Learning a second language: Many people attempt it but few accomplish it. Despite the wide variety of books, apps, and courses promising fluency with little effort ("in only 15 minutes a day"), most language learners do not achieve their goals. But there is lots of research studying how language learning works and how to do it effectively. Unfortunately, few language learners are aware of it.
Let's fix that. This course is an accessible introduction to the science and practice of language learning. You'll learn:
- How to select materials for language learning (and which kinds to avoid!)
- How to use language learning materials effectively
- How to manage motivation throughout the language learning process
- How your needs change as you progress from beginner to intermediate to advanced
- How to learn multiple languages at once (and whether you should!)
- How a little knowledge of how language works can save you a lot of time
In short, this course provides you with a toolkit of knowledge, techniques, and mindsets you can use over your lifetime as a language learner.
What You'll Get
Meta-Skills for Language Learning is a self-paced online course divided into 5 modules
- Audio lessons with transcripts.
- PDF worksheets.
- Access to live monthly Q&A session
Structure of the Course
Module 1: Why most language learning resolutions fail
In this module, you'll learn the answer to the question: Why do so many language learning resolutions fail? We'll talk about why we learn languages, and how your reason for learning a language affects how you go about learning it. We'll also highlight some unsuccessful strategies for learning languages and why they don't work. We'll discuss some assumptions people often bring to language learning and show you which are legitimate and which are false and unhelpful. Finally, I'll show you how to take an inventory of your language learning practice as it is today and use it as a starting point to build a new one.
Module 2: The science of how we learn languages
This module introduces the results of the last few decades of research in second language acquisition. We now know a lot about how language learning works. And it turns out that it's not much like the way most people go about learning languages. I'm going to bust language learning myths, and replace these myths with science-backed knowledge.
Module 3: Spending your time and money wisely
In this module we will use what we learned in the last module to review different types of language learning materials and methods: from formal classes and private tutors to conversation partners, textbooks, and apps. Along the way, you'll learn why the best apps for language learning aren't language-learning apps at all.
Module 4: The language learning mindset
This module introduces a factor that will make or break your language learning success: your mindset. I'll teach you practical techniques for working within the constraints of human psychology: techniques for maintaining motivation, fighting burnout, and keeping your love for language learning alive. I'll teach you the counterintuitive way you can keep your progress steady by doing less.
Module 5: Creating your language learning roadmap
In this final module, we'll taking what you've learned in the previous modules and apply it to your own language learning practice. We'll also discuss some special situations you may find yourself in, such as:
- learning dead languages
- learning less-commonly taught languages, and
- learning multiple languages at the same time (including the age-old question how to learn Spanish and French at the same time without mixing them up?)
Finally, you'll create a new language learning roadmap you can use to guide you over the coming months and years of your language learning.
Colin Gorrie is a linguist and experienced language learner. He has been learning languages for 25 years and has spent a decade studying how language works. In this course, he joins his theoretical background in linguistics with his practical experience as a learner of many languages to give you the tools to get you making progress in your target language – and start having fun – once again!
Is this course suitable for someone who has never learned a language before?
Yes, this course is perfect for someone who wants to get start their language learning journey on the right foot.
Is this course suitable for an experienced language learner?
If you are an experienced polyglot with a string of language learning successes under your belt, this course will likely be too basic for you.
However, if you've been learning a language for a while, and you feel frustrated with your lack of progress, this course will be able to help you.
Do I have to be learning a commonly studied language like French or Spanish?
No, these techniques will work for any language – even dead ones! I'll show you how to adapt these techniques and apply these strategies to less-commonly taught languages as well.
Do I have to be available at a particular to take part?
No, this class is completely asynchronous and self-paced.