https://www.duolingo.com/profile/milner94

I am becoming demotivated by the lack of challenge, caused by the recent changes

Heavily discussed recently has been the apparent trend towards making the course easier, in particular by reducing the number of translations from the native to the target language.

People have suggested that the aim is to improve retention rates of less-motivated users. Which is fine, I get that. But the problem is that now my motivation is struggling – I no longer feel I am improving my German through Duo. The "practise skills" activity is now a complete waste of time for me as, despite only vaguely knowing vocab or understanding grammar covered so far, I can comprehend the German sentences and so I find the questions easy.

I'm reduced to wondering how I can go forward with actually learning the stuff to a good standard. I had aspirations for my German and now I no longer know how to achieve them.

Is anybody else finding their motivation and ability to improve slipping because of the reduced challenge?

EDIT Just to be clear, I'm not moaning that I've grown out of Duo, and didn't mean this to come across as whinging about how it should be better. Duolingo is fantastic and I am indebted to it because I doubt I would have ever started learning without it. I know it's not a complete learning tool, and was expecting to have to start using other resources eventually. It's more that I'm sad that something that was working so well for me has been reduced in its usefulness!

June 17, 2015

47 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/milner94

Personally I think either there should be a difficulty setting that changes the proportions of different kinds of exercise, or it should vary according to the XP target that a user sets.

June 17, 2015

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

I agree with your sentiment, and it would be great if we could adjust the level of difficulty as we go along, but that may not really be practical for Duolingo to implement.
Since becoming subject to this change, I've shifted my focus a little, so now I will complete the tree without expecting to learn a great deal about the language. It is an excellent foundation though, and I still think DL is great, even with this change. With a harder language to learn, it would actually make sense as a first-pass approach.
Like others have said, we should not rely on DL alone, and there are options here, such as reverse-tree and immersion. A good textbook and bilingual dictionary are vital for me, for those languages I want to become reasonably fluent in, along with internet radio and language exchange sites. I expect it to take years, rather than months, and only some of that will be with Duo.
Edit:- I really hope that the team at Duo doesn't make this school-level standard a permanent limitation, but it's their choice and business model. Self-learning takes adaptability on our part, before we can ask it of others, and since Duo is 100% free and voluntary, I can only concur and wish you good luck in your learning.

June 17, 2015

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

Duolingo is for beginners. Are you complaining because Duolingo has helped you get past the beginner stage? As you continue to learn, the exercises of Duolingo will not need to change for you to experience them as easier. It could be time for you to seek resources for Intermediate/Advanced learners of German.

Try the reverse tree like Usagiboy7 says.

But you might only need Duolingo to refresh the basics every once in awhile.

Parabens.

June 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/milner94

It's more just that it was working so well for me and many others and now they've changed it without giving us the option to continue the way we were :(

June 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeffA2

Yes, Duolingo is great for beginners, but I think that it is missing much of its potential by catering exclusively to beginners. I fully understand the position that they don't want to scare people off at the start. If you quit you won't learn anything, so keeping people on board at the start is very important.

But someone who has gotten a substantial way through the tree and earned a substantial amount of XP has shown that he/she is not so easily discouraged. There is no reason that the difficulty levels of the lessons could not be ramped up for such more advanced users while still keeping things light and easy for beginners.

There's lots of good advice here, and it certainly is true that Duo can only take a user so far and other resources (like the real world) need to be used to continue to make progress. But I also think that the basic Duo methodology of question/response mediated by spaced repetition is unique, powerful, and could be used for more than just beginner level teaching.

June 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susanna35

How do you do the reverse tree? I'm planning on doing it when I get through my current iteration of the Italian lessons.

June 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tomi1999

Add new course->From Italian->English

June 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susanna35

Thanks!

June 18, 2015

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

Compared to other language learning applications, I would say that Duolingo gets you to an intermediate level.

June 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kassandra8286

I can only speak for the Spanish course, but I disagree that Duolingo alone will get you to an intermediate level. It has far too few vocabulary words, and it doesn't teach nearly enough conversational Spanish. Supplementing with other learning methods is a necessity.

June 18, 2015

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

I believe such as thing does exist. If you get enough questions wrong in an excercises, you'll start getting shorter sentences and longer lessons. If you get enough questions correct, you'll start getting longer sentences and shorter lessons.

June 17, 2015

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

"reducing the number of translations from the native to the target language."

This seems very contra-learning

June 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Myron1313

I could not agree with you more. I've already posted to that as well.

June 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeanette525

I agree with you. In general, my Spanish reading is pretty good. I don't have many issues seeing a Spanish sentence and translating it to English. But I struggle with translating an English sentence to Spanish. Since Duolingo has for the most part stopped doing that, and that's what I need the most work on, I see no reason to continue on Duolingo until it's fixed.

