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  5. New update brought back heart…


New update brought back hearts!!

I’m so upset that I now have hearts to contend with! Learning a new language was hard enough before implementing a punishment system! Why?! Is this just to get money?! Kind of takes away from the whole premise of this being the “best FREE language learning app!!” I’m so disappointed in the developers for this. I’ve not seen one good post about the heart system! Why bring this in and ruin a perfect app?!

November 19, 2019



You are not alone in your dislike of the Hearts/Health system. Here is a similar topic from just a few hours ago: The Hearts system is HATEFUL.

Bottom line, if you don't like the Hearts/Health system use the Web Version. Duolingo is moving towards a Freemium based strategy for the apps. Thankfully, I have not heard of any plans to do this to the web version.


My dislike comes from, on my mobile I’ve completed hours of lessons without a health system. I’ve come a long way in learning my language. Only to open it tonight and find gems instead of lingots and now a 5 strikes and your out so go away system in place! That’s my issue. The fact that they would prevent someone from learning because of their mistakes. Ridiculous.


When you practice or review a Level 5/golden skill, it gives you back a heart.

The gems vs lingots issue only shows up with some languages on the mobile app, in my experience. On desktop, it's all still lingots, and whatever you earn in one transfers to the other.


Do you know which languages? I have not encountered hearts


Does the free version allow you to practice to regain hearts? I have Plus and it does, and I quite like it. Plus allows the user to disable hearts and I leave them on specifically because if I'm making that many mistakes, I like having the breaks put on and practicing to bring the health back.

[deactivated user]

    I'm pretty sure the hearts are to get people to buy premium.


    True but before I went Plus, I could practice or watch an ad to gain back hearts. Unless something has changed in the last 7 months, the answer is yes.


    I got DL on my mom's iPhone to see what the hearts were like, and I hated them. Got back on today and they were gone. I'm not sure what happened. I hope they are gone for everyone elses sake learning on IOS.


    I hate it so much! It’s fine for me because I have a bazillion gems, but my 7 year old daughter is miserable about it. She was so excited to come home after school and work on French and now there’s this? She just told me she’s stupid and can’t learn French because she made 5 mistakes. Mistakes shouldn’t be penalized! I put her back on the web version, but she was already so down on herself that she didn’t want to finish the lesson.

    What the hell kind of program wants to make people feel bad about trying something new to the point that they just give up?!


    Is she worth $85 per year?


    The question isn't if her child is worth 85 dollars, but if Duo is worth it. Most people only have so much money to spend and they want that money to benefit their kids as much as possible. I have kids who have the same issues with hearts, and instead of spending 85 on Duo I spent just a bit more and got TWO other apps that don't pretend to be free and then attempt to manipulate people into buying subscriptions. Another benefit is that neither of these apps has has ever taken away content as Duo did when it dropped lesson totals from 20-25 on level 4 to only 3-4. If I had purchased Duo prior to the change in lessons and then had my lessons reduced I would have been very upset; I expect to receive the product I pay for. Lastly, the course we are learning was created by and is still maintained by volunteers. I might consider paying for Duo if Duo actually paid the creators of the Russian course for the content Duo gets for free yet wishes to profit from. Maybe.


    Hi, NovemberVee. Which paid apps do you recommend?


    Thanks for visiting...


    ...a public forum? Possibly you mistook this for a PM system. ;)


    Keep coming back, and stay as long as you like, won't cost you a penny :-)


    Use the web browser. Not only are there no hearts, but I find it waaaay more efficient


    Everyone hates it almost


    I was so disappointed to find our hearts were back. Seriously losing interest and motivation from this update, I had to purchase two refills just to finish my 20xp goal.


    When I was on the app version I was able to refill hearts by practicing. You can't do that anymore?


    Yeah, I almost never see people, who hate the hearts system, pointing out that you can restore your hearts by doing lesson practices. I've had the hearts system since I started Duolingo (it used to be called health, but it was the same general system), and lesson practice was the most obvious way to me for restoring hearts, taking just 1 or 2 minutes per heart restored.


    If you run out of hearts in the middle of a lesson, and you have fewer than 350 gems, you have no choice but to quit the lesson or upgrade to plus. It is definitely a scheme to push people to pay.


