https://www.duolingo.com/McPwny

about duolingos "intuitive" algorithms, and enhancement of educational assets

McPwny
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ill try and keep this as concise as possible:
ive been hearing a lot about duolingo getting a visual update to become more appealing, but i haven't been hearing anything about how the site will be actually enhanced.
it would seem that while there are all these people playing with the GUI, and there are so many directions you could go with simple adjustments, how and why are quality of life, ease of use, convenience, effectiveness, efficiency, and self customization not even considered at all?
prime example: there have been numerous constant complaints of duolingo's so called "intuitive and adaptive" algorithm being just utterly useless; let me get specific: if i go right now and press "general practice" the algorithm will dictate that the thing i need to practice the most is the alphabet, and i assure you i will never need to relearn the alphabet. if i waste about two days doing trivial courses to appease the system, it will eventually essentially stick me with a repeating set of question. in summary: useless.

duolingo, the strongest educational asset you have, sticking all the questions together and randomizing them, is completely worthless and useless.

you cant address a major fault in your system? you cant add some simple GUI toggles for things like: ratio of the type and difficulty of questions, selection of which skills to include/disclude in general practice, length of practice sessions, a way to review the contents of specific lessons, or add assets for course developers to work efficiently; perhaps someone could take the time to write a simple algorithm to automatically append honorific ending in the korean course?, etc etc etc pick any problem and address it.

but you can overhaul the entire GUI for aesthetic appeal.

of course, there will be no response to this, because a response would be acknowledgement, and acknowledgement would be obligation to address these things, and that would be work.

1 week ago

16 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss
Thomas.Heiss
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Try this - pick your skill(s) manually:

[HOWTO]: Different ways for spaced repetition with skill strength viewer (user script and extension): https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29304553

PS: I up-voted.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/McPwny
McPwny
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i see a tampermonkey script for viewing progress calculations, how do i pick skills manually, though?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss
Thomas.Heiss
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@McPwny

Which one (name)? Where do you look at?

"Duolingo skill strength viewer" shows an ordered list of skills and you can open that low strength skill in a new browser tab and practice it.

The full direct URL to the skill + PRACTICE suffix will be given.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/McPwny
McPwny
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thats not the issue, practicing individual skills is inherently flawed because they pack the skills into question sets, and the sets into fixed orders, so entering any skill you already know not only the vocabulary you will face, but the grammar, the questions, and the order of the questions aswell, there is no challenge in that, and because it capitalizes off of inference, theres not even that great "spaced repetition value" in it either.

one would think the solution would be obvious: randomize everything, but somehow that simple prospect is out of reach, even to scripts made by frustrated users. :(((((((((((((((((((((
also, the url was broken

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hughcparker
hughcparker
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Just because they've done a thing, it doesn't mean that they aren't doing anything else. There are lots of changes being made - you'll have seen some of the announcements about them in the forums.

The Strengthen skills lessons are useful, and not random. They're not very effective unless you know how they work, though: Duolingo records and calculates a "strength" value for each word you study, so as to calculate when it'll be most effective to revisit a skill. For some peculiar reason, Duolingo has chosen to stop displaying this information, but it's still there, and someone else has made a website to display that information: duome.eu. Here's your page: https://duome.eu/McPwny/progress. Once you've got each skill to full strength, though, there will still be some words in the course that need revising, and that's what the Strengthen skills lessons are for - they're lessons made up of weak words from anywhere in the course. To start with they'll show you words from earlier in the course, because those skills are the ones you've practised least recently. Once you've done a few Strengthen skills lessons, though, they become Duolingo's most useful feature.

The Duolingo staff won't respond to this, or at least I hope not - I want them to spend their time working on improving Duolingo, not replying to forum posts.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/McPwny
McPwny
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yes i understand its very complex and convoluted, but i am telling you it does not work well. the constant numerous complaints about it may give my words weight when i say: i dont want it. give me something practical. give me something i can use. give me some options. i'd take a true random number generator over the way it is being done now. i am not impressed. fix your features. make the site actually better. listen to what people want.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hughcparker
hughcparker
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It isn't really very complicated, it's just that you have to get all your skills to full strength before the Strengthen Skills lessons can be useful. I suppose you have two options when it comes to the "Strengthen Skills" lessons:

  • Try the method I've pointed out.

  • Don't use them.

It's up to you - either is fine :)

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MatthewGBr1
MatthewGBr1Plus
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To me the words "get all your skills to full strength" mean "get the entire tree to level 5." Do you really mean that?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Thomas.Heiss
Thomas.Heiss
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@MatthewGBr1

No, strength is strength (words decay mapped to strength of words and skill strength percentage) and not the "skill crown level".

www.duome.eu/en/es

Golden L5 tree: All skills at L5 @ 100% strength.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MatthewGBr1
MatthewGBr1Plus
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There is a lot of confusion in this discussion. Here are some givens. I see that each skill seen in

https://duome.eu/(id_of_user)/progress

has a percentage strength associated to that skill. Also the word list in duolingo itself has a strength associated to a single word. Some of the discussion here seems to be about one list and some seems to be about the other.

