Heads-up: Duolingo Language Levels are Dying
I received a server-side update on Duolingo Web for the Profile UI today. It makes several design modifications, and all-in-all, it looks pretty slick.
The main change I noticed however, is how the user's languages are displayed. The landmarks have finally disappeared and have been totally replaced by the country flags (Which is a change I understand some people are not happy about, but I personally think the flags look better).
Alongside the flags, I noticed another change: The language level count has disappeared. I have frankly been expecting this for a while, after the level count was removed from the dropdown back when the Top Bar redesign rolled out.
In some ways this change slightly disappoints me. I personally enjoyed using levels as a broad, high-level way to gauge my progress on the tree.
However, over the last year or so, levels have grown to mean less overall, as new tree updates have rolled out that made the levels rather inaccurate. For example, I am only a quarter through the Spanish tree, yet I am on Level 22/25, which just isn't accurate at all.
I do hope that Duolingo reconsiders their decision to remove Levels, and attempt to re-construct them to be more useful and accurate. However, as someone who only occasionally used Levels, I won't miss them all that much, but they were a nice extra way to display your learning progress.
At any rate, I'm curious as to when the Level counts will be removed from the forums. Considering the speed of Duolingo's updates lately (Which I have for the most part enjoyed and appreciated), I expect it won't be long until Levels finally breath their last breath.
What do you all think about the Profile page redesign, the removal of landmarks, and the impending death of Levels? I'm interested to hear your thoughts below!
EDIT: I just received yet another update for the profile page. It appears Duolingo has now moved the Friends leaderboard back to the Learn page, after they moved it to the profile last week as part of the arrival of Leagues on desktop.
I'm quite happy with this second update. It's nice to be able to view both of my leaderboards (Leagues and Friends) on the Learn Page at the same time. Thanks Duolingo!
Thanks for this rather shocking news. I wondered why my count just now no longer showed "x # XP to level X". I even vaguely wondered if something like this might be coming. That was a great motivator for me but it's a good thing I already decided to break my (admittedly minor) streak today. Just sayin'. (I did the lessons, just quit before it registered...lol)
I am quite stunned seeing the
removeage removal on the web portal in our profiles even the data is provided in our "extended user profiles"....but we were somehow "expecting" this as all those changes happend on all the recent mobile app updates, weren't we?
They now show me:
Only (total) XP, but they are leaving out all the "Next level" and current level for my different courses with different bases and overlapping target languages.
For now I will rely on the http://www.duome.eu/USERNAME detail and level page.
Could / Should this be the start to discuss with the Duome author and all of you about our self redesigned language levels on Duolingo?
When will the language flags be finally removed from the forum threads?
It was a nice feature and I ALWAYS scanned comments for users with higher level Portuguese flags.
The question is:
- 1) Would you change anything below L25 / 30,000XP?
- 2) How would the enhanced level system should look like above 30,000XP (yes, we have several users with test-out trees or old Immersion XPs)? Max 99?
- 3) How should a completely redesigned new level system look like?
- 4) OR: Should total and language crowns (which are very different for EACH tree version) replace XP language levels?
- 5) How will the last point 4) "100% crowns replacement" address different (shorter) languages trees or Non-CEFR ones?
I would be interested to hear from players who have more experience from games or are "game designers" themselves.
All those bigger gaps (e.g Memrise 5,000,000 -> 12,500,000 mio points) personally do not really help me to push forward when I am not able to catch the NEXT goal anytime soon.
In 1,x mio points I will finally reach the next magical Memrise 12,5 mio point mark but the next gap to the next level is quite high and this one will probably take me years to reach it.
This is definitely not very motivational.
Thomas, I was just thinking about you because I knew you would have a detailed post on the matter. I think we have grown accustomed to changes in general, but this one is sure to disappoint.
It was a nice feature and I ALWAYS scanned comments for users with higher level Portuguese flags.
Yes, I also gave somewhat greater credence to users with higher levels. (One must be careful of this. For example, a native speaker of Spanish might have no Spanish level. Or, as another example, I see German levels higher than yours, but I would not hesitate to take your advice regarding a question of German grammar over most other posters.) But generally speaking, when I am in a lesson and I click on "discussion" for a particular exercise, I scan for users with higher XP in a given language for a quick answer. This, I think, is probably the most salient point here, and it will be lost with the change, if MichaelMoore2004 is correct in his prediction.
Could / Should this be the start to discuss with the Duome author and all of you about our self redesigned language levels on Duolingo?
Perhaps the next time you're disabling user accounts you can address that matter with the Duome author. :)
I would be interested to hear from players who have more experience from games
I don't have such experience, but I think that if the current levels were replaced, then it should be number of crowns achieved, as I have explained below.
I agree that the really big gaps are not so motivating. Extra motivation comes from easily achieved trophies (i.e., smaller gaps) The greatest motivation is the desire to learn, but in terms of packaged, discrete user goals, the smaller gaps make more sense.
I worked towards an Owl just as I wanted to understand more of Romanian before I concentrated in more depth.
Somewhere along the way I got to level 25 and didn't realise it was significant. Today's update gives me a Golden Owl, rather than one with a blue yellow and red scarf (which since I had two green circles and no blue and the rest red, orange or yellow I though should have had no blue).