    You would upgrade to plus to save the 5 mins of time you have spent on a partially completed lesson?

    Instead of quiting the lesson and doing a few rounds of practice and then attempting the lesson again?


    When one is just starting out, a practice option doesn't yet exist. So what way is there to replenish hearts when your only way to do so hasn't even been unlocked, but you're still making lots of mistakes?

    Children in particular are quite error-prone on sites like Duolingo, and the site as it is helps facilitate that. The app with Health doesn't - most disappointing for an app that's supposed to be for all ages. There's even one such story on this post, of a child getting so discouraged by the hearts that they simply give up and quit. But it's not the only such story I have seen, and it's not only children who fall into this pit.

    Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.


    No one is unaware that practice regains hearts. That is part of the problem Shifts time from learning new stuff to repeating stuff you know well.

    Plus practice is not "a minute or two." Especially if you are out as getting back just on heart before going in to a lesson could really screw you over.

    And it is NOT the same as health was. Why do people keep saying that?!?

    And it thankfully that went away for while but now has come back as something much worse.


    If they're not unaware of the practice system, then it means they are lying.


    I just did this today when I was inducted into the "health" system. I have learned that I can use the "practice" button for a much longer time than the new material + hearts allows me. I don't mind using the practice system because it will allow me to get completely familiar with my vocabulary and also allow me to finally use all of the tenses that I have learned with different verbs.

    In fact, after experimenting with this for just three hours, I increased my XP's considerably. It's not cheating if you're practicing what you already know, something I had rarely done before. I got penalized for forging ahead, and now I'm going to consolidate. In fact, I never used the practice button very much until two days ago, and I was still able to keep advancing by dint of hard work.


    not everything is about XP.


    Ignore the app and use web interface in the phone. The content in the app is limited and it is buggy. But the web interface is buggy as well :(


    I don't understand how they can't hire good apps devs. (and also good designers).


    And get you learning done before they bring the changes over to the web interface. Because you know they will, regardless of their "current plans."


    The heart system is absolute garbage, it’s just a way to force free users into purchasing premium. Bad decision by Duolingo. Currently looking at new software


    I used to go on the app and have to deal with the hearts. When I started doing the web version there was no going back for me.


    Definitely not updating. Good thing I only use Duolingo on my terrible android.


    I'm glad I visited this forum before updating my app. I have lingots, no hearts, and I'm very happy with it!


    Very lucky. Don't give it up!


    The website doesn't have hearts, use that.


    I know, right?? iOS has had them in the app forever, and it is HORRIBLE. (But, the phone makes it easier to work with other keyboards or accents, which the web site is just useless for -- so we are kind of stuck between a rock and hard place.)

    I suspect that they are trying to encourage PLUS membership, but it sort of feels like extortion, to add pain unless we want to pay a small fee to make it stop. (Just on principle I would rather put my ($) support spend elsewhere (and did, with RS), rather than reward Duolingo for making this decision. Sorry Duo!)


    I hear you with the website being useless with other keyboards and accents. I wish it would understand that typing a word phonetically in the Latin keyboard is bound to be incorrect in any other alphabet layout. I used the app to just type in the other keyboard, but now I guess I'm stuck on web.


    You should be able to change your language settings on your laptop. I had to go into my language settings menu and it gave me a whole list to choose from. The only drawback was having to buy stickers to put on my keyboard with both the latin and cyrillic alphabets, but they were only a few dollars on Amazon.


    Oh thank you, I didn't know about that. :)


    You can go cheaper than that, even, and simply use the on-screen keyboard as a visual guide. It's pre-installed on the computer and automatically configures to whatever language you have your physical keyboard set to. :)

    Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.


    Right. Babbel is $7 a month, generally rated better and sans the bait and switch duo is doing.


    I have always had the hearts feature (on iPhone and maybe unlucky never to have been selected into a non-hearts group) and I completely agree. It is totally hateful, a number of times I have contemplated quitting Duolingo because of it. As others have said, I have now deleted the app and use the website on my phone. I wish they would get rid of the hearts, it doesn't help me do anything. It's just frustrating.


