https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kmlawson

Crown System: New Content? More Advanced Sentences? Many users aren’t seeing it

In various articles advertising the new crown system and in some official posts the words “new content” have been used along with an implied increase in difficulty for higher levels.

Many users here report finding no new content, no new words, no increased difficulty of sentences and the same repetitive phrases over and over again at higher crown levels up to 5 for core languages.

My own early tests up to crown level 5 on mobile shows the same. The only change I note so far is that the easiest type (not content difficulty) of exercises (on mobile) which allow words to be chosen from a list drop away at higher levels.

It thus appears that, as if there has been a huge debasing of a currency, this system, so far, appears to primarily have the result creating the illusion of more to do, when there is in fact, nothing but more of the same which we always got from the old review process. It may have the result of keeping people reviewing more of the same but...they are then just reviewing more of the exact same...

If this is not the case, Duolingo should be much more transparent to retain the confidence of users who have long hoped for real pedagogical and content improvements, rather than the metric driven tweaking that this looks to be.

Is there new content? More difficult sentences? If so, in which languages and why are many of us not seeing it?

April 15, 2018

45 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

Hi kmlawson,

Could you relocate this discussion in the “Troubleshooting" forum? Which is the place meant for such discussion ("How Duo works?", "What is/How works this or that feature/thing?", etc.). Thx!

To relocate it (*), edit your original post then select said forum in the drop-down menu on top-left of the edition area (see here for details).

(*) /!\ please, don’t create a new one /!\

Have a look to this short guide to help you knowing where to post your (future) discussions on Duolingo’s forums.


Crown System: New Content? More Advanced Sentences?

In short

The crown system isn't an addition of more content but one of its consequences is that some already existing contents will not be hidden anymore.
So it potentially implies more exercises available(°), but one may not notice it as one will probably not remember which sentences have ever been presented to them or not.

(°) "potentially" because if all existing sentences in a skill were easy enough to rarely be failed by learners, then no sentence was discarded by the old system for that skill, hence the new crown system doesn't change anything on that for that skill.

More details

The crown system isn't the addition of new content.
All the content and exercises that you'll see under the crown system where already there, created by volunteers, in the database before and independently of the crown system.
So is the crown system an addition of more/new content? NO.

Now, what happens is that with the old system, any sentence (created by volunteers) that were in the database but regularly failed by the users (in average on ALL of them) was automatically discarded by the (previous) system hence was never appearing in the course. There where a unique threshold of average failure above which the sentence was discarded and never shown as exercise.
The crown system, by having different "levels" on each skill, allow Duo to less discard exercises. Indeed, there is now 6 threshold of failure rates : one per crown-levels (0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5).
Consequently, sentences that were now discarded for everyone, may now be:

  • not show to users who are, on that skill, crown-level 0 on the skill but potentially shown to all other users.
  • not show to users who are, on that skill, crown-level 0 or 1 on the skill but potentially shown to all other users.
  • not show to users who are, on that skill, crown-level 0 to 2 on the skill but potentially shown to all other users.
  • ...
  • not show to users who are, on that skill, crown-level 0 to 5. If the sentence is still far too much failed.

Note that in any case, crown-system is not an addition of more content in the sense of "more vocabulary, more skills, etc.".


Is there new content?

Potentially shown to learners: yes.
That has been added to courses: no. This is not something managed by staff by buy volunteers: new content appears when a new version of a (specific) tree/course is created.

More difficult sentences?

Potentially shown to learners: yes.
That has been added to courses: no. This is not something managed by staff by buy volunteers: they can at any moment add more sentences and why not more difficult ones. However, with the previous system, there were no interest in adding more difficult ones as the system was quickly discarding them totally. With the new crown system, it may be more incentive in doing so. However, there is still a failure threshold above which a sentence will still never be shown, so "too hard" (for average learner) sentence are still useless to add.

If so, in which languages and why are many of us not seeing it?

