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How are you meant to use Duolingo?

One other question I have regarding the intended use of Duolingo is what the Duolingo team feels is the most useful way to use their service?

I noticed, for example, that when I was working my way through French Verbs #2 (or something to that end, I don't have the skill tree handy next to me) there was a lot of NEW material introduced, but at a breakneck speed and with very little repetition between introductions of new words. It seems like a poor way to learn, to be bombarded with new words and only see them once or twice per lesson.

Now I am the sort of person that likes to do either 3 or 4 lessons at a time, or maybe even entire concept areas at a time. With some of the recent changes (removing practise exercises from skill progression trees) it feels like I have been loaded with 40 or 50 new words but have only practised each one once or twice.

I realize that this is what the "practise all words" section is for, and it would be fair of people to say "well just learn what you want to learn and then practise as long as you think you need to practise". But instead of this sort of answer I'm sort of wondering what Duolingo's team feels is the best way to maximize learning while minimizing frustration, given an average user. Would they recommend cutting down on lessons and practising more, or re-doing completed lessons multiple times?

Sorry if I'm a little rambling, but again, some of the recent changes piqued my curiosity as to where the Duolingo team stands on this.

Thanks! As always, great site and keep up the great work!

April 24, 2013



This is a good discussion, and one we have among ourselves all the time. Should we tell people when to practice or not? So far we've left it entirely up to each person, but we will likely investigate ways to nudge people to practice at certain times.


Personally, after 3 months the most efficient way I figured out to use Duoling is:

  • to do 2 or 3 parts of lessons a day (between 20 and 39 skill points)
  • and then to "practice all skills" a lot (about 70 skill points)

This is my minimum every day and when I want to learn more I keep the same proportion between lessons and practising (about 1/3), sometimes I try some immersion translations.

Keeping the minimum 100 skill points every day, learning this way, is working very well! First, your are not overloaded because you gain confidence practising old words, secondly you make huge progress if you learn every day!

Thank you!


These are all very good questions and I would like to read the team's answers, too.

I think that without a really very very good repetition algorithm there should not be any mandatory practice because users learn with different speeds and need different amount of practice. It is better to give them opportunity to choose for themselves whether they want to learn something new or to practice old lessons.

However, I agree that some practice recommendations or tips would be useful for an average learner. Only recently I wrote a few answers with some suggestions of a learning schedule. Apparently, to many users it just does not occur to adjust their learning pace and add more practice to improve retention and reduce frustration.


This may be different because I'm relatively new, but I find that skills I've already learned stop showing as completely known - once it's no longer solid yellow, I either "practice all skills" or practice the specific ones, until the bar goes back to being solid. Usually I do the individual ones; "practice all skills" doesn't seem to target the most needed material.

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