Practice sessions seem limited and repetitive

I'm in the final section of the Chinese course and I really believe in repetition cementing knowledge of this language. In fact, I try every day to practice not only the latest lessons I'm learning, but also previous lessons by using the practice button (the "dumbbell"). My issue with using the practice button is that the sessions seem to be limited to a subset of the lessons I've learned- I keep getting practice lessons of "你吃过油条吗" and "先往前走, 然后往右走,最后往左走“ but I know there are MANY other lessons that I should also be practicing. Is the algorithm determining what lessons you get quizzed on based on successfully answering of previous questions? If so, it must be broken, because now I can type the two above in my sleep, and if not, shouldn't it be? Also, if there is an adaptive algorithm, shouldn't it still throw in samplings of all lessons previously completed?

I'm living in China right now and Duolingo is my primary learning tool for grammar and new words. I also always use the pinyin method of typing in the answer to questions (not the multiple choice 汉字 method) and I try to listen to the spoken sentences (often multiple times) before reading the sentences in Chinese and then answering.

Other than speaking to others here in China, Duolingo is my main practice tool. I feel that the practice button is important, especially as I approach the end of the language course. Can someone help me understand the algorithm being used for practice session determination so I can decide whether to depend on it or not?

A couple of other suggestions that I've already seen posted in the forums: - Allow answers being typed in pinyin to accept 他/她 and 他们/她们 as interchangeable. It's annoying to need to flip to the multiple choice method to check the gender of the answer. - A little more forgiveness in the typo checking of translations to English; it's truly frustrating when an answer is wrong because of a fast typing mistake. - The internet communications infrastructure here in China is poor, especially for communications to the outside world. Duolingo doesn't seem to handle communications loss very well; I'm often waiting for long periods of time when an answer is wrong or questionable, and a good part of those times end up with an error posting and the lesson completion not being credited. This part of the Duolingo app (both PC and mobile) could be improved greatly.

I am pleased with a few things: the second voice actor helps a lot in understanding what I'm hearing. I'm also pleased with the responses to reported errors in answers (both English and Mandarin!).

Thanks for a great course!

September 7, 2019


I noticed this issue with the practice lessons too. I’ve finished around 75% of the tree but for the longest time I kept getting the same questions about how this girl wanted to try on a blue dress and how her boyfriend wanted to buy clothes and also shoes. Over and over. Finally stopped getting those questions after doing the practice lessons around 50 times (kept seeming them for at least a couple weeks).

Now I get new questions but I still notice a lot are repeated. In fact, I have been constantly getting that same question you mentioned in your post for over a week now (“first go forward, then turn left, and finally turn right”).

At some point when you are answering the same questions it loses effectiveness. I found that I could just see the first few words and answer the question correctly without even reading the rest of the sentence... that’s not effective practice.

That said, I also agree with you that overall I love the course. I just wish the practice algorithm was smarter and also that they let me type in pinyin instead of being forced to use the word bank for everything.

September 11, 2019

Getting the same time 50 times in a row means practice is broken. How would a smarter algorithm look like in your opinion?

September 14, 2019

Only had time to skim over your post.

Yeah the algo is pretty rudimentary. For me it thows an endless stream taken from my most recent 2 lessons at me. The way I do it now is to randomly pick old lessons.

September 10, 2019

I agree totally. I just started with DuoLingo and tested out all the sections except for the last section six. I would like to practice random lessons now but it keeps on showing me two particular lessons again and again. Wouldn't it be more efficient to intermix the different lessons to have a genuine practice of all the previously learned material?

September 11, 2019
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