The crown systems applies everywhere, it doesn't depend on the courses.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeeBrownst1

Having reached a fluency score of 70% in French before it was so rudely snatched away, I was given a few of those difficult items.

It's not just that they were longer, or more complex or combined multiple skills -- it's that they were thrown at us without preparation. They often had to do with vocabulary and idioms (especially preposition use) that were not taught elsewhere. My reaction on encountering many of them was "how the #%&@! am I supposed to know that?" Well, you give a wrong answer and you get told what a right answer would be, but then you might not see that item again for a long time, if ever.

People were failing them not because they were simply advanced, but they weren't being taught effectively.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

I never heard (from Duo) that the "highly failed" sentences were only given (from time to time) to high Fluency score. It could be (as I never heard the contrary neither) but I don't think so.

AFAIK, they are given randomly (from time to time, in order to check if they are still "difficult on average for learners") to anyone who had already seen at least once each words in the sentence (that already prevents most of them to be given to new users (=with low Fluency) so already a bias towards high Fluency users). And people with high Fluency will statistically be given them more simply because they are users who keep taking lessons over and over again. Hence more chance to be given once an exercise if you take thousands of lessons than if you stop after few dozens/hundreds.

What the crown system should improve is that those sentences will be given more often (to users who have reached sufficiently high crown-level in the corresponding skill).

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeeBrownst1

Thank you very much for taking the trouble to explain in detail the design goals and behavior of the crown system.

I suggest that this material be made available in the help pages so that it can be referred to when responding to users' questions and complaints.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

For the record: I'd like it too but unfortunately I cannot do it. Only staff could do it but it's unlikely they'll read this discussion (as forums are "for the users BY the users" so they don't often read, or at least answer).

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeeBrownst1

Or at least can it be made "sticky"? Discussion threads die after a few days, and the search feature is so bad that nobody would be able to find it again without bookmarking it. It would be a shame to lose access to this extremely valuable information.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

Neither can I sticky the discussion.... :(

Sticky used to be possible to any mod on courses forum (except those of a course between 2 in-house languages) and some other "general forums". For few months, moderators cannot sticky anything.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kmlawson

My thanks to you for this detailed reply. I appreciate the time you took. I am grateful to Duolingo for the work they put into continuing to improve the platform. I also recognize the huge amount of effort the volunteers put into creating the trees, and the work being done by various teams to create updated versions of the trees, often with significant new content.

Alas, I still don't feel your answer, detailed though it is, has much impact on my initial observations.

While I see you are saying that some sentences that users regularly failed are getting reinserted and that means that there will be some "new" content in some places, in reality, it doesn't change that this is a considerable deception on the part of Duolingo in promoting this change as adding something significant to the user learning experience.

Let us be honest: the reason many of those sentences are getting regularly failed is often, no doubt, due to the fact that they are not merely longer, but that they are awkward, or for which their are many possible translations due to their complexity, etc. In other words, it is not merely an index of difficulty, but of quality.

Also, in reality I, and many others here, are simply not seeing any significant amount of formerly excluded sentences. We are seeing the same 20-40 sentences over and over again with some minor variations all the way up the line. It is simply not acceptable to market this shift to crowns as unlocking new content when any additions are rare and likely to be of less average quality.

I still regret to see that the biggest move made by duolingo in some time has been to invest considerable effort in completely the wrong direction: Duolingo's biggest problem is emphatically not that it is not addictive enough - it surely outstrips all its competitors in its attractiveness as a bite-sized study platform offering fun language study in very manageable short time injections. The biggest problem is the relative poor pedagogical value, breadth, and range of its content. This is not the fault of the wonderful work of the volunteers, who pour hundreds of unrewarded hours of work into these trees and are often not trained professional language instructors. Instead, it is a reflection of a lack of investment of resources where it counts the most: in a significant upgrade to the depth and breadth of its language trees. I still enjoy and use the resource, and believe it has immense value as a fast-food option for language study, but if there is to be real vision for this resource, and it is to further win the hearts of professionals who teach these languages, then it needs to do more than shift around the chairs in the restaurant, or the decor, and spend more time on the ingredients.

