Learning a new lingo and other new habits

by
Duo Lingo

It’s important to me that I am learning something new all of the time, whether it is something professional or personal – in fact it was one of my New Year’s resolutions last year and again this year, 

A love of Italy and a dream of returning there (Tuscany please!) in a post Covid world (we can dream at least) had learning Italian on my list.

I had heard from my brother Colin that the Duo Lingo App was a great way to learn so I signed up for the free App and quickly switched to the subscription version – you can only watch so many adverts every time you make a mistake!

As well as Duo Lingo I also signed up for some other courses including video editing on the Udemy platform. The courses on Udemy are really affordable and when I signed up I was determined to complete them.

The big learning difference between each is that Duo Lingo have thought deeply about how people operate, their will power (or lack of), their ability to stay focused and stay the course and how your motivation can change from the minute you sign up to afterwards when all of the other life stuff can throw you off track.

I guess in a way it’s like the gym membership in January, which starts with all of the very best intentions and ends up how it always does unless there are some very special motivation factors that will keep you coming back.

With all of that perspective Duo Lingo successfully gamified their App and built in features that keep you on course and keep you coming back.

They give you points for every exercise you complete, they send you messages to stick with it, they put you in a league table and constantly tell you where you are on that table!

When you complete an exercise they ask you to go again and earn double points, they tell you how you compare with others and they give you bonuses for being an “early bird”. The other very clever thing is they allow you to follow others and it lets you know when those people hit certain milestones and you can congratulate them from within the platform. That’s how I found out my sister is also using the App and how my brother is pretty serious about learning Spanish!

The most addictive element in my opinion is the “days streak” that you are on and you get constant messages to remind you that your “streak” may end if you don’t do an exercise!

It’s a very simple thing but it has me each day waking and thinking that I better do an Italian exercise to make sure I keep my streak going. A new habit has infiltrated my busy life!

I couldn’t tell you the last time I did a session on the video editing course – in truth when I go back to it I will probably have to go back to earlier sessions as I will have forgotten what I had learnt.

Knowing how I work and my busy schedule I was careful enough to schedule times in my diary to do the training sessions on Udemy but mostly that never worked out because something else took my time and attention – I haven’t missed a day of Italian learning in 146 days (not as important to me as the editing),

My point in all of this and making the comparison between the learning systems is that I know and you probably do as well that learning which involves some new habits is really really difficult and unless there is something significant motivating you then you probably won’t stay the course,

As well as my own objectives this year and the things I want to change both personally and for the business I do need to think about gamifying these in some way to increase the chances of success.

Is it a league table, setting reminders in my calendar, having a learning buddy, making a no messing time of the day/week that can’t be interfered with, counting my successive days and rewarding myself when that happens – maybe a very very special of red wine from Tuscany from the fabulous Wine Buff ?

Whatever it is I need to crack it.

What do you do to stay on track with those New Years resolutions and good luck with them!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

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