My thoughts on Duolingo’s changes over the years (as a long time Duo-user) - An open discussion
This post is not hate. It is is me expressing my opinion as a longtime Duo-User. Opinions are subjective, therefore based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions. The following is a mixture of praise and criticism which is the analysis and judgement of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work, not hate which is an intense disliking towards something. This is an open discussion on the flaws and merits Duolingo as a free language learning software has to offer. Please keep that in mind while responding.
Also I made a survey for users on the features of Duolingo to get some feedback on the service which you can take here.
I’ve been using Duolingo for years now, (I think I made my first account was made back around 2012). I was a contributor for Duolingo Ukrainian under the name TseDanylo around the year 2016 until I lost WiFi and wasn’t able to contribute anymore. This site was really my upbringing and was what really got me into languages. I remember trying Turkish for the first time, making my own notebooks, jotting down all the new words and phrases and colouring in the cover with maps and flags. As was done for Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Czech, Swedish, Romanian and so on.
As the years passed, gems were added, new exciting languages, new designs yet what did go was the enjoyment and sense of achievement that came along with the site. Not to get soppy but I didn’t have many friends in middle school, but being able to edit the Ukrainian grammar portal and continuously pushing and pushing trying to progress to the next level of my progress was a great distraction. But as I grew up Duolingo seemed to grow, well, down for a lack of a better term.
I recently came back into the site, created a new account and started the new Arabic course along with Hawaiian, Japanese and Chinese. Yet, it just wasn’t the same. The new site looks like a kids app my little sister uses. The new courses are ridiculously short (I get that they add as they go along) and there’s no point in providing an educational resource if such little effort is going to be put into it.
To me it seems like a marketing scheme,
‘Let’s add an indigenous language for Indigenous People’s Day! We’ll get points with the GP, have no audio and make it tiny so it can be made easy for all the new Twitter users’.
These communities are NOT free PR Duo.
Note that this where I’ll get ranty.
I fully support Duo’s effort to preserve endangered languages, I myself as an Irish speaker find the course great. But courses like the one found for Navajo are a joke and a slap in the face to people of endangered languages. If you want to help our languages survive, take it seriously. The next thing I just have to mention is that while they continuously ignore users on what they want (not always, we finally got Finnish and Latin going after about 1671673673671 requests).
They insist on fixing what isn’t broken.
Lingots not working? We need more things to buy? Here’s an entire new currency that does less than the old one but we’ll also make the old one redundant.
Even the name Gems. It sounds so generic compared to LINGOts. I still don’t understand what crowns are... they seem useless. Levels were one of my biggest motivators and that seems to be gone. You don’t get XP for placement tests (which is very annoying when you’re at an advanced level in French and Spanish and you might as well be a beginner and no I’m not going to go through the whole tree again, if I have to translate one more ‘comemos una manzana’ to get to level 3 I'll lose it.
Even the fact that notifications are gone and we can no longer engage in discussions together as a community is just depressing. Now when I say all this, I mean it towards the Duolingo team. Not the contributors and and users who work at their dreams of learning a new language and gave us amazing courses.
Now you may be quite frustrated by this point saying, ‘well just don’t use the site if you don’t like it’, and well your point it 100% valid. Duolingo still has its perks, it’s still free to access the entire course. I don’t really mind Duo Plus either. They got pay employees somehow! I will always love this site and enjoy and value the opportunity and sense of community it has given me. The friends I have made through here and through language is something I will forever be indebted to Duo for.
I’m just sick of playing a sad attempt of turning language learning into a video game.
Updates/Responses to FAQs from this post
What exactly do you want?
- Audio added to the Navajo course, better Tips & Notes and more skills. Like almost every other course on this platform. Same goes for the Hawaiian course.
- An audio fix for Arabic, longer tree and more in-depth content (as for Chinese, Ukrainian and to a lesser extent Japanese).
- An design interface on both the app and desktop versions
- More interaction and response to feedback from users to make it a 'build-together community', if that makes sense.
- Monitoring of the volunteer courses (keeping communication open between staff and volunteers)
- The Russian, Hebrew and Ukrainian courses to be updated to teach their alphabets like the Japanese/Korean/etc courses. (I would be more than willing to do the Ukrainian one, or even help revamp the whole course - I have the time)
- Speaking of, I would be more than willing to contribute to a new Ukrainian tree (not that it's absolutely needed.
- Levels to come back.
- To be able to gain XP from placement tests and testing out of checkpoints
- Something to be done about the in-game currency. Perhaps a system a unlocking new skills? Maybe stories?
- New contributors for the Yiddish/Haitian Creole courses or at least abandon the project and remove their contributor status.
This is a rant, you are cluttering the forums, why did you post this?
I wanted to write this post to express some of my concerns regarding one of my longtime favourite communities. There's quite a common attitude on the forums that complaining about a free service is inherently bad and that you should be grateful.
However, that being said I want to open a discussion among Duolingo users (old and new) and how we can improve this community and hopefully bring about some positive change. We obviously can't please everyone (we've seen over the years people complaining about Immersion, Stories, why there's no Japanese, etc.). But I don't think it's coincidental that most of the pages we are seeing pop up in the main discussion forum.
Opinions in themselves are subjective. Not hate. An opinion in itself can be hateful. But there is a clear difference. Criticism regards the analysis and judgement of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work whereas hate is a loathing or strong disliking for something.
And as for the standard of the Navajo and Hawaiian courses (in comparison to the huge amount of publicity they got for them) is utterly inexcusable.
At the risk of being perceived as spam (I got a stern warning from Duolingo and had a comment deleted but being on super secret probation they won't say which one so I can understand where I have sinned), I offer this humble opinion in support of your contentions.
I have been slogging through the Vietnamese course that after years of its introduction still contains a plethora of errors and inconsistencies. For me, the most frustrating is spending a lot of time on one sentence to get all the words and accents right only to find my answer is wrong because Duolingo failed to have speaker say one word. I have suggested numerous translation changes after I have been marked wrong and have been notified many of them have been accepted, so that is good but I credit one man, Huy_Ngo, the sole contributor working hard to get the program where it should have been years ago. If not for him helping clarify things in Sentence Discussion, I would have given up after a few weeks. A shame it took him years to be accepted as a contributor.
During all this extra frustration in addition to learning a difficult language, I have noted all these "extra added attractions", like the new! improved! owl intrusion of giving peppy messages. The status bar at the top telling you how many you get right or wrong is another distraction. I could tolerate all this new fluff if priority is being given to improving the courses. These things do nothing to improve the course. It is nice for the kiddies I suppose.
PS If you read this, at least downvote me so I know I am not Shadow Banned.
I'm sorry to hear about the Vietnamese course. Not to throw stones but as someone who worked in the incubator I can tell you first hand there are so many hardworking people fixing and improving their course and taking their position as contributor seriously.
But equally there are (or were in my time) a plethora of users who took their moderator status and just stuck there (As you can't be kicked off for inactivity as a moderator, I was a contributor and I lost my WiFi hence why I was removed). Someone in my position found it very difficult to move on and improve a course because we are/were limited in our capacities. It's a shame. Hence why the Ukrainian course is still awful. The Yiddish course is dead and along with quite a few other courses. But I suppose I should keep quiet on the details for that one.
A shame there are a lot other courses that need a lot of work. It seems to me Duolingo needs to get back to basics and devote more resources to improving languages rather than "improving" all the extras.
Yes, I wish they would let some of their designers go and dedicate that money to course development or reinstating immersion and something similar to the activity stream. The first re-designs were good, they improved Duo's appearance, but this last one is awful. I read how people ranted about how it looks like a Fischer Price design, how it's too bright, how it is bad for people with sight problems and so forth, but personally I didn't think aesthetics were important. However I realized recently while traveling that I was slightly embarrassed to open the app in public because it looks so childish. How can people take Duolingo seriously when it looks like it is designed for preschoolers?
P.S. The new Twitch featuring streaming is really promising, but they need to find more people willing to stream in languages other than English, and on topics other than gaming.
I don't see how it's easier to completely redesign the website than to make a few quick changes to the CSS and add a new item to the lingot shop (a dark theme).
