https://www.duolingo.com/Ben_Brewer

An important reminder with the course changes

I've seen a lot of people complaining about lost progress the last couple days, even the last few weeks as some users seem to have received the changes early. I just want to remind everyone that Duolingo can never tell you exactly how much progress you've made. The numbers of lessons you've had gold, your crown levels, even your streaks are only secondary to your actual ability to read, write and speak your chosen language.

Your proficiency with your target language is your true progress. Course changes can't take that away from you. Try to see these additions for what they are: an opportunity to improve beyond what you previously could have.

April 10, 2019

56 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/NtateNarin

I agree. When my tree changes, I just pass the lessons I'm already comfortable with. Sometimes I will go back to a lesson I'm good at just to try out the new stuff they added.

Overall though, I like it when Duolingo updates their language trees, but I understand why many may be upset with that in terms of losing their visual progress, but at least they still have the progress they made in terms of learning another language.

April 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Kazman27549

Well said Ben. It's nice to read a post that can help folks remember why they are here in the first place, to learn. I'm amazed to see how much people complain after receiving a free product. Folks need to be grateful for this service, language learning can be expensive when you have to pay for it.

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicofiesta

It's always like that, look how much people have been complaining about Facebook.

April 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JimThibaul

At first I was a bit confused but you are right. The proficiency you gained is still valid

April 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Charles605967

Hi, I have to admit I did enjoy scrolling past all the skills in which I had completed all 5 levels. To solve this, could you enable us to test out of skills at the checkpoints, even if we are past the checkpoints? It wouldn't take long if you have the knowledge already, and everyone would still be able to see their progress after this change.

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/KaraT.

Yeees. So much this. I made a comment about it on the update thread, but there were so many comments on that already...

Please let us re-take the checkpoints! The problem here is that my "strengthen"/"practice" capability is diminished with all of these new (mostly pretty easy) things open. I had the tree fully gilded before the update, so doing timed "strengthen"/"practice" exercises had finally gotten really useful!

April 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/SuziJ0

YES! This is the best plan!! I really don't want to (and might not be able to :) test out of 105 skills, but I also don't get much from testing out again on each individual beginner lesson. Having said that, I still LOVE Duo! And I recognize that there are many considerations that they face. It seems that they must be used a lot more in schools now, as I have noticed fun little sentences like "the cows went out to dinner" in the beginner lessons.

April 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/betsys2003

I do not at all understand why they haven't make that happen.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Nga104476

Agree. Duolingo provides a starting point, but it takes a lifetime to master a language.

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TJTitmus

Such a shame we only get one lifetime when there's so much to learn, do and help others with.

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/RobertEddy

Sa mange sprak, sa lite tid.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Nga104476

WOW, Robert, looks like you do HAVE time to learn all of those languages.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/tiabrewe1

Så sant, men it looks like you have plenty of free time lol

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Nga104476

No exactamente, lol, I made time. When there's a will there's a way!

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Mulegnirk

Så mange sprog, så lidt tid :-)

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/SuziJ0

Wow! I'm impressed with all of your languages!

April 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Nga104476

I know, right.

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/greg.sandy

The course is definitely harder the second time around challenging and frustrating at the same time. What one has to keep in mind the crowns and levels are really not that important. The goal is learning German "period." It is very rewarding to learn a language. Duo has help me do so. What more do you want?

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/KogtistiyG

I don't see any reason why I should be upset with extra exercises. This new crappy design? Easily, but not the real (and FREE) content. In fact, I'm eagerly waiting for the Japanese tree to bloom with extra stuff they've been promising so that I could pick it up after a long break. And if something makes my golden trees (if I ever have any) not golden, I'll just come back to refresh them.

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Kellyro77

Very good point! I appreciate the reminder I'm here to actually learn a language. Not stockpile points and gems and crowns, etc. ;) At least that's MY reason for picking up this app.

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/meatcan

that's a really good attitude and perspective! So refreshing after seeing all the complaining recently about Duo's revised trees.

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/c5nest

With the new trees, I’m happy to see that the practice sentences are challenging instead of ridiculously basic.

