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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RowanM.1

Seriously Over Discrepancies Between PC and Phone App

There was a time, not so terribly long ago, when the PC version of Duolingo and the iOS version offered the same number of lessons in a skill for any language. Now however, virtually every course I decide to work through on a given day is beset with huge discrepancies between the PC version and the iOS version. These discrepancies manifest themselves at any and all Crown Levels too. So a skill in the PC version might have eight lessons, but in the iOS version, it only has two or three lessons. Or a skill in the PC version might have 20 lessons to reach the final crown level, while in the iOS app, it only needs four.

I am heartily sick of this. Indeed, as the title of the thread says, I'm seriously over it. Ever since Duolingo introduced the idiotic percentage system (which I decried at the time and still utterly loathe as one of the most pointless and unhelpful changes ever), I have used the phone app to see how many lessons I have in a given skill, and sometimes to do some of them. (At least I can still use Duome to check my lesson count.) But now I can no longer do that because of these ridiculous discrepancies, which are every bit as stupid and pointless as the abominable percentage system. Moreover, I can no longer drill myself as I would like on the phone, although at least I can still do so on the PC. But sometimes it's more convenient to do lessons on the phone. These discrepancies are completely putting me off using the iOS app. I want to properly earn my crowns, and also properly learn a skill, by doing the higher number of available lessons, not the smaller. So for now, that means always using the PC and abandoning use of the mobile app.

Duo devs, if you really must impose reduced lesson counts in skills on us (as much as I like to thoroughly drill myself, a skill with a very large number of lessons, say 30+, can be a grind sometimes), why not give us an option of Easy (fewer lessons) or Harder (current system of more lessons)? That way, those who don't want to grind can pick Easy, and those of us who want to drill ourselves can pick Harder. Or something along those lines. A little compromise never hurt anyone. (Speaking of which, if lessons showed both count AND percentage, I would be fine with that.) But please, please, please can we have CONSISTENCY between the PC and mobile apps again? In other words, if a skill has 20 lessons to reach the final CL on PC, it should have that on the phone too, and not a feeble four or whatever.

I do like Duolingo, so much so that I took out a Plus subscription and will be renewing it next month. I continue to use it every day. There are many good things about the site, and some changes have been quite good and reasonable. But this whole business with lesson discrepancies is maddening. Frankly it's one of the very worst things Duolingo has ever done. Your changes should improve the user experience, but this one, like the percentages, considerably detracts from it. So please make lesson counts the same again across ALL of your platforms. Or give us options to choose between fewer and more lessons. Because what you're doing at the moment is really quite untenable. And for me, just plain unbearable.

November 30, 2019

26 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grant7586

I use the Android (v.9) app on my phone (mainly) but the Desktop version too (a Windows 10 laptop) or at least try to use both now.

Yes, for uniformity, there's an argument that you can use the web-version of Duolingo on your mobile. But you shouldn't need to when you've got the app - purpose-built for a mobile device.

I too am a fan of Duolingo (my streak says so) but it's absolutely baffling and logic-defying why the app and web-versions of Duolingo now have different numbers of lessons per level.

What were Duolingo thinking? Or were they thinking at all?

I think everyone understands that the Duolingo UI might be slightly different across the iOS, Android and web-version, but to seemingly have 3 different development teams that don't appear to communicate with each other (so each team develops something different) - it's a sorry state of affairs.

Anyone (I'm sure there are many uses that do this) who learns with Duolingo over more than one device is faced with an unsychronised mess now. And it is a mess.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RowanM.1

I actually once tried to use the Web version of Duolingo on my phone recently (around the time I first struck the discrepancy issue), but as soon as I logged into my account, it took me straight to the app! So for iOS users at least, that particular workaround no longer seems to be viable. But as you rightly say, it shouldn't be necessary to use the Web site on a mobile when you have the app. You're also correct in that it utterly defies logic. And yes, it's a ghastly mess now that didn't exist before and should never have got this way.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grant7586

I understand Rowan.

