A major obstacle to learning a language is the feeling that you've hit a plateau. A learning plateau is the feeling that you're not making progress despite continued effort. John Pasden has a great article on this at Sinosplice, where he says:

The frustrating thing about the plateau is that you don't feel like you’re making progress when you really are.

I share John's view that the plateau is more a matter of perception than a true flattening out of progress. Progress in language learning is not something you can generally see and so we're left with the proxy of perceived progress, which might be rather far off the mark.

But maybe there are some ways to see progress?

At WordSwing, we are experimenting with ways to visualize maps of your Chinese knowledge. Here's what it looks like for knowledge of individual characters:

Character knowledge map

The colors correspond to how well you know each character and the size of the squares correspond to the frequency of the character in typical text. Thus, you can quickly spot where there are gaps (all the gray squares), or help tune WordSwing's assessment of your knowledge by toggling the color associated with characters.

We also provide a means to look at your historical maps, allowing you to see how much your maps has gotten filled in:

View historical knowledge map

And you can get an overall summary on the Dashboard, showing how many words you've rated a particular learn stage and what fraction of the typical text these comprise:

Learn stage summary
(you'll need to be signed up, which is free)

Hope to see you soon, back on WordSwing, tracking your knowledge and watching your map color in with knowledge!

Kevin