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Update: Simplified cards before and after exercises, quizzes, unit tests, and course challenges!

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14 comments

  • Avatar
    KEVIN

    1. The block shaped characters with smiles are creepy!

     

    2. The omission of the "practice again" feature is not a good design element. Was this intentional or an oversight? It seems like a real deterrent to learning. If I wanted to do an exercise 12 times with an exercise set 4, I would have to exit the exercise three times in order to do that. What was the decision behind this? 

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    𝕃𝕖𝕠 𝕄𝕒𝕪𝕜𝕖𝕝𝕝

    I really appreciate the new layout, but I miss the "Practice again" button! Now, I have to close the card and open it again...

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  • Avatar
    KEVIN

    I, like Leo, also noticed that the "practice again feature" is gone.  This really should be reinstalled. It really is a pain to have to close the window and start from scratch to get to the exercise.

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    Rairyu75

    I really liked the old layout! I understand that it was a bit cluttered but I liked seeing all the details of my coursework. As others have said I also miss the buttons of the previous setup.

    That's just me though.

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    KEVIN

    Rairyu75 - - I totally agree. If you find that the "practice again" button was one that you miss, please mention it specifically; maybe we can get KA to reinstall it.

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  • I love your persistence, K E V I N ! Let's bring the "practice again" button back! :D

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    KEVIN

    Leo-

    "Bring it back! Bring it Back!" 

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    Alexander Kokin

    Hey guys! One workaround to the missing "practice again button" is to refresh the webpage when you see the new card. However, I definitely agree the button should be brought back. I also noticed that I cannot see the badges I earn (for example, speed badges) on the new card.

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  • Avatar
    KEVIN

    Alexander-

     

    Thanks for the great hack! A good solution until KA reinstalls the "Practice Again" feature.

     

    KA, if you're reading this. please don't dilute the "game mechanics" aspect of KA. It's what makes KA great. If you do so, you'll make it like any number of other sites that are out there.  

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    John Moser

    Removing all the skill level changes and other information, to me, caused a serious drop in interest.  I don't feel excited about practicing; it's now a chore.  It just says "blah, you practiced."  It doesn't give me a sense of progress.

    Quizzes are now a waste of time and it's a struggle to understand if I did well or poorly.  If I don't achieve a perfect score, I'm given no guidance about how well I did and where I can improve; I'm only punished by being told it wasn't perfect and given no explanation.

    The new interface in this way carries parallels to an abusive relationship partner who constantly criticizes you but doesn't give enough feedback for what you did wrong (a well-known behavior abusive partners use to maintain dominance by controlling the emotional power dynamic).

    Overall, I don't see any improvements over the old interface.  It was efficient, clean, and clear, while conveying large amounts of information.  The new interface isn't inherently intuitive, and is otherwise worse.

    The main problem I had with the old interface was it always asked to take a unit test—you have 3 more sections before the unit test?  Take the whole thing anyway!  That was the most-prominent button, while the link to retake the quiz was a weak link.  That was the only flaw:  bad workflow for continuing after finishing the test.

     

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    KEVIN

    John Moser-

    I understand your frustration and I share some of your feelings about the recent changes, but ..."[th]e new interface in this way carries parallels to an abusive relationship partner who constantly criticizes you but doesn't give enough feedback for what you did wrong..." I think is a little too severe for this situation. I think at its heart, KA is really trying to do good things and provide a really unprecedented level of access to a wide variety of subjects. Therefore, this type of invective is undeserved.

    On the flip side, from logging on to KA everyday, for almost 9 years, and I have seen a lot of changes to the interface; some I have really liked and others I thought have been really bad. I do not know this as a fact, but I feel that some of the current changes are a manifestation of KA's  continued move towards getting into as many classrooms and being a part of as many curricula as possible. I think one of the unfortunate byproducts of this move is that the old interface that we have come to know and are used to seeing, has to be tossed out to implement these changes. I intimated above that I think the deletion of the "Practice Again" button is most likely a dilution of the game mechanics aspect of KA, and one of most compelling reasons why I kept coming back. I think getting rid of something like this is a mistake, but I am just one user who contributes a couple of bucks a year. 