    Duo taketh and giveth away. They should put more effort into content (new skills, stories) and less into disappointing users :}


    Yeah. You would think they should know that already though...


    Brought back hearts?

    I wasn’t aware hearts went away in the first place.


    Mine didn’t have the health system. Only needed to maintain a certain spot on the leader board to advance or stay in league. However my daughter had the health system and it discouraged her from learning. I’m just utterly disappointed. I don’t mind the ads after every lesson. But the health system?! Demeaning and unnecessary.


    Hearts 2.0 used to be unique to Apple phone users.


    I had no clue either. It must be for a specific type of phone


    The health system is not the same as the current hearts.

    It would appear that hearts have not rolled out to everyone, causing general confusion on the forums.

    Health did go away for me at least for like 2 years. Maybe it depends on what update and what phone IOS.


    If you're on mobile and getting hearts as a result, you can mitigate this somewhat by running one exercise on a category you have run up to gold. This awards 10XP and a heart back (to the max of five hearts). Once you get a couple of sections through a language course, this is useful if you do not wish to pay for unlimited hearts.

    Another option is to pay the 450 blue crystal price on mobile for another five hearts. I personally do a bit of both if necessary. I agree though, it does feel punishing if you venture off into new categories of study and struggle the first time.


    I have been using duolingo for a year or two on my phone while going to work. It has helped to learn new words quite a bit. My son is having trouble with a language in school, I was going to give him a mandatory practice session with duolingo as a condition to use the computer. The whole point was that it's a fun phone based up not real learning... But the point was also to encourage him not to turn him off with the hearts. The app is clearly unuable for a new language where you make several mistakes in each lesson, so I will have to find him another app. If the hears show up on my phone I will have to change to another app, there is enough frustration sometimes with remembering a new word or two in a lesson and getting it right I don't need additional aggrevation of getting locked out of the app. I have a 1 hour train ride to work each day and it is practice time. That doesn't work if I get locked out after a few minutes.


    I feel with you - I don't like it, either :-|


    I remember I got a bunch of Duolingo hearts when I quoted a UN resolution banning linguistic genocide...


    Probably a certain farm implement was not mentioned, which is how I rated some.


    I am sorry, but what are hearts? I keep hearing them in the forums but I have no idea. Sorry, I am a beginner!


    just use the web version im on it and there are no hearts


    Ugh, the hearts are awful. I guess they just really hate free users.


    Ah~ Sounds like garbage. I use the website so I was completely unaware of this.


    it is just to make money... its sad and frustrating


    curious to see how it works out


    You get free hearts AND XP by practicing/reviewing past content. So you can still learn for free, and it's more effective than paying for hearts


    I really don't get it. Why use the app? Please explain to me why anybody would use the app.


    Not everyone has a computer anymore. I teach online college courses, and a significant portion of my students are 100% iPad. I know you can use the web version from an iPad browser, but it’s not ideal, and it frequently hangs up for me. Plus, sometimes I want to use Duo on my phone while out and about without WiFi, and the app is easier to use in that situation.

    I do prefer the web version, and use it as often as possible, but the app has its place too.


    Because I like it and learn more from the app than the browser.. People are different..


    I'm a caveman and don't always have internet access. I can use the app during those times.


    Idk what you are talking about


    Just answer them correctly. But yes it's to get money, it's a business.


    Hi anda322! As people have mentioned in this conversation, the health system (which includes the hearts) are what helps Duolingo keep running and offering 100% of all content free for all users. We test the health constantly to make sure it is not too frustrating and actually helpful for learning (as in, it helps some users focus better on their answers, practice more, and pace themselves a little more), but as you can imagine, it is quite difficult to please everyone.

    All Duolingo learners are encouraged help us keep this service running and support our mission either by joining Duolingo Plus, or via ads (together with gem allocation & mindful learning). This is how we can keep offering all content to all users without anyone having to spend money if they cannot or do not want to. Please remember that you can practice to keep things moving along. We do not block any learning content or put any learning material behind a paywall, and we intend to keep it that way. Please remember that you can practice to keep things moving along.

