https://www.duolingo.com/purplie

Recognition vs recall, badly balanced

Most of the exercises involve recognition (reading/understanding the foreign language) rather than recall (speaking/writing the language).

I find this creates a bad balance where my recall skills are poor. Isn't there any way to adjust my Duolingo sessions to have more recall exercises?

Thanks Mark

February 22, 2019

20 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

I think as you go up the crown level the balance shifts. One thing that I did is to switch off the word bank so I always type answers.

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/angus390025

I've always seen that comment as well, but so far the evidence suggests that this is not the case. At least not for my version of French.

For example, I have all the skills at 5 crowns and have for some time. When I hit the practice button, it gives me the same exercise starting with Nous avons une __ (and I pick "chienne" from a list of choices). I've had that every single time I click on practice for at least two months. That gets boring so I usually pick a skill that I need to work on, like conditional past or subjunctive. In those, I get mostly French sentences that I'm meant to translate in to English. Very few English-to-French translation exercises.

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnieMod

There apparently is a bug after you get to crown level 5 (had been mentioned a few times lately) - the exercises after that are a bit messed up (and pulling from the easiest ones).

But before you hit the 5th crown, the progression is there.

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/angus390025

Interesting. I just went to the Economics skill (at the bottom) to count them. I clicked on practice (without timer) and got the following result:

  • Type this in English: 9
  • Type this in French: 4
  • Type what you hear: 6
  • Mutiple Choice: 1

Note that I have the microphone turned off. I find that feature useless. If I had it on I might have some Speak exercises, but the point is that the ratio is 9/4 for recognition to recall with 5 crowns.

I suppose the only solution is to create another account, get the new tree, and start from scratch to get up to a few crowns, but not five, in order to get more challenge. What a mess.

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/FredrikVC

It seems to me that I get one speaking exercise per lesson.

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/angus390025

That's interesting. I can't remember how many I get because I stopped using it so long ago. I could speak total garbage and get it correct. Like, my son would say something just as I hit the mic button and I'd say "Okay just a minute!" and it would be counted correct. Other times I didn't even get finished saying the sentence, like I still had several words left to say and it would already be counting me correct. Still other times I'd say the sentence exactly, right stress on the right syllable, everything, and it would get counted wrong. Other times it would hesitate, and maybe a word would be highlighted--sometimes in the middle of the sentence-and I'd say that word loudly, and it would finally get counted correct. Or not. No rhyme or reason. I just don't use it. I get much more value out of just repeating words that are difficult whenever I hear them, on or off duolingo.

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnieMod

Yeah, once you are that the 5th crown or if you are testing out, the ratios are off. But then the explanations never said anything for when you are at level 5 already - if you look at the article/blog, it talks about the 5 levels as in "levels between the crowns" :) I have skills still across all crown levels and the exercises do feel different - not all lessons but if you combine the lessons in a skill on a level, the lessons between crown 4 and 5 definitely ask for a lot more translations into the new language.

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/angus390025

I'll investigate the matter on one of my other trees. In Spanish, German, and Portuguese I have a mixture of 3, 4, and 5 crowns. I'll report my findings here later.

Okay, I went to the Spanish tree. Man, that was hard. I had to listen to some of them four times. I had been listening to French news and reading French newspapers all day. haha. I eventually got into the groove. I made sure not to make any mistakes so I wouldn't lose count. I started with the "Grammar"skill, about halfway down the tree, in which I currently have 3 crowns. These are the results:

  • Type this in English: 10
  • Type this in Spanish: 4
  • Type what you hear: 4
  • Multiple choice: 2

Then I did the Present 2 skill, right next to it, in which I currently have 4 crowns. Here is the result:

  • Type this in English: 10
  • Type this in Spanish: 5
  • Type what you hear: 4
  • Multiple choice: 1

So the ratio for a crown 3 skill was 10/4 and for a crown 4 skill was 10/5. Not a huge difference. Of course, you could say that my comparison was like apples to oranges. What I should have done was stuck with Grammar. Do one at crown 3, then test out and get it up to crown 4, then do it again, so I'd be comparing crown 3 and crown 4 in the same skill set. Or you could say, well, you only have two data points. Fine criticism indeed. Nevertheless, I'm tired of experimenting for today. I remain unconvinced! I agree with the OP. The balance between recall and recognition is off, and it doesn't seem to get much better. Theory is fine, and I understand that duolingo claims that the levels become more challenging in its literature. I'm more interested in empirical data. The little bit that I have suggests that the amount of recognition exercises far exceeds the amount of recall exercises, regardless of the crown level.

