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How to dishearten learners: Showing that successful Pro Timed Practice image after every single failed session.

I've just had an abysmal practice session. In some places peeking nearly every word of a sentence and still getting it wrong, it was dreadful. One by one the hearts fell and, what do you know, a crying owl.

Give up or retry, right? Retry, obviously, whereupon we are - once again - given the option for timed practice (or rather influenced into picking it over any other option).

Now one or two times I can live with, not choosing timed practice is easy. But each and every time I retry a session, failure after failure after failure... I must have seen this damn Pro translator 10 or 15 times tonight, when I don't even want to see him once.

I understand how timed practice can be beneficial. Heck, maybe in the future I'll be doing it myself, but that future is not now. Now is when I forget a lot, when I make silly mistakes, when I go slow and still get it wrong.

Can those of us who aren't confident clock beaters just have a single option or setting somewhere to not be asked for timed practice?

January 7, 2013



Yup, I agree that I don't understand why timer practice would be more featured than the standard practice. I understand that the Duolingo team want to test it out so it gets better faster, but a lot of people simply won't use it at all before a long time, so it could be great if we had a box to check "Remember my choice" or something.


A constant setting, maybe... but I'd like the ability to switch between the two with ease. Personally I prefer the timed practice (I do still use normal if I'm really struggling) because if I were to do the un-timed (normal) I'd usually succeed because I'd take my time and check my answers, in the timed practice I don't do this because there's no time and it allows me to easily identify words that I'm not confident with, then because I get angry with myself when I make mistakes and rarely make them again (unless it's what case to use because sometimes it takes me too long and I run out of time)


I really don't see what's the problem. Why is your personal preference more valid than the current design? "Introduce a setting somewhere to not be asked for timed practice"? Don't you think you would be complicating and obscuring an otherwise simple interface?? Like you said: just don't choose that option, if you don't like it.


Well, simple interface doesn't mean simplistic interface.

The settings are already in a separate section of the site, so adding an option there would not complicate anything, and people who make intense training sessions won't have to choose their mode every time.

It won't change a thing for people who want to have the choice every time.

It's not about his preference being more valid than the current design, he's only making a proposition here. And as long as it doesn't bother people who think otherwise, it's a win win.


Well, it's not like regular practice option is hard to see or anything. Then I would sympathize. Secondly, Duolingo has the potential to expand considerably in features, so you don't want to stuff the settings page with fluff. And finally, you're forgetting the cost of implementation. Does it justify the time implementing that to please half a dozen people? Unless you present a more sound rationale for this idea, I'll still think it shouldn't be done.

The only sensible comment I can think of about this bit of interaction is that when you hit retry when you fail at the regular practice, you should immediately start again in the same mode, rather than being redirected to the practice menu. Of course, this would mean either adding a third button for "timed practice" or switching with the "go back home" button", since you can perform that function on the top menu.


So what ? Because something has potential, we should try not wasting it by not adding useful features ? Isn't it what potential usually allows ? Improvement ?

You seem to think that such an option is not needed. You also seem to think that such a feature would only profit to a small minority. Well since you're the only one arguing about this right now, it doesn't feel like it, so the argument "not worth the time if it's for a dozen people" doesn't make much sense to me at the moment.

Also, a settings page is meant to be elaborate in any big application (which Duolingo is), that's why it has usually a specific page, so people don't get confused. So adding an option is not a problem, this space is made for that. Sure it's not obviously an option as important as the one which lets us choose our language for example, but if it's needed (which neither you or me can be sure about right now) it deserves a place there too.

Finally, if we talk about cost of implementation, I don't really think your proposition will cost less time or work than his.


I didn't say my proposition should be implemented, I just said it made sense. Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree then.

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