    That said, we appreciate all feedback, and this issue is something we hear about from time to time. This has become my standard answer to people frustrated with Health, hearts, and the like, so apologies if you have read this response before.


    but premium users have unlimited hearts, does that mean if you are premium you are better at learning?


    No, it just means you are able to speed through the content more if you wish to, despite making several mistakes.


    @vivisaurus By this logic one should never pay for plus as it allows one to bypass a tool you claim is helpful for proper learning.
    But that's not what hearts are about. Punishment does not encourage people to become better learners. Repetition of basic skills is good only to a point; that's why you limit xp when people redo skills more than once a day. And what does watching ads to regain hearts teach anyone? Hearts aren't about learning, they are about moving to a freemium model. Why not just be honest about that? Babbel, Memrise, Mondly, Lingvist, Drops, etc will all get my money before you ever will because they are honest. The teaching methods they use have no hidden motives. They don't claim to be something they aren't.

    Duo can't have it both ways: either you are free for all and everyone has the same options for learning OR you are a freemium service, giving more options to those who pay. It's pretty clear what you've chosen. All of my kids have hearts, and they also have subscriptions to Drops and Memrise. I'd rather they spend their time learning while their hearts refill, rather than mindlessly repeat stuff they know simply because they mistyped, and I don't want them to feel discouraged and quit trying because of Duo's punishment system.


    Hey, we believe it is actually helpful to pace yourself, and hopefully that is not the only reason one would pay for Plus. Plus users do have the option of turning off health and not waiting. We want everyone in the world from all backgrounds to have access to free online language education, and this is extremely important to us. Nobody is doing this at this level, and as you can imagine, this costs money. Offering Duolingo Plus subscriptions is a solution we found in order to not hide content behind a paywall, as most subscription services might. We include features that the subscribers are asking for that does not block other people's access to the course and other learning content (like full courses but also Stories, word lists, podcast, etc.) My point in my original reply is that we are trying our best to find ways to pay for Duolingo in a way that can actually be helpful to people who cannot afford to pay for the language courses they want to take. It is not helpful to everyone. And repetition is very much not to everyone's liking, I get that.

    Duo can't have it both ways: either you are free for all and everyone has the same options for learning OR you are a freemium service, giving more options to those who pay.

    We are free for all—everyone has the same free access to all content. We give more learning style and some convenience options to subscribers as a way to pay for this operation, correct. Those who pay expect more options, especially if they don't get exclusive content. I hear you though, and I am very sorry this causes frustration. It does seem to be working for a lot of people though, and I am truly glad you found a system that works for your family.


    Thus you offer an obstacle free experience to those who pay, and a hearts-filled one to users who don't pay, and justify this by claiming the hearts system benefits learners.

    • freemium

      adj. Offering basic services for free while charging a premium for advanced or special features.* Wordnik from Wiktionary

    The most important characteristic of a freemium mobile app is that it is engaging and rewarding for all users, not just paying users. So it is important that any monetization features serve to enhance the experience rather than locking out free users. https://sweetpricing.com/blog/2017/01/freemium-mobile-apps/

    As you say, all users can access the same content; you don't lock any users out. But some users can more easily access that content than others. That makes Duo a freemium app, NOT a free one. Why not simply admit to this?

    We created Duolingo so that everyone could have a chance. Free language education – no hidden fees, no premium content, just free. https://www.duolingo.com/info

    Sure, saying you bring free language learning to the world is a great tagline, but it's also blatantly false.

    Are there any plans to force the heart system on website users?


    So you guys are only concerned about free users practicing "mindful" learning. Who cares what the paid users do.


    Well I am plus, and I originally kept my hearts turned on. What resulted is frustration over darn it I had a typo now I need to practice or even more frustrating, sometimes my answer would be grammatically correct and simply not accepted by the software. Then I would get afraid that I was running out so I would as I encountered an unfamiliar word, use google translate to get the gender so that I would not get an incorrect one and thus lose yet another heart.

    Once I decided to just accept the benefit from being plus, I found learning to be less frustrating.

    I see nothing wrong with Duolingo just stating, look we need to keep the lights on thus we implement this gating feature. I have a lot more problem with them saying it is beneficial to learning, because I do not think it is and I'm pretty sure no school of education would say that punishment is a good teacher.


