What’s the best way to learn with Duolingo?

Whether you’ve been using Duolingo for a little while or are just starting out, you might be asking yourself about what the best way to move through a Duolingo course is. Our introduction of Crown Levels earlier this year has provided many new opportunities for personalizing your learning journey, but many of you have been wondering about the best approach to take with it: when should you level up a skill (and get more crowns!) and when should you move on to start a new skill?

We’ll get straight to the point: our recommendation is to do both at once! “Hover” around several skills – spreading your time across a handful of nearby skills – and alternate between gaining crowns and doing new lessons. Hovering across multiple skills helps you maximize learning by practicing what you’ve already studied while continuing to learn new material.

Figure 1. An illustration of the hovering technique: the skills on top have the most crowns.

An illustration of the hovering technique: the skills on top have the most crowns.

The “hovering” approach works no matter where you are in the course. Since Crown Levels give you tougher exercises at higher levels, there’s lots of room to improve, even if you've already finished the course. By leveling up, you can get even better at some of the trickiest – but most important – ways to use language, like listening and language production (forming words and sentences in the language you’re learning).

When you start a new skill, work your way through all the lessons to get to Level 1. Those lessons work together as a group to get you familiar with the crucial features of the new material. This will help you start committing the new words and structures to memory right away!

Mixing older skills with new lessons will also help you remember the material for a longer time and will make it easier for you to recall it on your own later on. You'll also add some more variety to your learning experience so you don't see the same words and grammar too frequently.

Here's a roadmap for the hovering technique:

  1. Get to Level 1 on a new skill, so that you get a good overview of the new material!

  2. Go back to a few previous skills to level them up and strengthen the connections in your brain between old and new material.

  3. Now, get to Level 2 in the new skill from Step 1. Practice that new material before it gets the chance to escape its new place in your long-term memory!

  4. Hover and repeat!

Try the hovering approach for a fun, engaging strategy to reach your own language goals.