Like others are saying, (of course) we need to provide our own motivation and look for outside resources as well, but it sure was nice to have such a user-friendly site as Duolingo to be able to actually LEARN from.

June 18, 2015

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

As someone that grew out of Duo for Spanish some time ago, I recommend trying out Fluencia if you are willing to pay for your learning. It's a much more challenging service as it focus on actually using Spanish, with all quiz answers having to be written in Spanish and never English. It was quite an eye opening experience for me and has improved my Spanish dramatically.

The fact that it's devoted purely to learning Spanish and not other languages also means it covers the language in far greater depth than Duo. For example it has numerous lessons covering the subjunctive and other intricacies of the language that Duo barely touches.

June 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeanette525

Thank you! I will definitely check it out. :) I'm always looking for more resources.

June 21, 2015

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

I am in the same boat as you and tend to feel the same way as you. I have been working on making my German tree fully golden but my learning of German is improving only very gradually because, just as you, I find it very easy to complete the practice.

I am going to take up Usagi's suggestion posted on this thread and start the reverse (English for German) tree so I will get to write more and more German sentences. Hopefully :)

But for now, with about 25 skills remaining, I am tempted to make the German for English tree golden.

June 18, 2015

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

I agree. Translation from the target language (and to a certain degree multiple choice questions, too) are nice for introducing new words or grammar concepts. But to really learn it, I need to be able to produce correct sentences in the target language, and that is only practised with translations into the target language.

Recently I got too many Irish->English translations and too few English->Irish ones. The result is that I end up recognising some words, but couldn't write or say them because what I memorised wasn't the actual word, but the rough looks of it. Only when I need to write it, I'm forced to memorise the whole word, and exactly. And only then I actually get to try out the language.

So yes, it cost me some motivation and it might be the reason why I don't have a streak at the moment.

June 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

What I'm currently doing is going through the reverse course. It produces an inverted ratio of translations to and from the target language. However, finishing the initial tree made this possible, because otherwise that inverse ration is a rather large challenge... I hope this helps!

June 17, 2015

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

Sad fact: 5 of the 13 courses (38%) currently offered for English speakers don't have a reverse tree. In fact, out of the 67 courses available/in development, 25 (37%) don't have a reverse course. Or to put it in another way, 54% (25/46) of course pairs aren't complete.

June 17, 2015

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

I actually think doing timed practice between 2 languages I'm learning is the only thing that is interesting here right now, due to the low number of into-target-language translations and low number of questions per skill when learning new skills. I only get 8 questions per skill now, so there's not much point for me progressing through a new tree, even if it's a reverse tree – there's no chance I'll get shown all or even most of the new words in the skill.

June 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/valleygirl69

I've noticed this on the English to French tree (I've finished it) --when I go back to review lessons. It seems that most of the English to French translations come in the form of multiple choice questions, and these are "dumbed down" compared to the past.

So, for the sake of improving my French: when English to French multiple choice questions appear, I just don't look at the choices until I've made my own translation. This works for me, whatever Duo is up to.

June 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susanna35

I have noticed that a lot, too, and also - at least, in the Italian, that, as a general rule, the multiple choice are too easy. There is an occasional tricky one, but I find that more often than not, I can pick the correct answer(s) by just glancing through them, and I don't even have to read them through. "Wrong" ones are usually obvious at a glance, and you don't even have to look all that closely to see if there are multiple correct answers. They are usually a matter of one having the pronoun explicitly used, and the other with the pronoun only implied by the verb ending.

June 18, 2015

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

I do the reverse tree and also ladder onto a third language (with many others waiting in the wings). All of these make me answer mostly in my target language of Spanish.I have no problem finding challenges on Duolingo.

June 18, 2015

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

Get off of English by laddering. From German, you have the option of French or Spanish. Each of them has a reverse course (Spanish -> German or French -> German). After finishing the English->Spanish tree, it got boring so I began Spanish->French which guarantees that I'm only learning or reinforcing a foreign language. Unfortunately, this doesn't help with the general dumbing down of Duolingo over the past year or so.

June 18, 2015

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

I have noticed in the last week or so that any new lessons have very few questions. Today I began a new lesson that contained seven new words. I got all of the words prompts correct and had just nine exercises. There used to always be a minimum of 17 questions. I really don't think nine questions is enough to determine I should pass the lesson - even getting them all correct.

I also have noticed more multiple choice questions. I did a practice the other day where probably almost half of them were multiple choice. In my opinion, the multiple choice questions are too easy. Most of the time you can pick the correct answer based only on vocabulary and ignoring any of the verb tenses or other nuances they may be trying to teach. You can also automatically rule out any of the options that are not capitalized at the beginning.

