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The new crown system

Wow, this new crown system is so so bad! I'm learning German and was pretty satisfied with the old one. But this new one feels so boring and repetitive as hell. I should get 5 crowns on each lesson, right? And for each crown you have to complete the same lesson 24 times. But from the first time to the last time, it is the same! For example, on basics 1 or 2, on the first crown I only had to write "we are men" or "we are women" in German and the same is on the fifth crown. This is constantly rotating. maybe different iterations of the sentence but the concept is the same. I feel no progress and it is pretty boring to write the same thing 100 times...is there any way to get the old system back? Are there some new changes coming?

June 9, 2018



You can move on to new topics with just one crown in each skill of a row.

That's what I largely do (for example, in Norwegian, a language I'm learning as a new language). While doing some new lessons, I also repeat some of the older ones, to keep my learning varied and interesting, and to repeat stuff after some time, not immediately, to make it stick in my memory.

I often do just a few lessons of a skill, and then, when I feel that it's getting repetitive, I do some lessons of a different skill. All the skills that I have already dealt with up to crown level 1 are open for me to develop them further. This is something that I really love.

(If I did every skill up to crown level 5 at once, I would be bored to death ..., and I would probably do me a disservice because my brain expects me to have intervals in my learning sessions. As in sports, the breaks are as important as the time of practicing. A muscle doesn't grow while it is being trained, but in the break afterward -- it's the same with remembering certain structures in a language.)

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Do as many repeats are you feel are necessary to progress. You are free to move forward with very little repetition. Getting any or all crowns golden is not a must. You are the judge what you want and need to practice and how much you want or need to practice it. The crown system is great in that it rewards your continued efforts beyond the original golden skills (which, btw, you still can access via duolingo.eu/Aleksa41/progress).

And, of course, the early skills do not have much material available for the repetition, so if you already know some German, it is absolutely tedious. However, you shouldn’t even have to do any Basics levels since you have done German previously.

But don’t judge the system exclusively from your own perspective. If the repetitions are useful or not to a learner depends on what kind of language they are learning, what other languages they know and what their native language is.

Languages that are to some extent related, use the same alphabet you are familiar with, share a fair amount of grammatical similarities do not need as much repetition as languages on the other end of the spectrum.

I have brought my levels in Irish up to level 4 (except for the first 2 skills) before feeling comfortable enough to move on (working at several different skills at the same time, though) to get more familiar with the spelling and the very different grammar. Danish is close enough to other languages I know, so I don’t do or need that.

If I would start learning Arabic (once the course is ready) or Chinese, for instance, I am sure I would be even happier about the repetitions.


"Languages that are to some extent related, use the same alphabet you are familiar with, share a fair amount of grammatical similarities do not need as much repetition as languages on the other end of the spectrum."

I think you hit the nail on the head here. I took a quick look at Japanese (I removed it from my language list- I want to learn it one day but don't want to be distracted by it now.)

Learning the Kanji will be a challenge that takes more repetition than it does to learn German or Esperanto where I'm learning words- many with similar root words that I already know.

Some languages will require more repetition than others. Going from English to German shouldn't require going to 5 crowns in any lesson all in one-go.


My main issue with the new system is the question of what am I supposed to do to stay fresh? Say there are 50 nodes (I didn't count). If you spend a week working some levels in say, 3 or 4 nodes, then that's more than 45 nodes that have gone ignored for a week. What is the user supposed to do to address that? Go out on their own? It used to be covered for us as part of the way DL worked (SRS). I've heard (and see all evidence to be in agreement) that "Practice" sessions don't tie to your current needs or the crowned tree at all. That's a real problem and needs to be fixed, pronto. If I've gone through half the tree but am struggling to move onward, or paint the tree gold, or whatever other pursuit, what will a "Practice" session deliver? Spaced repetition (like it should)? Random? Stuff from the beginning of the tree and way back in history? Sure, a user would need some of that. How about stuff most recently worked on? Yup, if it's new to us, we need that, too. How does it work? What relationship is shared between my random hopping around the tree and SRS/Practice? Anything? Nothing? There doesn't really seem to be an official answer (unless I missed it, and that is possible since I don't read the forums enough to keep up on all the drama) and I have to say now is, HANDS DOWN, the most uncomfortable I've been with Duolingo in all of my time here (years). What does Practice do and how does it help anymore? Now we're just stabbing around on the tree at random with huge neglected nodes all over the place. Unless, Duo expects us to manage the freshness of our own trees?.... AFTER it took away the ability to determine that very same freshness? Makes no sense.

(Yes, I was repetitive above; that's because it works.)

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The old version worked with decaying skills. Although this gives you some idea which skills have not been reviewed for a while, this is not necessarily a very helpful feedback as it does not make any distinction beteeen skills that are more grammar-oriented and those that focus on vocabulary. Also, for obvious reasons, the system cannot distinguish between genuine errors and simple typos. I am pretty much aware of where my strengths and weaknesses are without SRS. But some kind of feedback is better than none - I’m sure we all agree on that!