Bringing back Immersion (a major source of income) and Activity Streams (for which a replacement was specifically promised) should be the highest-priority project for Duolingo.
Its 2-3 totally different things. The application is developed by a development team, some of whom may or may not occasionally look at this forum. You can't just switch development resources into improving courses (ok, you could fire a few developers and hire some other people, but usually that kind of management misunderstanding doesn't work out well). What you could do, is come up with some constructive ideas about how to make it easier for the course designers to more efficiently make better courses. (but since this isn't a forum for the course designers we really know nothing about how that even works or what challenges they face that could be improved)
Honestly, it would save Duo money if they didn't have people whose job is course design on full-time perm. I think that's ultimately the issue here. The courses are changed just because someone has a job that requires changing them. You nailed it, they don't make it to the chat board. Maybe one of them has a two year-old and that's what they want to appeal to, design wise? I don't know but it sure would be nice if there weren't people changing it just to change it.
I agree and disagree with you on a few things. Definitely spot on and sad that many of the course designers wont see these comments... However we as the community are to bring it to their attention things that we would love to see improved. For example, a small bit of programming code would modify the leeway given to small errors. When I say that, I'm referring to how on higher levels of a course, Duo marks entire sentences wrong for missed accents or a single extra letter. It forms a loop that discourages users from continuing. No amount of Ligots, Crowns, Notifying birds, Leader Boards or flashy bonus effects could change how frustrating that is. I digress though, after a few months, I'm back from my Duo Hiatus.
And this Leader board doesnt seem too bad. On the regular, I averaged about 200XP per day but never had any reward for it. The Leader board at least is a small incentive as I'm kinda competitive :D So that's an interesting if not cheeky change to put in :D
However we as the community are to bring it to their attention things that we would love to see improved.
The problem is Duolingo is notorious for not listening to it's community. Which in and of itself is a major source of discontent. We can keep trying but the reality is the vast majority of constructive criticism, complaints, suggestions, pleas and begging (often for the same changes, hundreds of times over and over again), will be ignored by Duolingo.
Agreed. They should not have bad or inaccurate sentences or unidiomatic language on these trees. I think they should pay people to build these trees professionally - I hate it that we think teachers don't matter. I would pay for Duolingo in a heartbeat if I thought it was a professionally designed offering. Since it is not in too many cases, in fact is full of errors, (and I therefore can't trust it) I won't. It is a shame because this platform could be stupendous if they would take their own mandate more seriously. (Language teaching.) Or maybe I'm naive and that is not the mandate at all. Duolingo who are you?
PS 500 lingots in one hour? Awesome!
edit: 840 now. 1,000 by end of next week?
edit: hit Lingot Millennium. Formidable.
Let's hope it gets to the staff! I mean, I still have huge respect for them and love Duolingo as a concept. Perhaps this can lead to an open discussion on improvements to the system! :)
Posts that get that many lingots are almost always the ones that show what Duolingo should be doing.
I hope there is an official response to this whole forum post...
Songve & Danfur - I am donating five lingots each to your CAUSE. I may not agree with every single point you make, but I believe that critical feedback is crucial in promoting growth and positive changes. And Songve, your voice gets my vote. Kudos to the both of you!!
Thank you very much! We don't have to agree one everything but at least we both agree in promoting positive growth on this platform!
Danfur - I once heard it said that if we both agree on everything, there would be NO need for one of us. It's funny but fundamentally true.
A lot of us would do well to remember this when we disagree with someone.
Keep doing your thing....
Songve. At the risk of being arrested for whatever, I'm with you all the way. A lingot for you to give Huy_ngo. (Don't go too quiet, most of us need and understand your wit n wisdom. I would add that some of the recent avatars are far more disturbing than any of your posts) so a lingot for you too.
Thank you and I will give Huy an extra lingot from you. I always give him a lingot and upvote in sentence discussions.
As far as the nasty gram goes, it was kind of a wakeup call to rethink how much time I spend on here and what I say.
Yes, and I know exactly what avatar you are speaking about. The moderator there had to have seen it and I think it deserved a close look as much as whatever comment of mine they deleted. I never step across the boundary that avatar did. I was thinking of reporting it but why should anyone when a moderator sees it? Do they somehow accept and approve it? I hope not.
Lastly and not least, thank you for your support. It is mutual.
Lovely... not even telling you the post. When I had a chat board years ago, I was warned as I opened it, to beware of people seeking to be mods, they are most likely to abuse the power. That was a pop-up message warning me on pro-boards right as the board was being created. They were dead right. You can sure tell sites that don't take that advice.
Just fyi, the peppy owl messages can be turned off in settings. Hope that's helpful!
Really!? Thanks! I had no idea! I just glared and snared at him for the brief moment that he appeared and halted my roll :D Its brief but slightly annoying.. Off To deactivate him!!
The fluency score was never really accurate and very misleading.
I agree, I used to use duolingo a while back too. In my opinion, I think the problem is that it's designed to be addictive, instead of designed to be effective at teaching languages based on scientific research (which is why they removed things like spaced repetition and made the app more gamified).
They announced (as if it were positive) that after crowns, people on average are spending more time on duolingo, which just shows that they're trying to make it more addictive (which equals more $$), people spending more time doing something doesn't necessarily mean they're doing it any better.
As someone who began Duolingo recently, I don't even understand the crowns.
A new crown costs around $1500, min, USD. That's at the prosthodontist's office. I don't give them away.
I didn't realize they had removed spaced repetition. :(
I used this site almost every day for over 2 years to refresh and advance my Spanish (took classes in post-secondary school and university). Recently I spent 2+ months in Spain, and was thrilled by how well I was able to communicate.
It has puzzled me, since returning, that while using Duolingo I seem to make error upon error. Similarly, a lot of the new Spanish content seems to have added new words for familiar concepts as well as a pile of new idioms, the everyday usefulness of which I am unsure of. Thus I have begun to feel that I am hitting a wall in progress, or even degrading. I have started to fear I am somehow becoming dumber in Spanish despite ongoing, routine practice.
I suspect this is partly because I have passed the "basics" stage of the language and am now more sensitive to complex speech, and also because I am not getting enough conversational exposure. Today, seeing this big conversation about all the changes, I perceive that it is not "just me."
Maybe this is a long-winded way for me to say that I may be a case study of how some of the changes are hurting, not helping.
At the same time, Duolingo retains a soft spot in my heart for motivating me, refreshing my knowledge and significantly improving my Spanish after almost 20 years away from it. Perhaps I've just reached that painful point where I need to think about moving on to a different/higher level of engagement that this resource cannot provide.
As a long time user of duolingo, I agree with the downward slide. I miss immersion and levels and I can't stand the kiddie look of the site.
Ah immersion! Those were the days! I mean some new features are nice, such as stories (one of my favourite additions to the site in years). But I'd rather not count the cons in this case haha
Yeah! I remembered back when I was just a beginner and looked at immersion and said to myself that I'll come back here when I'm more versed in the language. Sad to see that it was removed.
Yeah, the three heart system (original, where you just had to redo the lesson) was awesome. the real pictures vs. the cartoons, which are also cool, immersion, the chat bots, and bonus skills where all super cool relics of duolingo. The stories are awesome but I guess the ll disappear soon haha. who remembers the duals which were understandably removed along with user to user chats for the sake of shielding children?
you made valid points but duolingo will just laugh it off and move onto the next game
I agree with all your arguments. Everything about good old duo has gone. Lingots = gems
Strength = crowns
Levels = (Nothing)
(Nothing) = health
for the shop exciting = Nothing new
Clubs = leagues
Everything has gone. Hopefully things start improving. Learning is still the same though, and always will be. (And that is what we are actually here for).
Strength? do you mean that made up fluency shield that was so inaccurate you would need to divide the number by 20-40 to get anything close to accurate?
Levels=Crowns (that seems more accurate than =nothing)
Isn't health exclusively on iphone app? I should make a 2nd account just to see if it is a bad as people say it is.
When has the shop ever been exciting? The problem with the shop is that people have too many lingots.
Clubs were exclusively available to app users and even then in my experience, barely used. Leagues might be less exciting/useful but at least it is available to everyone. So a bit of consistency between the platforms is good.
