https://www.duolingo.com/SteveLando

Developing advanced courses

Duolingo should slowly, step by step, try to make advanced courses in the languages that's out of beta, which you could only reach after you completed a totally golden tree.

This would increase the gaming and learning vocabulary with several thousands more words.

May 29, 2015

34 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/bumblefizzle

Yes, I COMPLETELY agree. I have pondered this idea as well, and I completely agree. I really think advanced courses would really give DL more "business" and learners would definitely get more serious about progressing in their language studying. Since I have finished Spanish on DL, I have had to move on to courses such as Memrise, that offer advanced courses in every language. I have also had to move on to other resources to find advanced courses that fit my learning level. :)

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MidnightFlaneur

Just downloaded memrise. How is it compared with Duo? Will it take me to a more advanced level.. Eg From A2 to B2 and further

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/bumblefizzle

Memrise is better than Dl in the fact that it offers different levels of language courses. On Memrise it offers dozens of courses, all different levels. For example, if you are learning Chinese, it will have courses such as: Chinese A1, Chinese A2, and 100 essential Chinese phrases, and so on. However, DL is more organized, and less picky. Memrise is easy to use, and offers many courses not on DL, such as Asian languages. Also, Memrise is mainly a flashcard-like method....although it has courses that are not....that is the good part about memrise! :D hope I helped...Memrise was very helpful to me, and it improved my language skills vastly! I hope it does the same for you! :D

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MidnightFlaneur

Thanks so much, I'm going to try it now

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/bumblefizzle

you are welcome, and I hope you like it! :D

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/FakeShark

I recommend using the browser version to find courses. I'm not sure if you can even search through the courses on the app. Also, I tend to find the experience is a bit different in the browser and the app. Personally I prefer the browser version, but the app is useful for when you're out and about.

May 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Rob2042

Wouldn`t that be nice? Unfortunately, there are not enough of us to make it worthwhile for duolingo or, at least, that is what I have been led to believe.

I suggested members making up bonus skills that could be offered in the lingot store. I offered to make one up and even posted a message to the staff but never got a reply. Sad to come this far and then be left in limbo before actually learning a language.

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/bumblefizzle

YES, I think bonus skills would be a fantastic idea, that is what I have suggested before too! :)

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MidnightFlaneur

I agree, now I've finished my first tree I realise that was just a language taster.. I'm still at the beginning and it ended! When you say there aren't enough of us, do Duo release percentages of people who begin trees and give up, compared to people that complete trees and are active users? I really want duolingo to improve as a resource to improve the languages they have, rather than incubating so many languages!

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Rob2042

Supposedly, there are millions of users or, at least, millions have joined. How many still remain and are active is known only to duolingo. Just look at how few have actually finished a tree. It must be less than a tenth of a percent and probably much less than that. So, we just don`t have the numbers but if people could start achieving fluency through duolingo maybe that would make a difference. If I were a new learner and my friend had become fluent through the use of duolingo it would sure motivate me to stick with it. Look at how many new users come on here and ask if it is possible to become fluent with duolingo. I wonder how many give up when they read that no one has achieved fluency through duolingo alone. Imagine if you went to Cordo Bleu culinary school to learn how to cook and after taking the course you were told you now have the basics but still cannot cook. How would you feel? Duolingo has the chance to achieve something no other site has. Will Luis and the rest step up to the plate and make it happen? If they do not I am afraid duolingo will become just another wannabe in the footnotes of history.

May 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MidnightFlaneur

I agree. Or until Facebook buys it! There's lots to improve.. Duo is a social network and a fun learning resource, that has massive potential! Let's hope it keeps improving

June 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Mundgeirr

I'd love advanced language courses being only in the target language. I hate making most of my mistakes and typos when writing in English xD

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jgstcd

That would be great. In fact I'd like to see duo make the transition to using only the target language much earlier, but it would require a lot of changes to the way duo works. I think those would be worthwhile, but I'm not expecting them to happen anytime soon.

May 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator

I don't think it will require a lot of changes to how duo works, as there are already exercises that don't make use of translations. In fact at least in pre-incubator courses there are form exercises that were designed with that purpose in mind, and on the mobile devices there are exercises that use that approach. Duolingo also has the ability to restrict the types of exercises users get, and uses this constantly for several A/B tests.