    On the whole, I still think KA is great, maybe just not as much fun as it used to be. My opinion.

    PS I don't know what KA's response rate to these issues is, but I think if you provide them with "toned-down" note of concern with specific examples, that seems to be something that could be addressed.

     

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    John Moser

    It's a technically-correct analogy and helps people understand subtle psychological impacts of the type of feedback given which is non-obvious.

    I often liken things that are weaponizable to the weaponization of those things.  When I discuss social choice and elections, I talk a lot not just about how our electoral systems can allow small groups of voters to override and dominate large groups of voters, but also about how propaganda and specific styles of campaigning can be applied to leverage a handful of voters and force an outcome in great defiance of consensus.  I also tend to liken things like party primary and instant runoff voting (and the electoral strategies which have been developed around them) to those elections in corrupt nations where a candidate has their strong opponent arrested so as to deny voters choice—because they're functionally indistinct.

    There's one rule here:  the comparison has to be reasonable, reasonably-complete, and true.  It can't be a blunt sensationalization; it has to carry the same function, not a superficial likeness.

    Note that neither our democratic institutions nor Khan Academy's UX were designed with the intent of abuse; they were designed in earnest, but their functional behavior is harmful.

    People often respond relatively-strongly to such things, and typically gain an appreciation for the problem.

    In this case, that Khan Academy's new UX essentially gives derogatory feedback ("you were wrong several times") without positive feedback ("you did well in these areas") or negative feedback ("you need improvement in these areas") fails to reinforce while also punishing and not guiding the student to understand where they need improvement.  That creates the sense that a task is impossible—for you—and masks whether you're making any progress, while denying information about how to make progress.

    The comparison to abusive relationships is contextually correct:  emotionally-abusive relationship partners will often criticize without feedback, specifically ensuring their partner cannot identify what's wrong and never can be certain they understand.  In such relationships, it's also possible for the abuser to shift if their partner does understand, so as to give the illusion they misidentified the problem—from the perspective of the abused partner, this isn't different than their abusive partner having an honest grievance, as they don't have enough information to be certain what they did wrong.

    Abusive relationship partners weaponize this kind of emotional response—they trigger it intentionally.  Khan Academy's new UX doesn't weaponize it, rather it simply trips over exactly the same problem unintentionally.

    That means the new interface should be considered actually harmful.  Not that somebody has an opinion about whether they like it, but that it is objectively bad.

    The above descriptions provide necessary context to reason and examine such assertions:  humans think best by analogy.

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    KEVIN

    John Moser-

    Well, you're provided a nuanced, detailed assessment of a complex psycho-social situation, and it seems from your narrative that you have experience with this. I, personally, do not see an analogous situation in KA's implementation of the new interface as being harmful, and certainly not abusive. My complaint with the new interface, in addition to those I've already mentioned, is the push towards a more "corporate" (and I mean this in a pejorative sense) UX, which to me is obviously geared towards gaining more market share in the online education sphere, which to me is more disappointing than harmful.

    And as we all are part of this free-market economy of ours, we can still speak our minds. I will repeat, therefore, that I don't think telling KA that they are in any way "abusive" will engender being listened to, let alone have any of your concerns be acted upon. 

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    Mr. Windisch

    I found it very helpful to see my progress in the different areas that will be addressed in a quiz or test before I begin, and then to see the areas I made progress in when I finish. That sort of feedback seems to be disappearing with all of the redesign.

    In fact, the old "mission" system made my progress very clear. I would love to see a return to that type of simplicity and focus on making progress. The new system leaves me feeling like I have so much to accomplish rather than giving me a feeling of pride about what I have accomplished so far.

    In other words, the "mission" system felt like a game. Now with the segmentation of skills and the focus on tests & quizzes, using Khan academy feels like taking on online course rather than trying to level up and beat a game.

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