"Um, where is the hospital?"
I disagree. I lived in Japan for two years, and just because Japanese people use どちらのほう all the time, does not mean that it means "where." It means "which way," and yes, it is more polite, but that doesn't change the fact that it literally means, "which way." Duolingo should translate more literally, so as not to confuse people.
'Verbal ticks' or non-lexical fillers are part of speech disfluency, and - ironically enough - if you want to be fluent in a language you have to be able to be disfluent in the language.
If you speak Japanese but keep filling with 'erm', 'like' and 'yknow' it'll sound weird.
Besides as pointed out before, these fillers, along with non-verbal cues are very important in Japanese language.
For example; if you're on the phone with a Japanese person and you don't regularly respond with 'ん' or 'はい' etc. while they speak, they'll think you left and ask if you're still there.
I think I heard that えっと is the feminine umm, and あの is the masculine umm, but I could be wrong.
If you are using your computer, you should always be able to switch between using the word bank, and using the keyboard.
I don't understand why Duolingo translates どちら as "where," when it really means "which." The correct word for "where" is どこ.
I like to use the keyboard sometimes, but if my answers aren't going to be accepted half the time, just because I did or didn't use kanji when Duolingo wanted me to, it would be much more efficient to just use the word bank.