    Im pretty sure we figured out that punishing people for mistakes is not beneficial for learning. But duolingo is paying a "research" team to tell them otherwise. My guess is that the research team is paid to get free users to move to premium


    Hi AmyOvermye -- I was stating that we do indeed offer Plus to "keep the lights on" as you say, but perhaps not clearly enough. Apologies!


    How much does Duolingo cost?


    Less than $8 per month. It was worth that to me to get rid of the health system.


    If hearts were so bad and driving people away, decreasing screen time, ad revenue, wouldn’t this look bad on duolingo’s metrics?

    So that suggests to me that hearts overall must be neutral or positive.

    Especially considering you can go from zero to 5 hearts in the matter of minutes, so why buy plus just for the heart shield?


    Well, Hearts all but forces one to spend more time practicing/looking at ads in order to keep one's health up. Of course it would look good to their metrics.

    Beginners quitting the app due to Hearts might turn that around, however.

    Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.


    Yep, but its not like hearts are anything new. so shouldn't beginners quitting already be shown in the metrics?

    Also if watching ads and practising was so bad, why are people staying?

    So doesn't that mean that while hearts might be annoying, duolingo + hearts overall is still a good product? Or people who leave? There are other apps.

    Like a free movie is good, a free movie with ads every now and then is still pretty good.


    Up until yesterday my app didn’t have the health system. So it’s new to me. And I just find it disappointing is all. When you are accustomed to learning a particular way and it gets pulled out from under you it can be discouraging.


    But the health system has been on duolingo since I started in 2016. So it is more that they went back to the old ways. It is nothing new. And repetition is good for learning a language not bad.. do some repetitions and you have your lifes back..


    It's not new to you. But of course, it could well be new to someone else. If Duolingo had hearts at the outset when I started, I wouldn't be here.

    Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.


    That’s not entirely correct. The original health system was roughly the same as the current “testing out” system on the web version of Duo.

    You had three hearts per lesson and had to repeat that lesson if you made three mistakes. I liked that system. Others didn’t-but at least it never locked you out of lessons you were currently learning and forced you to watch ads, wait, or review old material (sometimes the last is not even an option if you’re just starting a new language). I doubt the original system would be nearly as disliked as the current one is.


    It probably is. Probably some other people adapted. People complain about Health even in the reviews, believe me. It's a common theme.

    People stay because they adapt, or because they use the web. Like me!

    Hearts are a tad more annoying than ads on movies. I can understand ads on movies; as long as they're not too annoying, all good. A better comparison would be more like if you decline to watch too many ads, you can't keep watching your movie for however long. Annoying, right?

    Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.


    People complain about everything.

    There are people complaining on all sides. Saying something is bad because people complain means very little.

    people complain about pineapple on pizza, but that stuff is delicious :D


    When every other review you see is in some way mentioning hearts (never in a good way), there's something more to it than pineapples on pizza. (Which, by the way, isn't something I would be inclined to complain about; I'll just pull them off and hand them to you, since you like them and I don't.)

    People complaining is one thing. That's normal. But people complaining consistently indicates a problem.

    Volgav vitsenanieff nivya kevach varatsach.


    people complain about pineapple on pizza, but that stuff is delicious :D

    I mean, you’re not wrong...


    Duolingo plus is the largest income to Duolingo. Do you think the majority of those that have purchased plus have had hearts or not?


    Personally, I got Plus 100% in order to ditch the heart system. It happened to be near my birthday when I started, so it made a great birthday present. :-)


    no idea. Also where did you come up with plus being the largest source of income. Cause from what little I have seen (since duolingo doesnt seem to release these sort of details) it suggests advertising is still the largest source of income.

    But if you are buying duolingo plus to save you a few minutes of practice, you must have been on the fence already or just consider that good value, depending on how you value your own time.

    But in the end, you can still use it for free. If they started making it so there was no way to regenerate hearts other than buying them for money or buying duolingo plus, you might have a point.


    75 million is going to come from the subscriptions and about 15 million is going to come from the ads.

    #Duocon Livestream


    thanks for that. Interesting. thats quite a turn around in like 2 years from the other info i could find

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