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Last Updated on August 8, 2019

How to Make Learning Fun for Adults

How to Make Learning Fun for Adults

The advantages of continuing education as an adult learner are numerous. By learning and perfecting new skills, you could advance your career, secure a new job, or even pursue your ambitions in a new field.

But as adults, our motivation to continue education wanes. Not to mention, we have far more on our minds now than we did as children, teenagers, and students. Those simple rewards of the past are no longer relevant, and the mere thought of returning to academic practices of the past is soul-sucking.

So first, let’s address the common difficulties and misconceptions often held by potential adult learners.

“I’m too old; it’s too late for me to learn something new”

As human beings, our true education is lifelong. Your brain will never switch off or refuses to take in new information. The only limit is your curiosity and willpower. You certainly can teach an old dog new tricks, especially with a fun approach.

“I finished formal education, and I have no desire to return!”

With strict, formal education out of the way, why not choose to learn about something that interests you? Being forced to learn is not effective, but now you have the freedom to choose. You will be surprised how fast you will learn when the subject interests you, or will create a better future.

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“I’m already working full-time; continuing to learn at home feels like just another work shift!”

Try changing your perception. Learning is an investment into your future, whether for financial security, career progression, or pursuit of your true desires. Make learning fun and purposeful, and you will enjoy it.

“The conventional methods brought me great results in the past; how can a fun learning approach be as effective?”

By making learning fun you will manipulate the brain’s reward center to work in your favor. Not only will it fuel your motivation, but your brain will absorb information like a sponge!

How to Make Learning Fun for Adults: Six Methods

For us adult learners, the conventional methods of learning soon feels dull and arduous. Yet, making things fun never ceases to boost our motivation. Loosen up your approach to learning with these six methods, you’ll be amazed how much you can learn while having fun!

1. Inject a Tickle of Humor

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    Even if you are severely lacking motivation, lessons fused with laughter can be highly effective. Not only are they entertaining, but humor has actually been seen to boost retention significantly!

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    By sandwiching humor between instruction and repetition, you can learn incredibly fast while still having a laugh. Just make sure you the humor matches your own taste or age group.

    Even more complicated subjects, such as programming, can be mixed up with humor. In this case, you could try using your lessons to create comedic gif animations.

    2. Utilize Smart Devices and Applications

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      Flashcards are a thing of the past, and applications are their modern replacement. For most of us, our smartphones, tablets, or computers are with us at all times. With thousands of applications and software, covering a wide variety of subjects, we can easily make learning both fun and convenient.

      For instance, if you are interested in learning languages, Duolingo offers a fun learning platform with challenges to keep you motivated. Whenever you have a bored moment, don’t waste it browsing social media. Hone your new skills using your favorite interactive applications.

      3. Embark on Field Trips and Educational Travel

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        Travel leads to exciting experiences, personal growth, and inspiration, just to name a few. Exploring in new environments produces a rush of sensory stimuli. As our awareness rises, we absorb new information more rapidly as a matter of survival. As a result, these experiences and lessons learned stick with us forever.

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        Break out of the conventional learning conditions, the same office, room, or school. Going for a field trip or travelling to a new place will supercharge your progress.

        If you are learning a new language, visiting a native country would be the ultimate way learn the language and a fantastic experience. In other cases, you could consider travelling to attend a seminar, a training course or meet with a new mentor.

        4. Challenge Yourself Using Games

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          Games are not only for kids. Even as adults, our competitive spirit and gaming addiction still burns just as bright. There are countless educational games that will challenge and reward you. You will be surprised how quickly you will learn while having fun.

          Whether you’re interested in learning to code, or defeating calculus once and for all, there are games out there that will get you hooked and learning in no time!

          The majority of educational games may not be directly marketed at adults, but don’t let that deter you!

          5. Find Supportive Communities (Local/Online)

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            There are literally thousands of groups around the world, where individuals come together over common interests or goals. These informal communities are a hive of shared knowledge and experience, motivating, and teaching others in the most natural way possible.

            If you can find the right community, you will receive a powerful sense motivation and a wealth of knowledge. There is a great social buzz as ideas are shared freely and collaborations blossom as everyone helps each other.

            If you can’t find any local meetings to suit your chosen study, look for an online community on forums or social media. Whether you’re trying to learn a new language or how to become a freelance designer, you can be sure there’s a community that caters!

            6. Free Yourself to Explore

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              Focusing too heavily on stringent learning approaches is going to burn you out and down your motivation eventually. Instead, why not let the winds of exploration help you take flight.

