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

The crown system is not effective for learning

I have been using duolingo for about 3 months and I am on an 83 day streak as of this writing. I have spent an equal amount of days of my streak - before crowns and after crowns.

Here's why I feel that I am not making any meaningful progress even though I am keeping my streak with the new crown system.

It is common knowledge that repetition is the key to learning. With the crown system, the moment I learn a bunch of new words, you can no longer see those sentences again. You are forcefully exposed to new words, even though you barely remember/recognize the words you just saw. Memory for new words decays fast. I am completely and absolutely frustrated that even though I am making visual progress, mentally I am getting worse. I dont get the opportunity to memorize words and understand the context of sentences because i just dont see those sentences again. With the previous system, I could repeat and get better and recognize them.

I have a background in cognitive science and I am not making things up. I cannot stress this enough "Repetition is the key to learning". Thats how your brain strengthens neural connections and makes things recognizable. The less I repeat, the slower I learn.

I used to recommend Duo to friends. Now I cant. Do something soon, otherwise you're just gonna be left with a wonderfully designed gamified platform that does something, but does not assist in learning.

May 18, 2018

33 Comments


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

Don't you just repeat the same lesson as in advance the crown levels and you get the same words and a few new ones.

That is my experience. That if I repeat the same skill, there are the same words, even the same sentences plus a few new ones. Is this not how it works for you?


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

Even duolingo suggests to not go to level 5 right away in the basic. they want you to gradually increase you level in differnt badges. Which is insane coz then we encounter too many new words without repetition.

Thats precisely my problem. Should i just get to level 5 on the lower badges before proceeding to the upper ones. That would feel like I am learning too little coz seeing the same words over and over again until reaching level 4 or 5.

Still doesnt solve the problem of seeing sentences that I actually liked, found interesting, or useful, or could use to form my own sentences.


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

You, and the others with this complaint are holding yourselves back. You think you need to commit every word to memory before you can move on. That is not necessary. Duolingo gives you ample repetitions in each skill to review new words. You may not get the exact sentence two or three or five times in a row, but you will see that same sentence many times. It’s called spaced repetition and it is a cornerstone in learning. I’m surprised you are not familiar with it due to your background in cognitive science.


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

Isint the whole point of the crown system is to not get to level 5 on all the basic levels but to gradually increase your level on the different badges?

What about familiarity of sentences? You see a sentence that is useful, and you want to see it again, because you remember it can be used somewhere. How can I do that now? How can I form my own sentences based on an existing sentence I saw. I was struggling with a few words that are very similar sounding and spelled, like question words, and words like this, that, those, these etc. Everytime i practice a lesson, I level up. But whats the point, I havent internalized those words.

How can someone learn without repeating?

I agree, once i get to advanced level, crowns might be more fun to do, because i will already know most things. But as a beginner or intermediate, i need to go back and look, and understand and familiarize.

If you give a child a language book, and tell them they can never turn back a page once they read it, do you think they are gonna learn faster?

I am pretty sure its not possible for people to encounter 15 new words in a day and then be able to form sentences out of them in subsequent lessons. I dislike tapping on previously seen words to see their meaning if I am on Level 3. Thats pointless. Right now I am on level 3 on many, and I am still having to see the word meanings. Why? Is it because I have bad memory? I dont think so.


[deactivated user]

    New to duoLingo, but could not disagree with you more on repetition being the basis of learning. It certainly is one way to learn, but not the only way. It's also a good way to develop habitual mistakes. Too much repetition can also make learning knowledge or a skill very boring, and possibly make students lose interest in learning that skill at all. I would compare learning a language by repetition to learning algebraic equations by memory but not actually understanding them.

    Age, interest and intent are all key factors. Given some of the rankings I see next to some member's avatars, I doubt very seriously that some people are actually trying to learn so many languages, but perhaps their interest only goes as far as basic conversation/communication.

    I don't think anyone who is here with realistic expectations, expects to become fluent in the language(s) they are learning soley by using this website. It is absolutely necessary to be exposed to fluent speakers.

    I don't know how the system used to be, but unless the words are ingrained in my memory, I take a lot of time, listening to the phonetics, understanding the words and sentence structure and I always say the answers in Spanish before even looking at multiple choice blocks or typing. I think if people are just competitively rushing through the lessons, they aren't really going to learn or retain much. On the other hand, I am taking my time, actually learning and retaining the lesson material. I have no illusions about becoming fluent in Spanish solely from duoLingo, but for me, I will always have duoLingo to thank for starting me on my path to actually learning Spanish.

    Also, I don't know about anyone else, but I am able to review everything I have learned by selecting practice.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobBrown282960

    Yeah by the sounds of it some people seem to hate the crown system because they are trying to rush through it. I don't quite go as far as you by saying the sentences out aloud but certainly I am trying to select what I practice smartly


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

    You can use the "practice bar." It only gives you questions from the lessons you have already completed and skills you are weak in. I've finished my Spanish tree and it really helps me to use the practice bar.


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

    If you have finished your tree, you are at a completely different stage. You have already internalized many of the words. I would be comfortable with crowns as well as only doing a practice lesson daily.

    But you gotta admit, it takes a while to get there and the crown system isint helping.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FrankFox0

    I take notes; it helps.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MrMichael84

    I personally love the crown system and feel it has great spaced repetition, but that's okay because we're certainly allowed to have different opinions about it. Also, as you stated, I already had a basic understanding of Spanish. Regardless, I love the program!

    I hope you find the solution to your issue, and I offer these suggestions to you in good faith, some of which have already been offered to you:

    (1) Level up a new sets of skills to level 2 or 3 before advancing to the even newer ones that will appear. Really important ones (subjectively determined I suppose) go to 3 or 4 if you care to.

    (2) Using the web site only, access the "tips and notes" section for some of the tougher skills (it's the little lightbulb icon when you click on the skill). This only exists for certain skills, and only exists on the web version for me, not my phone app. It actually provides a written lesson of sorts on some Spanish grammar rules. Very useful, and I feel like a lot of people don't know about it.

    (3) I go back once in a while and level up only my oldest non-level-5 skills until they are maxed out at level 5.

    (4) mix in a good bit of the "practice" button every day. It is available to all users on any platform.

    (5) on web version only, spend lingots to purchase "timed practice". It does not exist on my phone app. It's great for providing a new challenge by forcing you to process in Spanish quickly. I feel like until your brain is challenged to process "now!", it won't grow to match the challenge at hand. Harder at first, but definitely pays its dividends. It also is easier if you're fast at typing like me ;). You get more repetition of old stuff too because you run through more sentences in "x" amount of time that way. You might think I'd absorb less of it, but in fact I definitely feel like I absorb MORE that way and my Spanish skills have certainly improved. It kicks my brain into "Spanish mode" and gets me operating with a different level of intensity and focus. I incorporate a healthy dose of timed practice daily, and almost never use regular practice anymore unless I'm on my phone.

    (6) When you have questions about something, check out other websites that offer more in-depth analysis, or even just look in the comments section for a given sentence. Be aware though that sometimes in the comments section people will provide wrong advice/analysis! It is not "policed" by Duo. Verify what you learn there by logical deduction, multiple sources stating same exact thing, common sense, reading elsewhere on other sites, etc.

    Hope you enjoy learning Spanish!


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