tree, causing one to add deep boredom to one's prior sense of loss.

I immediately noticed the amount of translation into the target language had skyrocketed, and so was happy. But not everybody seems to have either seen that or processed it. It also seems to depend on tree; there's much less difference for me in Japanese, for example.

April 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RobCrownsSuck

I really don't care what colour it is, it's the indication of what to review and ability to repeat the whole course material I miss. The dumbed down lessons are driving me crazy, they repeat at times the same question twice in a row!

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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But you couldn't repeat the whole course material. You could repeat the fraction that appeared in the lessons, which was often not a large fraction.

Repeat questions were far from absent before; I've actually seen this issue reduced since crowns came out. Like I think maybe it's happened once in hundreds of lessons, and I saw it all the time before.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RobCrownsSuck

They should have HAD THAT ready, BEFORE they rolled out the Crowns feature to users, who had completed more than 20% of a tree!!

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Felipeistyping

I've unlocked all the tree. I don't think it is useful to keep writing "a boy, a man" during 15 lessons to reach the next level skill. Maybe you could use the Crown Level of the user, not just of a given skill, to decide how often should basic lessons appear.

April 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
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I'm hoping they implement something like you've described. I'm going to take a break from Duolingo for a month to work on my speaking. Maybe it will be better then.

April 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RobCrownsSuck

But it teaches ppl not to be daft enough to trust DuoLingo and subscribe like I did!

Actually they should NOT use Crowns at all as performance predictor. The lessons need to be dynamic and increase the learning curve steepness for able students and lower it for the less gifted. I had an used my freedom to choose to repeat skills, the Crowns just put up a huge impediment to my practice, by mindless repetition in each and every lesson

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
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I hope they fix the difficulty curve.

For now, I'm just reviewing the from the bottom half of the tree.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TimSpainFromEng

Strategy = Radically Spaced Repetition

My only work around to all the repetition is NOT trying to get crowns. My goal now is working on as many skills as possible at the same time...running down the whole tree just doing one or lessons per skill.

Eventually, all the Crowns will get done but this strategy radically spreads out the dozens of repetitions within one skill from Crown 0 to Crown 5. I also work both trees to create even more randomness.

April 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TimSpainFromEng

I thought I had found a back door to testing out out of skills...

word list www.duolingo.com/words

Select a word, say BOY

On left hand panel the Boy in shown in Skill#Basics 1

Click on Basics 1 hyperlink to load Basics-1

www.duolingo.com/skill/es/Basics-1

SURPRISE ... the TEST OUT button is at the top of the page!!!

Launching TEST OUT works...

https://www.duolingo.com/skill/es/Basics-1/test

Going thru all the skills test works! But...and this is a big but...even if every question is answered correctly, after the Final question, the Test says that [YOU TESTED OUT OF NO SKILLS]

Ah well!

April 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/gatoblanco26

it looks like Duo found a solution. There is now a little test out icon on the right side of each of the skills so you can jump to a higher level. Great improvement!!! Thank you!

June 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Priit_

In the mean time you can use this https://www.duolingo.eu/carclub1311/statistics

April 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RobCrownsSuck

You mean test out of whole levels, or a button to go direct to Level 5, without all of the time wasting theatre, they introduced.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Madhav_Malhotra
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Well, Duolingo says that you would be able to access harder content than before, once you get to higher levels. I was hoping that they introduce a feature to test out of one level and go straight to the next without so much repetition. I don't believe they have introduced such a feature yet, at least I don't have it on my account.

April 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/KarenPotte6

You have articulated the problem extremely well! I hope Duolingo addresses this soon.

June 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/EllenLove3

I am so happy I can now test to get to the next crown level. At this point it’s only available to me online for Portuguese, so I’ve deleted the app and I’m using the browser version only. I’m so relieved to finally get more English to Portuguese translations!

September 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TikoPiko

I wrote a long and detailed reply that got deleted due to a misclick. So I will just say this: I agree with the OP. Duolingo, your improvements have a trend of disappointing, limiting, changing for the worse, etc.

Did anybody ask for crowns? Does this new layer of “progress”, on top of levels and Lingots, add anything meaningful that Fluency didn’t.

The excercises aren’t more challenging. What has been achieved is only that, effectively, the repetition has been enforced, and in quantity. I’ve already done this many times over. I’ve kept my skills golden for over a year. So nothing has been brought to the table, maybe only frustration for the completionist, and the sense of disillusionment after being shown your progress reset, in a way. I liked maintaining Fluency at 70%. Have statistics shown that Crowns are better at doing that for the majority? I doubt it. And I think the statistics that keep coming back to bite the regular users in the behind, are marred by whatever the temporary users show. As in, it’s about user attraction and retention, and not about improving the app.

That’s my take on this, and the past changes that were always controversial. You’re makng yourselves vulnerable to competition, Duolingo.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
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"Did anybody ask for crowns?"