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

I'd love an exercise like that in Hungarian! At level 2/3 it is all translating and write what you hear. Not fair!

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnieMod

When you say translations, you mean translating FROM Hungarian, right?

What happens when you move to the next level? Try a few lessons (not just one - not all lessons are balanced the same way) in the "Accusative 1" skill (where you have 3 crowns) or Basic 2 (where you have 4). Do you see more translations in the other direction?

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

When you say translations, you mean translating FROM Hungarian, right?

No, both ways. Probably about 50/50 - and typed not with tiles.

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/angus390025

typed not with tiles.

Avoid the tiles. They should be cast into the fiery pits of hell. I fell upon them some months ago. I hadn't noticed it for a long time but then I clicked on the little words below, at some point while I was trying to figure out some Portuguese sentence. For a couple of weeks I was like an alcoholic in wine cellar, or a meth head at a Lowe's clearance sale. In a fit of weakness I used them regularly for a period and then, like Saint Paul, I had an epiphany! I suddenly understood that it was hindering my progress. I was't learning Portuguese! I was learning how to play a childhood memory game, similar to the type with overturned cards. I wanted to learn how to read Brazilian newspapers, not how to turn over the right card. I don't go anywhere near them now. They are as serpents in our world, a necessary evil. Perhaps they keep the rats out of our cellars, but contact with them should be avoided.

February 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Judit294350

Hallelujah, brother

February 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnieMod

I am confused then - because Duo is based on translations. Or is it because you have a lot less listening than reported above?

What exactly do you expect to have more of? :)

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnieMod

Ah, I see :) Smaller/newer trees are like that - not enough students to work out the kinks and get all the correct answers reported so the missing ones are added. Hungarian is officially still in beta, right?

Anyway - good luck with your studies. :)

February 23, 2019

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

Hi Mark,

I like Duolingo but it fails in providing custom user settings or at least to allow Tampermonkey userscript customization within the learning or review session.

My reverse trees and forward tree experience could be much better if I could tell the system what to do, not the other - non-working - way around.

No, there is not, sorry Mark.

You can start RECALL reviews on the www.memrise.com web portal from L1 English -> L2 target language once the word is planted with (6) planting steps, even from the beginning when you do it in parallel to Duolingo.

If you really want to have advanced settings, try the Windows application AnkiSRS or test SuperMemo (I have not).
Their blog has some cool stuff written about spaced repetition algorithms and how they optimized SuperMemo over the years.
You can buy courses like Spanish or French which hook into SuperMemo from their shop.

See my other tip in this thread:

"Duolingo app and Duolingo as a whole has serious flaws, some feedback": https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/30953956$comment_id=30958876

Once you have mastered your first 60-85% course progress (on crown L1), you could try the Duolingo reverse tree, e.g Spanish->English, French->English.

The sooner, the better.

Don't wait until you have finally reached the higher crown L4 and L5 levels or 100%@L1 level.

Crowns design is theory...if it works as good as promised stands on the other side of the leaf (it does not work as good as promised for my first four Portuguese skills seeing the beginner type challenges mixed with the wrong translation directions).

February 22, 2019

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

You can read more about the "Crown theory" on their offical blog:

http://making.duolingo.com/crown-levels-a-royal-redesign

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/purplie

Thanks, I didn't understand this system, though based on the other comments it sounds doubtful whether it actually works as intended.

February 23, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnieMod

Mark,

Most of your skills are on level 1 with a smattering on level 2 (based on https://duome.eu/purplie/progress) . These are the recognition crown levels. As already mentioned, you will start seeing a bit more of the recall exercises as you move through the crown levels.

See http://making.duolingo.com/crown-levels-a-royal-redesign for an explanations of the crown levels 0 to 4 (each level finishes with giving you the next crown - so level 0 ends up with having 1 crown and so on.

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

Thomas.Heiss's suggestion of the reverse tree (English for Spanish speakers) is a good one.
Basically the emphasis will be the reverse of the Spanish for English lessons, a preponderance of answering in Spanish, rather than in English. Try it to see how it goes!

February 23, 2019
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