Practice Mode is too easy

When the crowns came in I was looking forward to unlocking the higher levels for some more difficult practice sessions. However, getting there, I feel a little cheated.

I don't know whether this is because practice has changed in the last few months (there have been changes, including introduction of transcribing from audio) or whether it's always been like this.

Going through the practice sessions, almost all exercises are "translate this into English" and several are repeated a number of times. I don't need to do them anymore; I have pretty much memorised the English sentences. If I'm in Animals and the word starts with "Why does the chicken..." it ends, "ride the sheep?" "The woman..." -> "...eats lots of mutton." I'm not practising the Korean anymore, I'm practising my memory of specific sentences.

But I can't continue. I still find it really difficult translating into Korean. That's the only way I'm going to get it right and the only way I'm going to learn the differences between similar words like 굴 and 뀰 (still not even sure if I got that right). So going further in the tree isn't going to help because I'm just going to know more stuff less.

I know there is more to these lessons; I noticed I was learning and doing more while I was "earning the crowns", i.e. going through all possible exercises the skill offered. But now, with practice, there's just a small set of 10 - 15 out of a possible 30 - 50 questions.

This just concerns practising individual skills. Doing the general Practice (what used to be Strengthen Skills) is out of the question because it keeps trying to repeat the very first Hangeul skills, which brings me absolutely nothing.

The idea behind the crowns was to provide more serious learners with depth: the ability to learn a topic more thoroughly without putting off beginners. But I just feel like it's been dumbed down. I believe this to be an issue with Duolingo itself and not with the course. The course is good (y).

Anyone else feel like this?

Edit: moved this to the tech. support discussion in the hopes that it will get to the right people.

October 26, 2018


Sorted by top post

I don't really use Duolingo for the reviewing or studying parts of my language learning - I export most of the sentences onto flashcards and then practice in my own time with spaced repetition. I ONLY translate from English into Korean when I'm using my flash cards.

Duolingo is great for sentence/vocab mining but it's lacking a lot of features that could make it an exceptional learning tool.

October 26, 2018

The sad thing is that a lot of these features used to be there. Duolingo was a much better tool 5 years ago; I was able to learn German with it then.

October 26, 2018

wait, really? what could it do before?

April 13, 2019

please elaborate. screenshots etc.

July 27, 2019

I agree; crown level 5 often does not seem to represent a natural progression. For me, it seems to depend on the tree. Mostly I only have a handful (if that) of skills at level 5, often just to check how the whole course of the levels works for different trees. I've tended to find something like what the other posters have described: a quite limited amount of typing in the target language. The exception has been Catalan, the tree I've put quite a bit of effort to strengthen throughout. There, upon getting all skills to level 2 I just used the whole-tree Practice button and "gilded" the tree in the pre-crowns SRS sense (as seen on DuoMe). This was quite satisfying, frequently requiring typing in Catalan in I think 13 of 20 sentences. When I finished the SRS regilding, I kept on with the practice button, and it remained interesting for a bit but gradually seemed to get bogged down on an oddly small fraction of the tree content. I seem to remember things like that happening with fully gilded trees pre-crowns, too.

tl;dr Practice can be pretty good for a significantly-decayed tree in which one has attained the owl and done a good deal of work beyond the minimum required for that, but in any other condition Practice seems quite limited, and the hard-to-attain best-case scenario is less than durable.

November 1, 2018

This has given me some ideas I want to try out.

I'm now wondering if I'd get more target language typing questions if my whole tree were instead crown level 4 or lower. Maybe there's a bug affecting only crown level 5?

I'm thinking about making four new accounts and doing the Japanese tree to different crown levels on each. So I'll have an account for each crown level, to compare how much target language typing you get for each crown level with the whole-tree Practice feature.

Although, I don't know if this would be worth the effort. Any differences between the accounts could simply be down to some A/B test linked to this that we don't know about.

I really like the thought of getting 13/20 target language typing questions though. I'd be happy just getting more than 4/20 for a change! ^^;

November 1, 2018

How are your experiences with the Japanese reverse tree on this count? For you, learning Japanese, level 5 is very useful, with lots of translation into Japanese? (So the Japanese folks learning English would have the same issue we all seem to have noted in this thread?)

November 2, 2018

Good question! I never get annoyed with the exercise type distribution in the reverse tree, so I haven't paid much attention to it. ^^

Just tried a Global Practice round...

  • source lang (JA) typing: 11/18
  • target lang (EN) typing: 4/18
  • "judge" (EN) exercise: 3/18

Interestingly, the last five exercises in the round went in the exact same order they do in the normal Japanese course: target, target, source, target, target.

Also, I tried a Skill Practice round for a random skill in the middle of the tree...

  • source lang (JA) typing: 15/20
  • target lang (EN) typing: 3/20
  • "judge" (EN) exercise: 2/20

Again, I notice that those three target language typing exercises are right at the end of the round. It looks like they are in the same order as in Global Practice: target, source, target, target.

It seems that in both normal and reverse tree for both global and skill Practice, the target language typing exercises are all always at the very end of the round (except that the 3rd exercise from the end will always be a source language typing exercise).

(I should add that I'm doing the reverse tree on a different account, and that the reverse tree is fully gilded crown level 5 too. Even though it was two different accounts, the results match.)

November 2, 2018

Couldn't agree more. I don't know whether it's a bug or if it's instead that Duo have intentionally dumbed it down.

