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

Does anyone else feel...

...that Duolingo is 'dumbing down' ?

I am a huge fan of this website, don't get me wrong, but over the last couple of months, especially since I finished my tree, the skills and lessons have shrunk both in number and content. Sentences and phrases are no longer offered up for translation in either language. Instead, there are single word translations and only seven or eight questions to an exercise, often with the same question asked multiple times. I dutifully return every day to keep my streak going but find myself wondering why when all I am doing is practising vocab. which Memrise does so much better. Is this a Beta test for something? Will it go back to the way it was when I began at some point? My purpose for posting this really isn't to complain....that is seldom constructive.....but I really would like to know if there is a sound pedagogical reason behind the recent changes.

No-one else seems to have commented on this, so perhaps only a few of us are getting this new Duolingo Lite.

June 7, 2015

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tnel1

I've finished three trees, and I'm about to finish a fourth. All I can say about my current course is that I am glad the course designers made improvements based on things they probably learned from previous courses here. Turkish is not easy, but stuff that was hard a couple of week ago is easier now when I go back to it. I expect to continue reviewing more than I did with other courses because I think the course is well done and in combination with my vocabulary training on Memrise is going great. Practicing vocab over there makes hearing and spelling words on here much, much easier.

I dunno. Perhaps you have maxed out the usefulness of the site if German is the language you want to focus on and you should simply try other resources. No point in staying around if you aren't learning anything on the site, that's for sure! :) But you can always just drop by to pick up occasional tips about language learning resources from the discussions if that's all you need at this point. Good luck!

June 7, 2015

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

I feel the same, although my tree is not yet finished. Especially that I almost never asked to translate to German since weeks. That is the bigger challenge, and I learned the most that way. As I am not native in English, I learn more English on my German tree than German itself...

June 7, 2015

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

I left the Spanish tree a long time ago. When I came here I had already studied a year of Spanish so I tested out of the majority of the tree. Immersion is the best part of this site in my opinion. I've expanded my Spanish vocab through immersion. Because of this, I am worried about a lot of the new courses coming out since, if I am correct, they will not have an immersion section. So yes, I believe the site has lowered its standards and have replaced them with new and exciting courses and features. I think that the strongest courses are the first ones that have an immersion section. The rest, although very helpful and well-developed, will likely fail to reach the potential of the earlier language courses here. Good question, hopefully some other users provide their insight. I'd like to see some other thoughts.

June 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lorel90

I have not seem any difference in the German tree

June 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carolyn250

I feel the same way. My strong guess is that Duolingo is trying to increase its membership by appealiing to those who are (and these are guesses) younger? have less time? are more intimidated by complex exercises? I seriously don't mind in German as my skill is minimal and I need simplicity and a lot of repetition- but after a year of working on French, I am considering abandoning the trees for Immersion work only.

June 7, 2015

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

I think I know how you feel. You've probably outgrown the program. I could use more words. My tree is completely gold. Yet, I'm listed as only 50% fluent. In the real world, that's probably accurate. I've been doing the strengthening, but that's still not much of a challenge. I wish DL would give me more of the stuff I clearly don't know.

June 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bluesky192

Maybe the solution is to offer different tracks for the courses. I'm completely new to German (I've finished the French, Italian, and Spanish trees) and really really need very easy and basic teaching to keep me from getting frustrated and quitting. Thus, the current German tree meets my needs. But if one is very motivated and prefers a more difficult and challenging course, I can see why this one would not be that useful. At this point, all I need is to learn a core vocabulary and the minimum understanding of grammar to get me jump-started. Since I'm learning German most for personal enrichment, it's important that the learning is fun (and Duolingo does use a sort quiz/game style that's easy to digest) and that I don't get overwhelmed with grammar and the really hard stuff. Later, though, I can see why a serious learner would outgrow it.

