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Too many repetitions means 750 days on Insane to go from level 4-5

Even with the new system, which I quite like, I still want to get all my German skills to gold. You haven't really completed the course if you don't do that.

So, I've already got four of the first five lessons at level 4 (and on at level 5). The fifth lesson, on accusative case, has 30 repetitions to get from level 4 to level 5.

The number of points you get per repetition seems to have gone up, so let's say that, with bonuses, I'm getting 15 points per repetition.

So just by doing one level of that fifth lesson, I am going to get up to 450 points. I have my daily target points set at 50, which is quite literally labelled 'Insane' by Duolingo. So it's going to take 9 days just to get that fifth lesson from level 4 to level 5.

Let's especially bear in mind here that, so far, this lesson has been the same riffs on "The man drinks water" and "The girl, the boy, the woman, the man" for four levels.

However, moving on, so far the 30 repetitions is the largest number to reach level 5. Let's take the average over those four lessons out of the first five. That's 80 repetitions, or 20 per lesson. The German tree currently has 125 lessons/skills. That's 2500 repetitions, or 37500 XP if I do each repetition well and get the 15XP each time. At the 'insane' 50XP/day, that is 750 days.

750 days just to get from level 4 to level 5. In one language.

June 3, 2018



I hear you. I want all my skills gold, which means I have to write "der Mann isst den Apfel" about 200 times a day. As a result, my XP level and streak are doing great, but my German proficiency is rapidly diminishing.


I'm with you. I was driving hard in Spanish and German, but this new system has sapped my motivation to the extreme.


So don't do it that way. I go through the tree doing all skills that have the lowest level. Currently, I'm doing the fourth pass on my 2-crown skills. Any skills that have a higher level, I just skip, so as I go I get fewer and fewer skills to actually do for each pass. Once I'm through and all skills have three crowns, I'll just start from the top again and do all that haven't got four crowns.

This way, I get varied repetitions of the entire tree instead of just repeating the same skill lots of times and then probably forgetting it again in a month.


That's one of the reasons why I'm going to stop working on my German tree as soon as I get to level 18 and move my learning elsewhere. It's just become too boring. Would do the same with Irish but there aren't many resources for learning this language... Fortunately (sic!), the Irish tree is rather short.


The best thing I can say about the new system is it convinced me to give up on Duo on move on to spend my time on more valuable things.

The old system offered a lot of repetition that seemed intelligent and reflected your strengths and weaknesses. I felt I was still spending time usefully by practicing things that I hadn't seen for a long time, or lessons where I made frequent errors.

The new system seems to offer only mindless repetition that reflects nothing of what you've accomplished, your correct answers or your mistakes.

I was excited by the initial promise of "more advanced content" being made available but it just isn't there. There is only invariable, unresponsive grinding.

I owe Duolingo great thanks for initially sparking my interest in German, helping me to maintain motivation and good habits, and making the whole process seem like something achievable. I'm disappointed in the recent changes, and I feel that they diminish the chances of new, incoming learners feeling the same sense of progress, encouragement, and excitement.


Having been here for 5 years, everything changes. We have Crowns today. If it even still exists in the future it will likely be different from what we are interacting with now.

Duolingo never stops crunching data on things like sentence success and fail rates, user drop-off, user retention, what changes inspire users to study more each day and for more days and complete more of the course or multiple courses.

If Crowns has a statistically significant negative impact compared to the last system, Crowns won't continue as a feature. If an alternative has a statistically significant positive impact, it will replace Crowns.


I'm reviewing the tree every year and going to the next crown up each new time I review it. The main goal is learning the language. Repetition is good. Racing to "win" maybe less good for a lot of folks. Duolingo has picked it's priority and is testing it with this first iteration of Crowns. You gotta pick yours. Do you race all of the way to level 5 for a gold tree, or, do you go at the best pace for getting the language into long-term memory. (For a small minority of folks they can do both at the same time. For most of us, we probably gotta pick one.)


My question is this. How much new content was added to this new system? When you reach level four, for example, say across the entire tree, are there more words, does the content change? I haven't been able to tell so far. Or do the harder levels purely just mean repeated content (i.e. sentences), that the learner has already been exposed to within duolingo?


Repetition is good only as long as it helps you get a word or phrase or a rule of grammar into long term memory. After that, repetition is completely useless. The problem is, Duolingo's higher levels include a whole lot of such wasteful repetition, and the result is that we waste time repeating things in the hope that the even higher levels of that lesson will present us with new content. So far, in my experience, they don't. But there's no way to tell that's the case for all the skill blocks.

There is no way to tell that the higher lessons of a skill will not be pure repetition until you complete the entire skill to level 5. People are beginning to realize that Duolingo's upper levels are pure repetition, but they haven't fully realized it yet, because no one who has completed an entire course to gold has reported on this issue.

Duolingo starts off good - you learn a lot. But after the first couple of levels, the system lures people into a procedure that seems to be a complete waste of time.

And sure, if I were fully aware that the upper skill levels were completely useless (as I strongly suspect they all are) I could just give up after the second or third level. But I'm not 100% sure. So I continue, hoping I'm wrong. But if the 4th and 5th levels are completely useless (as they absolutely are for at least some skills), surely that needs to change.


Since there are about twenty questions per lesson and as in many lessons there is no much more content, it means a horrible drudge. Also, this means that we will have less time to do any other tree.


You say this as if there's a law requiring you to get to gold on one skill before starting the next.


Repetition is important for learning. It's the way brain defines that the information is "important" and keeps it in the long term memory. But this repetition must be "spaced in time", with intervals between the repetitions. This is the most effective way to learn a new language. So, there is no point in trying to level up in a single topic very fast. Go forward and regularly going back is much better.

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Repetition is important, but not mindless repetition. If something is already in one's long term memory, it doesn't make sense to contine repeating it ad absurdum. Having to "study" lessons that one has already internalized for 750 days is not a sensible use of one's time, and it is silly that Duolingo asks us to do so.

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