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Demanding payment in middle of lesson

A couple of times my lesson was interrupted by a demand for payment or the lesson would not continue. The first time I paid, but the second time I refused and my lesson was terminated with loss of my progress in the lesson. OK so it's a small payment of a few dollars but still it's a matter of principle and looked too much like extortion.

Duolingo advertises itself as a free service with the option to pay to bypass ads. I chose the free option with ads so I should not be asked for mandatory payments in the middle of the lesson.

May 5, 2018



I agree with you entirely. Paying for 'health' is totally sleazy. If they only charged a few lingots, it would be okay, but DL charges an exorbitant amount so that you can continue, with the intention that you will soon exhaust your lingot amount and need to buy more.

I refuse to pay.

This measure was instituted to SLOW DOWN learners. Can you imagine that, a program that purports to TEACH languages undermines learning.


Spaced repetition is a learning technique that incorporates increasing intervals of time between subsequent review of previously learned material in order to exploit the psychological spacing effect.

Is this not what duolingo was going for? the health system means that if you were making mistakes you were forced to go back and review or just simply take a break.

But with the crowns, going back and reviewing old lessons counts as a new lesson cause you are progressing the crowns. In my opinion they need to just remove the health system, it seems to cause a lot of complaints from what I can see.

So it is less about slowing down the learning and more about making time spent more effective, more long term.

Like the difference between studying for an exam over 2 weeks and cramming the night before and forgetting everything you learned before you even get the results.


There seems to be a trend that more apps on iOS are paid apps and on Android they have adds. I don't disagree that Duolingo has incorporated spaced repetition but as a user of both platforms, being able to practice for 10 minutes in the morning then after 5 spelling mistakes waiting 24 hours is ridiculous.

If the hearts recharged a heart every minute then you'd still be somewhat repremanded when you're doing a lesson and not rush through it. But forcing a user to wait 24 hours or pay is a bit much.


I thought a heart recharged every 4 hours.

But still yes, even that seems too long.

I am glad I don’t have hearts, I am on iOS.

But can you not do the practice option to earn hearts? Also I am sure I heard you can watch an ad also?

I guess my point is, are there no other options other than waiting 24 hours or paying real money?


Try going from the iOS app to duolingo.com with Safari. I believe that solves the problem.


You definitely should switch to the website (full desktop mode vs mobile compact view) on www.duolingo.com on a computer, where health/gems and other IOS A/B tests have thankfully not arrived.

You can also use your hardware keyboard for typing instead of tapping word bricks.


I'm going to change from the iOS app to the web-based version with my iPad. I still don't understand the logic of billing me in the middle of the lesson. A number of people implied that DL does that when I make too many mistakes in the lesson. I never got any such message from DL. If it did say something like "you seem to be making too many mistakes, please do one or two review lessons before continuing", I would have no problem with it. Instead the message was something about restoring my health by buying more lingots. I don't know how paying a few dollars can improve my health or knowledge of a language LOL?


You have a choice to say no, right? From there you can go down to the Health tab and then click Practice and keep practicing until your health is full.

Be careful, lately if I use www.duolingo.com on my iPad they somehow automatically switch me to my app, but if I go to my email and use a link from a discussion that I am following that delivers me here. You can scroll up and click on the Home button here to access the web version lessons. Make sure that you don’t click on the Owl or his Open button at the top that will send you back to the app.


Yes, LOL!

The IOS A/B Health had different code variants (there has been more than one iteration) and they (staff) constantly tweaked it.

Basically you run out of health/gems.

But health obviously has NOT been re-engineered for the latest crown update according to IOS user feedback on multiple threads...

I think we can expect something "new" - further updates - in the next (3) 6-12 months.

The best what you can do right now it to simply avoid all of the old health IOS app code.


Honestly, Duolingo should just get rid of health already. I mean, you've all seen how many people hate it and want it gone, so Duolingo should be like "Hmm, maybe we should end the A/B test now." Don't you all agree?


Agreed, this has been going on for too long.


they're skakin' you down, man.


