I started learning German in 2013 when I discovered Duolingo. The first week I focused on the English track but since I didn’t feel like having a need to improve my English, I started with german just for fun and like a challenge. Learning German that days was something casual, for curiosity, with less than 50 XP per week. Months later, that changed.
The power of Habits
An habit is basically something you do in an automatic way. Many people think that it takes 21 days to form a new habit but it turns out that it takes more time.
The University College London said this:
On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact
Anyway, this can vary widely depending on multiple factors.
My learning habit started with the mobile app after having lunch. The mobile app is really fun and you will have a superb experience compared to others. Every day I did 20 XP for months, but I didn’t reach a 150+ streak. I think that it was something like 80–90 days.
After some months I changed my habit and started using the Duolingo website. Now I use the website after I have dinner. That worked better for me. The main reason is because there is a timed practice mode that allows you to do the entire 20 points in a single try. Practice mode was the key to maintain the days strike. The Duolingo website has many other features and it’s more effective if you want to take the learning process to the next level. I still use the mobile app sometimes, especially when I am travelling or in bed.
My learning process
After years using Duolingo I found the formula that works for me. There’s no rocket science, it’s just a mix between new skills and practice.
I do 2 days of practice mode for every day I spend on learning new skills. If you go all the way down learning skills, it will be impossible for your brain to retain all that information. That’s why I prefer to go slow and steady.
Start listening to/talking with german people. I had a german flatmate once and also I have been in Hannover for a month (in 2010) but that was not enough.
In my opinion, German is by far more complex than English (like Spanish), so it will take a lot of conversations, TV series with subs and playing games in German to start feeling fluent.
I hope this posts helps you learn a language -or anything else- by creating an habit. I would love to hear your story, just drop me a tweet.
PS: I really like the soundtrack from the game Wolfenstein: The New Order.