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Tony979198

Absolutely! How could you have lost your progress if you already know everything? I love the new challenges and the new lessons that Duolingo is providing. Thanks to Duolingo, I can now read novels in 6 different languages. I make it a point to always read something every day in the language that I am learning, be it from a novel or some news on the internet. In the future, I would like to travel and to mingle with the people in the countryside who do not speak foreign languages.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/SallyannBe1

I agree with you Tony. I'm brushing up on my french 40 years after having last studied it at school. Duolingo is proving to be a great tool. So what if more users equal more revenue from advertising...it's free for us for goodness sake.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Bricksheffield

amen to this.

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/displicit

It's true, but the changes violate the whole gamification spirit that makes Duo compelling to start with. You see plenty of threads with people bragging about their streaks and golden trees, maybe you would also want to invade them and convince everyone it's not the most important thing about language learning? That's not considered polite.

Duo changes are not polite to some users too, they either force people to accomodate to changes or leave altogether. It's more authoritarian than telling people what they should or shouldn't like.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ErikMTyler

I don't care about the "streak." I've never used a single gem. What I think is a mistake is to roll something out—free or not—without a clear explanation of what is happening. Quality control basics say "inform and include." When users aren't kept in the loop about what's happening, it leads to confusion and a negative experience; while if the same circumstances occurred, yet those same users had been informed clearly about the coming update and that new content would replace old content, I don't think as many people would be upset. Yes, it's free in terms of money paid. But it is still an investment of time. And the users DO "pay" in terms of having to watch advertisements, which companies pay for (and would not pay for if no one were using the app). So, yes, I'm in agreement that the primary goal is to learn a language; and yet I still hold that preparing users for major changes is just good basic business sense. Again, users bring advertisers. And advertisers bring duoLingo money. Therefore, users = money.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ErikMTyler

Wow, and on top of it, sharing a perspective meets with a "negative one." I suppose it's the way of the world today: differing viewpoints can't coincide and are not tolerated well. It's ironic, given that, presumably, the point to learning languages is to embrace and appreciate worldwide differences among people. However, in our "Tweet Storm" climate where leaders call one another names in public, it's another good reminder to keep my opinions to myself for the sake of health and well being.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/compsognathus

Yes!! Couldn't have put it better. :)

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JoeHill12

Your right Ben, it's all about learning the language. In fact I don't think you ever stop learning when it's not your native tongue.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Susanna10025

Thank you for the changes. I get bored with the same old stuff over and over.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/purplpeanut

I understand that, but as a french student myself, it is easier for myself to measure how much i've progressed on the duolingo tree, and seeing that progress being taken away, it's much the same as when you finish a tree and instead of seeing the duolingo owl with the scarf of the flag of the tree you've completed, you just see the owl itself. And that saddens some.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/KrisValent

I am not one those people that hates changes just because they hate change. Legitimately there has clearly been a drastic and sudden change that has taken place.

If I am not mistaken the lessons are now 30 questions as opposed to 20 (?)The obstacle that presents is that it becomes a larger time commitment to cover a certain amount of material.

To explain I complete every lesson and I gold every coin in a given branch. I never test out of a skill and I force myself to complete each test. Meaning I have to answer all the questions correctly before the timer runs out or I repeat it until I get "100%". Further I have done a minimum of 100 points per day since I started the German tree about a year ago. That is based on the fact that I have about an hour a day of spare time(or I make/find it) much more than that and I just cannot commit to a consistent amount of material. It previously took me an hour to get 100 points.

The point is that the "old method" gave a way to measure that amount. I am not stupid. I went to school and I have an education. I know that the number of gold coins I get studying a language has little to do with my ability to apply that foreign language in a real life situation.