Now I think that significance is lost as I thought I'd have to get all my circles golden before my owl was golden. And I still have a very long way to go (I started back at the bottom of the tree and am now trying to get orange all the way up, except the ones up to the first check point... which I wished I hadn't leveled up as I forget things like clothes... the language not forget my clothes).
When I saw your post and checked my profile, I noticed the removal of levels and it confirms your frustrations. When Duolingo replaced the top bar with the white version the courses dropdown menu had the levels removed and this change today comes as no surprise. The removal of levels is completely unnecessary and doesn't tell you how far you have progressed in your courses aside from skills. Next thing is they will remove the flag icons from our profiles in the forums.
I am very fed up with the constant and unnecessary changes Duo pulls out of nowhere since the new design came out on the desktop/mobile site in March and the removal of useful features that worsens the user experience EVERY TIME. This year, I feel like every few weeks there is a change that angers so many people while the staff ignores our objections. Who keeps making these poor decisions? I feel like Duo keeps shooting itself in the foot with all these bad decisions and unnecessary changes/removal of useful features.
There has been so many bad decisions/poor changes here, I'll give a brief list:
https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31875936 (my post about answer ribbons no longer movable on mobile)
https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/32201398 (new all white design)
https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31260127 (loss of flag scarves on golden owls)
https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31849174 (Health system coming to Android)
https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31947469 (percentages on skills)
https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31946434 (a user's complaint about the removal of useful features)
and the list goes on...
While I do somewhat miss the Levels, it isn't the end of the world. As @angus390025 pointed out, levels have come to lose their primary meaning in the post-crowns world of Duolingo. And as I said in my original post, levels have grown to be rather inaccurate over the past year.
To be totally honest with you, I have enjoyed the majority of Duolingo's updates this year. I am doing waaay more Duolingo this year than I was last year, and I am starting to feel like I am actually getting somewhere in learning Spanish.
At any rate, think on the bright side! Duolingo is one of the best places for learning a language online. That's why we're all here. Personally, I'm grateful to Duolingo for what it is allowed me to accomplish. It has its issues, just like anything else, but I can overlook those minor flaws simply because of what Duolingo has done for my life.
I agree. Sometimes when there is a change I fail to overlook the positives. There are some changes I don't have a problem with. But this is not to say all changes are good. But that is something for another day.
I worked on a lot of Spanish too and Duolingo helped me a lot in my learning and at least changed my life. It is a great resource for learning languages for free and without it I wouldn't be learning most of the languages offered here nor have interest in language learning other than Mandarin or maybe Japanese and Korean.
Bring back levels! I used levels to determine which language to practice next...I have a leader board of which takes precedence.
I don't use the friends leader board - why would I want to compare my progress with anyone other than myself.
Bring back decay - it was the most useful feature here.
Quote: Bring back decay - it was the most useful feature here.
I would have suggested these workarounds:
But to me it looks like the strength system / API is currently broken (more than in summer 2018) and that staff may have finally decided to transform the global PRACTICE button into "crown session" (=lesson) progress.
This was their official recently posted announcement: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/32313440/Word-based-Progress-Update
This was my longer comment directed to the Duolingo developers asking for a detail explanation and some examples: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/32313440$comment_id=32321578
I have decay still on my mobile phone! It is a very old phone and a very old version of duolingo. But it still works.
I group languages by level and each day work on the languages in a group, keeping them around the same level. This gives me 4-6 lessons a day, which is ideal for travel time if the signal is good. It is a buzz when all the levels rise the same day :-)
Not any more you can't (or at least I can't)!
Now, levels had become somewhat meaningless lately, and the limit of 25 needed to be addressed. I guess this is how they addressed it. :sigh:
I hope they don't disappear completely, when answering questions it was useful to see someone's level in that language, it gave some idea what kind of answer to give. Someone at level 2 in French isn't ready for a discussion of passe simple versus passe compose. (I'm at level 21 in French, a few points away from 22, and I'm just beginning to be ready for such a discussion.)
Thank you for pointing this out. Levels was how I gauged my progress. How much effort I'd put in. I don't know what I'd do without them. The leaderboards DON'T interest me that much that I want to gauge my progress from them. Obviously xp's are here to stay with leaderboards, they are not going replace them with crowns.
It's interesting to see your idea that levels might be removed altogether in the near future, and quite frankly, I see how that could indeed account for a number of the changes made recently.
I was already under the impression that levels were being devaluated, because of all the bonus points given out. They can gain you up to 50% extra points without doing anything for them, and from the sticky post ("word based progress update") I gather that doing lessons further down the tree may now actually get you progress (at least percentage-wise, not sure about points) on the lower levels if the words coincide, if those lessons had not reached the golden 5 yet.
I'm still hoping to gain my level 25 by that time!
As for the leaderboards, I too noticed that the Friends leaderboard has returned to the learning tab, for which I'm very glad. One thing that I'm still hoping for is a separate switch in the privacy tab under profile, for opting in or out of the public leaderboards. Anyone could choose for themselves then whether they would like to compete there or not.
A last thing I noticed which was well improved, is the system of granting bonus points. Previously, it just counted the last streak you made, making it frustrating to get 19 right and the very last one wrong. Now it seems to count the number of sentences in the lesson you did right on the first attempt, which is a much fairer way of doing it.
