No Learning From Timed Practise
I like the idea of the timed practise, because timing is important when you're having a conversation with someone. You need to come up with sentences reasonably fast, and not being able to do so means that you haven't truly mastered the vocabulary yet. That being said, I think the current implementation has a serious shortcoming: the timer keeps ticking between questions (after submitting one answer and before hitting [Enter] to see the next question). This encourages people to just hit Enter without looking at the mistakes they made, or also without reporting any problems with the supplied "correct" answers. I really believe that the timer ought to be paused for this and I cannot imagine why it has been programmed to function this way instead.
For me the time practice is too fast to use in the early learning stage so I do not use it. I do see the utility in training your brain to do the translation faster though. After I complete the skill tree and can get essentially 99% of all the practice right I will move to time practice.
I just do the untimed practice most of the time. When I feel I'm very confident with the vocabulary for a skill, I might give timed practice a shot. But I've only done so a couple of times. And only if I'm feeling up to it because you have to be alert, type quickly and use the keyboard shortcuts etc to get through it.
The fast paced nature of timed practice is good in a way (even if I think the time given is a bit too short). In a real life Italian conversation you don't get the chance to reflect on any mistakes you make at the time. At best you might review the conversation in your mind afterwards (what you remember of it). But generally you have to think on your feet and just keep up as best you can. However I think it would be good if Duolingo would list your mistakes at the end of the practice - so that you could review them afterwards.
Also I think it would be good to have the option to select "fast" timed practice, "slow" timed practice and untimed practice. Slow timed practice would be what we have but giving you more time at the start and when you get a question right (good for slow typists, or people who just want to go a bit more slowly).
Considering we typically come across the same sentences over and over again, personally I wouldn't worry about the fact that I don't have time to report problems with the answers. No doubt I'll see that sentence again at some point and if not someone else will see it.
Oh yes, concerns about this were issued in a lot of discussion threads, and I am still surprised, that this issue has not yet been addressed by the Duolingo team in the least. Stopping the timer shouldn't be that complex to program in, but they seem to be more interested in adding important features like sound effects. -.-
I agree completely, having almost written a discussion for this very subject. I also think that the final sentence when the timer elapses should have the correct answer shown so that you can see how close you were. Many times I have spent a lot of time writing a long answer and have no idea whether I am even close when the time elapses and the screen disappears. Not exactly the most helpful.
Isn't the answer to repeat the lessons until you are able to translate at that pace? I find when I do this, the vocabulary from the later lessons in that section (basic 1, basic 2, food 1 etc) is present even in the earlier lessons. That way you can test yourself at your own pace.
It's not about that. I can sometimes do a 20 on a lesson at the first few tries. The point is that we need to be able to go back on our mistakes if we need to. Otherwise it's just memorizing sentences and their answers until we get lucky.
They should differentiate two modes : the timed practice at normal pace and the timed practice at fast pace. Fast pace would be what we have now, and the normal pace would be the same except that the time is stopped once we answered. We would still feel the time pressure since the time management would be the same, but at the same time we could analyze what we did wrong and actually think more instead of just keeping answering like mad men.
In the other hand practicing automatisms would still be possible with the fast pace. It feels like a conversation pace since you can't stop to wonder what you did wrong and have to move on to the next topic right away. It's not a bad thing in itself, but is not enough.
this depends entirely on the person using it... With french, I use the time practice already and it works, however, before I get the first 20 point in one take it takes me about 10 to 20 times... To me it seems you can harvest quite a bit of skill points there, but that does not say anything about your true language capabilities anyway...