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General Discussion

Goodbye Track Schedules. Hello Content Suggestion Emails!

Recently, we rolled out some spiffy new updates to our Home screen. Among these updates was a new module to suggest what daily learning should be completed... We like to call them Content Suggestions. Along with various other reasons for introducing Content Suggestions, we were hoping for these daily suggestions to relieve our Track Schedules.

You will notice that we've now removed the Track Schedule dropdown form from our Track detail pages. We're also going to start delivering daily Content Suggestions emails to make it even easier to see what's on your plate for today!

Content Suggestion Email

Content Suggestion Email

Don't worry, like our other emails, these can be disabled in your Notification Settings. We also won't bombard you with duplicate emails in the event that you take a short break from learning. Our email system is smart like that.

We hope you're just as stoked about these updates as we are. And as always, we're here to serve, so please leave feedback on this post or email our support team (help@teamtreehouse.com) if there's anything we can do to make learning at Treehouse better for you.

Sean Maiscott
Sean Maiscott
7,690 Points

Setting personal long term goals within the system was quite productive and time saving for me. While I can see how the new system may fit the lifestyles of some, taking away long term personalized goals does diminish the overall functionality of my learning experience. I will likely take up a similar method on my own, though that process will surely be less efficient. Disappointed with the move, but still happy overall.

Kyle Meyer
Kyle Meyer
5,447 Points

Sean Maiscott —

We hear you. The problem with track scheduling is how few people were using it (less than 5% of all students on a track). Those that did have a schedule were predominately behind on their schedule, too. Nobody likes running behind. All together, this told us weren't serving you guys as well as we can, that we hadn't quite nailed what it means to make learning with Treehouse a part of a daily routine. We think this change is going to help more folks achieve their dreams.

It's definitely a bummer to have a feature you use removed, though. Sorry for the interuption.

:zap:

32 Answers

Cool!

Just completely awesome! I need a little reminder :P

Second that ;-)

Devin Gray
Devin Gray
39,261 Points

I second the seconding!

Please bring back function highlighting! It used to be that when you used a preset function in Workspaces, it would be highlighted orange, but now they are highlighted black, which is just the same as other unrecognized pieces of text. I'd really like to see preset functions get either that old color (or any other unused color really) so that I can more easily tell when I've made a mistake in my code. Thanks!

Myers Carpenter
Myers Carpenter
6,421 Points

What language are you coding in?

Very cool!

Seph Cordovano
Seph Cordovano
17,400 Points

I'm not against the idea. Daily works for me, as I use Treehouse daily when I am using it, but having preferences would also be beneficial to most I'd assume. But keep it up, you guys are awesome!

Yes!

It's really great to have the content recommendation, so you can fully visualize your goals for a day... But being able to set the long term time frame is equally important.

To summarize differently: The old system was really good for setting goals on a track. The new system is really good for seeing what I need to do today. Neither system lets me both (a) set a goal, and (b) see what I need to do today to meet that goal.

I like it. Email is how I tend to start my day anyway so this will be a nice little reminder for what I should be doing for the day.

Evans Attafuah
Evans Attafuah
18,277 Points

It's Perfect. :) Nice addition

Interesting; I'm always open to something that encourages continuous learning like this....

I really like this! It will definitely make keeping on track easier for those of us who have busy schedules or may have to miss a few days.

I'm curious, can these content suggestion emails apply to both tracks and courses? For example, if you're doing the Learn WordPress track but also taking the Web Careers course can you be sent emails for both?

Good question! Unfortunately, at this time your Content Suggestions will mirror what you are shown on your Home screen, which will only be for one Track or Course at a time.

Chris Janowski
Chris Janowski
1,844 Points

This is every exciting. I look forward to my daily emails to keep me learning. Thank you for adding this feature!

Not fond of this. The daily suggestion thing never works. It's been showing me that I should complete steps I'd completed over a month ago, and shows the same steps every day. Every day it always says that I've completed the suggestions for the day, which I did, a month ago. I'd rather have the schedule back, that kept me hitting things harder.

Rob, I apologize for the error you've been seeing. For whatever reason, it seems there has been a disconnect in the content you've completed and how that content has actually been marked as completed in our database. Due to this, your Content Suggestions were never updating properly.

I've gone ahead and repaired the content completions for your current Course and verified that your Content Suggestions were updated accordingly as well. Please let me or anyone else on our team know if you continue experiencing this issue.

mateusz sawka
mateusz sawka
13,222 Points

Is there any way now I can check how much content has to be digested until I finish the track? It really helped me to plan the work and measure progress, and I miss the average time per day counter...

Suggestions are OK but don't work well if you download the videos to view offline - you get only the old videos suggested.