It seems like we're getting there in the long run, but it does take a lot of "trial and error" and sometimes I just feel like a guinea pig... I absolutely believe that it remains important for all of us students to give all this feedback!
Although you're absolutely right of course, to me it seems a bit weird that we must go to another site to find our progress on this one? Even more so since this information was readily available here.
(For me it still is, but I understand from all the feedback here there's a yet another test going on, which eliminates it).
I never even noticed the levels because they've not been a part of the mobile experience. It was actually a couple of years before I ever logged into the web portal and I was already at level 25 in Spanish. I was also far from fluent and realized level 25, which seems to be the top level, really had no significance at all and I was surprised at how important it seemed to the web portal users. I've eventually come to embrace Duolingo's changes. The last one where they added a whole bunch of new content to the Spanish course ended up being amazing. It included a ton of very important information that, the lack of, had been my biggest complaint about Duo. So, they keep going and I keep supporting them.
Duo seems interested mainly in more gamification of their product, so that they can keep up with MemRise and others.
To me, what's important is "Can I continue to improve in the language I'm trying to learn?" Most of the game aspects (the latest being leagues) don't motivate me.
Tinycards is, I'm afraid, the future of DuoLingo.
@Chevy: You obviously don't understand how the percentages system works. They are accurate, what people don't understand is that lessons aren't divided up into strict lessons anymore, they are fluid. You gain percentages by multiple factors, like global practice and doing other lessons on the tree.
Duolingo can't display fractions, the system doesn't work that way anymore...
how is Duome still able to give us those (lesson) numbers?
Because the "crown sessions" variables are still available in our public "extended user profiles" and are tracked and incremented by their backend system.
- level_sessions_finished (current)
- num_sessions_for_level (max)
- levels_finished (current crown level)
- missing_lessons (old lessons)
- num_lessons (max old lessons)
The same way the Duolingo mobile app is still able to give us fractions:
I have done some testing with the percentages system by doing lessons on the web and then comparing the results to the fractions on my mobile app and duome.
Sometimes, when I do a lesson on the web, I gain slight percentages, but not enough for me to jump up a level in the fractions. Other times, I gain a rather large amount of percentage in one lesson, and it jumps me up two levels in the fraction system.
And other times, I have done a lesson on the web, and it has made basically no effect on my percentages or fraction levels at all.
Try doing some comparison testing between the two systems yourself. You'll notice exactly what I noticed. :)
@MIchael: I'll put words in Serge's mouth and suggest that he found your condescending personal remark towards Chevy offensive, as I did. It was especially galling given that on more than one occasion you've posted about the "toxictiy" of the Forums. Why did you think it necessary to say that "You obviously don't understand how the percentages system works. "? What did that add? How do you think that Chevy felt when he read that comment?
Further, how do you "know" that "Duolingo can't display fractions"? I believe that the fractions that Chevy was "obviously" referring to were the number of lessons completed of the total number of lessons in each skill. The duome.eu site displays that fraction from Duolingo data, so why can't the Duolingo site?
Let's hope that this is a temporary thing. Maybe they need to reassess the levels so that they are more accurate. Perhaps there should be a Duolingo news tab at the top where the people working on Duo can highlight updates and reasons behind them. I hope they put levels back again, even if they are different to the ones we've been using, and even if it means that I am now on a lower level than I was. I still find it helpful to have a target for days when I am not feeling inspired.
I'm going to give a product design response to all the negative criticism this change is receiving.
Duo as a company is clearly pretty committed to a testing methodology. Whatever wins the test gets implemented. Period. They have metrics they believe best tell the story of whether people are succeeding and/or learning on the platform. They have been doing this for years, so the metrics are probably fairly stable. At this point, minor changes don't move the needle all that much. The only way to improve is try fairly substantial changes.
In my experience working with tech, you could show ten people an A/B test and all ten would predict that A would win and then you run the test and B wins easily. That is why you test. You just don't know what is going to improve your key metrics.
I would be much more concerned if these changes were made simply because one product manager "liked" them, but Duo is very clearly not run that way. So while some things you like might go away and that sucks, the platform is continuously and consistently getting better.
Personally I love the League board. I have found leagues to be very motivating over the past month that I have used them. I was glad when they made their way to the web, because it was annoying to constantly have to check my phone to see what place I was in xD
As to the levels, you must be part of an A/B test: I still have the levels in the forum. What does it look like without levels in the forum? Is Duolingo just showing the username, or are they showing the language flags or what? I'm curious to know what you're seeing.
Really? People will leave Duolingo because they can't see a Level 'number'. C'mon, there are more important things to worry about!. Yes, it was a helpful goal but sounds like it's use was becoming somewhat diluted. The key objective for me was to enjoy learning a language and I'm achieving that
Even though I'm All-Shiny again, I never got the achievement badge back again. It was stripped from me.
Now the levels are to be stripped.
What world strips people of their achievements?
Gold medalists don't lose a former medal just because new rules or changes to the event take place.
