Feedback: When do you decide to mark a Shorty as "Complete"?

We’re planning some future functionality, and curious how everyone is currently using this “Mark as Complete” button on Shorties.

There is no right answer, because “completing” an episode is a bit subjective. For some, it may mean that they’ve gone through the episode once or twice (reading then listening), while for others, it might mean that they feel they’ve gone through it many more times and feel they’ve mastered it quite thoroughly.

After marking an episode as complete, do you return to it later, for example, for listening practice? Or do you never return to it again, and move onto new, fresh content?

Any other feedback about what your strategy currently is for learning with Shorties, as well as feature requests to make this content more convenient to work with is welcome :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance for your feedback!


I would like there to be a third option - to mark something as started but not completed. Shorties often contain content of interest (a voice with interesting aspects; grammar I wasn’t quite ready for; a single complex phrase; text/speech that is more informal/slangy than standard) that I’d get more from if I revisited at another time.

I may have read, listened to, and translated a shorty. I may have completed the quiz and added some vocabulary to smart review. But I still might want to be prompted to go back to the page in a month’s time.


I mark it complete after fully reviewing vocab and expressions, and several times through dialogue, and then completing the quiz.


I mark it completed after listened to it and understood it, completed the quiz correctly, learned the vocabulary and expressions (added to smart review).

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I tend to listen to a shortie until I understand most of it. Often I will take a piece of paper and write down the few words I catch on the first listen, then go over it again and add a few more words, and so on until I’ve got it “all”.

When I struggle (and to be honest, that’s most of the time), I end up having to listen to a single sentence, press the “go back 10 seconds” button, listen again, possibly repeating that several times until I get it. Then listening to the next sentence, possibly having to go over that several times again.

I then do the quizz and add some of the vocab/expressions to my smart review. After that, I mark it complete, and so far I haven’t been returning to the completed shorties.

With that said, I can defintely see the benefit of going back to previously completed shorties and listen again - hopefully I would understand “everything” after only one or two listens, but I suspect reality is that it would again be hard work.

One thing that would really help would be if there were keyboard shortcuts to the pause/play/back 10 seconds on-screen buttons. I know that at the moment the space-bar works as “press whichever button you pressed last”, so that works well for pause/play, but the moment I need to go back 10 secs to hear a sentence again, I still need to put my pen down, reach for the mouse to click the “go back 10 seconds”, take pen, write what I hear, put pen down, reach for the mouse again to click “play”.


To clarify, I generally don’t mark it as Complete because that happens automatically on completion of the quiz, right?

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I listen to the audio a few times and try to figure out what’s being said. I can usually get around 50% or so comprehension after 2 or 3 times through. There are often some phrases that I can listen to numerous times and can never figure out what is being said, try as I might. Slowing it down usually doesn’t help.

After a point when I’ve decided I can get no more out of listening further so I tackle the quiz. That often unlocks some of the sections I wasn’t able to figure out. In other words the questions give me some hints. I’m usually able to get 100% on the quizzes. I try to avoid translating the questions to English but I occasionally cheat.

Once the quiz is done I listen to the story again while also reading along in the transcript. That often elicits a “so that’s what they’re saying” in a few places. I end off reading the English translation and then mark the shorty as complete. I don’t listen to it again until I get to the end of the units making up a specific language level. At that point I run through all of the shorties rated at the same level as what I’ve just completed, for example all A2 shorties.

I’ve been at this for more than three years now and I still can really understand when locals talk to me, but I’m making slow progress.


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I listen twice straight through to the audio. On the third time I back up and repeat the parts I don’t understand a couple of times. Then I listen to it with the translation on. I don’t feel bad about the spots I didn’t understand - it’s generally new grammatical structures or new words. Vocabulary, expressions, test, mark completed. It would be nice if it were possible to put more short phrases from the shorties into the smart review. There are fortunately plenty of shorties, so I don’t listen to them again.

