September is here, and with it, the start of a new school year. However, this is the first time I will not be heading back to the classroom and I’ve decided that makes it a great time to try out a nontraditional form of learning.
I’ve been a fan and occasional user of platforms like KhanAcademy, Team Treehouse, and Duolingo along with various MOOCs in the past. However, I’ve never given them a fair chance at teaching me much because I’ve never stuck with their courses or tracks for long enough. I’ve decided to try learning a new language with Duolingo over the next 4 months to give it a fair chance at teaching me.
- Use the platform a minimum of once a day (easily tracked on the online ‘daily streak’ feature.
- Do the program in the order suggested by the platform (learn colours before clothing items for example).
- Lastly, learn a new language I have no experience with – in this case, I’m choosing Spanish. (I figured it is close enough to French to provide a bit of an advantage without officially being a language I’ve studied before).
- By the end of the challenge, be able to write an entire blog post in the chosen language (Spanish)!!
The program works like this, every day you log in from your computer or your smartphone – the homepage prompts you with a suggested next lesson. All the while, the platform’s signature owl smiles at you with a promise of a higher score or daily streak if you do well.
The entire process is gamified to feel fun and accessible to any age or skill level. There is the ability to start with ‘basics 1’ if you are an absolute beginner or the chance to ‘test out’ of the current level and be placed at a higher skill level if you have experience. Additionally, there are ‘lingots’, a virtual currency that allow the user to purchase extras from the virtual store. The currency is obtained by levelling up, finishing skills, and maintaining extended day streaks (10 days = 1 lingot).
I am starting at the beginning and I’ll keep you posted with how I do over the next approx 120 days. Click here if you would like to join me in learning a language! It’s free! Otherwise, wish me luck and let me know if you are using any online platforms to teach yourself something new!