At this point it is mostly just a matter of the contributors joining up and gathering Duolingo (and community) support to do this. But my guess is that the majority is probably quite happy with the current system, or reluctant to do something about it. One simple example is that rarely if ever has there been a public thread created by contributors to gather support for something. It is all done in the secret council meetings :).

May 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

I just want to point out that under current system, a form exercise can only exist if a sentence exists. If there is no such sentence in the course (the main entry—a sentence in a foreign languag with a list of translations), no form exercise can be made from it.

May 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator

Oh, so just to be clear each form exercise is mapped to a L1 <-> L2 sentence?

That makes sense given that the incubator primarily revolves around translation. But for example, for image exercises, there is simply a word and a photo. That is one type of exercise that uses a simpler system, and it wouldn't be rocket science to add more.

In fact, speaking as someone trained in IT, the current translation based approach (M:M - Many to many) is a lot harder than developing something (1:1 ), like for example, a sentence with only one possible right answer, e.g. image exercises. That's one of the reasons why a system like Duolingo hadn't been successfully implemented before.

May 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jgstcd

The translation exercises aren't many to many. They are paired many to one. If you think about it a bit you can probably see why.

May 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator

jgstcd wrote: The translation exercises aren't many to many. They are paired many to one. If you think about it a bit you can probably see why.


That's a good point, although even if it is 1:M, it is still harder to implement than 1:1.

Although the old saying is true in this case, the more one knows the harder it is for one to find simple ways of tackling some problems. They designed such a sophisticated and complicated system, and yet simpler aspects (simple exercises) aren't easy to integrate anymore. Or perhaps they are just not interested in them.

May 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jgstcd

I wouldn't say contributors are particularly happy with the way things work now. At least I'm not. I wouldn't necessarily assume duo staff are either. But the things that bother you, us and them may not always be the same, and even where they are, our priorities may be different. There is a separate suggestion board for incubator contributors to make suggestions. There are 94 threads there at the moment. We're much more likely to make suggestions there than here for a variety of reasons. The most important is that they're more likely to be read there. There are far fewer duo staff than people seem to think and the odds of a thread here being noticed by staff are not high. The other main reason is that it's possible to find things on the dedicated board. The public boards get so much traffic that any thread more than a few hours old tends to get lost. With contributors scattered across so many time zones that's not really a very effective way to discuss anything.

May 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator

Well, I'm aware you probably have better channels to discuss some things. But if an idea is popular enough it will easily show up in the popular tab, and be seen by staff.

I do agree that we each have different priorities, but like I said in my other comment, people tend to get tunnel vision when they are so involved with something. The developers probably experience this more often than anyone, but it also affects contributors and even users.

That's why some features or requests have much more impact in the general forums rather than any secluded placed, it is also why some open-source software created by hobbyists eventually became more popular than software created by professional developers.

Some things are beyond the responsibility of the staff developing the incubator, for example, the number of exercises, the types of exercises shown, or even the order, and the general feature set in the course itself.

So the term advanced, as the OP put it, may be beyond the realm of what contributors may be able to suggest to incubator staff privately. Especially, when they can simply turn it down and say people don't want or need it.

May 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jgstcd

I wouldn't rely on the "popular" tab to get things noticed. I almost never use it myself. The definition of popularity isn't clear, at least to me, and I've never found it particularly helpful. The more discussion streams you are signed up for the less useful it becomes, so probably the staff find it even less useful than I do. The sad truth is that users outnumber staff by roughly a million to one, so getting ideas noticed and implemented is always going to be a problem.

May 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator

Well, there are community managers whose sole work is to evaluate/discuss things with the community. Beyond that, the semi-official reddit offers a perfect avenue for any such discussions, as even Staff itself has used it to discuss prominent features in their AMAs. In fact, KristineMC used to personally indicate here that an idea seems good, and that it will be reviewed by staff.

Of course KristineMc stopped saying it, but it is clear that they still read what we write. I've personally suggested some ideas that got few upvotes yet some were still implemented by staff. Those that weren't implemented were at least acknowledged them:

Proof, Proof2, Proof3.