'Strength' refers to the bar that used to (i.e. before the introduction of crowns) belong to skills that you'd already completed, telling you how likely you were to remember that content based on how recently you last practised it; i.e. a spaced-repetition system. The strength figures for each lesson are still available on Duome.
Unfortunately it doesn't seem to work correctly for some stuff. At least, I have skills that are at 75%, I practice them flawlessly a dozen times, and they always stay at 75%. Maybe just all the words it needs to go up didn't randomly come up, but it started to feel kind of useless after reviewing easy sentences for an hour - so many repetitions I'm starting to memorize the sentences themselves instead of the grammar/vocab.
That’s actually not a problem with those programs, I think it’s a problem within Duo’s strength indicators. There’s something that seems to break when you get words to too high of an interval.
Merkavar, for some languages you can click in "Words" option generally within "more" button and it will show you the strength of each word/phrase. All of this using the web platform.
It would be nice if we could practice the vocab or it would use our weaker words.
I suppose levels = crowns is correct. Clubs were a useful add on to many users.
There ALSO used to be for a brief while, decent enough proficiency tests with certs at the DUOLINGO test center in languages other than Ingleski. Or whatever the language Shakespeare used is called in thy nation. Now only English.
I think there needs be three level versions of Duolingo. (1) The gamer's level of now, which is beginner/low intermediate. (2) A testific level of grammar, where the tests are not at all easy, which I will call Intermediate. (3) A freerunner's level with audio only material of 90 seond to three minutes in length with testing afterwards, and a reborn immmersion section, for advanced reading and translation.
Excuse me for the disagreement but you liked Clubs? The concept wasn't bad, but it was so exploited by community members to get cheap and easy exp that it's better off being removed, to be honest. I could never compete in the weekly challenges for clubs because people would just get 6k exp instantly and leave me in the dust.
That's what's happening with Leagues now though. I've seen people gain 1000xp in a single day, which means they're either going way too fast to learn, or just doing the challenges in their native language. I've been trying to compete in the leagues, but I'm not getting any benefits because I'm more concerned with going as fast as possible to gain xp than I am with actual learning the language
Or they've written a bot which does and redoes (or is it dos and redos?) the basic lessons which are canned enough that a basic bot could take them out.
It's actually not exactly what's happening right now in Leagues. I'm sorry to disagree, but what is going on in Leagues is probably just that people are starting over in languages they are very fluent in, and using those shortcuts that let you get to the next crown instantly to get as much exp as possible. However in Clubs you would gain exp for posting in the club and replying in the language of the club, so people would absolutely spam the living crap out of the club's posts and replies to gain a seriously massive amount of experience they didn't even deserve. Now they are just finding a different alternative, but at least you can place in the top 20/15/10, etc in Leagues, in Clubs it was either top 3 or nothing.
In a related language that is not too fast, Duo is just the beginner stage.
Of course they could be like me and have finished the tree previously and now be repeating it for revision. On a good day if I don't strike a newly added lesson or an area I'm weak in, my xp total can reach into the very high hundreds - I haven't yet reached 1,000 plus though.
I agree. the learning and courses HAVE actually improved and for that duolingo is the best! and the website is still free also super cool!
I really dislike that I can no longer message other duo users directly. Maybe it was being abused, or was a burden on the system. But I had some fun exchanges with others who like me are learning Spanish. I miss them. Maybe a way to curtail the abuse would have been to make users pay to message others, with Lingots? I would very much like user to user messaging to be reinstated. Maybe it should be available only to users with a streak of at least 50 days, or more than 500 lingots in their account? Something so that it is available only to users who are active.
Maybe you could have to pay one lingot to start a private discussion. A minimum streak is probably not a good idea because streaks can be broken. A minimum of at least 30 crowns in one skill could also work.
I agree on a lot of your points. However, it is important to mention several things.
Yiddish and Haitian Creole both got new contributors in the last months. They aren't that active either, but at least there was an effort to revitalise the course teams.
Hawaiian got expanded several times, and now has more than three times the content it had when it got released. The contributors are definitely active.
Communication between staff and contributors improved a lot in recent years as far as I've read somewhere on the forums.
Ukrainian also has new contributors, and to name someone, Sagitta is very active.
Also, remember that several courses weren't created by "random" volunteers. The original contributors of the Swahili and Ukrainian courses were Peace Corps volunteers. Hawaiian and Navajo were made in a partnership with schools. I definitely agree that the Peace Corps courses, with all respect, don't reach the quality of the other better courses (in-house courses, but also Norwegian, Dutch, Polish, Russian, the new Japanese course, etc. to name a few of many). And I also agree that the Hawaiian and Navajo courses were released way too early. (Although lots of kudos to Team Hawaiian for updating the course regularly!!) Same for Arabic, although I love how much thought went in the course (especially in how they teach the alphabet).
Also, I'm pretty sure that the designers and people who come up with things like gems etc. are other people than the staff members who are responsible for the incubator.
But really, thank you so much for posting this. Any debate is welcome, and hopefully staff considers your feedback. :)
Thank you very much for your input! Thanks for informing me about the Ukrainian situation! I really want this to be a debate on the current status on the platform :)
I agree with some of what you say. I don't understand all the changes to what, to me, is cosmetic stuff. I do try to do something daily to keep my streak going, so if they eliminate that I'd be bummed, and I'd really be bummed if health were introduced to the web site (as opposed to the old heart system, where you could try again immediately if you got four things wrong, without waiting, similar to the test outs.) Looking at comments from other threads, there are A LOT of people who would leave if it weren't gamified, and I'm guessing that there are more of those not commenting than people who don't like the games. I find it kind of interesting that a lot of your comments are directed towards the changes in the existing gamification, though, not the gamification itself.
As far as course quality is concerned - so much of this is done by volunteers. It depends on the quality and commitment of those volunteers. The courses for the less common languages do need improvement, or some of them do. The Swahili course was truly awful - totally nonsensical English translations required, and by that I mean that they didn't make sense in English, I can't speak to the accuracy - in some odd version of East African English - and a lack of consistency that was truly frightening. Way overly academic tips and notes, where they existed. I finished the course only so I could report all the bad translations. I realized at that point that Duolingo ought to have someone on staff to vet the English translations, not so much for accuracy but to be sure that they are some form of standard English, and contain the most common American and British versions as alternates. The Navajo course is disappointingly short, I saw an article on it here in Arizona, and they apparently are using students from the high school to build it. As far as it goes, its pretty good, actually, but it really needs the spoken part, as Navajo has sounds not used in English. The Hawaiian course seems to be in an A/B test for an extension, I have 30 skills, others still have only 17. It also lacks tips and notes. Guarani (which is an indigenous language) is pretty good now, they seem to have solved a lack of consistency which was driving me crazy. Irish - meh, I find the tips and notes way too academically oriented and a bit hard to follow - and I have a degree in linguistics - so improvement is needed there. The Italian course is too short, both through English and through Spanish. The Turkish course is OK, not too many inconsistencies. However, and also built by volunteers, the Norwegian course is AMAZING. The Dutch course is also very good, as is the Swedish course. You can tell the volunteers for those courses are dedicated, and that they are reviewing the reported problems and the comments on individual sentences right away. Unfortunately, you can only push volunteers so far. If they don't really buy into it, their lives intervene, or the team doesn't click, you get half-assed work. If the team clicks you get wonderful work. And quite frankly, we wouldn't even have the courses we do have for free for all of the different languages we have if Duolingo or any other company had to pay to have them made, and then they might not be any better than these courses are - I've seen some pretty bad "textbooks" for even such common languages as English for Spanish speakers.
”The italian course is too short...”
Do yo mean in terms of skills or of lessons? A couple of years ago I completed the old French from English tree and the Italian from English tree. I studied both at the same time. I kept strictly to a plan of only doing one new lesson per day from each tree. Anything else I did was review ( reviewing individual lessons and skills ( back then you could still focus on individual lessons ), general strengthening skills, using the flashcards a few courses used to have, etc.)
It took me a year ( about 365 days ) to finish the French tree but it took a year and a month ( about 395 days ) to finish the Italian tree so the Italian tree was actually longer than the French tree back then.
