Last week, my Duolingo app changed on me! 😦
I had no idea that Duolingo was rolling out a change in their learning path (or tree, as I’ve been calling it). They decided to replace the old tree, which had between 1-3 lesson bubbles per level that you would work on before moving on, with a much more straightforward learning path, making the app more beginner-friendly.
While right from the beginning I was disappointed with the unexpected change, I wanted to give the app a fair chance. I started with Ukrainian, and right away was not happy with the new path. I completed my Ukrainian tree about a year and a half ago, and have been using it every second night to practice. This has been a really big help in getting the grammar patterns down with some of the basics. I also relied on the lesson bubbles breaking, which was a good reminder on what to practice. But all of that is gone now. The lessons no longer break. And with the redesign, it’s hard to find where individual lessons are now; as you can see in the first picture, there are no labels – the old tree had a title under each lesson, like “food” or “animals,” making it easy to find at a glance what you want to practice. On the new tree, you can click on the lessons to find out what they are (see the second picture), but that takes a lot of time to find anything.
I did find a spot for practicing (if you click on the hearts in the top right corner, you have an option to practice). The problem with that though is the app decides what to give you to practice. You can’t go and practice a particular grammar point, or work on particular vocabulary. This very much took the fun out of using the Ukrainian tree.
But I still had French to try. Under the old tree, I was progressing steadily, turning my tree to gold. I was nearing another checkpoint and very proud of my progress. So losing my spot with it was rather sad. But Duolingo said you wouldn’t lose any progress, so I figured I would give it a shot.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take into account the fact that I had unlocked a lot more of the tree than I had been working on (I was almost at I think the 6th checkpoint turning the tree to gold, but I had unlocked lessons part way between checkpoints 7 and 8). So Duolingo probably used some of that to account for where I was placed on their new path. And I felt utterly lost by the lesson they put me at. I had no connection to what I was doing before (what I was literally in the middle of finishing before the app changed for me).
Another thing that they changed were the stories. Stories were the most fun part of Duolingo, in the courses that had them (unfortunately, Ukrainian didn’t). The stories used to be on their own tab – I would go and do a few for fun when I was having a hard time with French (or just wanted to do something easy and fun for a night). Now they’re incorporated into the new paths as well. This once again takes out the fun for me – the path is making me do the stories to progress, and it’s hard to go back and find the ones I like and want to redo.
After trying the new path for a few nights, I found that it wasn’t for me. I was sad and no longer having fun at all with it. So I made the difficult decision to stop using the app, saying goodbye to an 822 day streak. 😦 To make everything extra sad, my mom, who has been my Duolingo partner since the beginning, still has the old tree. So she’s continuing on until the app changes for her as well, at which point she said she will quit, too.
I will now have to figure out what I’m going to do instead. Duolingo was my nightly anchor for language learning, so I will have to find something else to take its place. At this point I’m thinking my time will be better spent with books and podcasts, rather than a new app I’m going to see how that goes for a bit, then report back in a few weeks!