Why are the levels useful? Having thought about it this week, this is how I am seeing it at the moment: If I travel between places, I often enjoy and appreciate the journey. I was travelling to Chesil Beach today- it was good to be out of the town- the countryside was stunning- but it's still nice to have signposts, markers, things that give you an idea not only of how far there is to go, but to tell you how far you've come already-to be able to look ahead and see where you are. Finding the levels helpful does not mean you are studying for the wrong reason, doesn't mean you think that they are perfect or even believe you are of a certain ability- but they help me, at least in this way. I can walk up a hillside looking at the view, the bee orchids, the colours and sounds and smells around me, and take pleasure in that, and yet still appreciate it whenever I look at a point in front of me coming nearer, still find the passing of markers to be useful. I've been reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles DIckens- it's about 400 pages long-potentially daunting as I don't have a lot of time to sit and read- life is busy- I have to snatch chunks of time when I can. I am over halfway and really enjoying it, and yet the page numbers were a comfort and an encouragement to me- to be able to say to myself that I had read a third of the book helped carry me along, and, bizzarely, helped me to keep enjoying the story itself. I don't understand it myself, but a language can be like that. Maybe one day I will have a maturity in my language-learning that will make the use of levels entirely unwanted- I will be able to cruise along without the need of signposts and measuring sticks. Maybe...but for now, or for until recently, the levels have been landmarks to walk towards, to reach and pass- to look back on and be glad about. So that's why I've found the simple level numbers helpful.
You can check your level yourself. Either here: https://duome.eu/snosage or here (find your XP on your Duolingo Profile first): https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/2261330/XP-needed-per-level
Or, if you don’t want to consult a second website, simply aim for milestones in your XP: say, every 1000, 2500, and/or 5000 points. Level 25 is 30,000 XP.
:) Yes. The lessons are frustrating, don't stress the users. Let's remove the courses! Peaóople need no goals. No targets. Let's eliminate targets in any part of the life! Work just as you want, ignoring targets of that. :) Let"'s eliminate scales, it bothers the people on diet, and let's forbid the doctors to give weight targets too. No need for such motivation! (well.. let's not give them ideas, as they may make them)
GIVE BACK the Levels, and the "x # XP to level X" It helped a lot to make one more and one more lesson, to give a goal for the day. You can say, that let's enjoy the mountain climbing just for itself. But without seeing the next peak clearly, and attack it, all the fun is lost.
And some may tell that the learning itself is the main thing. But for thoose who really worked on this hard, for them the "next goal" made a great motivation.
Those who don't need it, they could ignore this feature. But those who needed it, they can't ignore the disappearing of it.
Why doesn't Duo asks users about such changes, Why they think they know everything better than their users?
This is completely unnecessary. I am beginning to get rather vexed about this persistent behaviour. For years sensible suggestions have been offered on how Duolingo could be improved from a variety of users, and they are always ignored. Meanwhile, Duolingo has made a constant stream of negative changes that did not need to be added or removed and take away the style that Duolingo used to have. I am fed up. Thank goodness for Duome, I feel, as this seems to be the only way to tell the difference between an incompetent learner and a multi-lingual expert who has perfected their language over years, as Duolingo gradually removes any indications of a user’s skill and replaces them with unnecessary graphics changes.
@admin: PLEEEEEEEEEEASE don't get rid of the levels! You haven't done it yet, so PLEASE think this over, and DON'T DO IT! I know you never go back once a change has been implemented, who could? Listen to your users! Getting to level 25 is a major motivation for people's persistence in continuing. Competition and leagues are fun, but I also spend a lot of time commenting in forums and sentence discussions. I feel the icons indicating levels help give my comments some weight. Please, don't do it! I know you've been considering this for awhile, as my pleas to put the leveling-up fanfares back in place have fallen on deaf ears. See: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29261242. But don't get rid of the levels, it will be a mistake. Levels are a major motivation.
Yes, agreed. But in terms of trusting someone's opinion in a sentence discussion, I would see that both you and piguy are invested. I don't know. I pride myself in getting to the highest level, and in getting to a "decent" level of at least 10 in any language. I am not impressed by people who have thirty flags following their avatars, if they are all at low levels. That's just clutter.
I wasn't crazy about the switch to crowns. Still don't like it.
I never thought much about the landmarks one way or the other, but I do like the current rectangular (rather than circular) flags.
I don't care for the new font being used in the exercises.
I have mixed feeling about the massive recent upgrades in French and Spanish. I like more vocabulary, but what they really needed to fix didn't get fixed. A serious attempt to teach subjunctive mood in Spanish would have been extremely useful, instead of the paltry patch-up job that appears at the end of the course. (This is astonishing, given the ubiquity of the subjunctive mood in Romance languages in general, but especially in Spanish since it appears in every political candidate's speech, every product sales pitch, and pretty much everywhere else.) Any attempt at all to teach the definite past in French would be an improvement (at current, there's absolutely nothing of that tense/mood. I think that their thinking was always that since the past compound has subsumed the preterite functions of the definite past in that language, it wasn't necessary. But if you try to read the sports page of a French newspaper, or try to read a novel, you won't be able to unless you have learned those conjugations. I had to learn them elsewhere.) I think the push to align with the common framework standards was misguided and serves, at best, a tiny fraction of duolingo users, but given the amount of programming that went into that effort, you'd think that they could have also addressed those serious deficiencies while they were there.
Upgrades in general are okay. I don't mind getting the owl back over and over (that's just a matter of testing out), but I don't like repeating "I am a boy" ad infinitum to get from 1 to 2, then 2 to 3 crowns, etc. In fact, the most recent update to French had the benefit of making my tree no longer golden (all 5 crowns). That ended up being a good thing in terms of the "practice" algorithm.