The Duolingo site is clearly a community of independent learners. The issue is that the newer method has placed a constriction on that ability to self learn. If the modules have nothing to do with learning the why systematize the language courses at all? Why not just have one giant long list of random questions and phrases. Obviously stream of consciousness would make no sense. Having the courses organized into consistent groupings has enabled those of us who are serious about learning and self teaching to enact their own curriculum. The modification have created a sort of forced environment and it just seems like they are preaching to the quire here. It does nothing to enhance the site accessibility and I highly doubt it will attract new learners. As far as this ever being a pay for use site I seriously doubt this is a successful step in that direction

April 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/nickiru

I want to just add some data to the pool pertaining to that lost progress:::

My observations: I believe there is a bug. I would witness my levels not being saved. a recent example: after completing the 3rd out of twelve lessons on something, that 3rd would not register and I would be doing the 2nd lesson again. Sometimes if I wait a couple minutes it updates! Sometimes, it doesn't update. It's not my internet: happens anywhere on phone and laptop, firefox, chrome, and waterfox.

But I have repeated lessons many times thinking 'whatever', more practice. I yesterday saw one of my lessons go from quiz 16 to 18 which is completion. So I thought, maybe it did save one of my quizzes I thought it didn't record and wasn't showing it to me. But it has only done that once, there is no consistency.

Just adding to the pool. I appreciate the 'test out of' option which I use quite a lot because duolingo doesn't save so many of my lessons. Meaning I have indeed practiced enough that I just test out of it anyways lol. So please never get rid of that option xD. It's a way out of a potential trap.

I recommend haste in fixing the lost progress issue. That harms the good positive reinforcement duolingo possesses. Many people have busy lives and may not be as driven to say 'whatever' to a poor progress report.

Tusan Takk! Love duolingo truly. I spread the word where I am at!

(returns to studying uninfluenced)

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ErikMTyler

Yes, I've reported other bugs as well. For instance, if I go to another language, miss something and have my health bumped down, then go to French and do a PRACTICE exercise (all for testing purposes), after one practice with missing health, I'll get "Congratulations! You've completed Food 2!" and all 5 crowns will suddenly fill in on something 23 topics down. This is not complaining. It's REPORTING, with the assumption that duoLingo and its developers want to be known for quality and thus to fix buggy app components.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/VFX5D

Usually when I am done with a lesson then it will sync to the other device by either waiting a couple of seconds or by closing and reopening the app/website

April 14, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/MissLaurynAnna

Agreed!

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Diane72505

I appreciate your comments. I was feeling so pleased to be close to the end of the Spanish lessons and suddenly I am back in the middle! I was not sure whether to go on or go back. I think I will just go back and see how it goes. Hopefully they have included more work on verb tenses. So far it has been rather thin in that area.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/VStarTraveler

True language learning can be a lifelong exercise. Most of us can learn new words every day in our first language if we chose to do so. I'm glad that Duolingo is continuing to grow and expand to help us learn more. That my tree suddenly looks a little bare just gives me the opportunity to redecorate it by continuing to learn. Thanks, Duolingo!

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Diane72505

Yes indeed! Thanks to duolingo for offering us all these additional learning opportunities.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/adriancendrowski

you have nailed it

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Cheryl254256

Duolinguo is great for daily practice, but I'm measuring my progress by how much I understand when I turn on RFI or a Québecois radio or TV station.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/dachrist

Honestly, I think you might have missed the point of some of the complaints. I understand that my proficiency is the true measure of progress; however, Duolingo is the tool I was using to improve my proficiency, and they are making it harder to determine what I need to work on.

The crowns and completed levels at a very minimum tell you what material you've been exposed to. By not giving credit for material in the new tree, we are left to search through old lessons for new material such as a new verb tense or a new piece of vocabulary, and, invariably, those pieces of new material are mixed in with all the material I have already been exposed to. Yes, exposure to the old material is good, but it's a horribly inefficient way to learn. I don't start at the beginning of a book every time I pick it up, I start where I left off the last time I was reading it.

I haven't been as engaged in Duolingo since the change, and mostly spend time going over the old lessons seeing if there is any value in doing them. I have found material that I like, but, like I said, it's mixed in with material I know well.

Ultimately, yes, it is my progress that matters, but Duolingo might not be the way I make that progress for much longer.

April 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ZnmDmIcD

Agree, I love having new content but don't think they have made it easy for existing users to interact with it and feel motivated. (Counterintuitively, if they looked at my usage stats they might think I'm more engaged, but it's really just that I'm poking through the "early" new content trying to see if anything is actually NEW to me, and satisfying my need to get the tree "looking" right again.

