Cavesa wrote:-Duo has been lowering the amount of the useful (=translation) exercises. It has moved them to the later crown levels first, and those are now being shortened (it is a recent change), while the dumb exercises from the early crown levels are left there. The review (a sort of SRS is being reintroduced) at the crown level 5 is based on the early levels (=the dumb exercises), not on the late ones. It is clearly a part of the dumbing down process that cares about having as many clicking people as possible (to better sell ads), not good results.
The early lessons are definitely easier and shorter. And they have you translate into English pretty much exclusively. I think the intention is to give new users a sense of rapid progress. Personally, I didn't really mind the gentle introduction. By level 2 I started getting a lot more translation into German and I have found those exercises to be pretty worthwhile on the website/keyboard version. Typing out the sentences in German without mistakes is pretty challenging.
Cavesa wrote:-Duo German has been one of their best courses but that is going to change. The new volunteer tree failed the testing (that's what we were told), and a professional one, like French and Spanish, is being made. The professional trees are much slower and much more focused on vocabulary than grammar. Yes, it is there, but chaotically spread over the tree and very slowly introduced. Targeted practice of individual grammar features is almost impossible, as they are chopped in pieces and hidden behind skill names based on vocabulary. The huge and fast grammar section at the end of the changed Spanish tree is just a relict from the previous phases that they didn't erase, otherwise the learners are being taught the grammar very slowly and with some catches (in case of Spanish, the overuse of personal pronouns, too slow introduction of some verb forms which can lead the learner to learning something wrong, etc. Hard to tell, what will the German problems be). But they've made it clear, that hiding the grammar from plain sight is the goal.
That's too bad. As mentioned, I have been using the German course for targeted grammar drills and, looking at the French tree, I see you are correct that this would be essentially impossible to do with the French course.