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A story about learning to help learn: a suggestion for DL

No one likes to make the same mistake over and over, especially here on Duo Lingo, i find myself making the same simple mistake sometimes multiple times a lesson, and it gets so frustrating when you make it over and over again. So i thought i would share a story on how to combat this.

My dad comes to visit once week for lunch at my place. i have these low hanging vines growing on an archway leading up to my front door, my dad would get out of his car, walk up the footpath, through the arch and every time would catch his hat on the vines (he is quite tall), his hat would get knocked off, he would curse, pick up his hat and walk inside telling me about how i should cut off this vines because they have some vendetta for his hats.

This happened numerous times, every time until one day i happened to be out the front having a smoke as his car pulled up, i watching him walk up, lose his hat once again, curse and try to come in the house but this time i told him to go back to his car, put his hat back on and from there walk back up to me. with a bit but of reluctance he headed back to the car. This time he walked up to the arch, ducked as he went through and didn't lose his hat.

from then on he never forgot to duck as he went through the arch and no more hats fell victim to those vines.

now, the point of my story is that in this example my father learned via fixing his mistakes rather than trying to remember for next time, when next time came the lesson was always forgotten until it was too late, im sure after enough time he would have remembered, but rather than taking the slow way i made him instantly fix his mistake to speed up the process.

Do you see what i am suggesting here? I think duo lino should implement this type of learning technique, I find myself making typos, or making simple mistakes repeatedly until i do them enough times to remember, but instead of this it would be so much more helpful to be able to retype what i should have written as the answer before being able to go to the next question. (probably not in timed practice rounds, unless you implement the stopping of the clock to do this) or at least give us the option because i would use it every time thats for sure, making my learning process that little bit easier and less frustrating.

April 24, 2013



I like this suggestion and we plan to try something like this soon.


Good idea. I'd also suggest to repeat the sentence in the same round.

In what concerns repetition, Duolingo could really learn from Memrise. Algorithms there are very reasonable. When you make a mistake, you are required to retype the word right away, and then you get it a few times more in the same round, the number of questions being increased by adding these revision questions.


Memrise is phenomenal for memory. It fades fast if you aren't consistent. With Duolingo, I find myself repeating simple mistakes and then crudely learning from it (i.e. "Okay so when this word is in the back use X").


As a language teacher and language learner myself I want to add my voice to this excellent suggestion. I use this technique with my students, even making them write out the correct form 'by hand' with a pen (Remember these tools?)...


And let bit of sly humor could be added to it, just as dbarrie does in the telling of the story. Something visual. Our hats get knocked off (or some equivalent) each time we forget, get it wrong, and when we get it right, the birds sing, the sun comes out, ta dah! A little music, maestro. Stick people getting their hats knocked off to sound effects.


I find myself in the same predicament -- getting pegged by the same error over and over again, and having to repeat through all the exercises to reach that error, only to have forgotten what was wrong in the first place! It'd be wonderful if there was an immediate re-do button, and have the question/exercise posed "paraphrased" in a couple of exercises later.

Additionally, maybe the insertion of mnemonics in the explanation might be beneficial? :)


What a lovely story to demonstrate a very practical suggestion. Yes, please make re-do available! The human brain has a remarkable ability to simply discard ''wrong things''. Simply displaying the ''correct thing'' to the human brain is not enough for the brain to accept the ''correct thing'' as correct. It needs reinforcements where other parts of the brain are stimulated to accept the ''thing'' as the ''correct thing'' such as writing and speaking. This will store the ''thing'' in a somewhat intermediate area of memory where, over time and appropriately timed repeated stimulation (spaced repetition), the ''thing'' may end up in long term memory.

Duo understands this concept which is why they include reading, writing, and speaking activities and spaced repetition algorithms in their teaching methodology. However, the implementation needs some tweaking to fully take advantage of the workings of the computer we all carry around with us all day, every day....our brain! Yes, we all learn a bit differently. Having re-do available will suit some and not others. So, make it optional and all should be happy language learners.

@ Luis - thanks for being so open to user suggestions. That's what makes Duolingo stand out from other language learning programs!


I just started french today and I was actually thinking the same thing. It's a very good suggestion and I think it would be helpful.


I also like this idea. Memrise uses an algorithm like this where if you get a question wrong the frequency of that question temporarily rises until you consistently get it right.


Very good suggestion. I hope they implement something like that soon.


I second the motion.

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