Since I dumped the iOS app in favor of web based DL I'm much happier. The web interface is much better and shows much more info. The ads are on the side, whereas in iOS the ads took over the screen. Also the lessons appear shorter and go faster. Good riddance to to iOS DL app.


Whatever you do, DON'T PAY! If people pay, they're going to consider it a success and implement it for everyone. The first time I get a request for payment to continue my lesson will be the last time I use Duolingo.


This seems strange; perhaps file a complaint about it or go to the help page or something to talk to someone about it. By the way, it seemed to me personally to be unclear whether it was actual money or lingots.


I use Duolingo for iOS so I was charged actual money by the Apple store.


You don't need to pay anything. You can just go to practice to regain your Health again. ONe practice lesson, one piece of Health. So if you are running low and risking losing all health in the lesson, go and practice first to refill it a little bit.


DuoLingo is a free app from the App Store, you shouldn’t be paying money for it. I use the iOS DuoLingo App and have never received anything like that. Check for similar negative comments where you got it from and leave a comment for the developer and to warn the downloaders.


The app is free. The lessons are free. You can use Duolingo completely free of charge. The option to buy more health exists for those who do not want to start the lesson over and/or don't want to use the practice feature to rebuild their health. It's not that they've downloaded something they shouldn't have. You are probably either A or B in an AB test, and they are the other.


You can do review lessons instead or wait a certain period of time. Payment is not mandatory.


Indeed the second time it asked for payment I refused and closed the program, Next day I got the message that my "health was restored". Makes no sense. How does that make sense to you?


Your health is restored every day... if you run out one day, you will be full next day... you can also refill your health by doing some practice...


I guess it is a software thing / programming error.

I think that what is going on is that when you close the app, it doesn't store the current health level. That means that when you restart the app it reads the previous health level.

Do what you did after you was demanded to pay, and note that it is very important to do the exact sequence of actions to replay the software error (=health level restored).

After that when completely close (=force close) the app, and see if the health level is immediate restored, when you had opened the app again after having force closed it.

You could also try to close app the normal way, but the app may still be running in the background, where running in the background means that it is still running after it is not shown on the screen.

I know the health thing is on iOS devices.

Android has a - per app - force close the app button - useful if the app is on a walk in the forest

"Walk in the forest" is my translation of "på skovtur" - which is a Danish idiom meaning that a person or something is completely lost navigation wise.

Maybe an iOS device has a force close an app too.


Thank you for the advice. I actually changed from the iOS app to the web based DL with Safari and am much happier now. The web version shows more information and so far I've not been hassled to pay. Besides it's much more difficult for web DL to demand payment as it does not have access to my credit card like iOS apps do. The web based DL also behaves better and has better sound volume.


Yes there is a way to close an iOS app and restart it. I have to do this sometimes when an app locks up. But I solved the problem by going to the web-based Duolingo, as others suggested.


Well, as far as I know it from my devices, it works pretty well and understandable - health regenerates over time anyway. And you can practice to get it back. I have never run into the issue of forced paying though - I think I lost all my helth sometimes, but then I just got the lesson done and did some revision.


You were not forced to pay. and your lesson wasnt terminated because you didnt pay. you ran out of health and were given the option to pay for more health.

Are there not several non financial ways to get more health? Waiting, watching ads, practice are all things I have heard restore health.


They do not offer the opportunity to watch ads instead. You actually need to practice before the lesson so that you won’t run out during the lesson. It is extremely annoying. You can use gems (the lingots of that app), but if you have run out and if you have ever paid before, do not click on their yes button by accident. I personally do not have any credit card or bank account associated with my ipad so that this cannot happen, because this is not the only app that does this, you know. The very least that they could do is add an extra filter, “ Are you sure that you want to spend your hard earned cash on this app?” and you would have to press another yes button.


Thank you for your concern but my health is just fine.


You can restore health with practice sessions. No need to use money. The practice sessions are a bit more challenging than the the tree lesson you lost. At the end of the day, you are learning Spanish at a healthy pace - for free!


