Regularly Adding New Content to Existing Language Trees
The addition of new content in the French Language Tree is extremely encouraging. I have been going purposely slow in all 5 languages, and repeating frequently, so I did not reach the end of any of them too quickly, as I thought that once you finish, that is it, and there is no more. And that once I finished, I would probably just move on.
By continually adding new content to all existing languages, including new layers of intermediate and advanced skills, DuoLingo has a much better chance of keeping a large group of very engaged followers, where as we might drift off once we have finished the language trees.
Khan Academy is an excellent example of new content being added almost daily at higher and higher skill levels, and it keeps their huge following very engaged.
So I would strongly encourage Duolingo to continue to regularly add new content to their existing language trees at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels, as well as adding new languages (both modern and ancient) to keep everyone engaged and interested.
Having used many learning programs across the internet, please allow me to congratulate all of you at DuoLingo for having one of the best and most enjoyable learning sites!!
I am a little less than half way thru my German skill tree and already have been pining a little in advance of completing it (haha!!). Like getting to the end of a really good book - it's awesome, you want to finish it, yet you don't want it to end! It will still be fun doing translations, but I hope Duolingo will keep adding more lessons. Perhaps vocabulary in specialist areas: medicine, law, engineering, maths, music etc.
I completely agree, there is much more depth possible in other areas than vocabulary. EVen on the vocabulary side you could think about special tracks at the end. I work for example in the financial industry for a software supplier. Plenty of specific things to learn there. Maybe think also at some blocks with false friends. German words that look like an English (French, Dutch, ...) but mean something completely different. (e.g. Mist in German means manure, but in Dutch mist means fog. Just imagine the fun when I accidently slip in the wrong word in a German sentence)
Expansion of existing trees is a good idea but should be done with sensitivity to the needs of established users, especially advanced ones. It is frustrating when you have already achieved a full tree of crown level 3+ to be suddenly faced with a large number of "new" relatively basic skills which teach you nothing new but need to be completed to restore the tree status. This is particularly the case with the recent limits on test-out ability, firstly the XP cap, and secondly that you have to pay lingots to attempt a test. I understand the reasons for the recent French/Spanish updates but they have been infuriating for many users.
To answer the two common replies to this criticism: 1. "Surely if the objective is to learn a language, we should welcome the new material?" Yes, but only if the material is appropriate to our current learning level. Often the new material doesn't teach advanced students anything new; it's just a repetitive and time-consuming exercise that takes time away from learning new material. 2. "Does it really matter if you don't have a golden tree/owl?" From a language-learning perspective, probably not. But these are the incentives that Duolingo uses and as long as they remain features of the app they represent both achievement and a reason to keep going. It is dispiriting for users to have these achievements removed due to updates from which they receive no corresponding benefit.