However, the crown level of your skills indicates the skills you haven’t worked on as much as others as well. Maybe you don’t need to review specific vocabulary skills or grammar aspects - so you can skip them and focus on what you really need. I bet overall, you do know the areas where you have the most problems. And by gradually working through the different skills to bring them up another level ensures that none of the skills is completely forgotten. In the old system, where once you reached gold there was no indication whatsoever of how much you had practiced a particular skill, the decay function was necessary to point that out.

What bugged me with the old system tremendously was that I had to repeat skills that were mostly irrelevant for me or already mastered in a rather mindless fashion just to keep them golden. And even skills that were more important only got a quick review in timed practice that created no more than a little blip in the learning curve. The main motivation was to keep the skill golden. That was all I did, and concentrated my language learning on other tools than DL. I am investing much, much more time on DL now than I did with the old system and on other tools because I feel that I get much more out of it than before and a more solid learning experience particularly in a more difficult language like Irish.

You can still look at your old, decaying golden tree and select skills to practice in the crown system accordingly to make them gold again. You can also access practice sessions for each of the skills, although they won’t turn the skills golden again. For that you need to use the crown system.


If you base your learning approach on that site, not much has changed from before.

Apart from that, DL has said that they are working an a more effective SRS. So don’t give up hope and make the best use of the current tools available to you on duolingo.eu.


Thanks for saying this in a much more coherent fashion than I was thinking it, Jileha!

dwduo, if you look down the skills on your tree, you should know what you need to practice. ("Oh, datives. I still mess those up in most sentences, I should look at that again. Government, do I remember any words related to government? ...No, I'd better redo that. Oh, animals! That skill was easy, I still remember those words." and so forth.) It shouldn't be 'stabbing around on the tree at random', unless you're coming back to a largely completed tree after a long time away and have forgotten everything you ever knew about the language.

Don't forget, while Duo promises 'gamification' of language learning, you're not actually playing a game, with a goal like 'win all the boss battles', 'get to level 50', 'blow up the enemy's depot', or something similar; the goal is to be able to use the language you're trying to learn. The game aspect is just there to provide interest or motivation to something many people struggle with committing to, but the 'game' itself is no measure of whether you can use the language, which is what you're trying to accomplish. If you can remember/apply the grammar concept or vocab. from a skill, then you don't need to practice it again. If you can't, it needs work. It's that simple, and only you know which is true for each skill, not some computer algorithm. :)


For me, it's more: Oh, Dative... and Not... and Conjunctions... and Colors (for what's within)... and Imperative... and Prepositions... and (so on, and so on, and so on)...

the point and bottom line being, I have a LOT that needs work, and I depended on Duo to help me sort out what I needed to do and when, based on SRS. I readily admit that I can't keep it all straight myself (and don't really want to). Not efficiently, anyway. That's what computers are for.


Thanks, it appears to have changed to https://duome.eu/

I guess I'm just at a loss to understand why we need to go to a site like the above to get desirable features. Duo is attempting to streamline for mass reach, I get that, but in doing so they're doing damage, in my opinion. And why is SRS seemingly so difficult for them to nail down (or simpler things like providing an accurate useful word list), when for instance, Memrise appears to have it down. Each time I practice at Memrise, I can practically see the wheels turning behind the curtain: I get hit with words I haven't seen in a long time, and often they trip me up; and when they do, I then see them again the next day, and some days after that, and so on.


The fact that you don't see what skills you forget or you need to improve doesn't mean Duolingo doesn't know them and use them for practice.


The crown system is AWFUL, but DL committed itself to this disaster, so it will be in DL forever.


Not necessarily. Like you, I feel pretty much the same, but you can't fight City Hall. Watch, this post won't be here soon. It's not nice to criticize the owl.


It seems to me that the fact that you can get so many repetitions of something you had at crown level 1 or 2 at level 4 or 5 tells me that we should not really be trying to get 5 crowns on a lesson before moving on.

I would suggest that you only advance one crown on each lesson and then move on to the next lesson and go right through all lessons to get them to the same crown level. Then go back to the beginning and do the next crown level for all lessons and so on. That way the repetitions are less likely to be as noticeable and will serve to refresh your memory as intended, and they will not annoy you so much.


This is what I do and it works well for me.

[deactivated user]

    Change the way you learn it. Focus on the listening portion of Duolingo. Close your eyes and try to understand without reading it


    I started learning Russian a few weeks ago and what I usually do is repeat a lesson until I can do it three or four times in a row without any mistakes or looking for the meaning of a word by hovering the mouse over the word. What I also try to do at that point is to just listen to the words without reading them so I am sure that I understand what I listen without reading. If I get bored I switch between two lessons, but no more than that, because I don't feel ready to say that I learnt a lesson. Language learning is a very slow process, specially at the beginning, but it gets better and better over time. Don't give up and don't rush!


    What I've been doing is going through everything on one checkpoint to level one.

    Then I go back and do everything in that checkpoint group to level two.

    If I still feel rusty I go to level three....