It is not a demand or extortion but if you want to continue immediately then it is an invitation to buy Gems. If you already have the Gems (which you can earn without having to pay for them, you can use those or you can practice earlier skills to rebuild your strength or you can watch an advert to achieve them.

It is Duo’s way of saying you could be rushing through lessons too quickly, without getting them into your long term memory causing you to make a lot of errors. The secret is to slow down and double check your answer before moving on. Remember, learning a language is not a race.


It is Duo’s way of saying you

Basically buying gems to refill health with real money is - just like "DuoLingo Plus" and ads - a (quite weird) trial model, to get the DuoLingo "Business" running and getting a fixed income as their Immersion (translation concept) died.

Another tests have been added for streak repairs" on IOS and Android mobile plattforms where you can buy back streaks (I appreciate the added feature!) with real money.

It simply is "a way" (test) of generating income for the company to pay the monthly fixed server hosting costs and developer team costs.

Their test basically tries to find out:

What user is stupid enough to want to continue learning and who would pay real money for this, instead of a) waiting 4+ hours and b) re-practicing old skills to simply refill health ;) ;)

So watch out for even more coming A/B tests on their favourite IOS testing plattform! ;)

The reality is, that the DAILY (single) word review spaced repetition (SR) concept is not good enough on DuoLingo to bulk learn new words and re-force RECALLING them successfully.

Without Memrise (or AnkiSRS, SuperMemo, etc.) as 3rd party flashcard applications, I would have been lost through my first year learning Portuguese from scratch.

Yes, I know how it feels to have to learn 70 verb in a single Present1 skill.
At least I see a BACKLOG QUEUE on Memrise, which words I have to daily review.

And I am allowed to make my own typing errors, when I review all due words on the Memrise web portal according within the next SR interval, when I use the user script from Cooljingle "all typing" (I can turn OFF multiple-choice) and usually I practice EN->L2 target language RECALLING.

IMHO it definitely makes very much sense to pre-learn words with multiple learning steps (Memrise has six, AnkiSRS has two as default) on another application BEFORE doing the DuoLingo exercises.

I think I can safely add that with DuoLingo alone I would not have been able to progress forward.


Your "invitation to buy gems" is the definition of extortion.


My health is fine and I don't buy gems. I signed up for the free version with ads and in the middle of a lesson the app stops and tells me if I don't pay up it will quit and lose my lesson progress. It's pretty close to extortion, albeit it was asking for a small fee. You can cloud the issue with made up terms like "gems", "lingots", "health" or whatever, but in the end it amounts to demand to access my credit card for payment or else. In any case I quit the app and now access DL through the website, which appears to be free of this issue.


Indeed is "gamified" learning.. let's take the very worst aspect of today's videogames and put it in a learning app!


Hi Adam,

how about pre-learning the words from the skills and lessons before on Memrise, AnkiSRS, etc. before you use them in practice mode on DuoLingo?

There are user-created "DuoLingo" courses - including Spanish - hosted on Memrise: https://www.memrise.com/courses/english/?q=duolingo


I make mistakes, sometimes more often than others, and I lose a piece of health. I sometimes run out of health and my work in the tree stops abruptly. I then choose to go to the Health button on the Duolingo screen using my iPad and I choose practice. I finish a practice session and a piece of health is restored. After one or two practice sessions, I can also restore a piece of health by watching a short 30 second or so advertisement. Sometimes I continue to select practice sessions until I have fully restored health. This doesn’t take too long and I find the practice sessions are more advanced than the level I was working on in the tree when I ran out of health. Often I will restore two or three pieces of heath and return to the program in the tree. I don’t see a problem with this approach because it am constantly learning Spanish in session after session. Finishing the tree, for me, isn’t the goal. Learning the language is the goal.


Can I ask you if you're using the DL iOS app or web-based DL?


Only the iOS app has the Health feature.


Not all IOS users have the Health feature. My brother uses the app on his apple device and he doesn't have it.

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