April 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

Let us be honest: the reason many of those sentences are getting regularly failed is often, no doubt, due to the fact that they are not merely longer, but that they are awkward, or for which their are many possible translations due to their complexity, etc.

Then you'll be surprised to learn it's not the case.

For example in the course ES from FR, the most failed ones are simple exercises with few possible answers like "translate Te lo doy. into French". And all the sentences alike (double pronoun + verb) are by far the highly failed of the course.
And, let be honest, they are neither awkward nor have many possible answers. It's simply that users, in average, have trouble with them.

So, being honest, I totally disagree with your assertion. What you describe may be the case for some of the highly failed sentences but it's not the most of the cases.

April 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kmlawson

jrikhal, thanks again for taking the time to reply. However, if what you are saying is true, then you actually made my main original point for me, completely.

If "Te lo doy" was ever getting excluded on the basis that users were failing it, then that means Duolingo has chosen to ignore what is pedagogically important at the basic level in favor of what causes them trouble. The emphasis is, as I claimed, in exactly the wrong direction pedagogically, not merely in comparison to professional language learning environments, but competing digital platforms built on more structured learning such as Babbel, etc (which of course, have their own weaknesses).

I see that you ignored everything else I said, which was more important that the paragraph you quote. It obviously makes no sense to get into an argument with someone who clearly has internal access to data that the rest of us don't have and can't easily get. But that also adds to the original point: there is a complete loss of trust here. On the one hand, we appreciate the strong involvement of volunteers, so there is a feeling of community, but on the other hand, there complete lack of transparency and deception on the other hand.

It is very hard to say with a straight face, as Duolingo's facebook announcement of the crown system did, that users "now have tons more learning" or the title of the FastCompany article they linked to claiming "Duolingo Suddenly Has Over Twice As Much Language Learning Material" when many of us see, for the most part (again, I'm not disputing your claim that there are some new sentences popping up there, even if I have seen none of them so far) absolutely nothing new. This contributes to an already significant loss of trust. If you or Duolingo have indeed added a lot more content, then this is a matter of a few lines of code produced by a person with the appropriate database access to produce an accurate number for. Until then, we will have to call duolingo out on these misleading claims.

We understand Duolingo is a corporation and will do what it thinks it needs to do. However, we as users, and especially those of us who take language study very seriously do at least expect a bit of honesty. We can hope that the new crown system is now merely temporarily an empty shell, for now filled with thousands of lessons of repetition that the old system had already, but with a few lost sentences added in here or there. Perhaps over the coming year or two they will produce the content they are declaring present today but, until the data is there, anecdotal evidence abounds on these forums that: it is just not there in any quantities to merit the claim. - Konrad M. Lawson

April 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobCrownsSuck

The sentences I generally had trouble with were down to poor English and inconsistency in Spanish course. It is harder to write DuoLingoly correct English for a person who speaks real English.

Very often the problem, is a lack of context and short sentences, leading to either a meaningless random answer, depending on the interpretation of the sentence. Or pointless question, where all the main choices, had to be accepted.

Long questions, mostly have selection of blocks of letters, which reduces typos. Thoughtful choice of alternatives and more Cloze style tests, where blanks are filled in would allow instructive examples.

I disagree that DuoLingo is more addictive than the other platforms I use. I used it, because it had a large number of accessible exercises, with a vareity of question, which I could repeat when I wanted to. Secondly, the spaced repetition discipline of strengthening meant I left no weak course areas. Content I need to drill, for fluency like verb conjucations in multiple tenses I repeated more than, mere vocab which frankly is the least important part of DL to me.

The Crowns update totally destroyed my motivation and secondly, I was exposed to ridiculous repetition, despite due to thorough work after finishing the tree with it in Gold state, most of my skills were at level 2 or 3 already. Still I was getting brain dead multiple repetitions of the same sentences despite no mistakes, at times the same question was asked twice running, or 2 in 3 questions.