On my Android phone, if you try to use the web-version of Duolingo it also tries to take you to the app - so you have to search for the web-version's "log-in" box to stop the app loading. I don't have any experience using Duolingo with iOS.

As per your original post, for me, the full amount of lessons was recently restored on Android (v.9) - so for me it's perhaps the opposite of what you have: The app now seems to have a full quantity of lessons per level, the web-version slightly less per level.

Thankfully, the maximum of only 4-5 lessons on any level seems to have now disappeared from my 2 devices, but there's still the discrepancy in lessons and of course the synchronisation issue remains.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RowanM.1

That's good news, Grant, which gives me some hope. But it's a shame there still is some discrepancy and lack of synchronisation, even if it's a bit less now in your case. At least it's some progress though!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grant7586

You've got so many language flags Rowan, maybe you could rearrange them to send a message in semaphore to Duo to "Sort out this mess!"

In my experience, in my 15 months with Duo, I've submitted 1-2 bug-reports, and probably flagged-up 20-30 "incorrect" answers that were correct, or even "correct" answers that were in fact incorrect - and never so much had a hoot or a cough from Duolingo in return.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thomas.Heiss

@Rowan

Quote: but as soon as I logged into my account, it took me straight to the app! So for iOS users at least, that particular workaround no longer seems to be viable

First error: Using Safari browser.

AFAIK web UI updates from 2019 are not compatible anymore

Second: You need to install a (very) up-to-date browser like Google Chrome V77/V78, Mozilla Firefox Quantum, [Microsoft Edge] to get the www.duolingo.com web portal correctly working

Third: If the redirect still happens with Firefox or Chrome you could try to "request full desktop site".

When I tried the last option on KOPlayer (emulator) with Android V4.4 the built-in Android browser was ignored; only a newer Firefox browser version was successful with the command.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lone484893

After installing Google Chrome i´m sorry to say i’m still having the same problem...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thomas.Heiss

@Lone

Hi,

what is the Chrome version you have installed (still supported on your device / OS)?

Quote: i’m still having the same problem...

Sorry to ask, but same problem of what?

  • 1) Instant redirect to the app (mobile compact view + full desktop view)

  • 2) Different lesson progress web vs mobile app? (this is normal as they are using different A/B experiment variables across their platforms; obviously with different values)

Point 1) Also occurs with the "request full desktop site" option?


Sorry, one RAM module is damaged right now.
I can't retest this on KOPlayer (Android emulator).

But I am quite sure that the "request full desktop site" mode was nicely working in Firefox (latest version on Android V4.4 = EMU) when I tried it the last time several months ago.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tembo441

From your description, I understand the problem (I don't use the app myself).

Report it via the bug report. If it's as bad as you say, it needs to be put right. It absolutely makes sense that people want to use Duolingo both on the app and the web, and the two versions need to be as near the same as they can be.

Report it; encourage other people to report it; keep reporting it every time it causes you a problem.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pentaan

Duolingo's staff will only listen to their "Statistics".
For example:

  • lots of users canceled their Plus subcription and mentioned the reason in a bug report

  • lots of users deleted Duolingo's App and continued learning in Duolingo's (mobile) web version.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Little_Tatws

I think a major part of the problem is that the iOS app, Android app, and website are all developed independently of each other. Like pentaan said, if the statistics show a problem, then they'll handle it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bermesense

Thumbs up from me! I hope the developers will read this!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mwarner2

I noticed the discrepancies, too, between computer and android Duolingo. Sometimes the android version will even give you the first part of the answer!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SCearley

I have the same issue and it started this morning, well after the website changed to show percentage complete rather than a lesson count. I was pushed an update to the (android) app this afternoon and I though that would resolve it. Nope, still a huge discrepancy in lesson differential (3 on app for a lesson versus 15 on the computer).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/merkavar

Your first point about lesson counts being different, I don't really see the issue. Do the lessons on the system that works best for you. 3 lessons or 8 or what ever it ends up being. You seem to be using the app and website, so what is the issue with using which ever has the most lessons?