Agreed. There needs to be a way to mark videos as watched without having to play through the entire video. It would make it so much easier for us offline users.

At this time, that functionality does not exist. That said, a Course can be completed without its videos being marked as "watched". Furthermore, a fix has been implemented that should provide smarter content suggestions, thus skipping intentionally skipped videos and steps that are part of a completed Stage.

Definitely helpful, thank you!

Ratik Sharma
Ratik Sharma
32,885 Points

Something off topic but I thought I'd mention it: I'd love to see something like the forum contests to make a comeback. I really loved those!

I'd love to see them back as well, but with various types of rewards; maybe even things that encourage people to move up the leaderboards....

I'd like to get more content over this additional functionality so can't really comment about its usefulness atm

Myers Carpenter
Myers Carpenter
6,421 Points

What content are you looking for?

So first of all I understand that your primary business model is to attract beginners with little or 0 skills. I would like to see more content for advanced users...The courses do not have to be structured the same way (meaning the advanced users would not expect them to have tasks for them to finish or any project to complete etc).

You know...release often release early :-) Imagine it would be in form of some 15mins of casts where the presenter would focus on solving a specific problem in a specific situation explaining his solution and why he thinks it's the best one.

For you to better understand what the crowd wants would be to implement some polling where the advanced users would vote what kind of technology would they want to see in the next episode.

That would be a strategy for keeping an existing customers paying. For example i have paused my membership because there is not anything atm which would be interesting for me so i just browse forums occasionally.

Kyle Meyer
Kyle Meyer
5,447 Points

Mike S. —

The teachers making the content are a separate group of folks from the designers and developers building the app. We have a big team cranking away on new content at all times. I can see a bunch of them toiling away from where I'm sitting. :-)

I see you've predominately taken Ruby courses — is that what you're looking for more of?

Understood :-). Yes ruby & rails is the most interesting for me.

Phil Ward
Phil Ward
4,204 Points

The content suggestions emails are ok. It does point out things I've sometimes missed or make you think of what to look at next. I never realised the schedule tracker as I just try and cram some treehouse in when I have time.

I'd personally recommend spending more time on improving the app and creating more content, as opposed to these type of features which are just nice to haves. There has not been much php added of late and I find the mobile site consistently slow to load, especially if browsing the library.

Matthew Hatfield
Matthew Hatfield
4,515 Points

There's an issue with the new system - the goals are very low, and encourage us to aim low. Yes, there's no reason that people shouldn't push forward once they've gotten their minimum target - but psychology tells us that having that target actually strongly motivates people to stop once it is achieved.

An improved system would take the current low target as a baseline but allow you to put personal multipliers on it to match the pace we wanted, sneaking the best of the previous system in the back door. It would actually be similar to how the current multiplier system let's you set your comfort level for more than x1 speed speech. People that are aiming to be ambitious could set it to x1.5 or x2.5, or crank it up to x4 if they had a few weeks off to really grind!

Waiting for an answer in this comment. I agree with Matthew!

Kyle Meyer
Kyle Meyer
5,447 Points

Matthew Hatfield & Leonardo de Deus —

This is a good idea and one we'll be experimenting with soon. You should understand, though, that from our perspective, the most important thing we can do is help encourage a regular cadence of learning, turning online learning into a daily ritual and part of your life. Learning new material is only one piece of the puzzle; there needs to be time devoted to the application of those new concepts and personal experimentation with what you've learned to reinforce that knowledge as well. We're working on some exciting ideas around that concept that we'll be able to share later this year. :)

Trying to build a system of motivation and pressure that works for everybody is really hard work. We've gotten a lot closer with content suggestions, but there's still plenty of room to improve. We're definitely working on it.

Thanks for the feedback, and thanks for being a student.

:zap:

Samantha Atkinson
seal-mask
.a{fill-rule:evenodd;}techdegree
Samantha Atkinson
Front End Web Development Techdegree Student 36,940 Points

Hi,

Was it not possible to have both the Track Schedule and the Content Suggestions ? When I did set my Track Schedule and worked on my track, I was never sure if I achieved the time goal for the day, which I think was the reason I often ended up behind my schedule. If you had Track Schedule with Content Suggestions suggesting how many modules to complete to hit your target time for the day, it would have helped me keep up better with my Track Schedule.

I also agree the Content Suggestions set a low goals. I do motivate myself, but it helps me combining a daily time goal and self motivation.