My Japanese tree is completely gilded, all skills having 5 crowns. For me, the biggest issue with Practice Mode is that it no longer ever gives target language sentence typing exercises until the 16th exercise in the round. It only gives 4 target language typing exercises in each 20 exercise Practice round. Even though all my skills have five crowns...

I do Timed Practice all the time. I don't recommend doing Timed Practice to increase the challenge, because if the timer keeps running out before you make it to the 16th exercise you'll never encounter target language typing exercises...

I'd love to know if getting only 4 target language typing exercises per every 20 question round is actually a bug. For a tree where all skills have five crowns, it feels like it surely must be a bug... but who knows... ^^;

October 28, 2018

I think there are several dimensions to this.

I think the practice button has a cursor. It traverses through the tree just like we do. As an example, In my Eng-Esp tree, I am at "past perfect", my practice button is at "community 3". So I am doing only practice now until I get it near where I am. It is going slow. My overall strength in skill strength plugin is 86.4%. For every practice session it goes up 0.1% This means I have some 130 practice sessions to do before it has caught up with my tree.

i can see this by using the skills strength plugin, together with an excel sheet recording before and after practice strength.

there is a question of used device, the ios app and the desktop version, and the mobile web, I feel they are different in terms of what types of exercises they give me. at least that is my feeling. So if you get too many of one kind, it could be worth a try to see if the others are better.

but what I think this is really is about is that, once you get to higher crowns, does the practice level up too ? I don´t know that, bc first of all I am still on doing all level 1s. Second my practice button is so far behind me. But say on my second round when I am doing level 2, if I go a round on the practice button too, will it too level up and give me level 2 difficulty?

November 2, 2018

I don’t what has happened to practice recently! It used to incorporate vocabulary lessons at my level (French 25) but lately the practice questions are appropriate for level 1: Translate “yes” or “the boy is small”.

The practice dumbification seems to have occurred at the same time that the XP tree cap was instituted. This is a tremendous waste of time: I am very disappointed☹️

March 8, 2019


Quote: The practice dumbification seems to have occurred at the same time that the XP tree cap was instituted. This is a tremendous waste of time: I am very disappointed

On the web (=typing) or the Android mobile app?

You mean the global blue practice button?

Have you tried "timed practice" on the web?
The same?

This has got IMHO so much harder when you are on L1-L4 crown levels since a code change in 2018, at least for my EN->PT and PT->DE courses which I both practice regularly.

Quote: but lately the practice questions are appropriate for level 1: Translate “yes” or “the boy is small”.

Maybe you run into the bug that once you have reached the highest crown L5 level, that all the questions are switched back to the easy / beginner mode??

With the current half-baken crowns implementation is not very advisable to go for L5 before staff their code bugs with the next "crowns update".

When did you reach the L5 levels for most of your skills? In 2018? Recently?

March 8, 2019

Have you tried the skill practice (re-strengthen) with "timed practice"?

It got so much more difficult a few weeks ago (max 1-2 months) that I hardly pass over 10XP with my EN-PT course which I am already practicing for two years.

Somehow it feels like I am locked at the highest L5 level, even I have not reached it.

And for the other four first PT skills in my tree on crowns L4+L5 the practice button or "crown sessions" are purely a joke as they are way too easy (pictures, fill the word into the blank, PT->English instead of vise versa).

I have noticed that there are several A/B tests and rewrites going on for "practice".

Have you checked your extended user profile?

Can't speak for the much more difficult grammar skills or verb tenses as I have not reached higher crown levels.

But I can definitely assure you that the "timed practice" was much easier a few weeks ago for my Portuguese course and I had scored higher.
Sometimes I getting now 0XP! :-(
Sometimes only very few.
I need to be lucky to score higher.

October 28, 2018

Timed practice is almost all I do. It's not a challenge otherwise ;-)

October 29, 2018

To make General Practice work, you should gold all your beginner skills. I also used to get those Hangeul skills, but after I golded these skills, I get sentences from all opened skills mostly from last opened ones.
귤 - tangerine, 꿀 - honey.
As you will be opening new skills, you will see new sentences with more vocab and they are not so repetitive.
I suppose you are frastrated because you do not move further.
Do one skill up to Green and move to the next. You'll see that difficult grammar you struggled with the day before, now is much more easier to grasp.
I think the problem with a variety of sentences is that each sentence needs tens of possible translations and all these translations are manually added. So it needs a lot of time and voluntary work.
If you really want to learn Korean use other sources along with Duolingo, like Memrise for example, Youtube, sites with grammar lessons.
Now I'm half way, and just recently tried a reverse tree, I must say that tree has a lot of Korean sentences, and a little bit of English.
But these sentences are difficult, even the begginer ones. There is no Alphabet, they just give you a sentences like "Man has an apple" from the very beginning. There are no Tips and Notes. Article "the" is presented with "그" so that confuses more than helps. You see the other words for "woman" and "man" and other grammatical principles is used in the sentences which I think considered as easy ones for Korean person who studies English, but not for foreign person who studies Korean. I don't even sure if I should to start that tree after the English-Korean one.
Duolingo has its strong points but for Korean you surely need more sources.
Hope you'll find it helpful.

October 26, 2018

This is a problem with Duolingo, not with the course. The course has enough content. And General Practice is generally broken; it seems to be based on spaced repetition, which means my skills being golden has no effect on it.

October 27, 2018
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