HomeQ&AFundamental flaw in recall section of flashcard

Fundamental flaw in recall section of flashcard

15
votes

A system that awards points based on how fast you answer by typing, when everyone types at vastly different levels of proficiency, is fatally flawed and very poorly conceived in my opinion. The time limit is fine, but the points based on time factor should be eliminated. It's counterproductive, you may know the answer and it makes you feel stupid. It's a test of typing speed - which is not what this site is about - as much as it is a test of Spanish.

5386 views
updated JUL 7, 2010
edited by 00494d19
posted by Brett1971

27 Answers

7
votes

Please, do remember this is not a section which needs to be * pure fun*, it is a learning excercise, not a "game" like those you can find on the web for the sake of earning points!

I do the flashcards with my students all the time, most of whom are 13, they have to write three forms of the verb in the list of verbs, obviously they can't do that very fast. So what?? If they don't think that is so important, I guess grown ups should be able to do the same thing.

updated FEB 15, 2011
edited by 00494d19
posted by 00494d19
5
votes

Hi Brett,

First, thank you for providing a great thread for feedback on the recall section. It's great that our users can feel comfortable providing honest feedback.

Second, I want to outline a few reasons as to why we have a time limit at all on the recall section and why we have not changed it to be easier.

We wanted a time limit so that users would feel pressed to recall the word as quickly as possible without sitting around forever to try to remember it. If you have really learned it, you will recall the word instantly and can start typing in time to get 8-10 points. We also didn't want users to be tempted to look words up that they didn't know and still get the full 10 points. (Although I see that some users have worked around this by pausing the activity and pasting the full word in from another application. Oh well raspberry) The recall section is supposed to be the most difficult of the learn activities.

Some users in the past have expressed your same concerns. "Why are you testing people on the typing abilities? It's not fair! It's impossible to get a perfect score!" And we looked into it. If you look at the list of people that have earned the [Star Student badge][1], you will see that this badge has been awarded 529 times! And sometimes to the same person for multiple lessons. We know it possible to earn a perfect score on the lessons, and we feel like there should be some things that are difficult to earn on this site. When you finally get that badge (which I finally did after lots of practice) it feels like a huge accomplishment!

We incorporated points into the learning section because we wanted to challenge and encourage users to work just a little harder for the higher score, not to embarrass them or make them feel stupid.

And, remember, everything on SpanishDict is free. This means we do not have an office full of programmers to change things whenever we want. Most of the time, it is just me and Chris, the founder. I have added your concern to my list of things to address at our meeting on Friday, but just know that if we do decide to

updated AGO 9, 2010
posted by Paralee
Paralee - believe me this thread is in no way an "attack" on SpanishDict. - ian-hill, MAR 24, 2010
Ian, no worries. I know this isn't an attack. If we don't get honest feedback, we would never evolve :) - Paralee, MAR 24, 2010
5
votes

In the end the goal is to learn spanish (or english) and not to get the most points. When you are trying to speak to someone in spanish they do not care one bit how many points you got on this website. They care how well they can understand you. Remember this and a few extra points here and there will no longer be an issue. I know I do not look at someone with more points than me and think "this person must be better than me" and I doubt anybody else does that either.

updated MAY 16, 2010
edited by fatchocobo
posted by fatchocobo
I think this is a great answer :) - galsally, MAR 24, 2010
Me too. - Goyo, MAR 24, 2010
I agree but why not just "fix" the problem as so many people would like and not lecture us on why we want it changed. - ian-hill, MAR 24, 2010
4
votes

Heidi said:

Please, do remember this is not a section which needs to be * pure fun*, it is a learning excercise, not a "game" like those you can find on the web for the sake of earning points!

I can see how being timed might be distracting to some, but I have found it helpful. Instead of trying to get a perfect score, I set the goal of completing in time to receive an "8" or higher. If you type slower you can just set a different goal. The idea is to be able to recall the information as quickly and accurately as possible...and not to play "beat the clock".