As for levels, I don't think that the levels mean what they once did and they really haven't conveyed the significance of achievement that they did before the crowns. For example, I think showing number of crowns achieved (next to the flags on this forum) would make more sense than the levels currently displayed. Mind you, I'm not a fan of the crowns and I would like to see it go back to the pre-crowns display (and, more importantly, the way the practice algorithm worked before crowns--especially with skills at 5 crowns), and I'd like to see the colors go back bright again so we could quickly see, at a glance, which skills we need to practice. But, as long as they are going to have crowns, then the number of crowns (total, per language) is really a more telling achievement marker than the level system.
interesting point. I just did a quick survey of my trees to get a feel for that. The numbers are crowns I have and total crowns in tree. (Learning from English unless otherwise indicated.)
- french 491/782
- spanish 453/797
- german 474/607
- portuguese 338/457
- spanish (from french) 102/375
- french (from spanish) 84/340
- catalan (from spanish) 185/315
So it's true that the max (cap) is different for each one, which says less about the language than about its popularity. (I'm sure it's much easier to find Spanish or French contributors than, say, Ukranian or Swahili. So those courses get more contribution.)
As for the other idea, that seems perhaps as misleading as the "fluency meter". Possibly worse, because it's complicated as well as misleading. At least the fluency meter was one simple number on a 1 to 100 scale. (although it was for sure a joke. I remember seeing that I was "68%" fluent in Portuguese and thinking, "there's no way I understand two-thirds of the dialogue in Portuguese films. I'm lucky to get a quarter of it.) I'm so glad that went away.
Let's assume that the "crown" system is here to stay. Showing things like "491" would be self-explanatory to experienced duolingo users, although to be sure not as easy on the eyes as "25". You could put "491/782" but some users have long lists of languages. Their posts' remind me of driving past the UN building in New York. I'm not sure that showing more than 3 digits is a good idea.
Then we would be back to the popular topic of the percentage display. It would then indicate what percentage of the whole language tree you have worked through. In fact, that wouldn't say anything about what level you're at right now.
But it could be a path to follow in the meantime, as they work on the transition to CEFR. Even the main courses would take 1 to 2 years, in my estimation, to enrich them with further content on the one hand and to structure them in such a way that one could give an approximate statement of the language level on the other hand.
So practical, if you have worked through Skills 1 - 15, you have the vocabulary and simple grammatical structures of A0. 5, if you have worked through Skills 1-30, you have completed the vocabulary and sentence structures of Level A1, etc. pp. of course varies per language.
How do you suppose they will gauge your progress in the lesser languages? Do they have CEFR courses for them? Xp's are a marker of practice, not knowledge or tree level. You can have be level 3 in Spanish and yet know Spanish well before you started. Or you can be level 25 and not have finished the tree because you repeated so many lessons or did so many crowns!
It may not be so practical, nor so clear. I imagine that there are people who can complete the tree and not be able to order a beer in a bar, and others who, upon completion of the tree, are ready to host a nationally-televised news program in their target language. (Granted, the first situation would require you to be especially forgetful and the second, that you consume huge quantities of material outside duolingo, and most learners will come out somewhere in-between those extremes, but you can find learners here who fall into extremes, judging by the nature of their questions on this forum.) Two individuals can have very disparate abilities to communicate in a foreign language, even though they might have completed the same number of lessons.
I really think that any such measure is misleading--duolingo can say, "good job, you have learned 15% of what some group of bureaucrats in Madrid say you need to have learned to be 'funcionally proficient'--and it will be no more useful to the user (and equally misleading) as the "fluency meter" was, whereas "crowns achieved" is absolute. Meaningless to some, perhaps, but absolute, and therefore a solid way to measure one's progress, at least in the abstract. Nothing duolingo can do will guarantee that you learn and retain any information, but number of crowns attained seems to be a reasonable replacement of the old level since that is, and has been, the official duolingo unit of progress for at least a year. Just as number of XP gained was useful in the pre-crown era because it did not make any presumptions, the number of crowns achieved would be a similarly useful tool in the crowns era.
only tests can make that visible.
I'd only add that the tests I have in mind are not those which bureaucrats in offices come up with. The "tests" I have in mind are empirical. The come from real-life experiences. Can you ask for directions to the Pointe-à-Pitre airport and understand the very detailed directions that you're receiving form the gas-station attendant? Can you explain to the attending physician that, oh, by the way, your child has an allergy to ampicillin as he is being rushed into the ER? Can you tell the extremely horny and extremely voluptuous Italian you just met at a bar in Rome and who followed you to your hotel room that although you really, really like her, and in almost any other circumstance, you'd already be ripping her clothes off, your four-hour bus ride from Florence, immediately following an all-pork diet due to a pig-harvest festival in which you were the honored guest, has given you a two-inch hemorrhoid and the fact that you can't even summon a grin should most definitely not be interpreted as a rejection of any sort, but that you'd love to have a chance to see her again the very near future, when you're feeling a little better?
Those are the tests that I have in mind.
In Europe, the CEFR test includes exactly this, because in addition to multiple choice tasks to test vocabulary and grammar, it includes a listening task, with comprehension questions, than a writing part and an oral test in which you take part in a conversation.