June 8, 2015

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

I think the point I was trying to make is that it is neither I nor my skill level that has changed but the programme itself. I may have finished the tree but I am not particularly skilled in German. I don't think I have at all 'outgrown' the course as it was when I started. New vocabulary was offered in some kind of a context which is what one needs if one is ever to be able to use it. That has all gone. Most skills had an average of five or six exercises with, at my start last December, around thirty questions in each. Very few were one word translations. Some skills had as many as ten exercises! Then the number of questions shrank to seventeen, now it is down to seven. Most skills now have only two exercises. This morning I did the 'household' skill. Two exercises, seven questions each. In the first exercise, only 'balkon' and 'dach' were tested. Not very helpful when neither of these words has ever posed a problem for me. Also, my fluency level slowly drops the longer I stay here which puzzles me since the longer I am here, surely the more 'fluent' I should become, especially since I repeat an exercise if I make an error and don't move on until I can get a perfect score. Every time I complete the tree, I go back and start over and am getting quicker to complete it all the time. I am now down to 50% fluency.

June 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bluesky192

I sort of veered off from my original point. Maybe the solution would be to offer several tracks for learners: One for absolute beginners (like me); another for beginners, but a bit more challenging and comprehensive; another for those who already know the basics; and another for some really in-depth training. They wouldn't have to create new programs from scratch; just take the kindergarten one (just right for me at this point) and add to it in the other modules.

June 8, 2015

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

Absolutely! It took me over a year to finish the tree, then a few more months to turn all lesson circles gold at once. I wouldn't have been so motivated if I didn't get more than one chance in a lesson to correct an error. The problem is moving on when the tasks get too easy. I'm addicted.

June 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bluesky192

Yes, there is the temptation to stay where it's comfortable, even if the material has become too easy. I think maybe a good thing to do after one has thoroughly learned all the trees is to go on to more comprehensive (and thus more difficult) material, but to come back to Duo every now and then for a quick review. I think that for a totally free site, Duolingo does a pretty good job of building a basic vocabulary bank and introducing German grammar.

June 8, 2015

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

I went away for a few months and came back recently, and I do think it got easier in some ways. I know that when I started my first language on Duolingo a while ago, it was often very frustrating and I would often leave quickly (this was when it was hearts-based, and there were many French listening exercises which were difficult if not actually impossible). I think that, as has been said before, 95% of the battle is to keep coming back every day. If making the lessons friendlier (at least at first) helps that, I would assume that is why those changes were made. I'm doing German now and I don't feel like I am learning as much per lesson, since I don't really have to remember much about the language. However, the sense of progress is smoother, so I spend longer on the site and am getting much more exposure to the language, even though I have somehow not yet even been forced to sit down and work out the rules, like I had to at some point for French and Italian!

June 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Margaret641889

A month or two ago, I felt that my French lessons suddenly got much shorter, while my German ones did not. Lately I've noticed German lessons go quite short, but almost immediately decay, so I'm effectively forced to complete what used to be a "lesson" over a few days.

I think they are testing teaching strategies, rather than dumbing down the site as a whole. That said, I am also finding that the review lessons are not targeting my weakest words by Duo's own calculation, so maybe the algorithms for that section just need work.

June 8, 2015

[deactivated user]

    I have not noticed any change in my German Tree.

    June 9, 2015

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

    You must be the 'a' to my 'b' my friend, I have had some of the most difficult lessons ever the last two days!

    June 9, 2015

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

    To be fair, this website aside, there is absolutely crap tons of content out there that you can very easily find yourself. You don't need Duolingo to learn stuff. I'm not saying Duolingo isn't awesome, but... hell, even Google Translate is (not always xD) incredibly useful when used properly.

    As for the site, I've not seen anything that you've described. I like the changes, although I don't use Duolingo much anymore, except to help over on the German forum or on the English one if someone hasn't already beaten me to it. xD

    June 10, 2015

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

    I think its stupid that you can cheat by hitting Quit and then going on again and it gives you the same question that you know the answer for because you saw it before i have not finished a tree yet but i just finishes food i am only ten and started yesterday so ya

    June 10, 2015
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