The real problem is with how people formulate their ideas and how they act entitled, and expect it to get it approved because of "upvotes".

Edit to Add : Besides, there are more than 20 courses, and all global moderators can add stickies in their courses (reaching at least 14000 users), so popularity is a non-issue. It is simply a lack of interest or coordinated effort.

June 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jgstcd

Sorry to pour could water on an idea which everyone else seems enthusiastic about, but I'm not sure this is a good idea. Partly this is a question of resources. Those are finite, and effort spent developing advanced trees would be effort which could have been spent improving existing ones or developing ones for new languages. But even if we forget about that, different language learning methods have different strengths and weaknesses. Both duo's strengths and its weaknesses have been discussed elsewhere, and I won't repeat those discussions here, but after finishing your tree you are best off looking for a method which is as unlike duo as you can find, so that you can fill in your gaps without wasting time on what you've already learned well. More duo is the last thing you need at that point.

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator

Well, there are +/- 7 billion humans on earth, at least more than 1/10 of a billion those online, and many of those could help improve Duolingo. There are certainly finite resources, but that is by design not necessarily because of resources. One simple example, is how a pet project from Linus Torvalds evolved into something that can be deployed in almost every single technological device on earth, and is something that will evolve and exist after Torvalds is long gone. Unlike Linus' project, Duolingo for all its merits is a "black-box", and it could easily stop being free or even stop existing at a flick of a switch.

But even if one assumes that resources for creating advanced courses don't exist or are too limited. There are many weaknesses of Duolingo that it can still improve on, and this improvement could be seen as an advanced version of the course/tree.

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Rob2042

Yes, and as someone mentioned above, if there is a lack of resources then I would rather they were used for advanced courses instead of trying to unearth some remote language to use up more of the resources.

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/HenryMille4

I disagree. The duolingo format starts running out of steam as it were about the end of the tree. Once you hit the end of the tree you need a different format to see the language as it really is used. Short sentences to translate do not work well for that. Try reading novels and holding real conversations - were the topic isn't rigidly controlled but wanders from place to place.

Stick with the duolingo format and you won't get any farther even though you will learn more words.

May 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Rob2042

I would agree with that IF duolingo were to stay with the same format. All the more reason for advanced courses that would incorporate what you are suggesting.

May 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Rob2042

Sorry, but I have to disagree. How is it that you can make such progress with duolingo and suddenly it becomes useless, or even worse, counterproductive if you carry it a step further?

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

Duolingo has huge flaws and gaps, and these become greater and greater as you progress. It depends on the language pair, of course. In general you learn a lot, yes, and at the same time skip a lot of important material.

Essentially, you are limited to what can be adequately translated to you native language close to the structure of the original sentence. The better you know the foreign language you learn, the more or a crutch such technique grows. This is totally ridiculous, but a person in the Ukranian course seriously asked how would you say "sibling" in Ukranian.

The lack of efficiency at later stages comes from the limitations of your mother tongue. If you look closely, different languages have different limitations, and these become more and more important the more proficient you get.

May 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jgstcd

Who said "suddenly", "useless" or "counterproductive"? Did you bother to read the post you're replying to?

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LeIouch

Just recently have the course contributors received the ability to expand their courses! So we should see the trees get expanded slowly, especially for the popular courses with lots of contributors. The French tree has been expanded, and they're working on expanding the German tree now. So far the changes haven't been huge but hopefully this sets Duo on the path for the creation of more advanced content.

May 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MidnightFlaneur

Wow. What an important idea! I totally agree with this in every way and I hope that it happens soon. There should be a petition

May 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/rts25604

I think if anything, more bonus skills should be added instead of a new course for intermediate learners. Because after the basics, its really up to the learner to decide what he or she wants to learn. A comprehensive bonus skill section would be great, because a learner can choose what to learn, instead of being forced to learn things they may not personally use as much.

May 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Macossay

There's a website called languagecourse.net that has a free spaced repetition vocabulary builder. The interface is not as slick as Duolingo but they go up to 5000 words, dividing them into A1, A2 , etc up to C1. Plus extra words for the TOEFL and IELTS. It also lets you add your own words, although I haven't tried that feature yet. I'm planning to switch over to that after I complete Duolingo's italian course.

May 30, 2015
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