Dear Duolingo, please can we have...?
I'd like to start by saying that I love the website and think it's fantastic, however this is a suggestion from me. While I realise Duolingo makes its money from translations from other languages into the users' native languages, I really must ask you to provide a lot more practice in translating from our own language into the target language.
I think in any language with cases there needs to be more practice in the target language as when I learn Polish, for example, I can understand the Polish parts, but I struggle to translate from English into Polish, as I haven't had enough practice.
Anyway, long story short; more time translating into the target language please!
I've been saying this for months.
Translating to the foreign language is so much better for learning because it requires that you figure out how to form the sentence and also type it, instead of just having the sentence given to you.
There at least needs to be a slider for how much you want to translate from one language to another.
I don't know if I think there need be a slider necessarily (although I may take you to literally here), but I it would be really nice if you got to start out with mostly understanding (when you first started learning the language in question), and then, as you grew more comfortable with the expressions more and more "origin language"->"learning language" translations exercises would be introduced. While the perfect tipping points and balances would probably be somewhat hard to find, the underlying implementations seem fairly trivial (depending on how exactly everything is implemented to start with, of course), so it could probably be done without much trouble...
I feel I'm actually getting this in the Russian for English speakers course; When I first do a lesson, I have to translate into Russian only maybe once or twice, but when I use general practice later, I have to translate more into Russian than into English.
I didn't have this feeling with the other trees I've done, but it might be me remembering things wrong, the "slider" having changed since then, or this being something specifically to do with the Russian course. Or even just my strategy with this particular tree being different and thereby bringing out different practice patterns than with the earlier ones.
I have the same feeling with the French tree. If I do well for a while, I start getting en--fr tranlation exercises, then if I make a mistake, it's back to fr-en for a while again. Right now I repeat each lesson at least twice (sometimes even five times) before moving on and then I strenghten the whole skill at least once the next day and the day after that, so maybe it's just that doing a lesson once (as I did with the Swedish tree) doesn't give the algorithm enough material.
I have another suggestion that is related to this one. It would be nice if users could choose themselves what types of exercises they want. In the profile, everything by default is ticked. If you want to tailor your practice for your needs, you go there and tick/untick the types of exercise you want. How I see it: translating from Lang1 to Lang2: (check box) translating from Lang2 to Lang1: (check box) listening, type what you hear: (check box) etc etc etc
This will solve the pending request for more translations to target languange and give more flexibily. Actually, it already exists in a very basic form - you can choose not to have speaking exercises. So all it takes is just advancing this idea which is already implemented.
I agree with this. Some exercises are ridiculously easy when you reach a certain level, especially on mobile. They're still needed when you're starting out and you don't know anything about the language, but after finishing the tree the only exercise that really helps is the one that asks you to translate from the base language to the target language. Another cool addition would be the possibility to turn off the hints :)
That would be nice, but as a workaround, once you feel you have a solid handle on reading Polish then start doing the English for Polish speakers course (As well as continuing Polish for English speakers). The English for Polish speakers course will require you to translate a lot of English into Polish.
Not all the courses have a reverse course where you can practice learning English from your target language, but many do. I'm primarily learning Spanish, and when I want to give my brain an extra work out I simply change my 'native' language to Spanish, go to Immersion and translate some sentences from English to Spanish.
It is a bit of a pain to switch 'native' languages manually on Duolingo, so I downloaded a user script called Duolingo Course Changer. I think it is invaluable and everyone should download it.
It is a good option, but reverse courses are by definition not teaching you your target language and in my experience you have to spend more time memorizing what answer they want than why the answer is written that way. Immersion can work for that as well but it would just be very helpful if they spent more time teaching us how to construct sentences. :) I know some users simply translate to Spanish first, then English on the Spanish to English translation practices. But we don't all have that level of dedication.
I have the course changer user script and the tree trimmer user script. Do you know of any more? I have found the ones I have installed to be very helpful. (Sorry- I mean, I apologize, I can't shake the formal vibe from my internet communications today.)
Duo no longer makes its money as you describe. Duo has done extensive testing and knows how 'difficult' it can make the program, before it loses too many user. The requests of a relative few to make Duo more challenging do not offset Duos' data. I think expecting Duo to tailor each learner's program individually is not realistic.
I think it is realistic. Duolingo could either create difficulty settings: easy, medium, hard. Or have the system adapt to your experience. If you finish a practice under a certain time frame then the next one would be harder. On the other hand, if it took you too much time to finish a practice then it gets easier. It's not that hard to develop...