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https://www.duolingo.com/daniel-levin

Why has 'Flash Cards' replaced 'Practise Weakest Words'?

The option to practise your weakest words (on the Words page) seems to have disappeared!? Please Duolingo gods, bring it back. I find that flash cards are NOT as helpful as using words in a sentence. Flash cards don't help as much, especially when a word has more than one meaning.

I noticed that when I'd enter the 'Practise Weakest Words' feature it would show the same word or sentence (more or less) over and over again and that is how I retained them. I'm not asking to get rid of the flash cards, but please bring the old way back :(

4 years ago

26 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/bchan
bchan
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The "Practice weakest words" button and "Strengthen skills" button on the home page take you to the same practice.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_
_pinkodoug_
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I'm not part of the words test, but I was playing around with the new flashcards feature on my wife's account earlier. I noticed that there were a number of instances in which words that are only presented in the Spanish course as nouns are translated as conjugated forms of verbs that share the same spelling as the noun, but are not covered as such at any point in the course.

Some examples of this:

  • clave, presented in Abstract Objects 3 as code or key is translated as a conjugation of the verb clavar (to nail).
  • concurso, presented in Abstract Objects 3 as competition is translated as a conjugation of the verb concursar (to compete).
  • disciplina, presented in Abstract Objects 3 as discipline is translated as a conjugation of the verb disciplinar (to discipline).

While they're all valid translations, I think the cards should probably default to the translation most appropriate for what's taught on Duo. I encountered at least a dozen others, but these are the last three that I jotted down for the purpose of making a report, which I submitted via the support tab. I'm mentioning it here for the sake of greater visibility.

cGlua29kb3Vn

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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Yes, this is a good point. But according to Prof Von Ahn's previous statement the database stores different "types" of words differently. For example, I forgot that devenir means either future or become, so I got it wrong when it showed me only future. So the "type" of word was probably weakened. If not, then in any case the word should be weakened because I don't know other definitions of it, and it was showing it as too strong anyway.

So I think this is not a bug, but an intentional design decision. In any event, even if a particular definition of the word isn't taught it seems more useful in its current state because it exposes you to vocabulary not offered within the lessons, thereby expanding the vocabulary.

Students should be proactive anyway and learn more material (words) than offered in any learning environment.

P.S. Those words are certainly shown when you peek.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_
_pinkodoug_
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I agree wholeheartedly with the need to be proactive with one's learning. For students just working their way through the initial material, however, I'm not sure that showing conjugations for verbs that aren't taught in any form anywhere in the course is a good idea. I imagine it can be a bit confusing and perhaps even off-putting for new students that are still trying to master the vocabulary as it's presented. If it's indeed a design decision (I'm not at all sure that it is), I think it may need to be reconsidered.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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Well, when you peek these words are shown. One could argue that they aren't legitimately taught since learners may go through a course without ever peeking but you still learn them.

Though, I think it is something they need to investigate further or perhaps add a disclaimer to the vocabulary section indicating that users can learn new words there.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/raans
raans
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And thus: Please keep testing the 'flashcard' feature for while...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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With this feature one could argue that 3/5 hack-a-thon (duels,review, and flashcards) features have successfully been added. I'm glad that button has gone away though, all these posts about "strengthening weak words" not working have become excessive.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lindaljc
lindaljc
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Well one reason why we keep mentioning it is that we were getting no response from the team; I have now had an admission that there is indeed a problem with the algorithm, so maybe our bleats were not in vain!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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It seems that there is a performance issue with the flashcards. The words tabs displays the whole collection of words. As a result when one completes a "flashcard" review it tries to refresh the word strength calculation for all words. Making the site seem unresponsive and stuck when one attempts to exit. This happens until it refreshes those words.

Perhaps it would be best if Duolingo only show maybe 20 words, and hide rest until one clicks a button since this is affecting the general performance of the words' tab.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/-Katrina.-
-Katrina.-
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Hi bchan! I don't see the "practice weakest words button", where exactly is it? Thanks. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bchan
bchan
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Hi - the "Practice weakest words" button was what use to be on the vocabulary page and was replaced by the flashcards button. However it is identical to the "Strengthen skills" button on the home page.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/-Katrina.-
-Katrina.-
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Oh, that makes sense, thanks! :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ricklinz

I agree Mr Doom. Practicing specific words was much more effective for me. The present method, in my opinion is less effective. But it's ok, I tremendously appreciate the free learning experience.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JBiamme
JBiamme
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Is there any way we can have both?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wazzie
wazzie
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You do have both.
I think bchan explained it well, but I will try to make it clearer.

Before....
You could click on "Practice weakest words" on the words page or "Strengthen skills" on the home page and you would be taken to the exact same practice. It didn't matter which button you clicked, you were taken to www.duolingo.com/practice.

Now...
Instead of having two buttons that do the same thing, you only have one button (you didn't need the second button anyway). You can still "practice weakest words" by clicking "strengthen skills".
But you get an extra feature now called review flashcards. Nothing is lost, only gained.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kristibob

Thanks! I understand now. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wazzie
wazzie
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No problem.
It seemed like a couple people were still confused, so I thought a more detailed post may help :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/raans
raans
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...well not a single XP is gained with the flashcards. But, yes, nothing is lost. ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_
_pinkodoug_
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I'll trade not getting experience for the speed with which one can refresh word strength using the flashcards any day.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/raans
raans
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I'm not really sure if it's working. Each answer was correct (no genders — but I suppose that's not a surprise) so far. I tried it a couple of times. The three times I thought the answer/backside wouldn't be correct, I got lectured that I should keep studying them... Maybe just good/bad luck.

I wouldn't even have known if it weren't for this post. ;) This thing came out pretty silent.

edit: I should stop complaining and test-run it for a while.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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It works, see Bchan's previous post.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/raans
raans
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@Dessamator: You're right. I somehow misunderstood this whole thing. (Was just about to re-edit my post ;)).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wazzie
wazzie
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But it is an extra feature you don't have to use. You can still practice weakest words by strengthening skills on the home page.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/raans
raans
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True. There was no need for a second button. ;)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kristibob

That would be a great idea! Those who prefer reviewing with flash cards could do so, and those who prefer the words being used in sentences could have what works better for them, too. I hadn't gone to "words" today, but, did tonight when I saw this discussion and tried the flashcards. I liked them, but, I, too, would prefer to practice the words in sentences. I guess it's up to the powers-that-be at duolingo.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis
Klgregonis
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I hadn't looked at the words tab for a while- thanks for pointing this out. I LOVE the new feature. I especially like the alternate translations. (avenida - reconciled, which I didn't know, and avenue, which I did., pesar as to weigh and as sorrow). I think it would be helpful to present a sentence with translation when after you select wrong or correct, but I think this will be helpful in retaining and expanding my vocabulary. Love it. Am sending a message to the Support team to pass on saying so.

4 years ago