I still love treehouse!! lol

I was buzzing along during Christmas break exceeding my schedule, but when I went back to work (communications director at a high school) and tried to begin setting up a new website for a school fundraiser, I found I couldn't remember all that I wanted to! I'm having to go back through the website class and build the site along with it. So, I think the smaller bites in the suggestions is better than the over-demanding schedule I had set before. Now I'm slowing down and applying the lessons to real life projects before zooming on. Now things are sticking better. It's hard to resist overdosing on Treehouse though, because your classes are so much fun and I want to see what cool things I'll learn next!

cool I liked it..

huckleberry
huckleberry
14,636 Points

Really disappointed in this. I just came back about a month ago after a long hiatus and I was indeed one of those folks that one of the mods or devs or whatever would categorize as behind on their schedule. That was my own fault and the fault of life in general. Stuff comes up, it interferes and that's ok. But I was very interested in resetting my goal tracker and getting going again. Just like a daily reminder, to-do list, project folder, etc... it's immensely helpful in keeping you goal oriented and focusing on progress, no matter how small.

I find it very disheartening to see "people don't like to see that they're falling behind" as a justification for that. Yes, I get it, it's a business and you're doing what you think will most please the users so I don't fault you at all for stating that fact ("the people don't like..." part), what I DO find ridiculous is the fact itself. For crying out loud. This is the real world, delicate people. If you're off track and behind schedule your clients or your boss are not going to take into consideration that you might not enjoy hearing about it.

"How's Jim doing on the project?"

"Well, he hasn't done anything or shown any progress in 2 weeks."

"What??!! Well get on him! We need this done!"

"Well gee sir, I thought of that but then I realized people don't really like to be told that they're falling behind and I thought best to consider Jim's feelings over the clients needs."

Is a conversation that has never ever been had in any professional setting.

So why in the heck is a website that's supposed to be educating you and preparing you for a career in the field as an employee or a freelancer, tip-toeing around the idea of a harmless reminder that "hey, you said you wanted to accomplish this... you need to do this much today and every day in order to stay in line with your goals." if I recall, it even had a "you're doing great!" message in there. How 'weak sauce' are people these days? Come on...

Considering there is a soft skills course and podcasts and discussions about project management, time management, and in general just doing a good job, it's just ridiculous in my opinion that a very simple tool that could be immensely helpful in motivating some people would be scrapped. I see that only 5% of people were using it but really, I gotta ask, so what? Duolingo pulls this shenanigans all the time. Oh we scrapped this really awesome feature because only x% were using it. Yeah, and? So, to heck and back with them?

I'm curious, honestly, not snarkily, was there any attempt to change the system in order to make it more attractive to the users? How about rewards for using it period? How about setting a decay system on the lessons? miss x amount of days and lessons lose their strength/completeness so you have to repeat them to refresh the progress bar? That probably would've been enough motivation for me to at least get on once per day and complete something. The streaks on Duolingo are amazing because if you don't keep up your streak, your lessons decay in strength. How about adding streak days to a persons profile instead of just accumulated points? How about badges for staying on track with your progress tracker? how about any number of a myriad of things that could be implemented as little gamification perks to the system?

Back to the "only 5%" thing and my "so what?" question. Does something like that require that much of the sites resources as to scrap it? Is it something that really required a lot of maintenance? I'd like to ask 'why not just leave it there as an option for people to use if they want?' As I saw it, it was just an option anyway and, albeit I'm not a full time developer/coder/whathaveyou 'yet' but it seems to me that would be something that you set up and doesn't really require a whole lot of management once it's done other than upgrades to the feature upon implementation of new features or say if you upgrade the entire site. I very well could be wrong on that so I'll take my lumps if I am, but it seems, with my assumption, that just scrapping it is throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater and complete overkill seeing as how it WAS a fantastic idea.

And frankly, the whole "we recommend you do this next" thing that was, in some alternate universe, thought to be an improvement and replacement for the obviously superior and way less patronizing goal tracker, I find to be annoying and unnecessary to be quite honest. If I'm here on the site I'm coming back to continue where I left off whether it be last week or yesterday. I know where I left off. You can see all your courses and go right into your track and everything has a resume button that brings you right to where you left off. Why in the world a goal tracker was replaced with a message telling you what you already know is beyond me. It would be like me walking into my kitchen, taking the lid off my garbage can, taking the bag out of it and then my roommate says "hey, I recommend you take out the garbage." Oh, really? You think I should do what I'm in the process of doing? Thanks, bonehead.

Anyway, despite my curmudgeon like rant, I do love the site, it's fantastic and you guys do an excellent job in which I think y'all have no equal... but sorry, this is just a bonehead move and I think someone there in the office is just trying to make up things to do and implement so it looks like they're actually doing something around the office. You don't have to constantly be changing things fellas. It gets annoying. Don't fix what isn't broken.

And please smack whoever came up with the idea for me.

With love and affection, Huck.