My lazy side likes that I don't have to put forth a lot of effort to pass lessons and renew skills. But after 527 days, I am really here to learn language skills - not just collect points. Going through the motions with easy exercises will not make me want to continue and will not help my understanding of the material. I do not think I have exhausted everything Duolingo has to offer, but I'm having trouble finding the value in continuing - even with it being free.

June 19, 2015

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

Is there really an A/B test running? Or is it just speculation? Are there really people who are receiving a lot of translations from the native to the target language? Because everyone I've seen has had the opposite. Would be great to get an official answer on this, because it's very frustrating.

June 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susanna35

I responded to this question somewhere, but it must have been on another discussion. I don't think that it has been determined, or confirmed, one way or the other.

June 18, 2015

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

Interestingly enough, there are others that complain about the exact opposite.

June 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dobie42

Duolingo isn't a "one stop shop" for language learning. I stopped using Duo a while ago. I do my own thing now. Try some other programs out. Don't blame the program because it doesn't work for you. Motivation is a personal challenge that a computer cannot supply to you.

June 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/no.name.42

It can provide challenge; challenge can provide motivation.

June 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dobie42

I know, I can see that. I'm just tired of people blaming Duo whenever it does something that isn't beneficial to them .

June 20, 2015

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

Are there any other affordable and efficient ways to test foreign language text production with automatic checking?

June 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dobie42

I'm sure there are.

June 22, 2015

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

One other thing to think about Milner94: as soon as you get too de-motivated, duo will change it up, and voila, you will be back in business! I have been through this cycle a number of times. If you were around during the "three hearts..." goodness gracious, there have been huge improvements! I find that my progress ebbs and flows and duo changes too, it's a lot to keep up with, but doing a minimum during the down times can't be bad and I'll be around when things change to my liking :). Ironically, today, I had the opportunity to do more en to fr translating than I have for quite a while.

June 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeffA2

I wonder if this varies from course to course. In the German tree I find that I get relatively few target language production questions, but in Spanish I get more. I haven't done a careful study of this, but that is how it feels to me.

June 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susanna35

In the refresh mode, it is much better. You still get 17 questions, and you get a lot of new ones, and more translations into the second language, although they are still scarce.

June 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susanna35

To give an example, I just refreshed "Future" 3 or 4 times running (because I'm not doing as well as I'd like to) and I got almost all new exercises every time - exercises I had never seen before, even though I had already gone completely through the topic twice, and refreshed several times before this.

June 20, 2015

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

Ok, got it! thanks. I happen to do this for every lesson already. I'm through my French tree many times. Now I do "strengthen" skills 2 - 4 times then do timed practice 2 - 4 times as well. Maybe I have a thick skull, haha :)

It is true that there are more sentences to work on with strengthening, but there are still quite a lot fewer sentences to translate into our target language, there is more translating to English and multiple choice. The multiple choice has gotten much too easy, which I think is a shame, it's too easy to look at the first and last words of a sentence and know which one is right.

June 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susanna35

Yes, I have found with the multiple choice that for the most part it is unnecessary to read them through to find the correct answer. There is the occasional "tough" one, but that is rare.

June 20, 2015

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

What is the refresh mode? Grazie

June 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susanna35

Oh, I guess you'd call it the "strengthen" mode. "Refresh" makes more sense to me.

June 20, 2015

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

I'm the same way – what helps me learn and remember, more than anything else, is translating into the target language. However, I found a fabulous solution: Google Translate Community!

Just go here: https://translate.google.com/community

You can sign in with your Google account, pick languages you know some of, and pick your preferred direction (into or out of your target language). Then you can practice translating all sorts of sentences and sentence fragments that Google will throw at you.

Be warned: this is definitely higher-level translation than we're used to here at Duo, and is not for the faint of heart! But if you really want a challenge, it can be awfully fun. Just don't worry if you get prompted with a lot of grammatically incorrect stuff; that's the way it is on the Internet. ;)

(Disclaimer: I do not work for Google or Google Translate. Or DuoLingo. I just think they work well together.)

June 19, 2015

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

No, this is not the solution. We are trying to improve Duolingo experience here, not to run away.

June 19, 2015

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

Don't worry, I am all for improving the Duolingo experience! However, I also like sharing other educational resources with people. :) The best way to learn a language, in my opinion, is to use as many different resources as possible – that will they will all reinforce each other and you will end up with a much more stable and powerful knowledge base.

June 19, 2015

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

I think the difficulty is Organic. They have better algorithms now, and it will always be changing! I think we should give them time to figure it out!

And if you find something easy, or that you didn't fully get it, just redo the skill! But personally, I think you should keep going, it will keep coming back up for you!

June 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/etakarina1

I've noticed a big difference working on the dutch tree using the android app and online, with many more english -> dutch translation questions on the app version. This is particularly true when I "strengthen my skills".

June 19, 2015
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