Emphasis on English to Spanish translations and hint customisation
Am I the only one who would really benefit from more of a focus on translating English passages into Spanish throughout the lessons? I know Duolingo throws these up every now but I for one would really like there to be an option where you can focus solely on moving from English to Spanish. For me, this would be a really effective way of figuring out some of the more challenging aspects for a beginner which are things like sentence construction and conjugation.
Another thing I think may be useful is a setting to turn off the hints or only have a limited amount of them to discourage you from cheating and just scrolling over the words for a hint. I think this level of customisation shouldn't be too difficult to implement given there would already be a significant database of sentences and it would allow the user to adjust their difficulty to where they want it to be.
I just know that I learn best when I'm stuck on a part and cannot figure it out. If you get it wrong at least your training your brain to remember that passage/word/conjugation rather than taking the easy option and getting a hint. In other words, save me from myself!
I disagree about the hints. Provided that there is almost no introduction of words and phrases, the hints should be as full and helpful as possible so that one would be able to translate a sentence even if it was never shown before. There should be hints for phrases and words used together. It is fine to use a hint if you don't know or don't remember the word. It is like dictionary. Do you call dictionary lookup cheating too?
But to make learning more effective, Duolingo should record our use of hints and mark the words that we peek on as weak ones.
Of course initially there should be full hints but I more meant as your skill level/confidence increases in a particular lesson then the hints should drop off a bit in order to force you to master a lesson. Obviously this would be an option that the user could toggle so if they really wanted full hints they wouldnt be affected, but for me I would appreciate the challenge of perhaps having to be selective about which hints I use for which words. Just a thought.