Best way to use Duolingo: New Layout
It's been a while since I've used Duolingo, and I've noticed that they've changed the tree layout. While I do like how it seems to be more challenging/ make you work harder, I am unsure about how to use it properly. Should I make one subject completely gold before moving on, or complete the entire tree, with the all the skills at the same level, and starting over until the entire tree is gold (ex: make all the skills level 1, then starting over and making them level 2, etc until the entire tree is gold)? I'm looking to drill the languages into longterm memory, what would be the best approach for that?
Depends on how much repetition you need. I go to level 1 in each skill and then continue. I use a third-party site to figure out when I should go back to a skill and do additional lessons. This site is based on an older algorithm of Duolingo, where each word and also each skill would have a "strength" associated with them. Once the strength of a skill would drop, DL would show you that you needed to practise that particular skill to bring it back up to 100%. This information is still saved in the Duolingo extended profile and displayed on doume.eu/Keyaji/progress. It gives you the strength of each skill in increments of 25% and I find it very useful in choosing what lessons to do. If you feel you need more repetition than that, maybe go to level 2, but I wouldn't get one skill up to level 5 before continuing. You'll get bored with translating the same sentences over and over again and, because there isn't any time between your repetitions, you haven't gotten the words into your long-term memory. I think it also has the potential to be a bit frustrating, if you don't make clearly visible progress. But again, it's personal. If you need the repetition, go for it. If you choose to get every skill up to level 5 before continuing, I would highly recommend you use duome to figure out when you should practice older skills.
I like this tool...but I think it's sad that so many users are relying on external tools to guide them.
About a year ago, Duolingo was great as a standalone tool...it made it straightforward to continue through the course and did (in my opinion) a great job of managing your choices of what to do next. I would usually practice until my tree was golden, and then go learn new material as I felt inspired to do so.
Gone are the days when I can do this...and to be honest Duolingo is a lot less useful to me. I simply am not able to manage my learning as effectively as the old system...but...the new system doesn't really work very well for me even if I click "practice"; it's too dumbed-down.
I've pretty much abandoned use of the site. I would recommend others to do so, because I think if Duolingo saw a severe falloff in the use of the site it would force them to address the problems...and I really want the problems to be addressed. I want Duolingo back as a useful language-learning tool.