Sometimes a tree might look shorter but the “skills” actually contain a large number of lessons.
I’m reviewing the Italian ( from English ) tree again and it still seems fairly long to me, especially compared to the Hawaiian tree that I’m also doing.
I have to say, you brought up a lot of very interesting points. I feel like Duo monitoring the volunteer courses with more precision could definitely help a lot of the issues you raised. The tips & notes, I personally prefer a more academic approach while also explaining the grammar, (I can't speak for Irish although I can definitely see where you're coming from). I feel like if things were academic but used simple language (even explaining things like a subject, verb etc. instead of "so this is how you made the conditional mood!") would also help a lot.
Have a lingot, my friend
I wholeheartedly agree with what you think of the Navajo course. There are a handful of courses that need to undergo major work. Personally I don't like the kiddy look of the site either. I gave some lingots to make your post stand out more.
West European courses are good, and exotic ones are sloppy.
It makes sense to learn Asian stuff in LingoDeer (also via Android emulators on desktop). It's almost indistinguishable from Duolingo except for design details. No ads, good audio and real progress in learning.
You have choice.
Quote: It makes sense to learn Asian stuff in LingoDeer (also via Android emulators on desktop)
No, IMHO it definitely makes not any sense to use Android emulators for Lingodeer.
While Memrise or Duolingo (even Mondly) is working fine on my older Laptop with KOPlayer, Lingodeer makes big troubles (flickering, portrait vs landscape mode switching back and force, very very slow when you try to load the menu or lessons).
It just won't work any good...probably because their app software require a newer Android OS or up-to-date APIs.
I contacted their support with my problems and got told: We do not - officially - support any emus for Lingodeer and won't assist with troubleshooting and no questions were answered.
I had used the older version of KOPlayer (1-2 versions before the latest) which is still based on a quite old Android V4.4 (not as resource hungry as newer ones).
Now there is a version update which incorporates a newer Android version....which will just be more resource hungry on older computers.
Several Bluestacks V3 build versions were working worser on that system (when they were at least correctly starting and loading the Memrise or Duolingo app) as they freezed occassionally and after I tried some recent build updates from the download section the software did not even start correctly anymore (e.g blackscreens).
Same for other emus like NOX, Memu,...
Most emulators seem to be based on the most modern computer hardware and very latest OpenGL graphic drivers.
Most emus do not even work correctly in DirectX rendering mode (if you have problems with up-to-date OpenGL drivers because of using the wrong GPU chip).
However, http://www.lingodeer.com has added a new (beta) version as a web UI.
I run bluestacks on my laptop to train with lingodeer and it works flawlessly
RusianPyleglot - Wow.....now THIS is why I scan these discussion posts. I just peeped this out. Looks interesting. Duo's issues do not bother me but I'll still explore this over the coming week!! Tipping you five lingots for this one.
I personally use HelloChinese for Mandarin. It works like Duolingo did in the past, you can easily switch between traditional and simplified characters, you can easily switch between pinyin, characters and both, etc.
Yes, they have Chinese. Those are Chinese apps. I haven't tried Korean, but the Chinese and Japanese courses are definitely better, more aesthetically looking and less chaotic. Pinyin and Romaji are helpful too.
I don't agree with your use off the term "exotic" to describe any language that is not Western European. Don't you understand that something being "exotic" is completely subjective to the individual? To someone from Vietnam, for example... Switzerland may be considered exotic.
exotic adj. From another part of the world; foreign: synonym: foreign. adj. Intriguingly unusual or different; excitingly strange: synonym: fantastic.
Duolingo is American product. From the country of origin point of view.
They subtly removed them recently, but for now we can still see them on the discussions. I am not sure how much longer than will be the case for. I assume the reasons were to do with pushing their newer features such as leagues and encouraging us to compete with each other.
You seem to be able to only see the levels right here in discussions -- but no way of knowing when the next level will be reached.
WOW. That's something I have a vague memory of, maybe. But which now was prior to your reply utterly forgotten by me. Still. I have more Golden Owls than three. 5 or 6.
Duolingo is trying to lure in and get younger kids hooked on learning while at the same time ignoring their veteran users.
I think people need to be realistic. Everyone has suggestions of things for Duolingo to do and they almost all would cost money. As a primarily free app with actually rather minimal advertising compared to many other platforms very limited resources. I believe I read they have only about 200 employees. Given that some of these employees have to handle the software development and support, some need to handle the business and advertising, some need to monitor forums and such, some to manage volunteers, there really aren't that many people left to work on the actual courses. My understanding is that there own course resources are focused on a few primary languages - French, Spanish and I don't recall which others. Now they are embarking on an effort to substantially improve these and align them with the European ABC system. I think that is wonderful and will create an improved model that will slowly propagate to the other languages through the volunteers once they have models to guide them. Also the volunteer model - which is the means to achieve the wide range of languages supported, has a number of inherent weaknesses. First and I think foremost, they launch the languages early to get the feedback they need to bring them to a much higher level. I have seen this with Chinese where a year ago I was very frustrated with the accepted answers. Since then I have has over 300 of my suggested answers accepted and the quality of the course has dramatically improved. There will also be substantial variation between classes depending on the quality and available time of the volunteer groups. I think they are steadily improving the quality and scope of the courses if you look across the broad picture. This can sometimes be hard to see when you are frustrated with the specific course you are working, but I think with their free access and volunteer and user contribution model it is necessary.
I will just mention two big disagreements I have with the points made by the OP.
Duolingo is an unsuitable platform for language preservation. There are other organizaations who specifically have this goal. Having a scattered population of people who have partial knowledge in their heads does not add up to much.
Starting courses wih limited content as a way to test the waters and determine true interest levels, (not people who say Duolingo should have Navajo and then get to level 3 and quit, but those who finish trees), seems like a good plan. The two most popular languages are Spanish and French and these both recieved huge content increases, seems appropriate.
I 100% agree with you and I don't think Duolingo is necessarily obliged to give it their all when it comes to language preservation (it is a costly ordeal). My main issue was the amount of publicity they got for 'saving the language' and releasing it before Indigenous People's Day and then providing one of the shortest courses on the platform. We don't need a Norwegian length tree, but at least a Ukrainian length tree (at least 50 skills)
I 90% agree with you on this one and I do think people should stop whining about more effort being put into Spanish/French/etc than smaller languages. Duolingo at the end of the day should cater to those groups as they are by far the largest group on the platform.
I do think that things like gems, leagues, crowns, clubs, bots, or any other small features that have come (and in some cases gone) are all just small bonuses to try to help retain users, but the core of Duolingo for me has always been the courses themselves. It doesn't matter how my achievements are recorded or how it tries to keep my attention, as long as the content of the tree is useful and effective.
Unfortunately, as you said, course quality has been starting to go downhill with recent courses. I remember the days that a new course release was essentially getting a free digital textbook teaching all the things one would need to know to get a good, solid foundation in the language and start progressing towards intermediate level. Incubator courses were usually between 50 and 70 skills, though some would actually exceed that (like Norwegian, the longest tree with over 100 skills). Japanese started the shorter tree trend, and while I'd like to give it a pass since it was the first tree to foray into such a complex script, I remember being a bit disappointed that it was so short, not well designed for new learners, severely lacked kanji, and didn't provide a whole lot that was useful for my level other than some new vocabulary and review. The releases of Hindi and Arabic also mimic the shorter tree style, and while I can't say from experience, I've heard a few complaints about the quality for both. While Japanese has greatly improved and expanded through the second version of the tree, I already hear people talking about what they want out of the second Arabic tree, and it's making me wonder if this is the structure we'll get from now on: a bare basics course with an expansion a year or two later. It seems to me that Duolingo's urging the teams to get courses out quickly, especially if it struggles with delays, and that breeds a sort of "make it fast and patch it up later" mentality. And my question is why can't they just take a few more months and polish up the courses? Add more content, ensure higher quality, teach the language the way it's actually used. Us users are no stranger to waiting, we may get impatient at times but I'd rather wait a few more months and get a tree with 50 skills than get a tree with 25 skills now. The worst offenders for this are definitely Navajo and Hawaiian, which are laughably short despite how important these courses are. Protecting endangered languages is vital, but that's hard when good resources for them are hard to come by. Duolingo is effective, it works, the method is there, we just need more content in these courses. As it stands, the Navajo and Hawaiian courses are good for publicity and raising awareness, but not as good for actually helping keep the languages alive.