              Let your curiosity guide you across a variety of different resources such as videos, documentaries or even podcasts. By freeing yourself to explore intuitively, knowledge will be accumulated in a more natural and meaningful way.

              Let’s say you were trying to learn Spanish. Instead of burying your head in textbooks, you could break up your sessions with other interesting resources such as YouTube videos, blog articles, radio shows, etc.

              Now that we’ve shown you how to make learning fun for adults, go out there and learn something new!

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              Last Updated on September 17, 2019

              What’s the Easiest Language to Learn for English Speakers?

              What’s the Easiest Language to Learn for English Speakers?

              Who says learning a language needs to be hard?

              The better question to ask is: what is the easiest language to learn in the shortest amount of time?

              How to Know Which Languages Are Easier to Learn?

              Playing to Your Strengths

              One way to hack this process is to first understand that as English speakers, we have in our hands one of the most connected languages that exists. It’s linked to many European Germanic languages by descent or influence, and over 50 percent of English words stem from Latin or French.

                This probably doesn’t come as a big surprise to most, as the structure, alphabet, and makeup of the language is very similar to Spanish, Italian, French, and other languages from the latin root.

                Bestselling author and polyglot, Tim Ferriss, says that you should consider a new language like a new sport.

                There are certain physical prerequisites (height is an advantage in basketball), rules (a runner must touch the bases in baseball), and so on that determine if you can become proficient at all, and—if so—how long it will take.

                For example, it would a wiser choice and indicate a higher likelihood of success if a professional water polo player decided to transition into playing handball: similar structures, rules, and physical requirements.

                However, it wouldn’t be too wise if Kobe Bryant started to play professional ice hockey. It involves learning too many new rules, an entire new skill (skating), and the likelihood of success decreases significantly (or will take 10x longer).

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                Language learning is no different. As a “professional” language learner, we need to first breakdown our strengths and our understanding of existing rules and structures.

                If you already speak English, picking a compatible language with similar sounds and word structure like Spanish, instead of a completely different root like Mandarin, could mean the difference between reaching conversation fluency in 3 months versus 3 years.

                Follow the Golden Sentences

                If you want to determine which is the easiest language to learn, you should aim to answer the following questions first.

                • Are there new grammatical structures that will postpone fluency?
                • Are there new sounds that will double or quadruple the time it takes to acquire fluency? (particularly vowels)
                • How similar is it to languages I already understand? What will help and what will interfere?
                • All of which answer the question: How difficult will it be, and how long would it take to become fluent?

                An effective tool to use to answer all of these questions is called The Golden Sentences.

                It comprises eight sentences that expose much of the language, and quite a few deal breakers.

                1. The apple is red.
                2. It is John’s apple.
                3. I give John the apple.
                4. We give him the apple.
                5. He gives it to John.
                6. She gives it to him.
                7. I must give it to him.
                8. I want to give it to her.

                Here’s a directly translated version of these sentences in Spanish.

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                  There’s a couple of reasons why these sentences are helpful:

                  • It shows you how verbs are conjugated based on the speaker (gender and number)
                  • You can see a high-level view of the fundamental sentence structures, which helps you answer questions like: is it subject-verb-object (SVO) like English and Chinese (“I eat the apple”), is it subject-object-verb (SOV) like Japanese (“I the apple eat”), or something else?
                  • The first three sentences shows you if the language has a noun case that may become a pain in the butt for you. For example in German, “the” might be der, das, die, dem, den and more depending on whether “the apple” is an object, indirect object, possessed by someone else, etc.

                  If possible, I recommend you check with a language teacher to fully understand the translation of these sentences and how transferable your existing languages are.

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                  As a rule of thumb: use The Golden Sentences as your guiding map, before you choose the vehicle (the method). It will help you achieve your goals in half the time.

                  Difficulty Level for Learning the 7 Most Common Languages

                  Now let’s dive into dissecting which of the hundreds of languages that exist, is the easiest language to learn.

                  We profiled each of the languages we’ll mention into the following categories:

                  • Speaking: This is based on the ease with which learners are able to pick up this language.
                  • Grammar: Used as a criterion when ranking a given language as easy, moderately easy, or difficult to acquire.
                  • Writing: In many languages, learning to speak first and write later makes the journey easier. Other languages are equally easy to speak and write. This item spells out the easiest languages to write alongside the most difficult. As with speaking, easy, moderately easy, and difficult were used to qualify each language.

                  We’ve decided to rank the order of the languages from easiest to hardest to learn.

                  1. Spanish

                  • Speaking: Very Easy
                  • Grammar: Very Easy
                  • Writing: Easy
                  • Overall: Very Easy

                  As English speakers, we can be thankful that Spanish pronunciations are one of the easiest to learn.