People have asked for more lessons after finishing, so I would say, yes, Duo is responding to our requests, even if we don't like how it was implemented.

I'm surprised you liked fluency, when the number never meant anything and never corresponded to anything I did. For me, the number changed with the phrases of the moon. It always stayed between 45% and 59%.

Duo looks at statistics, not these posts. If you don't like the change, do other activities to learn Spanish in the mean time. Duo will see a dip in user activity and adjust.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TikoPiko

People did ask for more, but not more of the same. Which is what these crown-backed excercises offer. As it stands it is exactly as if you were to repeat s skill 30 times and gotten a "Crown" or two out of it. The Fluency metric did not represent actual fluency, but the fact that I kept it at 69-70% for months says that it did note the time and effort I spent doing lessons; and in that it also meant that I must have a certain, higher, degree of fluency due to how many excercises I did, the mistakes and etc. It did measure my effort and Fluency, albeit very robustly.

Duo do look at statistic, but I wonder which, and how, given just how they end up altering their app with no palpable improvement and, more often than not, removing useful features in the process. See this thread.

And before the obligatory "but it's free, so don't use it" comes up; I write this criticism because I love the app. But over the past two years it's been a rollecoaster of half-baked non-features. Achievements? How about I can view the Discussions on my Android phone like I used to be able to

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
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I'm genuinely surprised the fluency meeter worked for you. It often went down on the days I did 50+XP. Other days it went up after one practice.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Madhav_Malhotra
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I had it stay at 70% for a while and then it suddenly went down to 69% with no change in my practice, however, for the most part, it was mostly consistent for me personally. I do understand how it doesn't serve as an actual representation of fluency, however.

April 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TikoPiko

I can't reply to your last message (?), so I will reply to this one. It did mean something. It meant that I had done many exercises, regularly. It measured how many mistakes I made, how fast I finish them, etc. I am not sure exactly how it did the measurements, but the number meant that I stuck to learning and it follows that I had learnt more.

The % dropped if I skipped learning for a day or so. You simply cannot say that the number was meaningless, no matter how many times you repeat it.

edit: and I've been doing exercises on the Insane (50xp per day) preset for a very long time. It more than clearly relates to the level of Fluency stat I had achieved.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
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Actually, many people experienced changes in the number for no reason, so I can say it's meaningless. The number was measured differently for different languages. It was totally inconsistent. It really meant nothing.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RobCrownsSuck

That's bull! You should say, the did not admit to the reason or it was unknown to them!

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TikoPiko

I feel like I've presented my case objectively and you simply Will not accept it, thus exhausting our topic of discussion.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TikoPiko

Well... what can I say? I made a point of it to achieve as higher % as I could and maintaining it. I was proud of the 70%, because I had read that it's not easy to achieve.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
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But the number meant nothing if it measured differently for different people. I did 50xp a day for a month and it didn't even move.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RobCrownsSuck

Not true! A number does not need to be comparable between different people, it just needs to go up & down according to your form. You should not care about anyone elses scores, you are trying to learn and improve! Language is not a competition against others

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RobCrownsSuck

If you were only doing 50-90xp on a language in a day, then neglecting weakened skills, or a bad run of answers on something could easily cause fluctuations. I found the meter worked very well for me, it also was a good motivator after finishing the tree when it decayed by a few %, to see how I could get it on Spanish course (65%). In German I had reached 67% on 80% of course so doing new skills well, or re-doing anything I had had a bad day on kept it consistent with a slow, very steady upward trend.

As you'll know, der, die das give plenty of opportunity to make mistakes on nouns

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Danielconcasco
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I'm done with my tree and I have been for years. My 50 XP a day were to keep everything gold. Some days I did more. I rarely make mistakes and include accent marks and punctuation.

I see I've been downvoted a bit, though I'm not sure why. The fluency meter was designed to be comparable from person to person, that's why they allowed you to put it on your LinkedIn page. Since the number move wildly for some, it wasn't useful. A feature needs to work for all users, not just some. I'm happy it worked for you guys, but it was a waste for many.

Duo is improving and we should give them a chance to tweak the new features.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/daal39
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www.duolingo.com/comment/26940570 is the page I'm viewing this on my phone. I do agree with you about the rollercoaster of half-baked features though.

April 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ethan20073

hi

April 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/BradR11
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Your hard work has taken you about as far as Duo will take you. You must know thousands of words. You should be able to understand 80% of the spoken language or more. Duo is not a program to take you to native fluency. Work on your Level 2 languages.

April 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
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The way Duolingo was previously set up, it was hard to gain an active knowledge of the vocabulary since there was little translation into the target language. The crown levels are a way around that issue (at long last), so are well worth doing even for people far along in their trees — at least for skills above some threshold level of difficulty, of course.

April 14, 2018
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