A shorter Super Challenge

Ongoing language-learning challenges, and team challenge logs (but not individual logs)
IchBinEinPoly
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A shorter Super Challenge

Postby IchBinEinPoly » Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:49 am

Although I am a fan of the idea of the Super Challenge, I have never been able to successfully complete one from start to finish just because of the sheer length of time involved. So, I'm proposing the idea of a shorter Super Challenge, maybe called the Mini Super Challenge or just the Mini Challenge, that would run for just 9-12 weeks. Long enough for appreciable progress, but not too long for those of us that find it difficult to commit to something for 20 months.

Obviously the amount of reading/listening that would happen would scale down accordingly. I was thinking something like:

12 weeks (3 months)
15 films (90 minutes each)
15 books (50 pages each)

Thoughts? Suggestions?
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Re: A shorter Super Challenge

Postby rdearman » Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:59 am

Sounds like you want to participate in a six week challenge. Have a look for 6WC. They run alternative six weeks throughout the year.
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Re: A shorter Super Challenge

Postby smallwhite » Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:18 am

Link to November 2015 6WC:
viewtopic.php?t=1509

I always link to the previous Challenge in the opening post, so you can keep clicking and keep looking back.
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Re: A shorter Super Challenge

Postby IchBinEinPoly » Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:21 am

6 week challenges aren't Super Challenges though. What I like about the SC is that it isn't just "okay let's learn languages for (arbitrary length of time)" but rather that it has precise goals. It is an input-based challenge where the measure of your success is how much input you got, divided up into print and audio components.

6 weeks is also too short, but that's just a minor gripe. It's the substance of the SC that I'm after, but for a short length of time. I'm just wondering if any other agree or would be interested.
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Re: A shorter Super Challenge

Postby Serpent » Sun Jan 10, 2016 3:54 am

I love the idea. Maybe the SC could be split into "semesters" or whatever you'd call them? Perhaps even with some overlap. Maybe we just need more flexibility with displaying the stats, for example sorting by the totals, choosing a time range or even a specific language family.

For input only, there's Tadoku which is more short term (1 month or two weeks), and reading challenges for anyone who wants to read more, L1 allowed.
You can also find it helpful to track your input using the sites mentioned here.
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Re: A shorter Super Challenge

Postby smallwhite » Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:36 am

IchBinEinPoly wrote:Obviously the amount of reading/listening that would happen would scale down accordingly.
Thoughts? Suggestions?


If the duration is to be shortened, reducing the degree of challenge, then I think the amount of reading/listening should be increased, to add back some degree of challenge. Eg. a Mini Challenge 10% as long as the Super Challenge should involve 20% as much reading/listening as the Super Challenge. Or else it'd be more a To Do List than a Challenge, to run a 100m sprint as slow as you run a 40km marathon.
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Re: A shorter Super Challenge

Postby reineke » Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:36 am

TAC was initially a three-month summer proposal.

What about 100 Days Challenge

Super Ch. requirements:
100 films (90 minutes each)
- 100 books (50 pages each)
- in 20 months (600 days)

1/6 of that and assuming 20 pct increase and we're looking at 20 books, 20 films and say 20 pounds off the waistline?
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Re: A shorter Super Challenge

Postby sfuqua » Sun Jan 10, 2016 7:11 am

While I seem to be too much of a loner to do a challenge with everybody, I have found that having a large, long term goal can be useful. I used to measure how well I was doing by trying to do a certain amount of work each day, which meant that when I got too busy or too sick, I would "fail". If I have a longer term goal, that gives me more flexibility.

I wonder if there might be a place for short term "bragging rights" challenges. A Lord of the Rings challenge (in your language of choice). A thousand pages in one month challenge. A Harry Potter challenge. A bible challenge. An every word in a newspaper for a quarter challenge. We could have a place in the profile for "challenges completed".
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Re: A shorter Super Challenge

Postby emk » Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:31 am

[All of the following is personal opinion. I did the original 20 month, 10,000 page challenge, but I do not speak for the Challenge organizers.]

The most important thing about the Super Challenge isn't the intensity, it's the total quantity of input. Based on people's experience with the last two challenges, it seems that 5,000 pages of reading is enough to "move the needle". When people start the Super Challenge, most of them can decipher text slowly. But when they've finished the Super Challenge, they typically have C1-level passive skills. They can read actual books, comfortably, without a dictionary. And they can read much faster, sometimes as high as half the speed they can read in their native language.

If you were to create a much smaller Super Challenge (let's say 1,000 pages), you just won't see the same results. 1,000 pages is enough to see real improvement, but it won't produce the night-and-day difference that 5,000 pages makes for so many people. If you cut the Super Challenge to 2,500 pages, that's still just enough to make a really significant difference for certain people learning certain languages. (Like sfuqua, recently.) And that's one of the reasons I originally argued that there should be a 2,500 page "half Challenge"—it's the smallest size at which the Super Challenge is still "super."

And this explains why the Super Challenge is so long, in calendar terms: It has a certain number of pages that need to be read, and it takes a lot of months to read them!

Now, it might make sense to have a shorter reading challenge with a different name. Serpent has posted an entire thread of L1 and L2 challenges. But the entire value of the Super Challenge, in my opinion, is the size. It should remain large enough to take people from A2 to C1 comprehension. Anything smaller should have a different name.
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Re: A shorter Super Challenge

Postby Cavesa » Sun Jan 10, 2016 7:04 pm

I absolutely agree with emk.

The point of extensive reading is to read tons of stuff. And the same applies to extensive listening. From my experience, the first "jump" in the skills comes after several hundred pages/a dozen episodes or so but only if the level at the beginning is really low (like the jump from "really painful struggle" to "not that painful struggle"). But than it is a few thousand pages away, that next jump in skills. And the jump from "pretty good" to "awesome, as if it was my native language (and one unknown word here and there)" comes after another couple thousand pages, for me around the 10 000, depends on the language.

I am glad that the SC is long, as I have a lot of opportunity to balance out my weaker times (I usually fail at the 6wc precisely for this reason. Life interferes and there is no time left to catch up). I am personally now starting even longer SC for myself for my now studied languages. Those 20000 pages and 200 movies, which was the original double SC, are awesome for me, even though I believe you can have great results with less.

So, if the quantity is the main criteria, you cannot rush it too much. Not only life gets in a way sometimes (and university exams, recovering from illnesses, taking care of your family etc. should of course come before devouring another season Cuentame como paso or another thriller by Grange) but you can easily burn out. Reading and watching movies/tv series is primarily fun and that is part of the magic. It is so fun by itself that it makes you spend hundreds of hours working on your languages. But trying to squeeze too much in too little time, that can lead to feeding yourself up (my direct experience).

But of course, if anyone is interested in mini input based challenges, I'll happily read the logs and be a supportive public and be genuinely happy for your achievements (and subconsciously pushing myself harder to not stay that far behind you :-D ). I just won't join you in the challenge as I have different needs.
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