Example for writing-part:
You decide to go to the silver wedding party with your partner. Write the letter to the Smiths using a suitable greeting and suitable closing formula. The following points should be mentioned in your letter. Before starting the letter, decide the order in which these points should be included.
- Ask for directions to reach the bed & breakfast place by car.
- Ask them to make reservations for you and your partner for one night.
- Give three items of news about yourself and your own family.
- Mention the reason for your letter.
I don't think we're that far apart. I also mean, if after the CEFR conversion e. g. in a language with approx. 80 crown level skills the crown skills 1-40 are worked through in all 5 rounds, then you have approximately the vocabulary range and the sentence structure of A1, if you have worked through all 5 rounds up to 80, then up to A2.
As you already say, it doesn't say whether someone is really at A1 or A2 level, only tests can make that visible.
Plus up to 3 bonus skills. Some courses have them, some don't. The ones showing as 2 above a multiple of 5 probably have flirting and idioms or similar bonus skills. Bonus skills are limited to level 1 at the moment as far as I know, so just add 1 crown per bonus skill rather than 5.
Shouldn't the total possible number of crowns be divisible by five?
I don't know. Apparently not, although the three not from English are multiples of five.
Here's something strange. Those numbers I quoted above are from duome. They do not all match my crown numbers on duolingo. The images below are screen shots from the top right hand side of my duolingo homescreen. The top one is when I am learning french. The bottom is spanish.
In both of those, the number of crowns I have achieved in duolingo is higher than the number that shows up on duome. For all my other courses, the number that shows up on duome is the same as the number that shows up on the top of the duolingo page. But for French, duolingo shows 716 while duome shows 491. For Spanish, duolingo shows 489 while duome shows 453.
Edit: rumnrain's post below explains this observation, I think. The difference between 716 and 491 is 225, which must also be the number of crowns that I "lost" when my golden tree 8 was upgraded to tree 12. ("lost" on duome due to their software's counting of extant crowns only, but duolingo keeps the count, apparently).
Please note that the total number of crowns that a user has in a language is not necessarily the total number of crowns they have on their course tree. One of the staff members (probably HelpfulDuo or Luis, I don't know in which posts) has mentioned that they now allow you to keep your crowns when a tree is updated.
So, my English from Portuguese tree currently has 84 unlocked skills of which only 3 have any crown levels; these 3 provide a total of 6 crowns. The number of crowns shown in the top bar for this course tree is 39. I presume this is how many crowns I had before a recent update to it.
In time this will mean that ratings based off the crowns (presuming the number in the top bar will be used) will tend to be higher for users who have been here longer (so long as they keep trying to recomplete the course).
I post this as further information only; I do not believe it negates anything that Angus has said, and it is not intended to. In particular, I mean that what I have written does not, in my opinion, contradict that "the number of crowns (total, per language) is really a more telling achievement marker than the level system."
Just a little bit every day really is not insurmountable discipline. Not having the levels, though, does take away a convenient proximate goal, that pushed me to do more when I was near a level. Now there are just the crowns, which are too small for the next goal (only one test, if one retains command of that skill), and coloring the entire tree the next color, which is rather too large a goal for me usually. I will definitely miss the levels.
When I created my account a couple of months ago, I noticed that the site was very similar to a game. I worked at it for a while on the desktop version on my PC, and then one night I decided to download the app to my phone to do some lessons in bed before I slept.
Here's what I noticed. It was not only gamified, but every ad that came up for me to watch in order to get a chest of gems or to get health was an ad for a mobile game. You know the type. Poke here and poke there, and the letters, jewels, or candies fall in to place. Candy crush type stuff.
This program is a game, and is in direct competition with games.
With that said, the levels are important, but it can also give you an idea of what you're in for when it comes to future updates. Watch for language skirmishes, timed practices against other "players". Look for language leaderboards, and more goodies for people who learn as many languages as possible. Instead of being someone like me or @Linda7Italian or @Songve who only have 1-3 languages, we'll be considered low-achievers compared to people with 20 flags by their names. Next it will be language tree modification, which could be picking an area to excel at within your language. Speaking? Listening? Writing? You will work on an area to get crowned and show everyone what your strengths are.
It's a game. Yes, we're learning languages for free, but I am quite sure that in time these changes, biased for mobile use, will get to a point where it will be very similar to those poke and drop type games that are already advertising with Duolingo.
I worked my butt off to get to level 23 in Ukrainian. I'd just like to see myself get to level 25 before they scrap the levels entirely.
every ad that came up for me to watch in order to get a chest of gems or to get health was an ad for a mobile game.
that's interesting. I don't think I ever had an ad for a game, but I don't normally pay attention. For a while, I kept getting an ad for a gay cruise line. I don't pay much attention to the ads, but this ad was very noticeable. It featured three well-endowed, scantily-clad men in alluring poses in front of a big ship. I noticed it several times. the ad appearing now is rather more pedestrian. It features a 2019 Outback 2.5i from Subaru, which can be mine for $249* per month.
