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https://www.duolingo.com/MarkosGoulet

Suggestions for Timed Practice

First, I would like to point out this is not meant to sound like whining because it may come across that way. Most of the suggestions are meant to make timed practices easier. This is purely intended to be constructive. Also, keep in mind that I'm not familiar with the exact intentions of timed practices.

Timed practices need a few changes. The first change would be starting the timer at 1 minute or even just 45 seconds. Perhaps even giving the choice to select the starting time, thus adding different levels of difficulty. There are a couple reasons for this suggestion, based on my experience. First, translating into a language with accented letters, when not using a keyboard designed for that language, takes quite a bit more time than you might think. For me personally, I need to click on the given symbols below the text window. Second, some people translate slowly, some translate quickly. Timed practices are good because it forces us to translate as quickly as possible. However, when we can only translate a couple sentences in 30 seconds because the sentence is long or because you have to write copy an audio, it can be frustrating and discouraging to only get two points with your best effort.

My next suggestion is removing audio challenges (I'm not exactly sure what the official name is). Either the audio talks to quickly and we can't understand it, or it talks too slowly and our time is wasted listening to it. Even when it's slow, you sometimes can't keep up because you hear an unusual word, one that you are unfamiliar with or have never heard. Also, quite often the voice will sound too robotic to understand, or it will seem to "skip" through part of a word. So, a possible solution is to let us practice these challenges separately. They are a great idea, but leaving them out of times practices (or even regular skill tree challenges, though that's a whole other discussion and may just be a terrible idea) would remove some frustration and give us more time to work on translating sentences. We could still practice them because they are necessary in helping train our hears to listen a language.

If you choose to consider any of these suggestions, they should definitely be tested separately from one another, so that you can discover which ones work best. I would personally only implement one or the other. Otherwise, things will be too easy.

If anyone has any other suggestions, I'll credit you and add them to this post. I myself will be adding more if they come to mind.

4 years ago

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/pont
pont
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I'd strongly advise using a native keyboard layout for the timed practices. Or, as Usagiboy7 says, just don't type the accents -- you'll still be marked correct.

As to the voice: yes, the full-speed version can be daunting at first, but this is something you need to practise if you want to keep up with native speakers! A good pair of headphones makes it a lot easier.

Finally: don't be discouraged if you're only getting a couple of points per practice. It's still more than no points! At first, getting to the end of a timed practice might seem impossible, but many people here can attest that it's an entirely attainable goal -- it just takes time. Remember that Duolingo are surely collecting data on how often people manage to get through a whole practice: if nobody were doing it, they'd make it easier. Be assured that with practice you will get there, and remember that language learning is a marathon, not a sprint.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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I just memorize the accents in my head but don't use them (except for the tilde-n because without it, i would lose years...)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lpacker
lpacker
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I agree with Usagiboy7 and pont on the accents - I don't use them and I also don't capitalize anything while doing the timed practice. I suggest that one should only do this if one already knows how a particular word is to be accented so as to not get into bad habits :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lpacker
lpacker
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The audio part of the timed practice is necessary. Yes, it's a pain to get shut out after only ten or six or two right answers but you must train your ear to hear the language spoken at a rapid pace. Believe me, it will become easier over time.

I do agree with you that perhaps the timer should be set higher to begin with. Not everyone can type real fast and some of the sentences are very long, so a good "head start" might be helpful.

Also, and several of us have whined about this before, there needs to be some kind of recap at the end or a way to pause the exercise after a wrong guess in order to see what the right answer was.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
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a recap would be nice. I'd be under pressure, needing to move this knowledge into an automatic recall place through the whole test but at the end I could review. ^_^

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkosGoulet

But that's why I suggested making it a separate thing. We could still practice it in a fast pace scenario that way. I mean, it's not necessary, and if people want timed practices the way they are, then so be it. However, I would definitely urge Duo to consider the option to increase time. That's my biggest suggestion. The others are just ideas that came to mind.

4 years ago