The Duolingo Thread

All about language programs, courses, websites and other learning resources
User avatar
luke
Orange Belt
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:09 pm
Languages: English (N). Spanish (intermediate), Esperanto (intermediate), French (intermediate)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5462
x 258

Re: The Duolingo Thread

Postby luke » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:10 am

Recently a version 2.0 Esperanto tree became available. It has a lot of new lessons, words, tests, etc. Very happy to see this build-out of a great foundational course. I discovered it when I went back to re-gild the old tree. I think I saw a dialog that said, 5x the original content. Very nice. Has me excited to brush up on some grammar.
7 x

Cavesa
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2457
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (beginner)
x 6707

Re: The Duolingo Thread

Postby Cavesa » Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:28 pm

And a new French course: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/26726755
I can see it (even though I have definitely not restarted using it) and it is certainly longer, which is a very good thing, it now reminds me more of the German one (which I still consider to be the top of Duoligno, despite some issues). Good news: there seems to be a lot of new stuff. Neither good nor bad news: some things are falling behind the change, such as the grammar notes. Bad news: nothing could be done about the TTS.

This is one of the things giving me more hope for Duolingo. It seemed to me lately, that Duolingo was just doing marketing and things that the newspapers would love to write about (a suspiciously fast made Japanese and Mandarin course, weird articles about the "science" of successful learning at Duo, new design of various tools on the website), without paying much attention to the most important part, which is the content. Sure, the content is made by users. But from what I've read, the course makers are sometimes far from thrilled from the cooperation with the staff. So, it is even more awesome to see them going on and improving the courses.
4 x

Cavesa
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2457
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (beginner)
x 6707

Re: The Duolingo Thread

Postby Cavesa » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:34 pm

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/26739837

It is surprising that noone is commenting on the new Crown system. Perhaps we have given up on Duolingo.
The thread about sums the changes up and includes a lot of information (said with the usual PR style).

Very shortly:

What is that?
A change from the old system with skills becoming golden and decaying to a new one. There are five levels, a number of exercises on each level, and you get through them, supposedly with increasing difficulty. It doesn't mean more content on the higher levels, but probably more focus on translation. It would be helpful, I don't know yet. And they got rid of the "fluency" thing, which is nice.

What changes for your already finished or still studied trees?
A lot. Your skills will be set to some levels, 1, 2, or 3. Not to the higher ones. This assessment is based on previous results and the amount of times you have encountered each thing. Which is a bit sad, as your golden owl (=a nice feeling that you have gotten through it and just go on to other stuff) turns into half a course at level 3 and half at level 1. But it should be nice for languages we are just starting.

What I find to be the catch?
There is no way to test out of the individual skills and levels, so it takes ages. Either you settle for just rushing through and ending each skill at level 1 (which is boring and too easy), or you spend ages there, just to get to the more difficult stuff. A good and detailed assessment tool is seriously missing here and that is a huge obstacle to individualisation of learning with Duolingo.

What I find to be definitely positive?
If the overall amount of exercise people get is higher, it is a positive thing. If the exercises are meaningful (which means with some way to do the easy stuff faster and the hard stuff slower, based on each learner's strenghts and weaknesses). I also like the fact there is no "fluency %" any more to confuse newbie learners. And the most positive thing: Duolingo is trying to move in a meaningful direction. Towards better quality teaching, towards more serious learners, towards improving the basic functions of the service. And that is extremely positive, as I had been under the impression they had been focused purely on marketing during the last few years.

I also think it is awesome Duolingo got rid of the decay function of the skills. Don't get me wrong. Reviewing stuff is hyperimportant, true. But I think the previous decaying and golden skills system was making people too focused on Duolingo instead of language learning itself. On redoing stuff, refreshing everything. And people just weren't progressing further. It was a part of the nonsense belief that Duolingo is the one tool teaching you everything you need to just switch to native books and movies and speaking and that being a good learner = keeping everything golden. After this change, I think an average Duolingo user will learn more, thanks to getting more exercises, and then move on, as there will obviously be nothing else to do.

Will it affect the way I use Duolingo?

-Before the changes: I was using it as a complement to other stuff, sometimes more and sometimes less, usually a week or two of intensive using, then a few months of nothing. The first half of the German tree was highly useful to me, the second half was suddenly hard and based purely on memorisation, not logic. My easier languages: it was fun to rush through, get the owl and satisfy my curiosity about the course. My Italian was somewhere in between, I was testing out of some skills and doing normally others.

-After the changes: I have no clue how to use the German tree, as it is a mess now. I have tried just a few things, so I have yet to find out what is each level like. And truth be told, the low levels are not too appetizing. I don't feel like "redoing" my French and Spanish trees at all, but I was never a good Duo French/Spanish learner in the first place, it is for a different kind and level of learner. Italian: I don't know whether to use it, because I cannot test out of the easy skills.