It's weird because most websites use targeted advertising. For example, when I read the Washington Post or Le Monde, I see ads for CheapCarribean, which books resorts, or LeisurePro, which sells diving equipment. It makes sense because I have frequently booked vacations with CheapCarribean and bought diving supplies from LeisurePro. And I regularly search for things like that. Daydreaming, I suppose. Wow, that's a nice dive computer. Oh, look at that island, we should go there. But I don't regularly search for gay ocean cruises or suburban assault vehicles--in fact, I don't think I've ever seriously considered buying an SUV or a gay cruise--so apparently the advertising here is not very targeted.
LOL! Oh dear me, I just about spit coffee through my nose!! These ads are on the mobile devices. :) You're forced to watch them in order to move on, or get something you need. As in, you want to open a second chest to get gems, or if you want to add health, watch an ad. Those ads. On the phone.
Ah. that makes sense. I think I mentioned to you that I rarely use the phone for duolingo, and I haven't tried the phone app at all. But I understand now. I've seen references to the gems and to health.
Sexual assault counseling is what's being advertised on my laptop now. Refreshing gives me a US Army recruiter who offers me a 40 thousand dollar enlistment bonus.
Lol! That might explain why I only get ads referring to not weight loss,but sucking it in products. I don't need to suck mine in, a size 3-5 U.S., but having a pic of a house as my avatar... maybe the thats why. I may be warped though, there is some kind of satisfaction I get when they tuck their bellies in those chest high underwear and then smile real big. Idk.
As usual, Marlana, your post is well-done and thought provoking! :)
As someone who occasionally uses the Duolingo app, I can attest to what you said. EVERY. SINGLE. AD. is for Candy Crush or a similar game xD
You have some interesting ideas about what the future of Duolingo may hold, and to be honest, you've excited me. Gamification was a major reason why I stuck to Duolingo when I first started, and lately, it's motivated me (With Leagues) to do more on Duolingo lately than ever before.
However, I certainly hope it doesn't become a poke and drop "Candy Crush" type game ;)
As to you being Level 23 in Ukrainian, I agree with you. I have put in a lot of effort lately into Spanish to get to Level 22, and even though I honestly shouldn't care about such an inaccurate and frankly meaningless learning metric like Levels, I hope that I get to Level 25 before Levels are totally removed!
Happy Language Learning to you! :D
Well I don't know what other sites/apps you look at on your mobile phone and whether that makes a difference. Personally I get a lot of local ads for :- colleges, pregnancy services, care homes, home care services, preschool activities, educational activities, invitations to join university research projects.
Maybe because I turned off GPS and they want to be clever and say we know roughly where you live.
I'm sure they'd be useful if I ever required these local services one day. Currently I just ignore them. But you can see that I've registered them!
Watch for language skirmishes, timed practices against other "players".
This made me think of the removed duels feature:
Duels was a feature on the iOS app that allowed users to compete against each other (or a computer) while also learning a new language. This feature was discontinued because staff "tested it and it hurt engagement, unfortunately"
(I know nothing about this feature other than that I see people ask from time to time for it to be brought back, and whatever can be read about it on the wiki I have linked to.)
Very interesting to hear this. I have a much older version on my rather old phone. It keeps telling me there is an update, but refuses to install it. So I am stuck with a much nicer version where I can access most of the languages (but not all of them). Since it already takes ages to load (around 3 train stations on a 5 station journey) I can imagine it would unusable with ads and gameplay.
On the version I see ads (on my tablet), the ads are typically for travel or education, so I have been reluctant to pay to get rid of them, as they are the only ads that show me stuff that is of interest.
The leaderboards are already here on the pc. I went to look for stories today, but they have disappeared now. It isn't a competition, we are here to learn languages. To compete against our own progress. To one day hve real conversations and read real books in other languages. Others' progress doesn't make any difference to our own learning (although it may be a small spur on a dull day).
I'm impressed you got to level 23 in 2 months. I'm still around that level in French, a language I spent 5 years learning in school well before I started on duolingo, which I've used for a few years now. I can read fairly well in French, but I still trip up in conversation. I got to a red tree a day before they inserted a whole bunch of other stuff (which seems very repetitive across the topic, less vocabulary, and imperceptible progression). Currently trying to fast track back to a red tree. Too much chaos does not make a good experience.
Thanks Sharon - I read a post elsewhere saying they'd gone and checked under "More" from Welsh. They used to be there...and I'd be taken to the opening page and could choose which of the four languages to use.
I tried changing to German, and now Stories appear as another link on the white toolbar. Relief: I have something to look forward to after my Welsh exam :o)
Disappointed that the titles are now in English...they used to be in the target language.
Thanks so much for your help :o)
On the subject of game ads on the mobile, I keep wondering "where is the profit?" Even if I did sign up for one of these click/boom rituals, who benefits? Where is the money? And then, why do these advertisers think, if I want to learn a language, a productive activity, that I would therefore want to play their totally unproductive games? And I miss the levels, which is what brought me to this very interesting discussion, and now I have Duome to comfort myself with.
I can't speak for all games, but I think a lot of games are free to play, but have in game stores where you can pay for advantages or extra features. While a lot of users will only play for free, some will regularly pay for these things, and a couple will pay quite a bit. The companies make their money off of those users.
I can't say I'm surprised. They have certainly seemed to be moving away from levels, to the point that they've been more of a relic.
Still, if nothing else, it was a nice signal of how much work we've put into learning - and seeing a level go up was always gratifying - to see our work building up to something, even if it was abstract.
