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3 Hearts and the Effect on Gauging Strength.

Hey all,

I was reading the thread discussing what happens when you "Peek" and how the system determines how strong you are based on what words you peek on, including whether or not you peeked on new vocabulary words.

And now I think the "3-Hearts" system may have an effect on how that system gauges your strength.

What I see very frequently is that if I do 90% of a lesson and fail, I'm reset back to the beginning. All the words I've already learned are now "new vocabulary".

So, now I'm not peeking at 90% of the new vocab. And I think that may be a bit of a problem if the system is designed to interpret not peeking at new vocab as already being strong in that word.

I think it would be best if either you could go through a lesson completely, and each word be gauged individually based on that complete result, or have new vocab added once you get it right once, not when an entire lesson is complete.

The last lesson I did (German Verbs 2) I wound up redoing the lesson 3 or 4 times. Half of the mistakes were really silly, like typing "kinds" in place of "kids" (in English). Or swapping an ie for an ei, or otherwise a "fat-finger" or other silly mistake.

So, the last go-round I didn't peek at any of the vocab, new or existing, it had become rote at that point. But, while I might know the word at the moment, the system is gauging my strength based on the fact that I didn't peek at all for these new vocab words, when in fact I peeked several times before the last iteration of the lesson. And that's not exactly an accurate measurement, it's been biased by my prior experience.

July 24, 2013



I don't think not peaking does anything. I think every time you do a lesson or practice session, whether you pass, fail or stop midway, every sentence gets evaluated and each word and maybe phrases get recorded. Basically you answer a question and any word that get answered without having been peaked at gets "strengthened" and any word you get wrong or you peaked at gets "weakened."

Either way I got to thank you cause you convinced me to peak more. By talking about getting to the point where you're answering questions rotely, I realized there is no value in getting to that point. Better that you peak and get through the lessons rather than not learning anything by answering question after question right just because you've memorized them and failing at the few that are hard. Either way those words get recorded as weak and you'll see them again in practice sessions. Also there are plenty of ways to do lessons over and over again to engrave words into your mind by tripping up on grammar, hearing, plural and gender states. Thanks


I agree with peeking when unsure, it's going to ensure that you get more practice in those weak words.

However, there's a good discussion on "Peeking" here: http://www.duolingo.com/comment/612986

In there, Luiz confirmed that the system will strengthen new vocab more if it is not peeked. My only real concern is that the amount of strength that's calculated can be biased by previous exposure to the vocab, and treating it as "new vocab" instead of "already learned vocab" may be problematic in this case.

Dan O.


Yeah, I commented on that thread and my previous post said exactly that, and really were both right. I'm just thinking in terms of a word strengthening by getting it right not by not peaking. You still have to get it right. You don't get a full point for getting it right and not peaking and a half for getting it right but peaking. Think of it as getting a +1 for getting a answer right and a -1 for either peaking or getting it wrong.

I think new words are problematic only in the case that they are like free-bees, you can look at them and you won't get it marked as weak except if you don't and get it marked wrong. But thats not really a problem because like you said since there new words you don't look at them much since there fresh in your mind. Where it gets really bad is all the times you get a new word right, while your tripping up on the old ones, but that doesn't really matter because the same thing happened when you saw those old words for the first time. Either way you'll see every word again, because they loose there strength as time goes by.


True, if you don't peek it assumes you know the word, but if you didn't peek because it's your second or third time through a lesson (oh, I've been there), you actually do know the word, right? So, it balances out, in the end.


That's the part that I'm not sure of...

It's a bit like saying "The capitol of Tansania is Hobart.", then directly after "What's the capitol of Tasmania?"

But, ask that same question a week or two later, and you might find that you're working off short-term memory, and not "learned" knowledge.

Dan O.

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