Generally speaking, having time constrained exercises are beneficial in that it helps learners approach native fluency of a language. That being said, I believe that the speed review does a poor job of achieving that end.
Below are a few of the pain points of the speed review (in the Korean course) I’ve identified from my usage of the mobile app:
- Time scaling. It would be one thing for the allotted time to gradually increase with each word/phrase, but the time seems to decrease almost linearly with the number of questions answered. By the time I get to the ~16 question mark, I have < 2 seconds to pick between 4 answers, most of which are 7-10 word phrases.
- Answer complexity. I like how the course provides phrases to memorize, as it helps to contextualize the vocabulary. But I HATE that these show up in the speed review. All this does is encourages me to do is to find “cheats” in the phrases that I’m matching (ex… for the phrase “I would love…/나는 정말 ~하고싶어요”, I end up just looking for the answer that has the tilde).
- Audio playback. Speed review becomes nearly impossible with sound on. Why? Because if the answer happens to be a 7 word phrase, then the audio playback starts to read it out, even when the app has moved on and started the timer for the next question. I have a hard enough time answering the questions in a timely manner without some completely unrelated audio clip playing and distracting me. I’ve taken to just muting my audio completely during the speed reviews.
I think Memrise does a lot of aspects of language learning really well, but things like these are broken experiences. If an exercise effectively encourages a user to develop workarounds for it, then it has failed its purpose.
All being said, my experience with Memrise is limited to the Korean course, so other users may have a different opinions on these points.