Your 2nd point about lesson count being reduced. with the test out option, I am a little unsure why it was reduced. Like say crown 5 had 30 lessons, if after 5 lessons you were done, couldn't you just test out? that way others could do 10 lessons or all 30.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RowanM.1

The issue is, as Grant7586 said, that lessons are no longer synchronised between platforms. So if I was doing a skill comprising 20 lessons, I could, say, do ten on the PC, then do another five on my phone, then maybe go back to the PC and finish the remaining five. And everything would be neatly synced between the PC and phone. But now, if the same skill has 20 lessons on the PC, it will have, e.g. five on the phone. So if I do ten lessons on the PC, then look at my phone, it will show the skill as already being at the next crown level! Because I did the five lessons necessary to level it up on the phone. But back on the PC, the skill is only half complete, because I haven't done the 20 lessons. Or sometimes it will level up in sync with the phone, but then I feel short-changed since I would have preferred the 20 lessons.

So that in a nutshell is why this is so infuriating and frustrating for me. Lessons used to sync across all Duolingo platforms, but now they don't, and it's creating needless chaos and seriously messing with my learning system.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/merkavar

Ah ok, so the issue is more if you switch between systems rather than sticking to one or the other.

I think you must be in some sort of AB test, or I am? Cause mine are 4 on the app and as far as I can see completing 1 lesson on the app gave me 25% on the website suggesting both systems have 4 lessons for the crown.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RowanM.1

Switching between systems never used to be an issue, and it shouldn't be now either. If I go to the mobile app from the PC, or vice versa, I want to be able to pick up where I left off, but right now that is no longer possible.

You may be right about there being some sort of AB test going on. Well Duolingo, this particular test is a spectacular fail. Please just sync the Web site and apps the way they used to be synced, and always should be.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/leegenes

I would think the issue might be better summarized that an A/B test is run per user, per platform rather than per user. If you want to test faster skill completion on a user, go ahead, but opting to test a user differently across platforms when the platforms don't have feature parity only causes confusion. I use two platforms because Stories are available on web but not on Android, used to be when I had a tutor that I could only use that feature on Android, and I can use the course offline on Android but not on web. However, now my offline Android access is a regression both in the amount of content available to me, and seemingly in the difficulty of the content itself.

25% would suggest 4 lessons in the scenario you mentioned, but for many of us it just means 3/4 lessons remain on mobile, or 9/12 lessons remain if you complete it on web.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grant7586

Yes, good to have you onboard Merkavar...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thomas.Heiss

Solution

Throw your mobile tapping app away.

Stick to the www.duolingo.com web portal and more typing, even on your mobile device.

Or make use of "Voice to text" dictation with the Android Gboard keyboard.
Sorry, I have no idea if this is possible on IOS and how it is supported.

At least for those Germanic and Romance languages with an easier Latin alphabet or those harder ones where you have already installed a separate keyboard layout on your computer (and you can type in them) but you can still handle writing (e.g Hungarian, Czech, Polish,...).

Or try the Android mobile app (quite often IOS vs Android uses different A/B tests) :-)

..(...)..

However I can perfectly understand that you need (or want) to learn hard / very hard languages with a different writing system with tapping word banks or the built-in mobile keyboard.
But then you should not have this problem when you exclusively do one of those difficult languages (like Japanese, Hindi, Chinese Mandarin, Arabic,...) only on the mobile app (and not the web).


You need to know that usually there are different A/B tests running on all three platforms.

We all know that there are A/B experiments for longer lessons (x3, x5 multiplication factor on higher crowns) vs shorter lessons (x1, x2 lesson factor), don't we?

As it looks like staff missed to make only one experiment which synchronizes across ALL three platforms.
Instead they might be using different experiment variables on IOS, Android (or one for mobile) vs website.
And they seem to set different values in the variables, according to your description (confirmed by many other users).

You can check these facts for yourself by reading the variables in your "extended user profile" for yourself (JSON data stream): https://www.duolingo.com/users/USERNAME

The Firefox browser has a JSON viewer which you can enable in the advanced about:config settings to search for a specific keyboard and show it in a "human readable output format".