I agree with you. I want reminders to stay on track. These are small enough segments that it's easy to do at least one everyday, but if I get busy, I like to know that my course plans are reminding me to get back on course. I have goals and I need help with them.

Samantha Atkinson
seal-mask
.a{fill-rule:evenodd;}techdegree
Samantha Atkinson
Front End Web Development Techdegree Student 36,940 Points

Usually it's the people in the 5% bracket that end up doing amazing things, that's why they are in the 5% bracket. I bet Treehouse and it's creators are considered to be in a 5% bracket, and look what you've achieved. So really telling us that you got rid of something because only 5% of us are using it is going against the aim of pushing people to achieve amazing results from your teachings.

So I agree with Huck on the real world aspect, that you can't fall behind on a work project or your boss etc is going to kick your behind. In some ways falling behind on my schedule and having the reminders was my boss kicking my behind. If people are really happy with just doing the one little unit that is suggested to do for that day, great! They still could have used their Track Schedule to reflect that. But then they would have felt what they are suppose to feel which is it's not enough and it would take a lifetime to complete going at that pace.So really the Content Suggestions now is a way to make people feel good about going at a snails pace. The world we live in today, is not going at a snails pace.

I live in the UK, by the time my email with the Content Suggestion has come through I've done it anyway. As a mum of 2 kids and busy life I can't always get on Treehouse every day. So when I do get back to my track after a day or 2 missed all my Content Suggestion email is going to say days later is the same thing. 1 unit to complete instead of you are behind by 3 units. So when I've missed a day or 2, my Content Suggestion is not really going to help me out on catching up to where I really need to be.

So great I am part of that 5% who used the Track Schedule, so I guess that means chances of being listened to and Track Schedule coming back is a 5% chance!

But really feel they need to re think the whole Track Schedule and Content Suggestions, as a student I feel there is that element of being pushed missing now, and yes everyone needs the outside push as well as their own drive.

Anneke Crouse
Anneke Crouse
8,199 Points

Probably a bit off topic, but maybe this could be beneficial to you guys.

I started a track when I first signed up for Treehouse. I was really excited about this feature, but haven't used it at all. I started the web development track but I already had solid HTML knowledge before I signed up for Treehouse.

I would have loved to just skip the basic HTML courses and continue on the rest of my track. I've just been doing my own thing going through the library to find what I want, but I think the 'Tracks' functionality would have been a great motivational tool.

I really think it would've helped if the tracks were customisable in some way or form. We chose our own goals, and use the tracker app to meet them.

Samantha Atkinson
seal-mask
.a{fill-rule:evenodd;}techdegree
Samantha Atkinson
Front End Web Development Techdegree Student 36,940 Points

I like that idea : ). Although I had a fair bit of HTML knowledge too and started the Web Design track first and found extra HTML that I didn't know about. So I was glad I started from the begining, and zipped through the stuff I already knew and slowed down when it was new.

But I still want the Track Schedule back......pretty please : )

Travis Bailey
Travis Bailey
13,673 Points

This looks great, but I'd still like to see a feature that let's us reset our progress. I know we can email tech support and get our entire account wiped (just once), but I'd rather be able to just reset my individual progress on a single course. Sometimes I take a break from a subject and need to refresh myself on it to complete the class.

That's a good idea, Travis. I'll take it up with the rest of the team. I can't make any promises, but I'll make sure it gets discussed. :)

This is cool! How do we sign up for the content suggestion emails? I looked in the Email Notifications page but I couldn't find that option in the list.

False alarm...I see it now. However I'm not receiving the emails for some reason...it's probably something related to my inbox though.

David Hernandez, it looks like we have sent 11 total content suggestion emails to you in between January 23, 2015 and today. Are you sure you're receiving emails from us in general? Be sure to check your spam folder and also for any filters you may have set up.

I'm really sorry, I should've updated my last comment. The issue was related to one of my filters as you mentioned. I have indeed received all 11 content suggestions emails from Treehouse. Thanks a lot for looking into it Johnny Thunder! I really appreciate it. You guys rock!

I'm sad to see this feature go! It was really helpful for me. While I like the content suggestions I have no idea how long that will take me to complete the track. Is there a timeline for that?

Brandon Prettyman
Brandon Prettyman
2,965 Points

I appreciate the new system and it probably has increased your user activity which means more business and hopefully a better experience...BUT...I agree with a number of people on the board. I wish the track schedule functionality had not been lost. You can have the content suggestion emails as default and then keep the track schedule in the settings somewhere so those who want to use it can. Now I am writing my goals out by hand...not very helpful.

Hello, i like to know if there is a way to see not just the last few days but probably a longer period of time, like weeks or so. In the progress curve after completion ?