Question-- If you spent 30 minutes at the gym, but only completed five bench press while you were there, would you consider that 30 minutes of gym time? My guess, based on what you have posted above, is that you would admit that it was a lazy gym day and vow to do better the next time.
I know that your study situation is a very different from the above, and I appreciate you taking the time to spell things out, but keeping track of time on Skritter is a bit tricky. Ultimately, we care more about the reps than the time. That is what SRS is all about. The time is also a metric we track, but it is less important to the study algorithms that Skritter is built on. The main reason that we don’t track total time stems from Skritter existing in the browser. We don’t keep track of what someone is doing on their computer (we’re not Facebook ) so to prevent study time stats from getting completely out of hand-- when you go AFK or get distracted by other websites, we made the timer auto-stop after 30 seconds on any given study item. Click to the next item, the time starts again.
Remember, Skritter was built to be an efficient and effective review tool. The idea wasn’t that you’re spending time learning stuff on Skritter, it’s that you’re blasting through reviews like crazy to increase your overall language retention-- and to do it far quicker than using traditional flashcards. The goal is to help you learn to read and write characters really well, and since we don’t know what the heck is happening when you’re not doing just that, we just keep track of active study time.
There could be a more elegant solution, but it’s the one we’ve been using since Skritter started, and I think it would be challenging to change that now. An additional reason for not tracking raw time in-app is due to our partnership with teachers and Chinese programs around the world. Many teachers ask students to review for x/minutes per day-- and there is no way (some) students wouldn’t abuse that if given a chance.
I know that probably isn’t want you wanted to hear. We are working on improving goal mode, and thinking about offering a setting to disable the study timer altogether from the study screen, and I hope that when they’re deployed these are solutions that work for your study routine. My advice would be to set a timer outside of Skritter to track your sessions, or to consider switching to a review based goal where a session is over after you’ve completed x number of total reviews. And try not to be demoralized by time moving a bit slower on Skritter-- just remember that we’re keeping track of things a bit differently and be proud of that 3-5 minutes of pure & focused reviews. Hopefully, when you think about things that way, it’ll make numbers like this even more impressive:
Skritter system-wide stats for the month of March:
Hours spent: 16,716.78 (1.9 years)!
Items studied: 117,455,42
Characters learned: 219,410
Retention rate: 86.986%
That’s 1.9 years of pure reviewing. And that is one heck of a number!