How could this course be improved?
I've noticed a lot of complaints about this course, mainly directed at the emphasis on translating Chinese into Pinyin and not into English. I certainly experienced this myself.
How could this be improved? The course should operate just like the French from English course. When a new word is being learnt it should be shown as a Chinese character, and pronounced in Chinese. This word should then be matched up with the English translation, not the Pinyin equivalent.
In other courses this usually starts out with new words being matched up with pictures and as the course progresses new words are encountered in a grammatically appropriate context, ie. a sentence.
Pinyin is a tool to aid learning the pronunciation of characters and also as an inputting tool for typing. It shouldn't be the main emphasis on this course. I suggest that pinyin should only be displayed when hovering over a character and when you make a mistake.
The Hello Chinese app has very good content with regards to this issue. You can set it so that Pinyin is hidden until you start making mistakes so the emphasis is on translating between Chinese and English be it spoken, aural or written. If Duolingo could combine the format from their other very successful courses, like French from English, with the content from an app like Hello Chinese they would be onto something really good.
Add the verb 'be' in your title :)
The Chinese course isn't that successful, and I have made a few complaints. Even though I think they should improve it, everyone's like "give it some time dude" so I think we'll actually have to wait :(
Use Hello Chinese for now! The course isn't too good for learning at the moment... D:
My intention for this discussion is to open a platform for suggestions on how to improve the course, and to elevate the conversation above the rhetoric of "just use Hello Chinese".
I believe that learning Chinese from English on the Duolingo platform could be a really engaging way to learn the language in a way that Hello Chinese isn't. Duo's "strength bar" format elicits both tangible and effective results, working an otherwise foreign language deep into memory through an emphasis on repetition of short exercises. Hello Chinese just doesn't provide this structure.
I hope by voicing ways in which the course could be improved, actual results may ensue.
It seams really illogical that Duolingo should stray from the format from their other successful courses and is almost a tragedy that they have spent so much time and effort developing a course which teaches the user to "translate" Chinese into Pinyin whilst leaving the user to guess the English translation.