April 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SGuthrie0

I have been locked out of the ability to contribute to discussions, because I need to reach "level 2", whatever that is.

Prior to the Crown system, I had completed the entire tree except for the last lesson. Now I am forced to start over.

I just found a mistake in the "bebo, bebes, bebe" (I drink, you drink, he drinks) lesson. Duo tells me it should have been "bebés", (not bebéis) (you drink) ), which is nonsense.

see this link: http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/beber

And I could neither report it as wrong, nor comment/clarify the mistake in the discussion section.

This is crazy.

Can some moderator explain why I can't make comments, or point out mistakes?

I think I have now been forced to do the "bebo, bebes, bebe" lesson, or something similar three, or four times since the switch. It gets tiring.

I have known how to conjugate regular indicative verbs for two years now.

April 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ingochris

Hi SGuthrie0, I can see your discussion post here just fine. Do you mean it stops you from posting only in the Spanish discussion?

April 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

Hi SGuthrie0,

I'll try to answer point by point.

I have been locked out of the ability to contribute to discussions, because I need to reach "level 2", whatever that is.

With this same account SGuthrie0?

Said account is level 25 in English and Spanish (as you can see next to your username in your comments) and Level 1 in German (as you can see on your profile page, here).
So you should be able with this account to post anywhere on Duo forums.

Duo tells me [...] "bebés" [...] which is nonsense.

It makes perfectly sense, it's the conjugation with vos (2nd pers. sing. informal, that replaces in some part of the Southern Cone (for example in Argentina).

Duo tells me it should have been "bebés", (not bebéis) (you drink) )

Do you mean that Duo offered you the correction bebés?

In such case, what happened is that first your answer was graded as wrong. Then, in a second time, Duo chose a correction to show you, among all the possible answers. It happened that this time, for you, it chose bebés (which is one of the possible answers).

If you're asked to translate you drink, there are plenty of possible answers.

  • if you consider you as singular
    => bebes, tomas, tú bebes, tú tomas => bebés, tomás, vos bebes, vos tomas
  • if you consider you as plural
    => beben, toman, ustedes beben, ustedes toman => bebéis, tomáis, vosotros bebéis, vosotras bebéis, vosotros tomáis, vosotras tomáis

see this link: http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/beber

Prefer conjugation website like http://www.wordreference.com/conj/EsVerbs.aspx?v=beber which contains ALL pronouns (yours is missing the vos).

And I could neither report it as wrong,

Thankfully as it's not and it would have been an extra false-report to clean for the volunteers who already have dozens of thousands of them.

nor comment/clarify the mistake in the discussion section.

  1. Was it with the same account SGuthrie0?
  2. If so, what happened when you click on the button to open the Discussion Page? (Just in case, note that the page will open in a new tab hence that it may be that your browser blocks such things, considering it as a pop-up)

I think I have now been forced to do the "bebo, bebes, bebe" lesson, or something similar three, or four times since the switch. It gets tiring.

Nothing forces you to reach right now crown-level 5 for that skill. You can work other skills and come back to it from time to time.

I have known how to conjugate regular indicative verbs for two years now.

Duo just taught you how to conjugate in Argentina. ;)

April 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/W-Ruggles-Wolfe

@jrikhal: It seems that SGuthrie0 can't reply to your post. His reply is here:

https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/27029429

April 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SGuthrie0

Now it is telling me that "you eat" is "comés" , and I can't report that mistake. "Comes" is correct, not "comés."

http://www.spanishdict.com/conjugate/comer

April 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

Now it is telling me that "you eat" is "comés"

It's indeed one of the possibilities.

and I can't report

Thankfully as it's a correct answer, a correct conjugation (with vos).

that mistake. "Comes" is correct, not "comés."

It's not a mistake. Both are correct, they are just the conjugations with two different pronouns ( and vos).