Perhaps a more accurate representation for the trees would be what proportion of the crowns we've managed to achieve. (e.g. I have 299 out of a total 590 crowns on the Welsh tree, so 51%). (though, you couldn't say that it was particularly accurate, since the lower level crowns take less work to get than the higher level ones).
Perhaps the levels are more useful now after the XP changes. Personally I would prefer a testing section to measure levels. The language could be fully tested in 20 exercises, so the average of the last 20 exercises itested in this section could be used. This would measure proficiency and be an incentive. The exercises could be quickly constructed with a random selection of questions from each skill. This measure is more useful than crowns, XP, Levels, Leagues, etc, as it is a direct incentive to improve proficiency.
This is the most unnecessary thing I've ever heard since removing the "Immersion" tab. Right now, I can roughly gauge someone's competence with each language based on their level, but that won't be for long. Yes, I understand there are outliers; for example, I tested out of all the Japanese units (didn't bother to get them all golden) so the level I have on DL is much lower.
But even so, Duolingo is throwing away a very useful and quick feature for nothing. The "everybody gets an award" argument is wrong and shouldn't be encouraged, especially towards children. We're not all equal, and that shows in the amount of work we put in.
"Right now, I can roughly gauge someone's competence with each language based on their level, but that won't be for long." the thing is, was that ever really a good indicator, if even a rough one? Crown levels would at least give an indication of how far someone has progressed in the tree rather than simply their time spent studying. You can complete a tree and only be level 11, or be level 22+ and have not completed it yet.
True, but a bad indicator is better than no indicator. While there's people who test out everything or people who grind the 1st level; there's also people who genuinely learn languages and started from 0. So it's not completely worthless. I always thought of levels as an integral part of Duolingo, this might just be my biased opinion but they have some legitimacy in certain cases.
There's no real reason to remove them other than wanting to make everyone "equal" , which encourages mediocrity which is not healthy in my opinion.
They won't change. One thing I've noticed about Duolingo staff is that once they get an idea in their ideas, even a terrible one, there's no turning them back. Of course, it's their site, and we get to use it for free, so we can't complain. On the other hand, it's our time and eyes they need to survive and thrive, and I can see all this "change for the sake of change" nonsense leading to a mass exodus of users, and the eventual replacement of duolingo with a competing service which may someday exist.
I made another user to see what it looks like and when I came to the forums it told me this:
Reach level 2 to start participating in discussions. If you’re experiencing an issue, please visit the Help page or Troubleshooting forum.
I thought it was hilarious as I was not able to get to level 2.
Mine went up today. DUO could learn a thing or two about change management... telling people what to expect is right up there as one of the fundamental things that you should do.
Quote: Are our levels frozen now for the purposes of the flags next to our name in the comment section
I guess the Duolingo backend (extended user profile) works the same as before - hopefully.
Quote: Mine no longer seem to be going up.
There is a delay of minimum 24 hours, maybe 48h between the main Duolingo site and the flags shown on the discussion forum server (required synchronization).
I simply use Duolingo for enjoyment. I like doing all the languages that Duolingo offers, completing the tree for each language as it comes out and then going back and doing a level each of the few languages I am actually serious about learning a bit more of (Polish, Turkish, Romanian, Danish). Unfortunately, that landmark has now been removed. I suppose I can turn each tree the next color until going back to another language, but thus far that seems an inconvenient unit.
Wow that's so disappointing, I was just about to hit level 20 in Italian. I've liked a lot of the changes Duolingo has made so far but removing levels just kills motivation.
Like maybe if they revamped levels in some way I'd like the change (advancing in level is rather tedious in the last few up to 25) but removing them outright without a replacement is so dumb.
I am very sorry to see the levels gone. I liked to see how far I had advanced in each language, and to see how many XP's to the next level. It helped to motivate me more than the new leagues do. I really don't enjoy the feeling of having to compete with others to attain something. Especially when those who score the highest in the leagues are without a doubt racking up easy lessons for points without absorbing much of the language. Not a good way to really learn a language.
I used to love duolingo, doing tons of it daily, but now that they changed the graphics and messed with trophy (AND THEY TOOK AWAY MINE!!!!), And changed the motivation that came from testing out, I'm only doing it now to keep my streak up. Duolingo needs to go back to how it was originally.
Although I think that this is just yet again another example of DUO fumbling around in the dark on producing good educational behaviors against the juxtaposition of good for business behaviors, good riddance to levels! (But seriously Duo, you should be more like a Beverly Hills private school than a state run inner city school that you are... get some real leadership.) There are so many ways to inflate XP artificially, that levels have little meaning. Besides, Duo blew up any equality in their meaning with the change in points awarded for test outs. Yes, they can be a good motivator, but probably created as many, if not more, bad behaviors as good. Personally, I would much rather see some version of testing integrated that correlates to CEFR levels.
So do Crowns now become the primary indicator of someone's experience in Duoland? Short of CEFR levels, if levels were restructured to reflect a combination between completed crowns, stories and vocabulary (Tinycards), that might be useful.
@LangAddict: Serge specifically didn't mention "personal" data, which Duolingo expressly says that it does not use. I think he does know what he's talking about, such as the information here: https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/360004256711-Data-Privacy-Duolingo-Welcome-to-the-Drive-Thru