Then there are the buttons to get you to practice sessions. All such buttons that I see on both the Web interface and the android app say "PRACTICE." It is very confusing when someone talks about "Strengthen skills" as an item in duolingo. I see nothing on any page in duolingo that says "strengthen skills."

I would like to know from someone with reason to be certain whether there is any connection between the word list strength evaluations and the lessons one is given by clicking on the general "PRACTICE" button (and not the buttons associated to each skill).

If it is suggested that we can click on a practice button associated to a skill to get at a weak word on the word list, I respond that it is not guaranteed to work. You will get one of the lessons in that skill and that lesson might never use the word in need of practice.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/merkavar

Say day one you learned the words i me you like hate.

Then 6 weeks late you learn the sentence “I like bananas, you hate apples”

Does duolingo strengthen the words I like you hate? Or does it only strengthen banana and apple as they were the focus?

Cause wouldn’t that be the cause of practice focusing on easy words that you use everyday?

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JackNagy3

"it would seem that while there are all these people playing with the GUI, and there are so many directions you could go with simple adjustments, how and why are quality of life, ease of use, convenience, effectiveness, efficiency, and self customization not even considered at all?"

Because Duolingo's staff isn't composed of workers who are equally skilled at everything. The graphic design team that drew all the new images couldn't have been working on algorithm changes instead, because they are GRAPHIC DESIGNERS, not educators or mathematicians.

Any staff will have different sub-teams working on different projects, and some will be finished before others, and they are not necessarily interchangeable.

"duolingo, the strongest educational asset you have, sticking all the questions together and randomizing them, is completely worthless and useless."

This is just being a jerk for the sake of being a jerk, to be honest with you. You clearly don't think Duolingo is entirely worthless (if their strongest asset is worthless, everything else must be too) or you wouldn't be here, so don't throw hyperbolic insults around to make your point. I notice you've also responded to other users sarcastically when they tried to help you, which again is uncalled for.

To address your point, sure, Duolingo doesn't have a huge range of features to tailor the practice sessions, and I'd like to see those added too.

With that said, the current system is certainly good enough to get good practice in. If I know a specific topic I want to practice, I can revisit that skill in particular. Otherwise, I can work through the completely random practice. This covers both fundamental needs you are expressing - I can both target the practice I need most, and enjoy a randomisation process to challenge my entire vocab at once and make sure I'm covering everything.

What you're asking for is a hybrid mechanism in between, where it's random-but-not-quite-fully-random practice that gets targeted to you. Again, this would be awesome, and I agree it should be implemented... but you can still achieve what you want to achieve without it.

Calling the current system "worthless" is just untrue.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MatthewGBr1
MatthewGBr1Plus
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I have to agree with McPwny here but will try and say it more calmly. There are many good features of DL, some even great, but the general practice button is not one of them. Even the skill practice buttons could work more efficiently with very little re-programming. Your general statement that people are busy on other things can be used to shoot down any suggestion. Making the practice buttons more useful is easy (as McPwny says) and would be a huge help. Please don't blindly defend the status quo.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JackNagy3

It's NOT a general statement that people are busy on other things, though.

It's a statement that teams responsible for Task A within Duolingo's priorities may be physically unable to work on Task B, so comparing them is futile.

McPwny notably complains about people working on the GUI while the practice algorithm goes untouched. The point I'm making is that even if Duolingo made zero GUI changes, there would still be no additional staff free to work on the practice algorithm, because graphic designers are highly unlikely to understand (and therefore be able to improve) the code that the practice algorithm uses in the first place.

It's a bit like complaining that you have all these gardeners keeping your garden tidy, while what you really need is a technician to fix your phone lines. Sure, it's a valid need, but it's not like you could set the gardeners to work on the phone lines, and firing the gardeners won't help the technician work any faster. It's an irrelevant comparison.

Notice also that rather than blindly defending the status quo, I explicitly agreed (twice, in fact) that these features should be added. I'm not shooting down any suggestion - I actually enthuastically agreed the suggestion should be implemented.

So I'm not sure we actually have any disagreement.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MatthewGBr1
MatthewGBr1Plus
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I am happy to agree now that we have no disagreement.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/McPwny
McPwny
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keep pressing that practice button, you may not have done enough repetitions to notice how incredibly flawed both methods of practice are, but i assure you, you will notice. its almost as if its designed to be a perpetual treadmill of time-wasting practices. so many people have voiced complaints, too.

furthermore, do you have any idea how easy it would be to make and implement pretty much all the suggestions i listed?
one guy with moderate knowledge in programming and a copy of photoshop could do both the programming and GUI. i am being dead serious right now. it wouldnt take a lot.

volunteers make the courses. all duolingo has to do is host the interface. so are you going sit there and be angry at me for speaking badly about something you arent even familiar with? try to start questioning why duolingo seems to have no interest in fully utilizing the resources so many volunteers graciously dedicate for the sake of education.

people just want the freaking general practice button to work!

1 week ago
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