The same way you have, for the 2nd pers. plural informal, ustedes and vosotr@s depending on the region (latter in Spain, former otherwise) and which have each their conjugation, you also have two forms for the 2nd pers. singular informal : and vos (latter in most part of Southern Cone, former otherwise) which also have each their respective conjugation.

April 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GuillermoG183987

I reached 139 crowns, previously 69% fluent in italian. I cannot get back to my advanced italian classes.

May 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobCrownsSuck

I am finding near the end of the tree, on things I have repeated all the questions are old. If I do two lessons in a skill, questions that were repeated in lesson 1 come up in lesson 2, sometimes immediately after I answered it at the end of lesson 1.

In German I just did some new skills, I got asked the same question twice in a row (choose word for God), then the next lesson the same with Church with just 1 interleaved question.

I was happily practicing the Spanish tree, building fluency and maintaing everything at 100% strength and DuoLingo have made their product unfit for my purpose last weekend.

Also instead of lessons with some challenge towards the end of the German tree, I am forced as I was 80% finished, to do skills at the dumbed down super shallow level 0, which bores me to tears and just makes me feel very angry every practice session.

I missed 1 day in 137, protected streak by amulet .. now unless there is drastic improvement to make DuoLingo work for users like myself I am quitting at the end of the month!

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thomas.Heiss

Quote RobCrownsSuck: Now unless there is drastic improvement to make DuoLingo work for users like myself I am quitting at the end of the month!

Please be realistic :-)

This may take backend developers at least ~6-12+ months to merge the best of both worlds and to add all required features - and personal user customizations (I would vote for this! Turn OFF all "guessing" in the Duo system and let the user finally choose what he/she really wants!!!) - from suggestion/improvement threads.

And then this needs to be QS tested for several weeks / months and bug fixed for multiple weeks...

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yottskry

The changes should not have been released until they were ready. What has happened is that Duo developers have rushed out incomplete changes (Crowns) and are now facing a backlash because the intended benefits are not yet there. What we have instead are exercises that have removed all the fun of learning in favour of endless repetition.

April 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thomas.Heiss

We only can use the two workarounds, which are known right now.

The first workaround is to use the "Skill strengthen" feature of your progress page on the SHOF site: https://www.duolingo.eu/RobCrownsSuck/progress

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RigobertoArana

I agree with you, "Duolingo should be much more transparent to retain the confidence of users who have long hoped for real pedagogical and content improvements, rather than the metric driven tweaking that this looks to be."

April 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelenDaisy

If I get a skill up to level 5, so that it stays permanently gold, will I miss out if new material is added to that skill in the future?

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

AFAIK, if a new tree version is released (=new materials), then the skills where new vocabulary is indeed added will decay as you didn't reached crown-level 5 for that skill (as in "this set of vocabulary introduced in that skill).

Now, will it decay to 0 even if only one new word or will it depend on the proportion of new things?
I hope the latter.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/W-Ruggles-Wolfe

Tricky. I hope program management seriously considers how, after having been told that crowns don't decay, users might react should their trees decay due to a content shuffle/change.

It's an interesting challenge.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

I personally don't see the problem.

It has been told that it doesn't decay on what you have practiced/learned, on the thing you're working on.
But if the tree is NEW, then you didn't practice on that NEW tree. So makes sense to me that you start from zero on that new tree. Except that Duo pushes you up (from 0 to something else) where it considers you probably know the content of that NEW tree.

But you're right, staff should probably explicitly precise that it "only goes up as long as the tree version is not updated" or something like that. To avoid confusion.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/W-Ruggles-Wolfe

[My now standard disclaimer that I'm not in complain mode. Just observing. I'm on the record as liking the crowns.]

For existing users, swapping vocab into an existing skill can have surprising results.

Please take a moment to consider the following:

Imagine a skill that has 10 lessons at L0.

There is a content shuffle and 20% of the words for that skill are changed.

Assume I'm at L5 and that my accuracy has been high. Also that I'm pushed to L3/0 for that revised skill (the max level for the recent tree change).