Maybe the "flaw" is in having a badge for perfection. wink

updated ABR 18, 2010
posted by Nicole-B
Thank you, Nicole. I think you got it just right. - Paralee, MAR 24, 2010
The badge for perfection is not the "problem. It is the frustration of knowing something well and not ........ - ian-hill, MAR 24, 2010
I agree with you Nicole...there are plenty of "gaming" websites out there if someone is interested in racking up "points"...but personally, I came here to learn Spanish not to earn meaningless points - Izanoni1, MAR 24, 2010
If the points are "meaningless" why have them? - ian-hill, MAR 24, 2010
Ask Pavlov's dog... - Izanoni1, MAR 24, 2010
I wish I could :) - ian-hill, MAR 24, 2010
They are not meaningless, just not the most important issue. - Nicole-B, MAR 24, 2010
4
votes

Oh dear ! Now I am suitably chastened, I did my post before I read yours Heidita,

you are right I suppose , but , we cant help getting into a competitive mood , even if

we are only competing with ourselves, it is the Ego I know, and we get attached to

to comparing ourselves which is wrong , so OK the next time I see the Stars and

Stripes depicted as the flag of "Inglatera" I promise not to throw the dog over the

back fence, I shall make a coffee and throw myself over the fence!. LOL

updated MAR 24, 2010
posted by ray76
:-) - --Mariana--, MAR 24, 2010
I thought I fixed that! Send me a PM if there is still a mistake in the languages and countries pictures and I'll fix it right away - Paralee, MAR 24, 2010
4
votes

I agree with you that it makes it more of a typing rather than Spanish proficiency test.I am as much of a kid when it comes to getting gold stars as a 4 year old but I have to remind myself I need to pay attention to what I know or learn independant of a point system that is only meant to be an approximation.

updated MAR 24, 2010
posted by nizhoni1
2
votes

I have to weigh in here. The Recall section is my favorite feature of the site. I like the flashcard concept in general, I have to think of the answer myself (vs. being reminded by multiple choices), and it forces me to properly spell and accent the word/phrase. Getting a higher score than before is nice, but I don't care what that value is.

updated JUL 7, 2010
posted by chull
It's my favorite, too. The other sections condition us to think "this should all be easy." Recall defies that mentality and makes us better for it. - sedulus, JUL 7, 2010
2
votes

Now I have something to confess. Once I wanted to get the "Star Student" badge (get a perfect score on one of the lessons), but though I type quite fast and without having to look at the keyboard, I couldn't make it! There were always three or four words/phrases that were too long to type within that narrow time window. So I remembered the order of the twenty words and phrases in the recall section (because I've tried it so many times, I managed to learn it by heart, jeje), next I rewrote the longest and most "troublesome" in a separate answer window and then, each time the longer word/phrase to rewrite appeared, I clicked on "pause", copied the word from my backup list and pasted it in the window below the picture. red face

But I agree with Brett, Ian, nizhoni and swing - it's more a test of typing speed than of correct spelling.

updated MAR 24, 2010
edited by Issabela
posted by Issabela
I had a thought of doing something similar for that badge! ;)) but it seemed to me that the words come randomly - swing, MAR 24, 2010
This is sooo funny and recognisable! I immediately realised that badge wasn't going to happen since I can't get my keyboard to type all the accents that I want, but the feelings of competition are sooo recognisable :) - chicasabrosa, MAR 24, 2010
I think you need to be punished. :p - Goyo, MAR 24, 2010
Will you volunteer? :-P - Issabela, MAR 24, 2010
punishment, grrrrrrrrrrrr, we need a "torture chamber" ...lol - 00494d19, MAR 24, 2010
You have one - it is called "recall" :) - ian-hill, MAR 24, 2010
I was volunteering with my first comment. I'm sorry I didn't make it clear. :p - Goyo, MAR 24, 2010
But I see that Heidi is also quite eager ;)) - Issabela, MAR 24, 2010
2
votes

I just wanted to say that for my part, I find no need to change the current system if the primary goal of the person is to reinforce/practice/improve there Spanish skills.

Personally, I can type about 50wpm in English which probably falls to about 30wpm when typing multiple Spanish characters, so obviously I can't be classified as a typing titan like others here, and I've certainly never attained a star-student badge, but I can also say that this has never deterred me from completing a recall section on a flashcard set.

While attaining points can act as an incentive to try to improve, belly-aching about not being able to get a "perfect score" on an exercise seems to me a bit like Pavlov's dog complaining that he can't work up enough saliva to eat when he smells the food because he never heard the bell. You've got a smorgasbord just sitting there, so stop waiting on the bell and eat the food doggone it! Or starve...it's your choice, but personally, I don't need a bell (or meaningless points) to trick me into learning. just put the food in front of me, and get out of my way. I'll eat.

Heidita Said

I created a lot of sets exclusively for the forum, many with (long) sentences. It is imposible to write those sentences in a set time. However, I have not heard or seen that this was an impediment for doing the sets!

I have tried some of these longer sets and have created some of my own, and I would like to bring up something that I do see as a problem regarding flashcard sets that include sentences and longer phrases such as these.

The recall section doesn't seem to effectively handle the overflow that occurs with these longer texts. That is that after about 20 characters the text is cut off so you can't always read the entire prompt.

This means that to practice longer phrases or even short sentences, the user is often left guessing as to what the original prompt says in its entirety and takes away from the learning experience. If anything, I think that it would be more important to address this issue than the issue of "learning" points.

updated MAR 24, 2010
posted by Izanoni1
I agree with your point Iza. As for Pavlov's dog - how does a dog complain or "belly-ache"? - ian-hill, MAR 24, 2010
Welcome back, Izan - Fidalgo, MAR 24, 2010
They are usually "conditioned" to do so...hehehe - Izanoni1, MAR 24, 2010
@Fidalgo - Gracias amigo - Izanoni1, MAR 24, 2010
Thanks, lzan. I'll bring up the point about 20+ characters with Chris. Another thing to add to the list! - Paralee, MAR 24, 2010
2
votes

I agree, but it throws you off. I have a friend who is a native Spanish speaker and is also 100% completely fluent in English, and I doubt he could get 20% of the full score in any of the recall tests as he types maybe 10wpm

updated MAR 24, 2010
posted by Brett1971
2
votes

One of the marks of knowing a language is instant recall, and that's what this system is designed to measure, relatively, for each user.

The variable is one's typing ability, but until we have great voice recognition software available, typing our answers is the best way we have to input the data. If you're a slow typist, you won't get as high a score as jeezle, but you shouldn't be comparing yourself to jeezle anyway. You should be comparing yourself to to how you did the same set of flashcards a few days ago.

updated MAR 24, 2010
posted by Goyo
Exactly, Goyo! It's about how fast you can recall the word. If you could say it instead of type it, we would have done that instead for sure. - Paralee, MAR 24, 2010
Often we can "recall" the word / phrase instantly but just can't type it "instantly". - ian-hill, MAR 24, 2010
2
votes

I am answering here because no one seems to have reacted to what has been said above.

updated MAR 24, 2010
posted by ian-hill
2
votes

I agree. It really takes time to write a word, especially with spanish letters. And it's competing with time, not just calm remembering words. I guess it's not very easy to change the system, but that's a good point someone posted about it.

updated MAR 24, 2010
posted by swing
1
vote

Ian said:

not just "fix" the problem as so many people would like and not lecture us on why we want it changed?

I have often said this is a free site and set a certain way. The system works this way and that is it. I really wonder why you think you can demand on a free site to have something changed! cool smirk

The way it is at the moment will stop people doing the "recall" section.

This is not our problem but the student's problem. If a grown up like you can only do the recall section if you can get so many points, so be it, don't do it, Ian.

To fix a problem, this problem has to exist first. We do not think there is a problem. wink

A grown up should be able to overcome this kind "omg, I am not getting all the points".

I repeat, if my 13-year-old students can, I guess anybody should!

updated MAR 24, 2010
posted by 00494d19
I am not "demanding" anything - I am making a suggestion. If you don't want "suggestions just let us know. - ian-hill, MAR 24, 2010
You are not, Ian, you said: don't tell us what to do but get things fixed, does not sound like a suggestion to me. - 00494d19, MAR 24, 2010
I said - I agree but why not just "fix" the problem as so many people would like and not lecture us on why we want it changed. Is that a demand? It is a question. - ian-hill, MAR 24, 2010
Maybe I should have said "why we would like it changed" - ian-hill, MAR 24, 2010
By the way I have enough points and don't want anymore. - ian-hill, MAR 24, 2010
1
vote

OK - I can see that I we, the users, are not getting anywhere with this request.

But remember that other suggestions from users have been accepted and acted upon. For the example the Phrasebook. That took a great deal more effort than this change would demand.

The fact that Heidita's young students have not voiced the same opinions as us "adults" does not invalidate our opinions.

updated MAR 24, 2010
posted by ian-hill
I really don't know why you consider yourself the speaker of adults here, Ian, many adults do not agree with you at all...you may want to read their opinion too, or are you not interested?? - 00494d19, MAR 24, 2010
I do not consider myself as the speaker of the "adults" here. Just one of them. - ian-hill, MAR 24, 2010
I have read A L L of them. - ian-hill, MAR 24, 2010
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