Why do I have to redo the original lessons?
Don't get me wrong: I am aware about the current concept of word strength decreasing and I welcome this idea.
I found one of my German skills decayed today. I went there. There are 6 lessons in total: lesson 5 had 2 bars and lesson 6 only one bar. I opened Vocabulary for that section and did a practice of weakest words (the bug of Vocabulary practice points still not fixed). The skill tile became golden again, but the lessons' bars did not change at all!
I tried a timed practice in the unit then. Got my full scores, words strengthened, but lesson 5 still has two bars and lesson 6 only one bar!
That's pretty annoying. Why are there so many different algorithms that clearly don't work fine together? Do I have to redo the original lesson 5 and lesson 6 if I want to fill their bars again? If yes, what are all those practice buttons for?
Yes! I'm a little bothered by the fact that drills in later lessons include words and grammar (e.g. Spanish indirect pronouns) from earlier lessons, but successfully completing these drills / lessons do not credit older words as being strengthened. It's a bit ridiculous that basic vocabulary and grammar that are used in virtually every lesson aren't strengthened unless you go back to the lessons in which they were originally introduced.
Couldn't agree more! I feel that I am constantly having to redo lessons from much earlier lessons even though I have used the words many times in the more advanced lessons. It's not what I would call "motivating''. Then there's the opposite problem. The fairly easy basic lessons contain vocab and grammar from the much more advanced lessons in the course making it much more likely that you will have to redo the lessons several times. As olimo said, all of the algorithms are not in sync and are, at times, in conflict with each other.
Agreed. I've submitted feedback via the support tab several times about lessons including vocabulary and grammar from more advanced lessons, but I don't know if it's anything they're actively working to address. I just got an e-mail yesterday from one of their support people acknowledging receipt of one such report (no action taken) that I sent several weeks ago, so there is quite a queue for complaints regardless.
I have the same feeling, this new system is broken. Since it introduced I had to redo the Basics 2 lesson almost every day to have it full strength. If I go a more advanced lesson and choose practice weakest word, I don't get sentences from that lesson, but from Basics 2 what I just practiced 2 minutes before. Frustrating. I hope it will be fixed soon.
I think that you are underestimating the Duo-Lingo engine here.
Information on the blog states:
A Customized Language Education
Every time you finish a Duolingo lesson, translation, test, or practice session, you provide valuable data about what you know and what you’re struggling with. Our system uses this info to plan future lessons and select translation tasks specifically for your skills and needs. Similar to how an online store uses your previous purchases to customize your shopping experience, Duolingo uses your learning history to customize your learning experience.
My reading of this, backed by my actual experience of using Practice All Skills on a regular basis, is that the exercises given are far from "random" but designed to keep you sharp by a combination of focusing on areas where you are having difficulty and refreshing areas that you have not looked at for a while.
I think we all agree on the value of revision and refreshing our skills as a core part of the learning experience, and practise all skills is the mechanism that we have been provided for doing this in a way that is intelligently directed by the software. I would suggest that regular use of Practice All Skills is a better way of using the power of Duo-Lingo to revise/refresh your learning than only going back to skills that have already weakened.
As an aside, I read in other discussions that people are using notebooks to write down correct answers to questions, and then using these notebooks to get the answers "right" on Duo-Lingo. I would suggest that this is bad practice. If you do not know something you should be "peeking" or straight getting the answer wrong to allow the software to properly assess your level and where you need help. (I'm not saying that you shouldn't take notes and use these to refresh you knowledge when you don't have access to Duo-Lingo, I'm just saying that they should be put to one side when using the program itself)
The problem I described is: 2 lessons are decayed. If I redo these two lessons directly, they will get full bars. If I do 2 sessions of practice (inside the unit or inside the Vocabulary section for this unit), nothing changes for these lessons. Is that correct? I don't think so.
Another issue may be that Duolingo's definition of "weak words" may be different from my common sense. I'm all in for revision and strengthening the skills, but, honestly, I don't think doing "This is a man" or "The child is eating an apple" over and over again is what I need. I need to practice my newly acquired skills much more. As a result, I can't rely on Duolingo magic but have to manually choose some of my last units to practice them.
Sorry to bring this topic up again, but...
This morning I refreshed my home page and found that Dative Case unit has decayed: http://s2.ipicture.ru/uploads/20130421/SaxVtAFN.png. Inside the unit two lessons were weakened: http://s2.ipicture.ru/uploads/20130421/1qp2I2n0.png.
I decided to follow your advice about Practice All Skills. If this practice is tailored according to my strong and weak points, surely I would improve my Dative skill in a round or two of practice as it is clearly supposed to be my weakest one.
I did five timed sessions of Practice All Skills. It was fine and of course I don't regret it at all. Along with annoying too-basic sentences I got quite a few words I really don't remember that well. But guess what? I think I have not got a word from Dative case. And this skill and the respective lessons remain exactly the same as they were.
After that, I repeated lesson 5 and it immediately got full bars. Lesson 6 was also improved from two to three bars and the whole Dative skill became gold again.
This brings up an interesting point... currently, "Practice all skills" doesn't target your weakest skills, but your weakest words/concepts instead. It is possible that all of your weakest words are not actually part of your weakest overall skill.
We'll think some more on the best way to do this... thanks!