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The Pushy Duolingo Bird

distracted businesman

I enjoy learning new languages. When I travel, I try to learn the native language to truly enjoy the local experience. As technology has changed my approach to this has evolved from books, audiobooks, web sites, to apps. I finally landed on Duolingo because I like the learning model.

Spaced, repetitive practice.

Every day, a green bird reminds me that I need to practice my latest language, or I am going to fall behind. I’ll be honest, this bird is a little pushy, which is exactly what I need to remember to finish my Spanish lesson when I don’t feel like it.

Practice sessions are short and increase in difficulty based on what I accomplish in each session. When I complete each short session, I receive some sort of badge that means nothing, but I get an endorphin rush from the little shiny object and the noise it makes, so I keep going back for it every day.

My daughters have programs funded through school that we use at home that also teach math, keyboarding, and phonics this same way. They are encouraged to log in and practice every day, they are rewarded fake internet prizes, and sessions are limited in time to encourage spaced repetition.

Drip learning models like this are being adopted by schools, language apps, and many organizations this model because it works for long term learning and focuses on a commodity that we always seem short on.

Time Matters

30-minute lessons are great, but what if people just don’t have 30 minutes? 30 minutes is a meeting, whereas two minutes is a task. You can get a task done on the train, in between meetings, if you get to work early, or in one of those magical moments when you have two minutes! A short lesson that is available to people each morning where they must complete it to get the next one is a great place to start. It does not need to be a StoryLine course to be a lesson. A short article, a video or podcast recommendation, a quick Camtasia or Adobe Spark video, or a fast captivate sim will do.

Like language and school skills apps, the learning world is evolving. According to the Linkedin 2019 Workplace Learning Report, budget is no longer the top challenge in L&D departments. Instead, the priority has shifted to identifying and closing skills gaps. We can’t close those gaps if we don’t have the time or the content delivered in a way that meets the needs of the people who need to grow those skills.

How are you closing skills gaps with time being an important commodity amongst employees?

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