If Duolingo wants to improve the learning experience for us users, they need to focus first on what we learn, not how we learn it. A good method means nothing if the content isn't there. To borrow a quote from one of my favorite YouTubers, "don't strive for mediocrity, because you might just hit the target."
"The new site looks like a kids app my little sister uses."
How is educating little sisters a flaw?
With over 100,000,000 users and growing I think your statement is demonstrably false. I think what you meant was the design doesn't appeal to you.
How many of those users are active and how many of those users were signed up by their teachers, that's what I'd like to know.
Thanks for your input. It would help the reader a lot if you could add a paragraph or two. A large block of type is not always easy for some readers and could invite dvs. Hope you still find some enjoyment in Duo. Best regards...
Danfur. Reread with coffee sustenance! Agree with many of your points having been here every day since 6 August 2016! and feeling the changes, not always for the best. I just keep going and keep how much I've learned in mind. Best to you. (Thanks for the paras;-)
Linda - Please forgive this spotlight but I've got to say I think you would make an awesome forum moderator. You literally check all the requirements. See below:
Some things that might increase your chances to become a forum moderator Be super helpful, respectful, welcoming and polite in the forums.
Mods keep an eye on caring and knowledgeable community members and remember them when new moderating slots open up
Be an active member of Duolingo
Be a calm and positive participant in conversations
Be considerate when it comes to username, wording, avatar, bio and other choices associated with your account
Create interesting and relevant forum posts regularly, or help answer questions within the course
You can also contribute to a course in the Incubator if you want to help out with a particular language
Hexxxx You are most kind and generous. However I'm sadly lacking in Duo's more technical know-how and my sometimes "tough love" stance might not suit. But I care about respect, decency and learning so will continue to follow the forum as usual. Enjoy your day and your learning :-)
Well, I share those values but I'm learning how easily things can be taken in ways they weren't intended in this forum.
You're a really good role model for me. Please keep doing what you do. And thank you :-)
Buon fine settimana... ...hope I got THAT right...ha ha
Hexxxx. Sì sì, hai ragione grazie. Ha ha:-) To laugh something off/to let it go over your head/to ignore it (perhaps when the downvotes happen, or someone is unintentionally hurtful) - "ci rido sopra!"
Oh L7 - now I'm so so tempted to add italian to my course package...ha ha!
I never worry about me being hurt, only about those who might take offense, or not recognize when I'm just being playful or provocative.
Ah....laughing, learning, loving living! Thanks for the smiles and the insights :-) Of I go now :-)
I'm sorry you feel that way. I hope this doesn't keep you from continuing the language you love to learn.
It definitely won’t! I’ll be forever grateful for Duo providing this service but they need to get their act together.
when he or she says that he or she doesn't like lingots, everybody starts giving ligots to him or her
I miss being able to chat with Duo friends through my profile. I can't even reach out to some of the people on my friends list. Am I missing something? Is there some way to personally message them and I just don't see it?
Am I missing something? Is there some way to personally message them and I just don't see it?
Especially since they removed Clubs, there is no way to directly contact individual users within Duolingo.
Fuzz. Sorry, no. Messaging was stopped partly because of bullies, spammers and trolls. Duo has to consider safety for all ages here.
I feel like you could have gotten your point across without the unnecessary clickbait title
Next time, instead of saying "This site is going downhill because of x, y, and z", which immediately frames the conversation in a combative/negative light, try saying: "Here are some ways that duolingo can improve"
Hi TaylorBeck - please don't take this as an attack on you, but may I suggest adopting the very approach you recommended to Danfur in the responses that you write. Here is an optional remake of what you wrote to Danfur:
Hi Danfur - May I suggest, "Instead of saying "This site is going downhill because of x, y, and z", which immediately frames the conversation in a combative/negative light, try saying: "Here are some ways that duolingo can improve"
I simply eliminated the stuff about him being whiney and wanting a free service to cater to his every whim. It takes a LOT of time and effort to write a post like Danfur's. We can disagree with his analysis and disapprove of his style, but we should do so in a manner that respects his effort. We are here to make each other better without beating each other down.
I welcome your feedback on this. And thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Thanks for this, you are right! We should be respectful to our fellow language learners. I guess I'm used to a certain lack of etiquette in online discourse, but this isn't that kind of community. Appreciate the feedback man.
TaylorBeck - Please allow me to give you one lingot for sharing your thoughts. My friend Linda7It taught me to show appreciation in this way. Have a great evening!!
I’ll take this into consideration and change my title thank you for the input (have a lingot friend)
DuoLingo is about mind control and data mining. Once the carrots and sticks have been perfected life as we know it is over.
Cats and dogs living together... I'm talking catastrophe of a biblical proportion...
I created a post similar to this one. But you raise questions and thoughts that are very important, I have sent enraged messages to duolingo via facebook, and I am planning on writing a letter to duolingo. The higher ups in duo don't read the forums. So the only way to contact them is to send a letter twitt or a message. I suggest that we bombard duolingo and tell them what WE the users want.
I saw your post and I agreed with a lot of your points. Duo just cares about PR and public perception at this point. The Navajo/Indigenous People's day post around news sites and Twitter proves that they don't exactly care about preserving endangered languages. I feel like many big projects its become egotistical.
Some people complain about everything. Everyone complains about something. One person's rant is another person's thoughtful comment. The good old days is a myth. People complained about clubs, strength, immersion, etc.
I added a FAQ area to answer questions like yours! (^ see above) Thank you for your feedback. Have a lingot! Also I'm not trying to slander Duolingo in any way, I just want to have an open discussion and hopefully address some of the issues I have personally with the platform.
You definitely did it the right way, with balance and respect. Here's a lingot.
People complained about clubs, strength, immersion, etc.
I certainly complained about Strength. I sometimes had to redo skills 2 or 3 times in one day to keep them at full strength. I personally like Crowns, but I also think that skills should be able to be completed in any order. That's about the one good change to Duolingo since I joined, other than new courses. What is there to complain about Clubs and Immersion? You didn't have to use them like you have to have Health.
I added a FAQ area to answer questions like yours! (^ see above) Thank you for your feedback. Have a lingot! Also I'm not trying to slander Duolingo in any way, I just want to have an open discussion and hopefully address some of the issues I have personally with the platform.
You raise good points,saldy,duolingo will ignore them and change something meaningless for the 100th time.
Thank you for contributing to the Ukrainian course,i have recently started taking it and it is a mess.Grammar tips (light bulbs) are not available on mobile,the course is short,the early lessons are too advanced and it doesn't do a good job on teaching the Cyrillic alphabet.
Edit: also,adding more bonus levels to every language would be really easy but duolingo refuses.
You're absolutely right in saying it would be really easy. I doubt they'd let me become a moderator after this post but if you need any help with Ukrainian don't hesitate to ask me!
I've been been here for 2.5 years and saw quite a lot of changes. Some were good, some not so good. The worst thing for me is this. I don't mind the crown system except for one aspect. Before the crows we had access to individual exercises in a lesson. I could learn a new exercise, repeat it for a few times to remember it better and then move to the next one. Now I have to learn the whole lesson at once. It may contain a few dozens of new words which I have to remember at the same time. This noticeably slowed down my progress. And now they introduced the so-called "motivational messages" which pop up in the middle of the lesson for no reason at all. They distract and annoy me so much that I basically stopped doing any lessons, only do the timed practise and practise on the app. This means that my progress just stalled and it's really frustrating.
What I love the most about the latest changes is that the strength is gone and the stories were introduced.
I can give you a hint about one of the thing you complained about.
Even the fact that notifications are gone and we can no longer engage in discussions together as a community is just depressing.
You can get notifications via e-mail. Just enable this option in your settings-notifications-"Somebody responds to a discussion I'm following".
