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Suggestions about learning from mistakes

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I was noticing my learning process while doing some french classes and was trying to think about anything that could be helpful so we learn more from our mistakes. Bellow are some suggestions/alternatives:

a) When I make a mistake, I usually pay attention to them and go on while in a lesson. After sometime, usually when I fail twice, I finally get the answer correct, but only because I got the answer in my short term memory. So I would like to suggest the following: once you fail in a lesson, next time for each question you got it wrong, it shows your previous answer but it doesn't say why it was wrong. So this would be suitable for written answers, not multiple selection, where it could be considered 'cheating'. I believe this would help reinforce what we learn and the mistakes we made.

b) Maybe it could be helpful if the questions we failed in the previous attempts appeared first in the next tries. So once we make a mistake, we can expect those question to be the first ones on the next try.

c) I heard about this before, and I don't know if it will be taken into consideration, but a final report about our mistakes at the end of the lesson would be amazing. That could incorporate the first suggestion and tell you that you finally got an answer right after some attempts.

d) Maybe at the end of the lesson, it could give us a chance to correct our mistakes we made during the lesson. And for each correct answer we get a heart back? Or maybe it shows us our incorrect answer and unless we correct all of the mistakes we won't get any heart back?

e) When practising, I would like to see more often the sentences where I made mistakes, not the ones that I already know and won't forget so soon. This could make timed practice more effective. Currently, when I go back to some skill to practice, I often get like 5 correct answers and my skill is gold again, and most of the times, the set of questions have a high percentage of easy questions, and I believe it is not reinforcing enough. I know the most appropriate way would be making the lesson again, but that feels just like too much work ( ok, maybe I am being lazy here).

f) I know Duolingo team is already working on the vocabulary page (which I am anxious/curious to see) and I would like to reinforce the idea mentioned on previous discussions about having the 'problem words'. The words you have problem memorizing or that you know you will forget soon. This happens a lot when you study similar languages (lets say french/spanish/italian/portuguese). Then you learn the word chicken, french=poulet, spanish=pollo, italian=pollo and finally portuguese with 'frango'. Damn! So I have a good association for all of them, but portuguese is so different. It would be amazing if I could spot that word as 'I would like to practice more this word' or 'I have problems with this word' and somehow practice that word later with all of your 'problem words'. That works with sentences too, sometimes I see weird structures, I get the answer correct, but if I was going to need that sentence again I would probably not remember in real life.

So these are some suggestions (some of them from old discussions). The whole idea is to make us more aware of our mistakes. Maybe I will add something later. But in the meantime, if anyone would like to suggest something else this could be a good place.

4 years ago



it's so interesting and important to know how to learn from the mistakes, and it's so inspiring

4 years ago

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Thanks for your post. It's always interesting to see other people's methods.

Personally I have a little notebook (one for each language) that I only write in when I've made a mistake. If I get a spelling or a gender wrong or I can't remember a word when I'm asked to translate something, it goes in the book. And the part that I got wrong gets underlined so I can clearly see what I need to improve.

When I've finished Duolingoing for the day, I look over what I've written and compare it with previous days' mistakes and see if I'm making the same mistakes all the time. If a word comes up that I know I often get wrong, I can just look in the book for some help.

You might think a book full of mistakes is negative, but it's good evidence of progress when you look at mistakes you made 3 weeks ago and think "These are easy! How could I get them wrong?"

4 years ago


I really like the idea of tracking mistakes like that. I've done something similar to a lesser degree, where I write down the word in my Notes app and go through those words every now and then to refresh my memory on those specific words I have trouble with. However, I think being able to see the word in context would be more helpful.

It's cool when you start to realize that words that used to be so troublesome are coming quickly and naturally!

4 years ago