April 14, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/blanktheman

Ben this is exactly what i said in another post in response to them asking why they lost so much progress.

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LaraValcar1

Bravo. A stirring oration, sir. I agree.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Inez331086

I agree I had finished the Spanish tree about a year ago on my old computer logon so now I'm just getting back to doing lots of practice again with my phone logon! Getting myself back up to speed has been lots of fun and I'm liking the new challenges that the changes have thrown up for me, so far! I love the Bronze, Silver and Gold etc.. leaderboards but I don't seem able to access them from my laptop - is that right? Like the Lab stories which I can access on my laptop but not on my phone.... I guess it's just how it is...? I can use one or other but maybe not both?

April 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/TrevorHuxham

Great reminder. I was frustrated when they migrated my tree over to the new CEFR-aligned tree as I had lost a lot of progress (but no crowns), but as I’m going back through the new skills, I’m actually really happy with all the new content because a lot of the old skills that got replaced were very basic, mainly just vocabulary, and had no lightbulb options for them, whereas all the new skills do. I’m excited to continue on with a more comprehensive skill tree!

April 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/mkultrakid

But it still discourages people to continue learning.

April 14, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Natalie840096

Very very very very upset I was trying to complete tree been doing it every day for 2 years all gone now back to basics think I will give up, so upset I can't even talk about it, hours and hours of wasted time thanks a lot Duolingo. Never trust you again. I had been telling everyone to do duolingo now all my levels gone nearly completed more than half of the tree and level 1 for everything else all gone now I only have 4-5 levels complete. Why did you do this? Why could you not have given me the choice or added new lessons but kept my old lessons complete. I was hoping to finish my tree before my 50th Birthday that was my goal. Now so sad and upset I will never finish.

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/RowAnaR

I agree some of us are very very busy and have worked hard to 'see' our progress. We are not all the same therefore we are permitted appreciate our learning in different ways. I am very visual and I need to see the completed sections above the 'working on sections'. I will need to re-golden-ise everything before I am satisfied with the way the tree looks. 500+ day streak and thinking of chucking it. This has happened before and I still haven't recovered all of my Spanish visuals. I agree with Charles605967 (above) there must be a better way?

April 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Ann504636

I was on a good streak too - loads of hours put in day by day, week by week, etc. It is very disappointing to lose the record of one's progress. I was just about to show a tutor all the work I had done since our last meeting... and zap. No sign of any of it. There are terms for this in psychology. Something like intermittent negative reinforcement. Is that a technique in torture? Behavior modification? I appreciate the positive attitudes and am at the same time utterly confused why Duolingo would do this and I feel screwed with. Is that "ok" because it's free? I'm still game and trying to re-golden all my previous levels by testing out. That still takes a lot of time! Tonight I couldn't continue because the sound quit. When I clicked on skip (because there was no sound), I'd lose hearts, so testing out was not possible. I'm dedicated to my streak/practice and patient while Duolingo irons out the (wrinkles?). It's weird not having any explanation, reassurance, or true expectations about their intentions.

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/lorna543937

My sound has quit a couple of times too but I find closing the browser or app and reopening it makes it work again, not ideal but I hope it helps you!

April 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ZnmDmIcD

I had this same struggle when trees would lose their "gold" status after a few days... I would not be able to start the next lesson until I had re-golden-ised all previous content (as I got further along this was more and more challenging to keep up with, and actually kind of discouraging). But I see the point about keeping skills fresh along the way... In the new trees, if the individual lessons kept their colors, but the checkpoints faded to indicate a need to refresh & retest, I think that might be a more balanced approach. Just a thought :)

April 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/KaraT.

That actually sounds like a good idea to incorporate some of the "skill degradation" without applying it to every skill in the tree since the trees are massive now. You'd never be able to keep it gilded and have, like, a job or a family. XD

April 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Sande.

True, but I think it would also be nice to get some sort of a legacy award that shows the effort you've put towards completing the previous tree.

April 13, 2019
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