I could not sleep so pulled up duolingo and read this forum. I started the Welsh course almost three years ago. At the beginning of the second year I took off three months. Then spent a couple of months revising what I had done before going on. Then they changed the format and I kept going forward for a couple of months then I went back to bring what I had done up to the five crown level. I have never paid any attention to clubs, comments, other learners. Just kept my nose and eyes on the language. At this point I am about 2/3 done the course. As a second generation citizen of the US, I heard older members of the first generation US born all speaking Welsh to each other. When visiting Wales I was amazed at how much I understood, but could not speak. That is when I started with Duolingo and two other courses. One being a one week a year immersion here in the US My Welsh is now up to conversation level with other Welsh speakers I know from Welsh events I attend as often as I can. I credit the Duolingo program with my advancement in speaking my family language. I was bummed by the changes a couple of years ago but got over it and am going forward.
I'm very happy to see how many lingots you received (515 at thee time that I posted this, 3 from me).
It says the number of lingots to the right of where you upvote this discussion or right and a little up from where you add a new comment.
I'm glad this is being well received, it is ridiculous. I hope people finally start getting sick of the direction Duolingo is going. I know that not even a month ago, I mentioned the lack of notifications and was told that was an unnecessary function by other users. It's insane how we are so content to just go with whatever is handed to us. There are clearly big issues which everyone knows about, but nobody wants to talk about for some reason. Because people hate "whiners". It's seriously aggravating. I have never seen a userbase allow itself to be a carpet like Duolingo does.
Not to mention that we "should be grateful for a free platform" or that we're "spreading hate"
I've learned SO much Italian from Duo. It isn't perfect, and responses to comments and suggestions is far beyond slow. The most important change I'd like to see is the return of moveable screens, especially the red correction screens. Being unable to see our original response often leaves learners clueless on how to find (and fix!) their errors. I've sometimes had to repeat my errors 4 times or more before I notice the fatal nuance. This ingrains errors, frustrates users, and wastes time, negatively impacting the entire experience. Please, please, change this feature. Thanks.
I agree. The inability to see our original incorrect response is a big graphic mistake.
In my opinion I think the design of the website has gone downhill because it used to be so visually appealing but it has been getting more bland now.
It is one at the beginning of the Arabic/Japanese/Greek/Korean courses...
THere should be a way to give blocks of lingots. You deserve them. Or not, for what are they worth?
I agree, especially some courses being a slap in the face and needing work.
This is where it gets factual and a bit ranty! Apologies. (I did this test a few months back, but I forgot the results and where I commented them, so again) I took the liberty of going through the language list and starting each course that uses a non-English alphabet, to see if the course properly teaches the alphabet. Now, from what I see, Japanese and Korean are the only courses to teach the alphabet. I am taking Russian, which doesn’t teach the alphabet, along with others, I’m sure, but something weird is happening (which I will post about soon) I’d add a course, but when I hit the first lesson, it glitches back to my Russian from English tree, and back, without starting the course. That’s not my point though. I can see that some of the trees for languages that don’t use the English alphabet, start with a lesson labeled ‘alphabet’, but like Russian, there is a good chance that they do not teach the alphabet. Its a turn off to the site.
Unfortunately they didn't update any languages added before Japanese to teach the new alphabet (Ukrainian, Russian, Hebrew maybe more.)
Greek teaches the alphabet, but not in the same way as the other courses. It has you translate the letters as if they were sentences.
I also joined Duolingo in 2012. I agree with some of your observations, especially about the graphics, gems, crowns, etc. Duolingo has made it clear that they make changes based on the data received from A/B tests, numbers of users registered and time spent on the site, not on user feedback.
But as a long-time plodding user, I have noticed tremendous improvement in the Western European language courses represented on Duo. (I have no experience with languages like Navaho, Hawaiian or Welsh.)
First of all, the French, German, Italian and Spanish courses are much longer now and more comprehensive. When I started, there was only Spanish and German! Many of the mistakes have been corrected. When I started Duo in 2012 the courses I followed were full of errors that took a long time to address. I think another major improvement is not having to start a lesson from scratch because of too many wrong answers but, rather, to be able to stay with the lesson until one does it perfectly, correcting all mistakes.
The addition of stories and podcasts is very helpful. (I found immersion too competitive and intimidating.) Almost any question asked in sentence discussion is eventually answered by generous moderators or users.
It must be frustrating to want to study something not available or to encounter so many bugs that the course becomes worthless. It is also hard when what has acted as a motivation is removed from the site. So you have my sympathy. I still think Duolingo has improved.
I have to agree that the Western European language courses have improved immensely over the years and praise should be given when praise is due. They're accurate, in-depth and very well planned out. I understand most of the other courses are made by volunteers and volunteers can only go so far but the recent courses are certainly questionable in quality. Thank you for your input
I cannot even remember when I joined Duolingo, but reading this thread makes me realise nothing so much as how much I missed. I had a hiatus of several years, and it seems there were a lot of wonderful things introduced during that time, only to disappear again. I first came back to Duolingo maybe two years ago, when I took up tutoring, and thought this could be something the kids might like and that I could make them use the time they spend on their phones anyway be a little more productive. I was delighted with how inviting the app looked, and with schools.duolingo. I started mentioning Duolingo and how much I was enjoying it to my "grown-up" friends, and several joined -- only to tell me after a while that they found it frustrating and that it wasn't doing much for them. This is when I first realised that many things I thought I knew about Duolingo were no longer true, or at least not immediately obvious to a new user, or somebody who only used the app rather than the browser version. This still is a source of much frustration, especially because I can remember a time when certain problems didn't exist. This doesn't take away much from my enjoyment of the site (and in fact I think I am more active now than I was in the old days, when I don't think I ever had a streak that was more than a month or two), but I now feel like there kind of are "two Duolingos": The more obvious one is app-only, colourful, inviting -- yet at the same time pretty lonely and shallow. The second is this more hidden one: The old-timers (not necessarily in user or account age, but in spirit ;)) who enjoy the community, the discussion, who love the chances to contribute and to talk shop about tiny nuances of semantics or the merits of different learning methods. I am so very glad I have found my way back here, and that there is a place like this on the internet. I hope it will last for a long time yet, and that the flashy front end will not take away from it.
Thank you for sharing your feedback. We are saddened to hear that you feel this way but could see why someone might come to these conclusions. Although we read most of it, we usually don’t respond to all speculation in the forums because it would be a never-ending task (and usually Duolingo learners are great at talking things through and linking to previous responses). However, in this case I wanted to take the opportunity to address some of these points, because some of these assumptions are incorrect. As someone closely involved with getting languages like Navajo and Hawaiian into Duolingo, allow me to explain where we are coming from and where we’re going and hopefully this will help clear some things up.
Endangered and indigenous language courses
Choosing to collaborate with language revitalization communities to offer courses such as Hawaiian and Navajo was driven first and foremost by our mission to help people learn languages and improve their lives. Folks use Duolingo to learn languages to enjoy travel, gain access to better opportunities, and a host of other advantages. In the case of smaller languages, recent research strongly suggests that heritage learners gain socio-economic, psychological, and even health benefits by reconnecting with their community’s language, especially in cases where the language has been intentionally undermined and its acquisition discouraged violently for many years (as you can imagine, this is a pattern that is sadly not unique to Navajo and Hawaiian). This is why we felt a responsibility to leverage our course creation tools to support language revitalization groups who approached us with a desire to teach their language to their community. It is important to me to make it clear that these communities are never seen as free PR. Rather, they were interested in working with us in part to raise their profiles and get more attention coming to them. Working with Duolingo helps bring attention to the topic of endangered languages and national press coverage of these revitalization movements is a good thing for all of us who care about the issue.
As for why some of these and other recent courses don’t yet have audio and all the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from standard Duolingo courses, it’s important to take into account the limitations that these teams face in terms of resources and time. While we are in the process of adding audio to the Navajo course, this is a bit more challenging than adding audio to larger language courses. For one thing, smaller language courses cannot rely on auto-generated audio or TTS (Text-to-speech software), which exists for larger languages. Recently our team invested considerable resources to create a backend infrastructure to support human audio integration at scale for courses that didn’t have complete audio coverage in the past. Since that work takes place behind the scenes, it’s not something that’s visible to learners immediately, but in the long run this investment allows us to support native speaker audio for all courses that don’t have TTS (or have problematic TTS) going forward.