I am quite sure that for Germanic or Romance languages the mobile app (with tapping) is - for English speakers - just a waste of your valuable time, especially when you have already reached higher language 12-25 levels.

The retention is not that great when you come back from the mobile app -- with word bank tapping - to the web portal with typing.

For example:
You need to learn (and practice) how to freely translate verb tenses, or even better how to construct sentences in the L2 target language, apply all grammar rules (e.g. prepositions, contractions, articles for nouns), correctly spell the verbs with 1-3 letter differences at the end or in the middle (so true for Romance language with their pesky verb stuff), place accents/diacritics, when to use the Subjunctive....

Haven't they already stopped the A/B toggle keyboard button experiment for a while?

..(...)..

The best joke ever on the Duolingo Android app (since V3.6x version update; it was not the case in earlier versions):

!!! For longer sentences the final solution was already shown on the screen (word banks) !!!

Only chance was to hit the Check button which "confirmed" that the "shown solution" is correct?!?????

Maybe I will retest this again with v3.72, V3.80.2 or V3.106.5 (Android V4.4; later app 4.x versions need V5.x+) on Android on KOplayer (emulator) another time.

But isn't this really ridiculous how the mobile app limits what a user can learn or practice and not letting the user freely type/translate a sentence either in English or the target language or at least tap the answer for him-/herself???

They simply don't care if you have already put 1-1,5 years into your language learning.

Only because of staff's fear of their "bad metrics" and higher user error rates?

Summary

Please be careful for using the mobile app with all this (limited) stuff which seems to be more directed to kids, primary school and young teens - and not serious adult learners - for too long.

In the end you might lose your brain when you shut it OFF by playing the "Duolingo mobile app / tapping game" for too long and too often :-) :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thomas.Heiss

Big benefit of the web portal (on a computer, full desktop mode):

  • Enable the L2 TARGET audio for ALL given challenges.
  • Or add the audio for the L1 source/base language in reverse- and laddering trees.

You can do this with Camilo's userscript: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/19654789/Userscript-Tree-Enhancer

You only need the Tampermonkey / Violentmonkey browser addons (on compatible browers like Chrome, Firefox, etc.).

Night and day difference getting the target audio (also on normal / forward trees) for the multiple-choice answer option, alternative answer, "fill the word into the blank" (not working for my EN->PT course), free typing L1 EN -> L2 target translations on the right side) autoplayed and the option to repeat the full sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thomas.Heiss

As staff have added multiple-choice questions and focus on them on a higher ratio: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31856908

You can hide the 1-3 answer options for given M-C challenges with Camilo's userscript too!!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Legion690634

Is this why I'm seeing such different progress between iOS and web? On iOS a given skill level will require 10 lessons. But on web I'll do 4 lessons and it'll say I've only completed 8% of a level. This implies that they're asking me to do 50 lessons for one crown on web. That's ridiculously high. So now I have to do all lessons except for what should be the last (so 9 if it's 10 lessons per crown) and then switch to iOS for the last one just to get the crown.

Or is what I'm experiencing unrelated and a bug?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Natalie937439

This lines up with my experience where after doing 3 or 4 lessons on the app, getting up to about 75%, i switched to PC and each lesson was giving 2%, so yeah i guess the PC version wanted me to do about 20 lessons to skill up?? The lesson itself had hardly any vocab in it either - drilling the same six or so phrases is.. dry? pointless? a massive waste of time?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grant7586

I have the opposite Natalie.

Perhaps 8 lessons (on some levels) on the PC, but twice as many on the Android app.

I'm not certain about this, but it seems (as you commented) that the PC version gives you a % figure (say: for example 5% per lesson, per level - so you expect 20 lessons) but I'm pretty sure after only a fraction of the indicated quantity of lessons - that all of a sudden the level is completed.

Yet on the Android app, there may be another 15 lessons to reach the next level to "catch-up" with the PC version (if you get my meaning).

It really is an unsynchronised mess....

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