We’ve all been there – we watched “Casa de papel” and suddenly felt an urge to learn Spanish; we were on a trip to China and were attracted by the appeal of being able to decipher the unintelligible characters; or we simply thought back to our school days and wanted to brush off those French skills. But after a month or two of semi-serious learning, we put the attempt to learn a (new or old) language ad acta and move on.
But why do our language learning journeys often not lead to where we want them to lead? Well, there’s 2 main reasons:
Reason 1: Time and scheduling
Between our jobs, families, friends and other commitments it’s difficult and cumbersome to block our calendars for language learning.
Quite understandably, we don’t want to commit our Thursday night to language learning when we don’t know whether our friends are going to invite us for dinner; whether our kids are going to have a performance at school; or whether we will just feel like having a calm evening with the latest episode of our favorite show. And that’s why in spite of all of our commitments to finally get our German/ English/ Spanish/ Mandarin back to where it was, it simply never happens.
Now, it’s important to note that for most people, the problem isn’t time but timing: we do have time here and there, we just don’t really know when we will find ourselves with time on our hands. While we may no longer be available at the time of our scheduled class, we may very well have idle period in which we would be able to practice our English right then and there. And this is where many people get trapped with reason #2:
Reason 2: Ineffective method
Partly due to the scheduling issue, we resort to ineffective learning methods like doing gap-fill exercises on our phone, pronouncing words to a computer that gives us (questionable) feedback, or resorting to good old multiple choice quizes.
Often these exercises are fun and it makes us feel good to see that we have solved them correctly. But while they can be useful when paired with active learning, they mostly just build passive knowledge. Yes, we can fill the gap given 3 choices. And yes, we can find the right translation. But in real life situations (like having an actual conversation) we draw a blank because we’re not used to taking an active role.
That’s why we have designed Sbique to be both flexible and effective…
Solution 1: Forget about scheduling
With Sbique, you take scheduling out of the equation. Instead of blocking your calendar and committing to learning at a certain time, you simply go online whenever you’re free and take an immediate language lesson with a native speaker.
But the flexibility doesn’t end with on-demand lessons – you also enjoy full flexibility when it comes to the length of your session. You’re charged by the minute for the actual session length, meaning that if you’re having a great learning experience, you can make it as long as you desire. On the other hand, if your time is limited or you’re out of time earlier than expected, you just end your session after a short period of time.
You no longer have to resort to automated exercises when you’re looking for a flexible language learning solution. Instead, you take all the flexibility you need for an effective language learning experience.
Solution 2: Learn with native speakers
“Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin, Confucius, Xunzi and others have been attributed with coming up with this saying.
Whoever said it first – they were right. True learning doesn’t come from being told or shown something. It comes from doing something ourselves. That’s why learning with native speakers is such an effective method to improve our language skills – because we are truly involved in the conversation, make our own mistakes and learn from them.
Most people don’t want to know a foreign language so that they can do gap-fills or read the paper – they want it because they want to interact in it. So just do it and get speaking.