Both Navajo and Hawaiian were initially released earlier rather than later so that the teams could start receiving feedback as early as possible and take it into account as they create the next batch of content to continue their courses.
Volunteer teams work with in house curriculum experts to decide how much material they want to cover for the initial launch. More recently, we've found that we get better outcomes when we can incorporate learner feedback much earlier in the course creation process. We have a minimum course length requirement so that learners who sign up have a fair amount of material when the course first launches into its initial beta phase. The initial release is far from the complete version of a course that you’d get if you were taking a course that has had several years to grow and mature.
So, in short:
a. Course contributor teams are volunteers with other full-time responsibilities as language teachers, researchers, artists, and students.
b. Minoritized languages by their nature have fewer speakers and experts available to work on course creation full time.
c. Releasing an initial shorter version of a course is better for overall quality in the long term.
If it were possible, of course we’d prefer to give our learners full-fledged, fleshed-out courses with every launch, but that would be prohibitively resource-intensive in terms of beginning to create even one or two additional courses. Since our goal is to leverage Duolingo’s technology to have as big a positive impact as possible, we want to make sure we’re adding courses in a way that is scalable. We also want our learners to reap the benefits of this work earlier rather than later. Someone who is interested in starting their language journey in a language like Navajo doesn’t have to wait for the entire curriculum to be ready for publication, but rather they can start learning the basics as soon as the team is ready to release their first batch of content. What’s more, with this shift to earlier, shorter course releases into beta, learners can take part in the process that allows us to offer ever-improving content that is based on real world feedback.
As for the other items on your list… we’re working on it. We say this often but it is worth repeating: we are a small team of about 150 people serving hundreds of millions of learners from all around the world, with over 90 courses on different platforms. We want to offer much of what you are requesting, and we plan to do a lot of it. I hope that while we all wait, we can enjoy the rich variety of content Duolingo has been providing and that you’ll stick around for everything that is yet to come! Thanks again for your feedback, and I hope this super long response addresses at least a few of your concerns.
Thank you Myra. I'm a long term Duolingo user, and I think most of the changes have enhanced the product. I think many of those who think it's easy to " just add the feature I want, it won't take long to program " have not done any programming beyond what is required to set up their own website using a template. I also suspect that they haven't done much in the way of trying to teach others languages, and trying to find the balance between presenting all possible ways to say something and the KISS principle. For the most part duo does this very well. Have there been a couple of flops? Yes, of course. You're working with volunteers, who will vary greatly in the time they can spend and their ability to Bond as a team. From what I've seen, the flops get corrected when enough users have the patience to complete the course anyway and provide feedback. I find that Duo us VERY flexible in the answers it accepts, compared to almost all textbooks and most other software( that I've seen so far. ). I recommend the program to the students I'm teaching English to. Most if them like it, and stick with it. I was introduced to it by students several years ago. I'm sure some of my pet peeves, which I won't address here, will eventually be worked on - indeed, it seems that a way to notify you of skill decay is currently being tested. Thank you and the team for your work.
Thanks for responding, it was interesting to read your informed perspective. I understand why you can not reply to all of these kind of post, but I think it is very helpful to us as user to understand your motives.
Especially with regards to Endangered and indigenous language courses.
It's really hard to understand what you are saying here. You are listing far too many seemingly unrelated complaints. In particular, you appear to be complaining about both the application, the content (the courses) and also the corporation. Conflating numerous peeves about these unrelated issues into a single post is confusing, at best and is not constructive.
I added a FAQ area to answer questions like yours! (^ see above) Thank you for your feedback. Have a lingot! Also I'm not trying to slander Duolingo in any way, I just want to have an open discussion and hopefully address some of the issues I have personally with the platform.
Constructive feedback is information-specific, issue-focused, and based on observations. It comes in two varieties: Praise and criticism are both personal judgments about a performance effort or outcome, with praise being a favorable judgment and criticism, an unfavorable judgment.
By your own definition, your post is not constructive feedback. In particular, it is not 'issue-focused' and also probably not 'information-specific'. Compare with my post, which sticks to a single point and is constructive. (it tells you what you need to do to make a better post)
I see your point, though do not not see how this isn't constructive. besides, did you even read the whole thing? judging things before you know much about them is quite a fault indeed. what I got from that is motivation, not criticism.
Not to nitpick or anything, but your post is not actually constructive. It points out what is wrong with danfur's post but does not actually offer any suggestions on how to improve.
Darfur that's a beastly device for deafness, such a phrase "constuctive feedback". One must avoid hearing or reading, or believing bad reports, if they happen to be heard or read. But what is "bad"? First you must go and find what good and bad are.
And then, if you became aware of anything, even a bad report, you have a decision to make of what to do with it. You must never accept a report that seems "bad" at face value. You must either ignore and forget it -- that's deafness of a sort, or research the thing yourself before any other action made on it. That's hard to do properly so many resort to deafness, which is not growth, but leaves one open to decay type attacks by the dark forces of existance.
Interesting, well thought out analysis. I hope that the powers that be read and take actions.
I agree that they need to improve the Hawaiian course. Like, a ton. It also frustrates me that while people might be excited and happy for getting course they want, it doesn't do any good if all of the courses aren't good. Why not improve the ones they already have before adding a bunch of shallow courses that are practically meaningless? A variety is good, but only if that variety is actually worth something. It's better to have a few really good things, than a bunch less-than-par things in my opinion.
I agree- I feel like the original idea was to turn language learning into a fun, good, enjoyable video game, where they've turned bad language learning into a bad game lol
I wish there was stories in the mobile version. It sucks not being able to use it cause I can't take my laptop everywhere.
You can always access the duolingo website through the web browser on your phone (instead of the app) when you're in the mood of doing stories.
I totally agree, couldn't have said it better. I don't understand why the backlash for wanting to improve things sometimes, and ironically that's people complaining about complaints since they see them that way instead of seeing it as constructive criticism.
It’s certainly frustrating. I’m not trying to drag Duolingo per say, I just think my number of critiques have gone up over the years instead of down
i completely agree. i honestly dont see what the crowns are for and i hate that they repeat the same sentences everytime it just irritating.
i know that duolingo teaches you alot. this is just a response telling you your right
Thank you for posting this. I don't know how long I've been using Duolingo, but it's certainly been many years. (Asking to auto-acknowledge a "Duoversary" is clearly too much, although many other free sites have no problem with this - Postcrossing, LearnwithOliver, etc.). The loss of communication or even progress tracking with so-called "followers" (why are we following anyone now?) was very depressing, likewise the loss of levels.
At one point I was considering joining Duolingo as a premium member, but when I realized that there was so much less of value than there used to be in the user experience, I was like, I'd have to be an idiot. So other than the obvious need for course upgrades (not to mention actual info. on the bona fides of course developers and those who are ostensibly doing quality control), those are my main beefs. Loss of communication among "followers" (who used to be "friends") and loss of levels. (One good thing they got rid of was XP for "translations". That was a joke. If they had thought a bit harder about it, a better solution would have been to keep it, but without the XP incentive which led to its abuse.)
Regarding endangered languages, I say release whatever they have with whatever caveat needed, e.g. "This was created by an interested amateur who is independently studying the language." or This Vietnamese course was by created by native speakers/heritage speakers/someone with a PhD in Vietnamese studies etc. If it gets the public interested and engaged, it's movement in the right direction.
To reiterate for the bottom line, Duo can't expect to get adults to pay money for this service when they remove value.
Truly, thank you for making this post. I can't understand who these recent changes could have been geared towards, and all the while removing positive features of the app. You're 100% right about Navajo, if you tried to get around Navajo Nation with just the Duolingo app, guarantee nobody would understand half a word you say.
It's unfortunate they'll just pass by this post as they do with most that dissent in some way or another. Take a lingot though
The only thing I really miss from the old Duolingo is being able to send messages to other users.
