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Ideas for improvement.

I'd like to post here some ideas for improving the way we learn on here or use the site.

  1. The ability to choose what types of questions you'd like to encounter. Let's say I'm having a particularly hard time translating English into the language I'm working on, but not having trouble the other way around. I would be able to choose to encounter, perhaps from a list of check boxes, that I wish to only have questions that require me to translate from English to my chosen language.

  2. A way to add words you learn outside of Duolingo. For example. Last night I was translating my grocery list into German, but I came across some words I didn't know the translations for, so I looked them up online. From this I added to my knowledge from Duolingo. I knew cat was Katze, but since I looked it up I now knew that cat litter was Katzenstreu. Or maybe I'm into wizards and looked it up and found out it was Zauberer. There is currently no way to add outside knowledge to Duolingo to keep practicing it. The point of this is, if we can learn what we're interested in learning, or at least register it with Duo for later use, that would be nice.

  3. A way to view your answers and mistakes after you've finished practicing. Many times during timed practice, I will skip looking at the correction because I've only seconds to respond to the next question. If I could view a list of wrong answers with their corrections at the end of each practice, that would be awesome for learning. And it would be equally nice to view after a non-timed practice as well. Or even after lessons.

  4. When choosing a vocabulary word to practice, sometimes it will kick you out to the main page if you've not seen enough forms of it. This is usually the case with words that have many forms or you haven't seen it that much. Perhaps it could give you a message telling you about the problem practicing the word, or if you know enough of the rest of the curriculum, go ahead and teach you more forms of the word, or phrases containing it.

  5. Some form of practice report. Right now all I have to determine how well I am studying is the "Weekly Progress" tab on the home screen. This shows accumulated skill points for 7 days and also, if you've not practiced enough, invisible coins reminding you you're supposed to be practicing more. It might be useful for some people (parents, educators, or just people like me) to have some form of longer running report. Perhaps if you were able to select from a timeline a date range, then it gives you a summary of what you learned during that period, with counts and things and a nice trend graph.

I am working on a few more ideas and will update this thread soon.

Edited, added #3. Edit edit, added #4, 3rd edit added #5.

March 13, 2013



I think it would be great if native speakers could record words and submit the audio. That way, over time, the pronunciations would be greatly improved. Sometimes I can't tell what the heck that computer voice is trying to say.


I think this would be a good idea if the user were required to translate from their English to their native language audibly. It would kill two birds with one stone. But if it were paid work or volunteer work, I don't think it would work.

  1. The user is translating from the foreign language to their native tongue, giving them translation experience.

  2. It provides Duo with sound clips from native speakers sentences they already use.

There are a some problems with this approach, however:

  1. Unless the user has excellent sound equipment, the quality is going to be horrible and will obscure the speaker's voice.

  2. Unless duo makes you repeat it slowly, there will be no slow repetition available.

  3. As of now, there are only 3 languages available to learn English from. Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. All of the other languages would be out of luck.

  4. This relies on others choosing to learn English. As there are a limited number of languages available at the moment, and due to the fact that a lot of the world already knows English, there would likely be very few people taking a route from their language to English, thus the scarcity of native speaker audio translations diminishes.

  5. This also assumes that the native speaker has translated the sentence correctly. They would have to implement some form of review system for the audio.

And that is my analysis on that idea. Hope you've enjoyed the long read. :)


Thanks for the ideas. I'm looking forward to hear more of them. Incorporating words you'd like to know is an interesting idea. We do a lot of work (on the backend) to surface the most relevant questions and words to fit your specific skills and needs. Check out this blog post that dives into more detail about our approach: http://blog.duolingo.com/post/41960192602/duolingos-data-driven-approach-to-education And please keep sharing feedback/suggestions with us.


I definitely understand that Duo does analysis that allows me to learn easier, but I sometimes feel that it doesn't know I'm having difficulty with articles or conjugation. If you know you're having a specific problem and you're trying to work through it, it might be more helpful if duo gave you a way to help it out. Or perhaps it already does do that with the peeking mechanism. I try not to ever peek, but will do so more often if it helps duo help me learn.


I'd love better audio and some sort of specific dictation and listening practices.


I feel strongly that your first suggestion would improve my listening abilities greatly. I need more listening practice. I have almost zero issues with reading and writing.

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