I do generally listen to one or two levels below the units I’m working on. In my past experience learning improving oral comprehension, I found that by listening everyday 10 + minutes helps. Six months later comprehension is much better, a year later and there’s not much problem. That’s with some kind of daily reading program going on as well, which could include subtitled TV shows or movies. But everything takes more time than we imagine. :>)

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I’ve also asked to have some of the phrases from the shorties included in Smart Review. Another thing that would be useful is an audio only smart review. The review would play clips and you have to figure out what they say. This should include clips from the shorties and not just the exercises covered in the lessons. Something like this would be very very useful for listening comprehension. It could be setup exactly like the flashcards, with audio clips being repeated over timed intervals until you’ve marked it as mastered.

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Thanks Tomas, we’ll get working on this!

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correto! :white_check_mark:

Thanks! We’ve considered one day allowing users to create custom phrases, in which you’d have to confirm the EN translation yourself (after defaulting to a Deepl translation). Would that help?

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I’m glad you said this. This is my experience too, that even though you’re able to read and understand at a certain level, it’s still very helpful to listen to easier audio. The worst that will happen is you’ll understand almost all of it and feel encouraged (while reviewing things you already know but in a different context). Keep up the great work and thanks for your feedback and support!

@joelrendall I know that this is your site and all, but that’s definitely not how it works for me. I generally do the quiz after my first pass at the text and then spend more time working over the difficult bits. After that I have to manually mark the shorty as complete. In the example I’ve just finished the order was listen-quiz-get 12 points-listen-mark complete-get 5 points.

Thanks, we will check this out, since this might be a recent bug that slipped through the cracks. According to our dev, expected behaviour is that it’s marked completed after completed the quiz. Expected behaviour aside, is this how you’d like it to function or do you like them being 2 independent actions?

Thanks Peter. We definitely plan to add more Smart Review modes, including flipping the direction (to train comprehension instead of ability to produce, which may be less of a focus for some learners, depending on goals). Adding listening mode only would be easily part of this.

For adding Shorty phrases to Smart Review, would the ability to create your own custom phrases help? It would give you more flexibility, but for better or worse, you’d probably need to confirm EN translation yourself, (after it defaulting to a Deepl translation).

This, or over time as admins, we could work on curating key phrases (about 10 per Shorty)? The downside is there would end up being situations in which we wouldn’t select the same phrases that you might find useful.

@joelrendall I’m the guy who asked for the third option of “not quite complete”, or “complete but review later” or somesuch. At the moment I use the fact that I have to manually mark as complete separately from doing the quiz to approximate to this functionality.

Looking at the question more widely, I see the quiz as just one small part of the value to be got out of a shorty, so I wouldn’t want the software to push me towards thinking of the whole exercise as being complete when I’ve done the quiz.

(If it makes any difference for bug hunting, I’m using Safari on a Mac laptop - all up to date)

I agree completely. I’m still confirming the team what the intended behaviour is since it’s been a while since we implemented it, but I personally lean towards the marking as complete to be a more intentional decision independent from whether or not you did the quiz. The quiz completion used to be the only way an episode would be considered completed, and since some episodes (videos/Podcasts) don’t have quizzes, we added this separate button.

The reason for bringing this up at all is because I know that “complete” means something different for everyone, especially with the flexibility of using these episodes in many different ways (comprehension, vocab building etc).

What if you were able to add a Shorty to an active playlist that you’d review (mostly by listening while on-the-go?) So instead of considering an episode as being Complete, it becomes part of your active episodes you’re currently reviewing? Then when you are really done with it (eg. heard it so many times that you understand most of it OR you’re so sick of it you never want to hear it again), you remove it from the Active playlist? (With this would be improvements to how you could easily and quickly access this playlist to listen to multiple episodes while on-the-go).

Being able to add my own phrases would be a useful feature, for sure. I use Smart Review every day to practice what’s been taught but being out and about here in Portugal I’ve had to learn additional common phrases that are not covered in the exercises. It would be nice to be able to add these to Smart Review. There are some phrases that fall into this category in the shorties but not that many since they do tend to stick to what has been covered in the lessons.

Ultimately when it comes to shorties what would be most useful is to provide an audio component to Smart Review. Aural comprehension is the biggest obstacle for me and I’d love to be able to “hear” the phrases being reviewed rather seeing them (in English or Portuguese). Since every single exercise has an audio clip tied to it (the spoken Portuguese), being able to review those clips would be incredibly useful. Adding additional selected clips from the shorties would also be great, especially since the shorties are spoken “natively” and are harder to understand than the perfectly enunciated exercises.