Has anyone else noticed that the quality of answers gets rapidly worse as the course progresses?
I found Duolingo to be great for learning German at the initial beginner stages. Now that I've progressed further I'm finding that increasingly the answers have bad mistakes in them (eg. "The district's in in the west of the city") or there are a number of obvious missing "correct" answers that should be accepted. It's immensely frustrating and I'm really wondering whether anyone has actually proofread the existing answers or really thought seriously about inputting alternative answers? Or... maybe this is the failing of crowdsourcing and in fact none of the answers have been added by real human beings at all, but by clever software in conjunction with the students' submitted answers?
I understand that the Duolingo staff is getting inundated with people indicating errors in the lessons, and that many such errors are not in fact errors (people thinking their translation is a correct alternative when it is not). I suggest two improvements:
1) For people that suggest a lot of corrections, calculate the percentage of correct suggestions from them (i. e. the system being wrong and them being right). Do so on a per-language basis. If this percentage is very low, ignore the suggestions summarily and wait for someone else to suggest the same thing. If this percentage is very high, maybe in the 95-100% range, assume that they actually know the language well and are just using Duolingo for review, then auto-accept the suggestion until a human can get around to reviewing it.
2) Prioritize corrections for lessons which haven't yet received many corrections, i. e. the higher levels. It is much more likely that these contain mistakes than that lesson 1 still contains mistakes, even though I expect the vast majority of all suggested corrections to be for the first few lessons.
i second this problem, it really frustrates me and ruins the learning experience, because i've had to stop learning the language but in addition learning the quirks that duolingo has left in the system. of course, this is only at the latter levels. but seriously, how much money has duolingo received in venture capital? they can't get a proofreader or an expert in teaching the language to fix bugs? come on!
As I mentioned in another thread, it may be possible to reduce the false positive that's bogging the Duo folks down. For common wrong answers given that people keep reporting, perhaps not only display "Your answer is incorrect", but also why it's incorrect. That might go a long way to reducing people reporting their translation as a correct one.
This could even be crowd-sourced too. Provide a sentence and an incorrect translation, ask people why it's wrong. Have others rate the explanations. Problem solved?
The lessons here are half computer-generated, half crowdsourced. There are much more learners in the beginning of the tree, that is why the first lessons are better: people suggest tons of corrections and alternatives. The further down the tree, the less learners (apparently some give up or get bored and only the most persistent come to the end), the less alternative options, the less corrections.
I think that those who have had the motivation and stamina to pass most of the tree, could stand it a little longer and help improve the course. Keep on sending those reports to help those who follow you.
I am about three-fourths down the German tree and find it fairly good up to now (except Adverbs 2!). Thanks to those who sent reports before me! Cheers to those who come after me—quite a lot of my suggestions were accepted, too, I hope this will help you!
I noticed that too in the French lessons. Presumably, there are just far fewer people complaining about the higher levels as less people have actually gotten there, so the very user-feedback centered way of improving translations is not working as well there.
However, it also seems that while complaints on lover levels got very quick responses by staff, some obvious mistakes are still present on higher levels despite the fact that several people have pointed them out.
German adverbs lesson 1 is absolutely the worst of all I've done so far. Several pedagogical sins occur at once, making progress in this level totally frustrating. First sin: the lesson introduces no less than fifty plus words, in a new grammatical situation (adverb), and with no previous examples at all. Second sin: the hints are often misleading, as there is no straightforward equivalence with English adverbs (sonst, for instance, has two very different translations to English). Third sin: another, totally yet unexplained grammatical element, splitting verbs (trennbare verben) is introduced at the same time, making attempts to figure out a translation from the first verb part moot. And I would certainly agree with 'dvdknsn' above that the quality of the English answers gets worse as one progresses through the course. Reducing the amount of adverbs to learn and concentrating on getting the use right before dumping more words on the student would be a first step, but a redesign of the lesson plans does seem urgent here.