Perhaps I'll know more, when I'll have time to start something really new. In a few years.
8 x

Cavesa
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2457
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (beginner)
x 6707

Re: The Duolingo Thread

Postby Cavesa » Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:41 am

I promised some thoughts on the changes (crowns) after actually trying them out. So, here they are:

What didn't change:
The quality of the trees of course, those changes are independent from the crowns. There is a new French tree, which is better than the old one but I can't say by how much, and I am not gonna use it even out of curiosity. And truth be told, it is rather easy to be better than the old French tree :-D. And there is going to be a new Spanish tree soon. German is still the best, but I've read Dutch is even longer. But I really have doubts about the quality of the hastily made Japanese and Mandarin courses and those are not the only ones.

Also the choices you can make are still more or less the same. I am very content with the ability to turn the too easy exercises off, which are the boxes and listening. I've said it many times: language apps are the best when they do one thing right, not when they try to do tons of stuff. Easy translation exercises divided by skills, which are interconnected by the content, that is great for my German. That is the main strength.

The app is still horrible for me. The layout in which half the screen is taken by unrelated pictures of people, which bring no value, is making the app uncomfortable in a few ways. Otherwise, the app can be useful too, with the listening, speaking, and boxes exercises turned off. But I can't stomach the amount of ads, those feel very disruptive. Sure, Duolingo needs them to earn money, there is nothing wrong about that. But I personally find the amount of them in the app overwhelming. I know it is the main motivation to make people pay for otherwise useless Duolingo plus. But I still think there should be a compromise between not earning enough and disgusting the users.

What sucks about the Crowns:
There is still no way to test out of the easy skills to the higher levels. That means I am unwilling to use Duolingo for my better languages (which is ok, there is no need for that) and also for Italian. The "so just take it to level 1 and go on" advice is not that useful as the exercises at level 1 and 2 are easier, for example single words are there more often than in the later levels. I am not sure I'll be using Duolingo for any language I know a related one to (my plans include Russian and/or Polish), at least not till the test out function is there.

What is awesome about the Crowns:
The tons of basic practice are great for a language I completely suck at, which is German. I think it will show as soon as I return to my more serious resources, I expect to be making a bit different mistakes and progress faster. I have a streak of 8 days in my German tree, which is the longest I've ever had :-D The crowns are more motivating, as they stimulate the childish part of me, that wants to collect them all :-D

What is new and awesome and independent from the crowns:
duolingo.eu brings the main gamification part that has been missing on the official site. The statistics and leaderboards. It is not motivating to progress in a random group of people who happened to click on the follow button. It is very motivating to see my own stats in a clear form and to want to get to the leaderboards, which require either a streak of 100 days (less likely for me) or 90000xp. My childish part loves competition :-D :-D :-D

What I disagree on with tons of duo users the most:
I am glad the decay function is gone. As I said: I find it better when an app is good at one thing. And SRS was not that thing, my attempts to use Duo regularly in the past were failing partially due to this: losing the completed easy lessons and weird SRS that wasn't showing me what I really needed. The primary effect of things decaying was keeping people on the site ad infinitum. Now, you get a clear ending to the tree, so we might see the end of some of the problematic beliefs widely spread in the community. People will be moving on, which is great.

The bottomline:
Duolingo is definitely not to be relied on fully but that is no news. It is also not the best option out there for various languages, the most striking example is the quality of Kwiziq for French and Spanish. However, I think it is getting better and turning into a more useful tool, thanks to the Crowns (those add practice), duolingo.eu, and some of the tree updates. Until now, the main advantage has been the price. We couldn't have asked much from a free tool, and it was clear that the main focus of the staff was marketing. But now, especially if they take a few more steps in the right direction, I might be more likely to recommend some of the courses to newbie learners.

P.S. I wish I had much more free time. I would love to make a French from Czech course, I think this form would be very good for my boyfriend, who will need to learn French and isn't a bookworm. Or for my younger sister with crap French classes at school. I have a more or less clear idea about the content and the needs of such learners. But I simply cannot spare a few thousand hours. And I'd be unlikely to get any coworkers or approved by the staff. Kwiziq and a few more online resources could serve them well, but I think the English base would be a bit of a problem.
7 x

User avatar
CarlyD
Green Belt
Posts: 284
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:44 pm
Location: California, USA
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2), German (A1--barely)
Bucket List: Russian, Slovene
x 333

Re: The Duolingo Thread

Postby CarlyD » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:11 pm

I'm planning to return to Duolingo for the 6WC, as an addition to my Memrise, which I still like better.

As a comment, I leave this: In my Facebook German group, two people recently proudly posted screenshots of their Duolingo home pages: 500-day streak, and 1000-day streak. Neither had any discernible knowledge of German.
2 x
50000 German Writing Output: 54 / 50000
9000 minutes German Super Challenge: 0 / 9000
5000 pages German Super Challenge: 11 / 5000

Cavesa
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2457
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (beginner)
x 6707

Re: The Duolingo Thread

Postby Cavesa » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:12 pm

CarlyD wrote:I'm planning to return to Duolingo for the 6WC, as an addition to my Memrise, which I still like better.

As a comment, I leave this: In my Facebook German group, two people recently proudly posted screenshots of their Duolingo home pages: 500-day streak, and 1000-day streak. Neither had any discernible knowledge of German.