Here's my math:

Before the tree change, I'm at L5/0, which implies I've completed 120 lessons and 2,400 sentences.

  • 120 lessons * 20 sentences / lesson = 2,400 sentences.

After the tree change, I'm at L3/0, which means I've been given credit for 40 lessons and 800 sentences.

  • 40 lessons * 20 sentences / lesson = 800 sentences.

I have to complete another 80 lessons (1,600 sentences) to get back up to L5. Given that 20% of the vocab is new to me, one can expect (see note at end):

  • 320 of those sentences to use the new vocab
  • 1,280 of those sentences to contain the old vocab

Now. Imagine instead, that that new vocab had been added as a new skill -- rather than swapped into an existing skill. All things being equal, that would be a two lesson skill at L0.

To get it to L5, 24 lessons are needed (2*12). Meaning I complete 480 sentences.

To compare:

New vocab swapped into an existing skill:

  • 80 lessons, 1,600 sentences required, ~320 of those sentences to use the new vocab

New vocab added as new skill

  • 24 lessons, 480 sentences required. All address the new vocab

That is a stark difference.

Obviously, I've outlined the worst case scenario. I just used it to outline my thinking re: the complexities presented. For me, this stuff is brain-candy.

[Repeat: My now standard disclaimer that I'm not in complain mode. Just observing. I'm on the record as liking the crowns.]

(Note at end: obviously, DL could tilt the percentages to favor the new vocab, but it would have to include the old vocab as well... otherwise those 1,600 sentences would be tedious.)

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

Understandable if only occasional.

Oh, it is. ;)

Content reorganization are done(°) by volunteers when they create a new version (which takes generally several months).
Once done, Duo A/B test it over a period that generally goes from 2 to 6+ months, depending on the "size of the regular users set".
Then, if the new tree shows to be better, it's given to everyone.

So new content version will hardly be more often than every 6 months at "worst/best" (depends on the point of view ;) ) and are generally not more than every few years as you can see on current courses:

  • FR<-EN exists for more than 5 years and is now testing its 4th version,
  • IT<-EN exists for more than 5 years and is on its 1st version,
  • DE<-EN exists for more than 5 years and is on its 4th version,
  • PT<-EN exists for more than 5 years and is on its 1st version,
  • ES<-FR exists for about 4 years and is now testing its 2nd version.
  • EO<-EN exists for about 3 years and is on its 3rd version,
  • no-BO<-EN exists for about 3 years and is on its 4th version.

The last one is, AFAIK, the one with the higher "frequency" of content changes(°). And I think to remember (not 100% sure) that at least one of them was only "adding content to the end of the tree", hence could be taken out when looking at "content changes that modify already existing skills".
I think we can agree on "content changes" (=new tree version) being occasional, based on the above.

That's why I don't think it's much a problem to send back to "lower crown-levels" on those changes. Sorry, I should have emphatize on that.

While the “upper level” users may not be a large % of the user base … I suspect they are a key element of the DL ecosystem.

The past doesn't convinced me it's the main criteria for Duo when evaluating changes.
Again, not saying it's good or bad (well, now I do: personally I think they should take it more into account), just sharing my impression based on past.

And that's an interesting point re: the guideline of 5 lessons / skill. I’m on the new French tree (v3, I think, now in beta). There is one skill with 9 lessons, two with 8 lessons, and twelve with 7 lessons.

Yes, to avoid waiting several more months before releasing (in A/B test) the new version, we didn't change everything with v3(°°) and there are still work for next versions: this and other things.
But "There is one skill with 9 lessons, two with 8 lessons, and twelve with 7 lessons" is far less than in the previous versions.


(°) Except for ES<-EN and EN<-ES courses which are the "test-course" for Duolingo: staff is in charge there and makes a lot of A/B tests on it testing apparently a lot of (small?) things, but we don't know what. It's already testing the 30rd version of the tree.

(°°) Remark: which is the 4th version, the first was v0 ;)

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobCrownsSuck

After the Crowns change, which totally failed to consider a student with my needs (relatively high fluency who had ALREADY extensively repeated the course). I am sure the Mod will understand cynicism about DL testing methods as the announcements clearly show they had blinkers on and were going after, a mass market of casual learners. They should NOT have exposed me at all to the levels system, until it was ability based and hidden. Making me do 15, 20 then 30 lessons, with sentences repeated 3 or 4 times in the same lesson, on a topic that I was rarely making mistakes on, was negligent of them.

April 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

If you're crown-level 5, then you have "nothing" else to work on, hence no incentive from Duo to make you work again.
By switching you back down, on addition of new content, it makes Duo giving you new incentive (="reach again level 5) to work. Which [PERSONAL opinion] is a good thing compared to just not try to have you taking back the skill again (=level 5, that don't move).

There is a content shuffle and 20% of the words for that skill are changed.

Then I expect and hope, you should be put back around L4/0.
It would not change a lot on your worst case scenario but woudl be better anyway.

Now. Imagine instead, that that new vocab had been added as a new skill

This is not necessarily optimal in terms of teaching.

Adding only new skill is not necessarily the optimal thing in term of teaching. you sometimes need to reorganize the tree (hence include in existing skill).

Plus, if you do that, you'll end up with bunch of very short skills with only one lesson ("lesson" as in the meaning before crown-levels), which isn't good either.

Imagine a skill that has 10 lessons at L0.

Remark: that's how Duo created their original trees (hence many courses created later have the same, but Duo strongly recommends nowadays to not do what they originally did and recommend around 5 lessons.

That is a stark difference.

Yes, in one you are only pushed to study new voc while in the other you are pushed to make a general brush-up + some new things.
Trying to push learners to see things again and again and again is not necessarily bad and is, in fact, the base idea of Duolingo: repetition without end.


Only adding new skills and never improving the organization of existing things will indeed force a tiny percentage of users (those in high crown-levels which will probably not be many, as there were not many users keeping taking the tree before crowns) to work again on already done things while it would not be optimal (in terms of teaching/organization of the course) for anyone (among which the large majority of users which will be new ones and/or <=3 level crowns).
So, in average overall users (old and new ones), if the reorganization brings teaching value, they it's, in average (which is what DUo looks at), better. Unfortunately for the few of us who reach high levels.

Not saying it's right or wrong, just sharing how Duo works: on average on all users (whcih vast majority are low crown-levels ones).

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/W-Ruggles-Wolfe

Re: the occasional need to reorg a tree for pedagogical reasons. Understandable if only occasional.

The challenge for users at the “upper levels” is going to be that once they are re-set to a lower level, even if L4, the new content may be too sparse to have sufficient marginal utility. (In the example, it is 1,000 sentences in L4 … for maybe 15-20 new words.)

While the “upper level” users may not be a large % of the user base … I suspect they are a key element of the DL ecosystem.

  • Lots of my questions are answered by high XP users
  • They are valuable tree testers … which I’m watching them do on the French tree right now

I’m curious how DL will balance things so as to not lose that resource.

And that's an interesting point re: the guideline of 5 lessons / skill. I’m on the new French tree (v3, I think, now in beta). There is one skill with 9 lessons, two with 8 lessons, and twelve with 7 lessons.

[Again, just observing.]

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/elizadeux

Personally, I do wish that some of the trees were updated MORE often. The Spanish tree for English speakers is long overdue for new content and reorganization. The only update that I can recall since the first time that I did it in 2015 was very minor. I saw that there was a request for beta testers 4 months ago, so I'm looking forward to an update in a few months I hope.

April 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelenDaisy

Thank you.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/W-Ruggles-Wolfe

From other threads...

It seems that new vocabulary can not be introduced at higher skill levels. See: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/26870648$comment_id=26876165

More likely,

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

I don't know if if new sentences can be added on the fly (after the tree was created)

Yes they can. See few more details at the bottom of my other (and long) post in this discussion.

It seems that new vocabulary can not be introduced at higher skill levels.

Vocabulary (volunteers' work) is added to the skill itself.
The crown-level (staff's work) controls what sentences among all those in the database (volunteers's work) can be used for each crown-level.

So one (volunteer) doesn't add sentences to a given crown-level. The sentences are added/associated to a word and, consequently, will potentially be used to teach that word but, it's the system (crown one, and the previous one before) that decides what sentences are shown during lesson. And the crown system is what decides which sentences can be used for each crown levels and which will not be used for this or that crown level, or at all.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/W-Ruggles-Wolfe

Thank you. Very helpful.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeeBrownst1

New English-to-French and English-to-Spanish trees were in beta testing before the switchover to crowns. Some, but not all, of the beta testers continue to work on these new trees after the switchover. Beta testing isn't over because some learners still report not having the new trees.

The new-tree material contains new vocabulary, idioms (such as preposition usage) and, especially farther down the tree, long, complex sentences such as those that have always appeared in the present- and past-subjunctive skills. In French, some of this even appears at crown level 0 for the more advanced skills.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobCrownsSuck

I don't do DuoLingo for vocabulary!! I've done it for using and practicising things, drilling past particples, verb conjugations and so on. Before the lessons were normally varied enough to not be a chore, now I face a set of sentences, I have memorised, repeated with small changes like pluperfect instead of present perfect.

What's worse, I get crap like listen to some Spanish and get to choose 0 yes... zero words to complete the sentence, anyone who presses check will be rewarded with a "correct" green. That's on one of the final skills, just before the end of the course.

It's the same everywhere, even where I was given Level 3, the thought of slogging through more levels at 4 or 5, with sentences repeated 3 times in the same lesson and hten in the following one, just drives me insanely angry!

DuoLingo worked well for me, before last weekend! They broke it, DuoLingo should fix this lame system that insults my intelligence and treats me like I were a zombie, despite having completed courses with high fluency

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thomas.Heiss

Hi Rob,

Quote RobCrownsSuck: What's worse, I get crap like listen to some Spanish and get to choose 0 yes... zero words to complete the sentence, anyone who presses check will be rewarded with a "correct" green.

On the web portal?
Had you already switched to "keyboard" setting instead tapping?
Has this finally been ported over from the mobile apps and rolled-out on the web portal with the BETA early crown implementation?

I had seen "this crap" multiple times on the Android mobile app (using Android emulator software) introducing words with really nice longer example sentences.

But I was only allowed to press the "check/continue" button as the sentence translation was already complete and I was NOT allowed to try it myself (I had the EN-PT tree finished).
What an disappointment.

German (I pass with my English knowledge):
Da frag man sich wirklich: Wie kann man nur so einen Sch..... erfinden?
Hat etwa gar kein Backend Programmierer ein Mindestmaß einer Ehre?
Dieser Entwickler hätte mal lieber gleich neue User Settings wie "Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced" Schwierigkeitsstufen "erfinden" bzw. implementieren sollen!
Hätte m.E. von Anfang an deutlich mehr Sinn gemacht!?

If this bothers you - like me - I would want to advise you, to stop using these mobile tapping apps!
They are IMHO made for kids, not serious language learners.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EL5tEL

Glad you asked this question. Thanks kmlawson.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gatiquo

Within the confusion there is new material, if you can find it.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobCrownsSuck

Life is too short to go looking for it and they HAVE no automated help to target learning. The best I found is looking on progress then targetting skills, but you still face the threat of exponential increases to amount of repetition on higher levels AND they use the same familiar sentences.

To me, there is ZILCH NEW CONTENT, NADA!! The exercises in "new" levels and lessons, have comments dating back years, usually with complaints unadressed for years to. That is self selecting, as I am more likely to look at comments to a dodgy question.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thomas.Heiss

Those are more likely the "hidden sentences", which had been dropped before.

April 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GuillermoG183987

I have earned 139 crown ...it it took me back to 60 crown when i closed the session by mistake

May 11, 2018
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