                  Overall, Spanish has a shallow orthographic depth – meaning that most words are written as pronounced. This means that reading and writing in Spanish is a straightforward task.

                  With only ten vowel and diphthong sounds (English has 20), and no unfamiliar phonemes except for the fun-to-pronounce letter ñ. This makes learning how to speak Spanish the easiest out of the bunch, and may give you the best return on your time and investment, as 37 per cent of employers rated Spanish as a critical language to know for employment.[1]

                  2. Italian

                  • Speaking: Easy
                  • Grammar: Easy
                  • Writing: Moderately Easy
                  • Overall: Easy

                  Italian is the most “romantic” of the romance languages. Luckily its latin-rooted vocabulary translates into many similar Italian/English cognates, such as foresta (forest), calendario (calendar), and ambizioso (ambitious).

                  Like Spanish, many of the words in Italian are written as pronounced. Moreover, the Italian sentence structure is highly rhythmic, with most words ending in vowels. This adds a musicality to the spoken language which makes it fairly simple to understand, and a spunky language to use.

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                  3. French

                  • Speaking: Moderate
                  • Grammar: Moderate
                  • Writing: Moderately Easy
                  • Overall: Moderate

                  Despite how different French may appear at first, linguists estimate that French has influenced up to a third of the modern English language.

                  This may also explain why French’s Latin derivations make much of the vocabulary familiar to English speakers (edifice, royal, village). There are also more verb forms (17, compared to the English 12) and gendered nouns (le crayon, la table).

                  But it’s not all easy.

                  Pronunciation in French is especially difficult, with vowel sounds and silent letters that you may not be used to in English.

                  4. Portuguese

                  • Speaking: Moderate
                  • Grammar: Moderate
                  • Writing: Moderate
                  • Overall: Moderate

                  With the Brazilian economy ranking 6th in the world, Portuguese has become a powerful language to learn. One great element of the language is that interrogatives are fairly easy, expressed by intonation alone (“You Like This?”) If you can say it in Portuguese, you can ask it. What’s more, in Brazilian Portuguese, there’s one catchall question tag form: não é.

                  The main difficulty with the pronunciation is the nasal vowel sounds that require some practice.

                  5. German

                  • Speaking: Difficult
                  • Grammar: Moderate
                  • Writing: Moderate
                  • Overall: Moderately Difficult

                  For many English speakers, German is a difficult language to pick up. Its long words, four noun case endings, and rough pronunciation gives your tongue quite the work out each time you speak.

                  German is recognized as a very descriptive language. A good example is how they use the noun by combining the object with the action at hand.

                  Example: das Fernsehen – the television, combines the words fern, far, andsehen, watching, lit. far-watching.

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                  On the other hand, German can be a fun language to learn and its use of grammar is considered to be quite logical, with many overlapping words in English. Just watch out for the exceptions to the rules!

                  6. Hindi

                  • Speaking: Moderate
                  • Grammar: Moderately Difficult
                  • Writing: Difficult
                  • Overall: Moderately Difficult

                  There are many familiar words in English which are either Hindi or of Hindi origin. For example guru, jungle, karma, yoga, bungalow, cheetah, looting, thug and avatar. Hindi also uses lots of English words. They are read and pronounced as they are in English, but are written in Hindi. For example, डॉक्टर is pronounced doctor and स्टेशन is pronounced station.

                  This shows that while learning the vocabulary and pronunciation of Hindi may not to be too difficult due to its similarity to English, writing in Hindi is a different ball game.

                  7. Mandarin

                  • Speaking: Difficult
                  • Grammar: Difficult
                  • Writing: Very Difficult
                  • Overall: Very Difficult

                  Last, but not least: Mandarin. We mainly put this here to show you the contrasting difference between the easiest language to learn (Spanish) and the hardest language to learn, for English speakers.

                  While language learners won’t struggle as much on the grammar, mastering the tones can be very difficult. Mandarin is a tonal language, which means the pitch or intonation used when a word is spoken impacts its meaning. For example, tang with a high tone means soup, but tang with a rising tone means sugar.

                  Learning Mandarin has its rewards though, providing cultural insights and knowledge. But according to the BBC, you’ll need to memorize over 2,000 characters to read a Chinese newspaper![2]

                  What’s the Easiest Language to Learn?

                  Winner: Spanish

                  The clear winner for the easiest language to learn is Spanish. Everything from writing, grammar, and speaking will come more naturally to the English speaker: similar rules, structure, and latin roots.

                  It’ll be like going from playing football to ultimate Frisbee.

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                  Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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