Do you like Duolingo?

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garyb
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Re: Do you like Duolingo?

Postby garyb » Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:04 pm

I gave up on it years ago because of the way skill levels declined if you didn't use it for a few days, but they've since removed that feature and I've recently given it another try for Greek, a harder language than my others where there's no such thing as enough practice of the basics.

In the past I found it much more pleasant to use on a computer than on a phone, but now I'd say the opposite, because the majority of exercises are now based on clicking and drag-and-drop which are easier motions on a phone screen than with a mouse. The typing ones are obviously easier on a computer, but they're the minority.

Things I dislike:
- Gamification. The streak feature does motivate me to use it every day, but everything else (lingots, total XP, achievement badges, etc.) feels like pointless clutter.
- Lots of intrusive adverts that were never there in the past. But they have to make their money somehow!
- The lack of any kind of explanations. It seems to teach entirely based on tests, where you learn new concepts by clicking on unknown words in the question sentences. Most learners would benefit from extra grammar study.
- The sentence exercises mostly feel too easy: with of the choice of words there's usually only one way to arrange them that makes any sense (in L1 answers, and in L2 ones once you know the very basic structure). This is a problem with choice questions in general, and is also common in other resources like Kwiziq and Clozemaster. Most of the time it feels more like guided input than a real test of knowledge. I'm sure it has far fewer free writing and speaking exercises than it did a few years ago.
- The "Practice" feature focuses on the words I study least, but if I'm studying something less it's probably because I don't feel it's important at my current level (thematic vocabulary like animals and clothing, etc.).
- The Greek course starts with a unit on the alphabet with really weird questions and answers that are mostly not sentences, unlike the rest of the units which are all based on valid sentences. It feels like a halfhearted nod to tick the "we teach the alphabet" box but, especially as the first unit, just feels confusing.

Despite that, it's useful for some extra practice or to keep up the study on days when I don't have time for more serious efforts! Overall I feel it's another tool in the belt that does one thing well (translation questions based on sentences) but it's hardly the comprehensive resource it sells itself as.
Last edited by garyb on Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Cavesa
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Re: Do you like Duolingo?

Postby Cavesa » Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:47 pm

garyb wrote:Things I dislike:
- Gamification. The streak feature does motivate me to use it every day, but everything else (lingots, total XP, achievement badges, etc.) feels like pointless clutter.

I'd agree. I'm afraid Duolingo is an example of a product focusing more on the gamification than the content. The gamification needs to serve the purpose, and Kwiziq is a good example of that. Duolingo is in some way just empty gamification.

I love the crowns system, and I like the leaderboards on duome.eu. But I dislike the Lingots (they have completely emptied their meaning), the achievement badges (another half baked idea), the exp levels and "challenges" (50 points a day as the most serious challenge really pushes down people's expectations of what it means to be really working hard on a language, and the exp levels are good for nothing even after removal of the "fluency score"). The streak feature is very useful to many people, even though it demotivates me (like "what's the point of retrying, if I lose the streak after a few days anyways).
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Re: Do you like Duolingo?

Postby Mista » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:50 pm

garyb wrote:In the past I found it much more pleasant to use on a computer than on a phone, but now I'd say the opposite, because the majority exercises are now based on clicking and drag-and-drop which are easier motions on a phone screen than with a mouse. The typing ones are obviously easier on a computer, but they're the minority.


FYI: The drag-and-drop can be turned off, so that you always get typing instead. On the clicking exercises, you can always use the numbers on the keyboard instead.

I used to prefer the app, but that was before they started offering me to watch a commercial for extra lingots (I have over 8000 of them now...) every time I finished a lesson. Now I use the computer version only, which I found a much "cleaner" learning experience once I figured out how to get the best out of it, as mentioned in the previous paragraph.
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Re: Do you like Duolingo?

Postby fcoulter » Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:42 pm

I've just updated the Duolingo article in the Wiki - Hey! Did you know that language-learners.org and How To Learn Any Language have a Wiki at https://learnanylanguage.wikia.com/ - and would love for people with more experience to add their thoughts to the article.

I like Duolingo. Why? Because it's great for sitting on the couch in the evening, while watching television.

No, it's not the only tool I use. I'm working through Pimsleur while driving to work, and I'm going to slog through Métaquine, Tome 1 : Indications with dictionary in hand as soon as it arrives from France. Basically, I'm triangulating on knowledge, with an audio based course, a gamification/visual based course, and a original source text. We'll see what happens.
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Re: Do you like Duolingo?

Postby Serpent » Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:49 am

Cèid Donn wrote:I'm new here and I don't know how this community feels about necro-posting
We're fine with it :P
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CarlyD
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Re: Do you like Duolingo?

Postby CarlyD » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:44 pm

Just saw a post that was shared on Facebook. The person was talking about the recent changes to Duolingo. I know they changed the "look" with the crowns and such, but I also felt that the German course was just harder, and more confusing than it used to be. I thought it was just me.

This person said that several courses were changed to varying degrees, but the German course was changed the most, and for the worst.

I know that I used to fly through the practices, and repeat them often. Now it's all I can do to do one (XP) before I want to do something else. I get that learning should be hard. But Duolingo seems to make it depressing too.

Just my opinion.
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Re: Do you like Duolingo?

Postby mrap » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:05 pm

I like it for vocab drills, and as a starter for some languages, as someone already mentioned it here. One could say it's a free chance for someone to check whether he/she is okay with continuing studying the language on a more serious level with textbooks etc. I think this helps eliminate the "bought a textbook, never opened it" type of situation.

As for the overall UX - I liked it when it had the levels and the "fluency" percentage, helped a lot in the tracking how much I have accomplished etc. The new thing with crowns etc seems a bit off for me. My personal idiosyncrasy is tracking my progress in various areas by burn-down charts, percentages of completion etc, therefore Duolingo has lost to some degree my interest in it, because the levels seems like never ending and I can't seem to grasp at which level even I am now.
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Re: Do you like Duolingo?

Postby zenmonkey » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:29 pm

Duolingo German got harder? I'll need to go back and check it out.
I liked it enough to complete the tree. I use it every once in a while and think it can have a role in learning activity.
But if it is the only thing you use ... you'll know as much as Jon Snow. ;)
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Re: Do you like Duolingo?

Postby Morgana » Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:42 pm

Morgana wrote:I haven't used it since they changed everything and turned skills into crowns or whatever, and have no plans to.
Less than a month later and I have been casually doing almost a dozen trees under the crown system for the last eight days. I am still not thrilled with Duolingo; however, there is a big difference between using it for languages with Latin scripts vs. non-Latin. It seems Duolingo excels in European languages with a Latin script. Romanian, an entirely opaque language for me, is starting to become clearer with just a little conscious effort. Korean Hangul are still almost 100% guessing. And if you’re not going to put in some effort on the side to learn Cyrillic, you might as well skip the Ukrainian tree.

I’m not a fan of the crowns because they can make you feel like you’re forever stuck on a particular skill, depending on how high you want to go with the crowns. Allegedly after crown level 2, Duolingo starts giving you more challenging material.
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Re: Do you like Duolingo?

Postby CarlyD » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:56 pm

Morgana wrote:
Morgana wrote: Allegedly after crown level 2, Duolingo starts giving you more challenging material.


I've done the German thru all 5 crowns in a number of areas. Exact same sentences all the way through. The only difference is that in the early levels, you can use the Word Bank and just click on what word you want. The higher levels are typing only.
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