[more success] Idea dump: how to increase learners' ability

In here for ideas about how to help more learners succeed by increasing their ability

Getting across the idea that language learning has really changed, and that there are so many more resources available. It is so much easier to immerse yourself in the language with new media. Plus there are options to find conversations online too (and if we can facilitate that so much the better). Even just having a dictionary on my phone has made so much difference, especially in Welsh when looking up words you didn’t understand was particularly painful because of the mutations.

Getting across that if one thing isn’t working for you, there are other options to try (sort of the same thing).

Getting across that with all these extra ways of learning (SSIW in particular!) there is no need for it to take years and years to get to conversational standard.

1 Like

One idea I put on the Trello (Sorry I’m really new to that!) was the idea of running a very informal “buddying” system for want of a better word.

The idea being you get a bunch of guys and gals who have been the round the block a fair few times with SSIW and you pair them up with people who are just starting the course. This could take the form of real life chats, skype chats, whatever.

The idea being that in a years time or whatever, the weaker buddy builds up the skills to then become a “stronger” buddy to another new person - and the organic cycle continues.

The “more experienced” buddy wouldn’t need to be a fluent speaker by any means, just someone who has done the whole course and can perhaps ease the person through it, give them advice etc.


“Great minds think alike” That the fact that you and @leiafee and @yorkshireend in the Magic Bullets thread had the same thought means it must be good. :slight_smile: Keep them coming - a good idea needs more than one airing.


Helping people understand why the brain learns as it does - lots of nonsensy pop pyschology believed and some of it is harmful to people’s approachs

1 Like

Not quite sure where this fits, but someone was commenting on habit building and how important that is (@leiafee?) . I think anything that encourages people to build habits, and get in little and often bits of practice is good.

Personally I have liked using Duolingo, in particular it is convenient to practice on the train when I would feel a bit odd doing SSIW lessons. I have a 94 day “streak” (which it measures) and I would hate to lose it, as I am aiming for 100 days. Also, as I started it and SSIW at about the same time and started them together I know how many days I have been learning and it gives me a sense of achievement.

Ideas within SSIW:

Something I have seen work well in other forums like this one are personal “diaries” - you just set up a section for journals, and anyone who wants to start one as their own record of their journey can do so. People still reply and chat within that thread, but it is that person’s “space” on the forum to share whatever they want. Others can read them and get some inspiration when they see how others are improving. (Possibly allow any mix or combination of English and Welsh in these sections so improvement is visible? And records of the person speaking if sound and/or video can be incorporated?)

Profiles and learner stories in more of a blog format would also be good. I know whenever I start something new I search for people’s stories for encouragement. These can be shared on social media for outreach. This is something I’d be happy to help with if it was a chosen idea as I have done a lot of this kind of thing for work.

Another idea would be for people to set regular challenges - eg “who’s joining me in a 7 day sprint to do a lesson a day?” Or “sign up for July’s challenge to listen to 100 hours of Radio Cymru” etc


Some excellent ideas - all added!

We sort of started with stories - @elizabeth_jane did several great pieces, and we haven’t used them yet - so I think that’s a very strong contender for one of our first tests… :slight_smile: :star2:

Yes it was me. Habit forming and streaks and things are a bit of a pet thing with me and my learners at work at the moment.

Spun off from this:

and this

Lot of stuff there about deconstructing the skills, practice-not-procrastinating, and the “achievability” (is that a word) of learning and how “games” are in a way deliberate barriers.

1 Like

Jane McGonigal is absolutely brilliant. Have you read her ‘Reality is Broken’?

It’s on my bookshelf!

1 Like

I want to read that! Have you ever listened to the Tim Ferris podcast? He has a great interview with Jane McGonigal. Also this episode https://tim.blog/2017/05/17/meta-learning/ was fascinating on learning, including some talk about languages.

1 Like

Every once in a while, but I’m quite resistant to podcasts - I prefer being able to skim and drill down when I want to, so it’s almost always only reading for me (plus occasional TED talks…;-)).

1 Like

Always happy to do more, of the same, or different stories. I did Bootcamp interviews but if you come across someone with an interesting story, or angle, I could do an alternative interview. I had intended to write those Bootcamp stories up all together in third person like an article. But I found the individual first person voices stronger.


Are you UKside @KateM d’you want a borrow if so?

Yes I’d love to - if it can be arranged, but I am London - not sure if postage there and back might end up more than a second hand copy. I will be in South and West Wales in August, but I think you are Gogledd?

I was wondering about a SSIW lending system as I would also like some more books to read in Welsh, I have read e-ffrindiau, the 3 Blodwens and Sgwp and need a new Welsh read. I swore this year I was going to stop buying books and start using the library again, but the London library is a bit lacking in Welsh books!


1 Like

I love podcasts for the car or when walking or cooking or doing other jobs round the house. I don’t get on with audiobooks but podcasts are a bit more self-contained.

Tim Ferris has books too, I think his one on learning is called The Four Hour Chef.


1 Like


I’m Neath/Swansea area - I’ll be at the 'steddfod 2nd week in August, if either of those are any good.

Don’t know why I thought you were in the North. But next time I am near you will be when you are at the Eisteddfod!

Typical! :wink:

That would be awesome. With all this, I think we might be about to make some good use of your first set of work - it’s been troubling me that we hadn’t already! :slight_smile:

1 Like