Great discussion topic! - Here's a lingot (you can't take it with you, and there's nothing for me to buy with them) :D
Thank you for posting this. It fully sums up a lot of what ive been thinking
I understand how you feel, although I haven't been using Duo as long as you have. I miss the interaction between other users. This newest update isn't better, in my opinion.
They have done a lot of things that moved it from language learning to something else. I wouldn’t mind the crown systems if it hadn’t taken away the spaced repetition system, so now if I want that I have to check a completely different website, which is very frustrating.
So, after reading this whole conversation, from the top down, I have some questions. (I joined maybe 3 years ago, and I don't know about some of the things mentioned in the post.)
1) What is/was Immersion?
2) When was the last time they allowed user to user conversations? What year did they stop?
I personally have ALWAYS wished we could have user to user convos, but I never got to use that function because I guess it was eliminated before I joined Doulingo. I REALLY WISH THAT COULD BE BROUGHT BACK. Also, could you do Immersion online? From what I understand, Immersion is where you go to a country to actually experience the culture and hear the language... was there a way you could do it online with Doulingo?
As to the courses, I think that the repetitive manner is quite annoying, and the motivational Duo messages do not help. I do wish they would reinstate the user to user convos, take out leagues, institute clubs, and improve the design of the website. While I am not embarrassed to open this site in public, the graphics and presentation need to be improved. While they are at it, they might as well add newer and better things to the Shop, because right now lingots are useless. My favorite things about this site though are the Stories (AMAZING FEATURE! THANKS DUO!!) and the Tips and Notes, which are great for my German notebook Grammar section.
-BTW, I really enjoyed reading this post. I like the conversation and all of the feedback being given, most of which I agree with. This is definitely not whining, it's giving feedback and offering constructive criticism. I think there should be more open thread posts like this where you can share your thoughts.-
The one last thing is that I wish Duo staff would pay more attention to user feedback and forum posts. Customer satisfaction would be so much better!! And while I know these suggestions take time and money to put into place, there is no point in doing something if you do not do it right. Also, scientific research won't help them improve the site. User feedback is what really matters!!!!
As a new account on duolingo, and not knowing how it was before crowns and leauges I enjoy the site for what it is. I do however understand your concerns on how little effort is being put into languages. Hopefully this post has enough traction to gain the attention of some mods so that they can do something about it. All things said though this site is amazing and has taught me more french in a summer than 1 year of highschool combined.
Thank you for articulating this so well. I completely agree. There are so many languages I would love for them to add here, many of which are a LOT more simpler to code for than those which they offer to an extremely laughable standard anyway, but I long decided it wouldn't be worth the lack of audio and just overall disappointment.
I would have have hoped that with growth would come development. They have a bigger budget now, better tech. But maybe the ethos of the site has been lost in the excitement and thrill of becoming such a household name.
I agree about hte Navajo course. Do they think those of us who want to learn indigenous languages are just playing around? A lot of these languages will die if more people do not learn and teach them. Duolingo should not dabble, but do it right. Learning languages in the end is learning, work, scholarship, commitment, diving deep - and that is the beauty of it. It is not a video game.
AFAIK, the general idea with the newer, shorter courses is to make the course available to the learners sooner, rather than later, so that the course can be built up using a model of what users are actually doing, rather than how one might hope or expect that they'll behave/learn.
There's another post similar to this one from 2 days ago which has also attracted a lot of attention. I figure if so many people are dissatisfied with Duolingo, why not leave? Duolingo is not the be all and end all. There is a vast array of resources available for those who are learning a foreign language, especially the most commonly studied languages. There are even other websites similar to Duolingo, like Lingvist and Lingodeer. There are some things I don't like about Duolingo either, but it doesn't really bother me. After all, it's free. It's not like most of us have invested money into this website, that's really targeted for schoolchildren (whether we want to admit it or not).
I generally hate this type of argument, but I'll ignore that for a second lol. There's one fact that doesn't work really:
"It's not like most of us have invested money into this website, that's really targeted for schoolchildren"
Duolingo was originally intended for adults, and even Luis himself said it. I don't know if that's changed, but it hasn't officially changed lol, Luis hasn't said "this is an app/website for k-5th graders! It's great for early language learning" or anything yet. There's a reason there's a classroom setting, without it being completely for a classroom.
Also, if it were intended for schoolchildren, why would it have a forum? If you mean highschoolers/middle-schoolers or something, please correct me x)
ALSO, your argument is super weird in this part:
"I figure if so many people are dissatisfied with Duolingo, why not leave?"
I figure if so many people are dissatisfied with Duolingo, why don't they change it? There's an argument that maybe the people silently/happily using the app are more than the people being mad at it, but the idea that because there are LOTS and LOTS of people complaining, it's something wrong with them and not the website, you know?
"Duolingo was originally intended for adults, and even Luis himself said it." And there are so many adults, or were. The kids come and go with the school year, often not lasting even a full semester.
Based on an experiment I did during the time of Clubs, approximately a fifth of users don’t last a month.
I may have not used Duolingo since its inception, but during the last year and a half I've received the impression that most of the users are minors, just from looking at the forum. The forum is not just restricted to anyone who is 18 years and older. Officially it's actually 13, but children who are younger can still use Duolingo. They'll just be restricted from accessing the social features of this website. Even then, there are still those who bypass the restrictions. The Duolingo for Schools feature has seen the surge of many schoolchildren. I don't know the exact numbers, but I'm sure it's in the millions.
As others have already stated, the web design for Duolingo is undoubtedly child-like, with its gamification and cartoonish drawings. Why else would Duolingo create an interface that looks childish, with a very neotenous owl for a mascot, if it's not aimed for children?
No matter what, you can't please everyone. I didn't know a company that offers a free service to the general public is obligated to give into the demands of a vocal minority which represents only a fraction of a percent of the 200-300 million users. You get what you pay for.
"No matter what, you can't please everyone. I didn't know a company that offers a free service to the general public is obligated to give into the demands of a vocal minority which represents only a fraction of a percent of the 200-300 million users. You get what you pay for."
That's assuming that all 200 million some users who are silent are happy, you know?
Well, you could go to Google Play and read the countless reviews for Duolingo just from today (July 30). I know the reviews are mostly for the app instead of the web version, but it provides a good idea of what others think of Duolingo outside of this forum. The vast majority of reviews from the last week are overwhelmingly positive.
"a company that offers a free service to the general public" This is something that I hear a lot; really on every website/internet community ever where there were users that didn't like a certain thing, and others that told them to be greatful instead because the service was free. The thing is, the service is rarely free. Active users are a currency, and they pay with the data they bring. True, this isn't facebook, and we may not be leaving as much immediately obviously commercially usable information as elsewhere. (Sorry, I'm pretty sure there is one or two adverbs too many in that phrase -- I hope it still gets the meaning across!) Duolingo openly states it wants to study how learning can be more effective, so it's fair to assume we provide data towards that end. The matter of targeted advertising then comes on top. Not to say that that is wrong -- it's just something to keep in mind before declaring any service is "free".
"To put it another way, they’re like dandelions. If you have one in your lawn, it looks pretty and unique.
If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day… fifty the day after that… and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions." -Stephen King
I like that quote lots, but I think all of the adverbs in your sentence worked weirdly xP
Also any strong rule doesn't ever work all the time.
If I hated Duolingo I would be long gone. I've been using Duolingo for years and I have loved it since its inception. My only critique is its slip in standard and I wanted to open up a conversation and see if others shared my views on some things but I'm always up up for debate and you did bring up some good points! :)
Murnik - Can you just allow people to give their respectful feedback without feeling judged? It is not "free" either cos we give our data, and our numbers contribute to the Duolingo business value, as does our feedback. It's business 101. My time is valuable. I expect a lot of people do get so frustrated they leave. I will try out your suggested sites, thanks.
I miss when skills would stop being gold after not having practiced them for a while. I lost a lot of progress when they changed the tree and forgot a lot of words because I didn't know what I needed to practice.
So happy you posted this. A popular sight like this; it would be very nice if DL could take some feedback from us. However, with leagues, getting lots of amount of XP from tests doesn't quite make sense because people can cheat. I would say there should be a limit to how many times you can take a test, then it might make sense.