    I feel no need to go to level 5 for everything. I think to do all 5 crowns on one subject in a row would be a waste- spaced repetition is better. Give it some time to sink in and then go back and repeat to the next crown level.


    You aren't supposed to be doing the same skill 25 times in a row. You're supposed to do the skill once, and then go away and work on other skills. Then come back to that skill the next day or the day after. That way when you get the same question you got asked two days ago, it gets refreshed just as you were about to forget what you had learned before. Crown Level 5 isn't supposed to be something you binge on and fill out in an afternoon; it's supposed to represent the culmination of months or even years spent chipping away at the skill day after day after day.

    I use a tiered approach to my crowns. The tree is divided into tiers - sets of 7-14 skills organized according to how well I know those skills, usually distinguished by the color of the skill, those skills are; Tier 1: new skills I'm learning (purple or blue), Tier 2: skills I've learned, but that still need lots of practice to solidify (green), Tier 3: skills I've solidified pretty well and need to revisit only once a week or once every two weeks to make sure I don't forget it (red), Tier 4: skills securely placed in long-term memory and only need to be revisited once every month or two to achieve gold status (orange).

    My daily routine is to do 100 XP per language per day, or 10 skill practices. I generally break these down like so: Tier 1: 4 skill practices, Tier 2: 3 skill practices, Tier 3: 2 skill practices, Tier 1: 1 skill practice. I cycle through a tier day by day like so:

    When I reach the bottom of the tier, then I run through it in reverse. I keep cycling through up and down every day until all the skills in the tier have gone up to the next crown level, at which point the pre-set tiers get re-evaluated. By doing it this way, I get a good spread of difficult skills that I need to work hard on, and easier skills that I can breeze through in less than a minute. Everything is progressing towards CL5, and at no point am I getting worn down by seeing the same question 50 times a day every day for a week.

    The main problem people seem to be having with duolingo is the expectation of instant gratification. However, that expectation is problematic per se in language learning. Language learning isn't about doing one massive session and learning the language instantaneously. Language learning is about doing small incremental practice every single day over very long periods of time (years and years). The Crown system is a good way to slow learners down and ensure they're doing things in small incremental batches. Once a skill gets into the orange, you should really only be revisiting that skill like maybe once a month. A skill representing 45 repetitions to hit gold should mean in theory that you did those 45 repetitions over the course of like a half a year or more alongside dozens of other skills in the same tier, not 4.5 days sequentially.

    Cramming doesn't work. Information learned over the course of 5 days is not really learned at all, and you will forget it inside of a month. The thing you need to ask yourself is: are you here for the gold circles or are you here to learn the language? Because if the latter, then you aren't doing yourself or the program any favors by running through the same skill 45 times in a day.


    Wiederholend und langweilig. Plurals and Present 1 hat achtundvierzig (48) Lektions. :(


    Yes, of course: Repetition (and variation within the repetition) is key to learning a language. It's not about just "having heard of something", but about really knowing it, and being able to use it. This takes time, this requires repetition in order to make it stick in your memory.

    But of course you should not do all the repetitions at once. Do some of them, and come back when you have learned some other skills, and you will understand much better how everything works together.


    I have no problem with grammar repetition, I have problem with writing "wir sind zusammen" and "i hear and see nothing" a dozen time in a lection, instead of improving vocabulary with different expressions and sentences.

    [deactivated user]

      that is nothing. Accusative Cases for German requires 30 just to get to level 5. That is like, 50-60 lessons


      It's so annoying! I felt more motivation when the system was earning xp to level up than with the crowns, where you just earn them and earn them and that's it. I wish they kept the bots, too. It really helped me with Spanish, and I'm not going to have anyone to chat with in German for two months.


      I must have missed the bots. I've only been on here since around the beginning of the year or so. Had they been gone already then- or had I somehow just missed them? (I was really only doing Esperanto back then- and I know Eo is missing some of the features other languages have).

      Would the bots point out any spelling/grammar mistakes you made too?

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      Only a few languages had them. Spanish, French and German, I think. I hope DL brings them back for more languages as they sound like a lot of fun!


      I wish they would make it more like the following: - Rank 1, introduce the concept - Rank 2, expand the concept (more variants of the same words) - Rank 3, practice by repetition - Rank 4, include words from adjacent lessons - Rank 5, include words from subsequent lessons

      Ranks 4 and 5 would start with a "lock" symbol, and require the user to first complete adjacent or immediately following skills at rank 1. The idea would be to include just a few easy words from other lessons to add variety.

      This would give meaning to when multiple skills share the same row, because they would work together in rank 4. They would also work toward the previous row's rank 5.


      Oh, I like this idea. I haven't had any real complaints about the crown system (and I very much like some aspects of it), but your suggestion or some close variation would still make it better, in my opinion.


      Could we have pictures to accompany new words? it helps fixing the word in the mind.

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      It’s better if you do that yourself because you can personalize the pictures and pick those that carry extra meaning, emotions, memories with them. That is much more effective than having somebody else choosing arbitraty images of animals or things.

      You can do that in Memrise afaik or Anki.

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