Improvement request for Mobile App
I have only used the Duolingo mobile app to study Portuguese so I don't know if this applies to any of the other languages. What I'm noticing that certain exercises are 'give away' exercises because the challenge isn't sophisticated enough. For example: when there is a sentence in portuguese and one is asked to translate it by choosing from pre-chosen 4-6 words in boxes on the bottom of the screen. This exercise could be improved by not specifying any words in capital letters (unless more than one choice is capitalized) because it's a dead giveaway. Also use have more words too choose from maybe 12-18 with like 80% of the new words being taugh in that section and 20% of words that have been covered previously.
I would also love to see harder options for the "Choose which of these three translations is correct" problems. These problems usually are not challenging at all because:
Many times the only difference between the incorrect and the correct solution is they use the wrong pronoun (he instead of she) or another basic mistake that you learned at the beginning of the tree, instead of testing the actual vocabulary you're currently learning.
When the answers are in English, the wrong answers are not even proper English, so you can pick out the correct solution without even looking at the target language.
When it actually attempts to test you on the current vocabulary, the options given frequently are completely ridiculous, such as substituting "apple" and "house" for the word "democracy", instead of something more challenging, such as choosing "democracy" from other words you've just learned such as "government" and "society".
To challenge myself in these exercises and the ones you've mentioned, I've started covering the solutions and creating the answer from scratch before looking at what they've provided.
I have thought the exact same thing. I do not know if they keep a database of this but I think it would be a great idea to put together the two wrong options by errors others on Duolingo have committed on that exact sentence. Maybe even use them directly. So as to straighten the generally made errors in that sentence. But also to get to choose between sentences that by first intuition all could be correct. So my choice would be determined by my knowledge of the foreign language instead of excluding the two that sometimes don't even make sense.
I like your thought about using wrong answers from other Duolingers! That's very clever and more likely to be challenging since they're likely to be making similar mistakes as we are.
I would want to make sure that the answers were selected rather than randomly pulled by the computer though - to eliminate spelling/accent errors (though that could make for interesting questions in their own right), jibberish answers, things that are completely off base, etc.