Well, that's why I use it just as a complement and further practicing tool and I write about it that way. I definitely don't think there is much value in learning just from Duolingo.

However, I've read two or three realiably looking success stories about Duolingo being the main resource (others being used to much lesser extent and not including a normal course) and the learner passing a B1 exam. If they were lying (no idea why they would), those were very convincing and complex fairy tales.

I think there is also an important difference between people with language learning experience outside of Duolingo and just Duolingo users. I can imagine a learner knowing how things normally work (mainly how to make your own sentences based on the grammar pieces and vocab bits studied) could talk at a basic level having used just Duolingo. But people without any such experience are the ones who want to memorise "useful" sentences and don't know how to flexibly and creatively use the learnt stuff and Duolingo definitely doesn't give them enough to learn that.
2 x

Cainntear
Brown Belt
Posts: 1044
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:04 am
Location: Scotland
Languages: English(N)
Advanced: French,Spanish, Scottish Gaelic
Intermediate: Italian, Catalan, Corsican
Basic: Welsh
Dabbling: Polish, Russian etc
x 2316
Contact:

Re: The Duolingo Thread

Postby Cainntear » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:33 am

Cavesa wrote:What sucks about the Crowns:
There is still no way to test out of the easy skills to the higher levels.

They seem to have changed that -- I can see the test out option on both the app and the website.

Curiously enough, the app let me "test out" on the first section of German, even though the website gave me a grey "checkpoint passed" because I'd already done it years ago.

That said, the testing out is woefully inadequate. It has a lot of repetition of the same phrases and closely related phrases (I saw "Zucker schmeckt süß" at least 3 times, as well as "Zucker ist süß" and "Schokolade schmekt süß" a couple of times each) which means that it hardly covers I tiny portion of the language in the units. I had several fridge magnet translations that were basically impossible to get wrong (translation to English with three words is basically "create the only possible English sentence" and doesn't test foreign language competence in any way). And when some of the examples it randomly selects are ones you don't know, you lose lives and it doesn't make any attempt to determine what you do and don't know, instead just assuming you know everything in all the related units if you make less than three mistakes, and assuming you know nothing if you make more than three.
Computer-adaptive testing has been a thing for over 20 years not, and it really bugs me that the world's biggest language learning site is so technologically primitive and naive.
2 x
A year of Tatoeba recordings: 40 / 365 One donated recording every day in 2017.

Vedun
Orange Belt
Posts: 188
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:36 pm
Languages: Native: Bulgarian
Fluent: English
RHW: German, Italian, Russian
RMWH: Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian
EDO: Polish, Hungarian, Basque
Bucket list: Most of Europe
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3009
x 129

Re: The Duolingo Thread

Postby Vedun » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:52 am

I like the new crown system, it made me return to duo at least for a while since years.
1 x

Cavesa
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2457
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (beginner)
x 6707

Re: The Duolingo Thread

Postby Cavesa » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:54 pm

Cainntear wrote:
Cavesa wrote:What sucks about the Crowns:
There is still no way to test out of the easy skills to the higher levels.

They seem to have changed that -- I can see the test out option on both the app and the website.

Curiously enough, the app let me "test out" on the first section of German, even though the website gave me a grey "checkpoint passed" because I'd already done it years ago.

That said, the testing out is woefully inadequate. It has a lot of repetition of the same phrases and closely related phrases (I saw "Zucker schmeckt süß" at least 3 times, as well as "Zucker ist süß" and "Schokolade schmekt süß" a couple of times each) which means that it hardly covers I tiny portion of the language in the units. I had several fridge magnet translations that were basically impossible to get wrong (translation to English with three words is basically "create the only possible English sentence" and doesn't test foreign language competence in any way). And when some of the examples it randomly selects are ones you don't know, you lose lives and it doesn't make any attempt to determine what you do and don't know, instead just assuming you know everything in all the related units if you make less than three mistakes, and assuming you know nothing if you make more than three.
Computer-adaptive testing has been a thing for over 20 years not, and it really bugs me that the world's biggest language learning site is so technologically primitive and naive.


I don't think we are talking about the same thing.

The testing out of a section was not changed, it was not removed during the crown change. It was just as horrible before it. No idea about the app difference.

What is still not available is testing out of an individual skill, which was possible before the crowns. You got a mix of sentences from the whole skill, similarily to the section test out, and could have completed it. That is impossible now.

I am talking about individual skills, one test to get you out of at least a few levels of it fast. And that is not there.
3 x

Cavesa
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2457
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (beginner)
x 6707

Re: The Duolingo Thread

Postby Cavesa » Fri May 18, 2018 10:46 am

https://www.facebook.com/duolingo/photo ... =3&theater

Yep, Czech, Klingon, and High Valyrian together in one group!

Of course this calls for tons of jokes :-)

Truth be told, I often can't believe wth is happening in this country, so the language being fictional wouldn't be that much of a surprise in the end :-D

And actually, given the history of the Czech language, we could almost call it a constructed one anyways :-)
1 x


Return to “Language Programs and Resources”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest