Clozemaster learning strategy?

Can anyone advise on the most productive pathways to use the Clozemaster system?

I’m an intermediate Italian learner, who started here two months ago doing 100% listening exercises with text entry, as the multiple choice was far too easy and I need help training my ear and my listening skills. This has worked great for quite some time, and my listening skills are improving. However recently I have started to mix in vocabulary exercises (text infill) for review without the audio prompts, and found I was weaker at this than I might have expected.

Now that I am about 10% through the “Fluency Fast Track” I find myself confused as to the best way to approach this system going forward, and am tempted to reset my progress and begin again. Should I alternate listening and vocabulary/text entry exercises? Use one type for new work and another for review? The one thing I am sure of is that I want to avoid multiple choice where possible as this (for me) boils down simply to an “eliminate-the-three-stinkers” game.

Should I reset “100% mastered” and throw them back in the mix?

Two months in I am still very much enjoying this platform, but more confused than when I started.

Thanks in advance!

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I’m going to offer a suggestion based on the “tempted to reset my progress” comment that you made - I’m assuming from the way that you’ve worded your statement that you have some reluctance, because you don’t want to reset progress on sentences/words that you already know perfectly well.

Therefore, I’ll put forward the suggestion to make use of the “Favorites” facility (which is “Favourites” in my Anglo-Australian world, but I’ll spell it “Favorites” just for you :unamused: ). You could do something similar with the Collections facilities, but Favorites has advantages, as long as you’re not currently using Favorites for … well, genuine Favorites.

I’ll try to give clear instructions for anyone else who might read this thread.

So firstly, you need to click on the Manage Collections button against the Fluency Fast Track (or any other collection that you might be studying) which is the button highlighted in yellow on this image -

Then select “100% Mastered” in the pull down menu highlighted in red on the following image, and click the green “Search” button -

  1. Now click the “* Favorite” button next to the "Apply to all on current page: " statement, as highlighted in yellow on the previous image.
  2. Then go to the bottom of the search page, and click on “Next” at the bottom right of the page.
  3. Now on the next page, repeat from Step 1. Continue until you have Favorited all of your “100% Mastered” items (i.e. when there is no “Next” button at the bottom right of the page.

Unfortunately, this will take a while as there are 20 items per page, and no options to increase the paging. But, that should change really, reeeaaally soon, as @mike said only 13 months ago :grin: that adding some paging options was on the to-do list -

Also, although we now have this excellent new Copy to Collection button available for each sentence if we wanted to create a new collection from these 100% Mastered sentences, there is no “Apply to all on current page” for this facility, so Favorites is easier to deal with from that perspective.

I see in your case @Dcarl1, that you have a little over 600 items that are 100% Mastered, so this will take a little over 30 pages to do the highlighting. It’s important to keep remembering to click the “* Favorite” button on every new page, as it’s easy to just eagerly swipe to the bottom of the page and click “Next” (not that anyone would really make such an error though, would they? :grimacing: :confounded: ).

Now that you have all of the 100% Mastered entries in your Favorites, you can go to the Favorites button and click “Play” -

The first thing to note about playing Favorites is that whether you get the answer correct or incorrect it does not in any way affect the Mastered status of the sentence. Therefore, if you get a sentence incorrect it won’t reset to 0% Mastered, and if you get a partially mastered sentence correct it won’t increase the % Mastered (e.g. getting a sentence correct that is %25 Mastered leaves the sentence still at 25% Mastered no matter how many times you get it correct in Favorites; you can only increase/decrease the % Mastered when it actually comes up for review in the main Clozemaster game for the relevant collection such as Fluency Fast Track).

Secondly, if you are someone who is interested in the point-scoring game, you should be aware that you don’t score highly for Favorites (only 2 points per sentence if I recall), but if (like me) you are not concerned about points, then this won’t be a concern for you.

Thirdly, each round of sentences in Favorites is totally independent of the previous round. What does this mean? Well, let’s say that you have 200 sentences in your Favorites, and you play 10 sentences per round. In the first round you get 10 sentences and you play them. In the second round you play 10 more sentences, but this may include 1 or more sentences that you just played in the previous round. This means that you may see some sentences frequently, and some sentences may not show up for quite a long time. You could increase the number of sentences per round to diminish this effect, but I don’t know if selecting “Infinite” would actually cycle through all sentences or not.

So, what is a good strategy to play these sentences now that you have gone through the pain of putting them all into Favorites?

As you play your mastered sentences, if you get one correct immediately you can just unfavorite it straight away by clicking the star, or on the web using the keyboard shortcut (Alt-F on Windows PC). This eliminates the sentences that you know perfectly well from any future rounds, and allows you to concentrate on those sentences that genuinely cause you difficulty.

For any sentences/words that you don’t know, you can decide to deal with how you feel is best. That could mean that you decide to do nothing and just keep playing them over and over in Favorites. You could decide that a particular sentence is actually quite difficult and reset it to zero, or it could be that you decide to create a separate collection called for example “Difficult sentences and words” and/or reset it to zero etc.

The good thing about this approach of using Favorites is that you don’t need to reset all of your mastered sentences to zero, just the ones that you genuinely have difficulty with. By that I mean that you could just look down the list of 100% Mastered sentences and decide which ones you think need resetting, and which ones you think that you know well, but using this technique with Favorites, you aren’t having to guess whether you would know the cloze word or not, because you actually do play the sentence.

Another advantage of using Favorites over creating a separate collection, is that if you make edits to the translations, add hints, notes etc. then these are edits that you are making to your version of the actual sentence in the collection (e.g. Fluency Fast Track). That means that when the sentence comes up for review in the main Clozemaster game against your collection (e.g. Fluency Fast Track), then those edits are all still there for you to see. If you were to use the Collections facility instead, and copy these sentences into a collection of your choice (e.g. “Difficult Sentences and Words” as I suggested previously), then any edits would only be to the copy that you had made, and would not be visible when you next played the sentence in the original collection (e.g. Fluency Fast Track).

Finally, outside of your current situation of the “temptation” you have to reset all of your 100% Mastered sentences, the Favorites facility could be something that you might want to incorporate in the future when you talk about listening vs. text entry exercises. At that point you could choose one mode (e.g. listening) and as you complete each sentence you could then make it a Favorite directly when playing the game, and then go and repeat the exercise for those sentences in Favorites for your other learning mode (e.g. text entry). Effectively you would get the chance to play both learning styles, but because Favorites don’t affect your actual % Mastered, you would get the full progression 0/25/50/75/100 for both learning styles.

You could even throw in the third option of playing the …

:joy:

Anyway, that’s just one suggestion for how you might consider using the extremely powerful features of Clozemaster to deal with your current dilemma.

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@zzcguns: thank you for taking the time to respond in such detail! This is very helpful indeed. You are correct that I don’t care much about points, so your solution offers an elegant way of addressing this dilemma.

I truly appreciate it.

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Dcarl1! This is a very good question that was asked just in time and a superb answer given by Zzcguns. I might add -you can use favorites the same day you put new words in there. It is my usual routine for the new or stubborn words. The usual play puts it to the next day, no sooner. The beauty of the “favourites” ( my wink goes to Zzguns here)!

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That’s an excellent point @barcarolle that I had completely forgotten to mention, i.e. that you can play them whenever you want - you can play them as soon as you have put them in your Favorites collection, and then as many times as you want, one after the other, with no enforced delay.

Thanks for mentioning that, as it is also another great advantage over creating a new collection to copy difficult sentences/words into.

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My current thinking is that to approach fluency, the FFT is not nearly enough.

One problem, as I see it, is that you only will be presented with each word exactly once as a cloze, and that might mask other uses of the same word, which you may be unaware of. My remedy to this is to actively look for words and phrases and build up my own collection, either from the corpus or from other sources.

And, of course, the single word is perhaps not the best unit of learning: in some languages nouns have articles that should be learnt with the word, and then we have idioms and expressions that transcend the word border.

The other main problem is that the one-word clozes tend to make you know many words but maybe not how to put them together. To overcome this tendency, I am envisioning a full-sentence mode which would force you to build entire sentences, at least mentally; in its absence I’m thinking of using Clozemaster Radio, with some clever reordering of sentence and translation. That’s a very informal solution which will not give you any points, but that’s not the point, is it? :wink:

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My current thinking is that to approach fluency, the FFT is not nearly enough.

Indeed. I use many other sources for learning, including a tutor. But I do like this one.

in its absence I’m thinking of using Clozemaster Radio, with some clever reordering of sentence and translation.

How would you do this? I don’t see Radio as an option, only listening.

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It’s only available in the app.

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I’m currently trying out a new idea: to improve my Italian fluency I have taken up English from Italian, doing Listening (multiple choice), formulating each sentence in Italian as I imagine it should be, before revealing the text and the alternatives. Since I don’t want to start from scratch I play random sentences from all collections.

It’s amazing how much more challenging this is, compared to just filling in a single word. I often find myself making silly mistakes, mixing in other languages and forgetting even simple words. But at other times I surprise myself by hitting on the right answer straight away.

Of course, this can only be done after one has reached a certain level, but I do recommend it, at least as an experiment.

One downside is that starting on a new pairing will generate a lot of levelled-up spam to your followers. Let me therefore use this opportunity to apologize to my followers for spamming them. :wink:

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@morbrorper This is a really fresh way of learning! I’m doing the reverse tree, so I swapped my regular Vocab-Multiple choice for the Morbrorper Method, and yes, exactly as you describe, many blips along the way but when you get it right, sooo rewarding!

Mille grazie per “il cenno” (?)

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I totally agree with this. I think I’d played upwards of 60,000 sentences of French here before I really started to feel comfortable - and that’s just comfortable with aural comprehension, not speaking.

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You’re both so right. I tend to mix all my learning with the better facets of some other apps and I do a lot of Cloze Listening and repeating out-loud; I doubt that any website will make us totally fluent. I still come back to Cloze as my home because I love its pace and variety that help towards some sort of fluency, and because of the people too, of course :wink:

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Repeating out loud seems like a smart thing to do; I would do it too, but thanks to this coronavirus I’m never home alone these days…

I’m now trying out FFT with Spanish and continuing most common words in French. By far I can’t tell which is better, but at least its all input. In addition I’m doing Spanish conjugations with Memrise, and some listening. That’s it. Not sure if I’m learning much but at least I’m not going backwards.

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Ciao @hooetvee - I’m just the opposite, on my tod and can freely chat away tho’ sometimes the sound of my own voice is a bit worrying;-D

Enjoy your French and Spanish adventures. I always think every new word learnt is an achievement even if forgotten five minutes later;-) I’m trying Swahili, just the basics, and find it to be so beautiful and expressive but it will take an age before anything trips off the tongue. Grazie dio for repetition! Bye…

Tatoeba has only 610 sentences, so I assume you’re not using Clozemaster. What’s your strategy for learning? I was thinking of Duolingo Swahili (someday), but saw some very unimpressed reviews…

Hi @amirkarger Pleasure to meet you. I spend most of my time here and love it, popping back to Duo merely to keep my streak;-) I’ve never been interested in anything but Italian but lived in Africa for several years, so on the spur of a free moment decided to try Swahili. I can’t really compare the course with others but so far am really enjoying learning a few basics. The Tips n Notes are copious n helpful, and the voices are clear, particularly the man’s voice, so it seems pretty thorough so far. I rarely listen to “reviews” and just make up my own mind. Why not try it. Meantime, happy learning to you!

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I post this here mainly because I find it to be a fascinating article regarding the results of a study about how impactful the number of words a child hears by the age of 3 is on their success later in life: Bridge the word gap: speak 21,000 words to your preschooler daily | Parenting
The recommendation is an astounding 21,000 words per day that I child should hear. Granted, we are adult language learners and our brains are (supposedly) wired very differently, but it seems to me that hearing words over and over again, even if you are not speaking them, must still have similarly positive side effects that may yet be unknown.

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Hi, Floria7. Thanks for your note. I don’t think I can fit two languages at once, but at some point, I may decide to switch. I’m enjoying Hindi, which was on a whim but realized that what I like about languages is grammar and new systems. At some point, as people on this site know well, it’s not about learning systems; it becomes a huge effort of just packing all those arbitrary vocabulary words into your brain. I don’t know if that enjoyment (even with the pleasures of Clozemaster and Bollywood) will last forever, given that I don’t expect to travel to India any time soon.

Btw, I agree that the Tips on Duolingo were super-useful. Unfortunately, the copious tips in the first few lessons quickly dried up. They clearly haven’t invested the time on Hindi that they have on many European languages. Among other things, they teach well under 100 words and barely tough on past tense. But it was a great way to get started, and helped me learn enough to be able to use Clozemaster.

By the way, I’m also intrigued by the 100+ ~7-minute videos for Swahili learning from the languagetransfer.org people. Maybe I’ll do both? Many more plans than time to implement them all…

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Hi @amirkarger I know the feeling. Suddenly I want to learn everything so I’m treating Swahili as the side dish to my main Italian, as the head can only hold and enjoy so much. Will have a look at your link anyway, for which many thanks. I think the lack of travel plans doesn’t help our incentive to learn but I keep learning and dreaming of asking for that return ticket to Piazzale Roma in my best Italian!

Off now to do some Reviews, oh joy;-)