David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

On the Internet Where you Learn is as important as the What you Learn

In today’s post I would to draw some conclusions about language learning based on two studies that reached me recently.

The first study is a so-called Language Barometer language learning community conducted amongst more than 45.000 of its users and held in March of this year. Participants could choose multiple answers and came from 230 countries.

The second one is a survey of digital publishing AG, a provider of language learning solutions based in Munich / Germany. The survey was held in February of 2012, 715 people participated in the the survey. Participants could choose one answer only and were all Germans.

Both studies cover several other points such as how people learn a foreign language, their favorite methods whether this might be online, offline or even using a mobile device and what the most requested languages are these days. However, I would like to concentrate on a point both the studies cover and which is therefore the most adequate to compare.

Both companies requested the motivation why to learn a new language with astonishingly different results. dp found out that 40% of participants made professional reasons their top priority and answered that they would most likely learn a new language for their job.

The busuu community members also see professional reasons as an important factor and thus 37% answered “for business”. Interestingly, it wasn’t their top answer nor the second choice, but a whopping 46% of busuu users answered “for traveling” followed by “for fun” scoring a strong 38% of the total of answers.

In dp’s survey the fun factor does not even appear, we can only assume that it can be found somewhere in the remaining 12% of other reasons. The top argument of traveling seems to be much less appealing to dp customers. Only a mere 22% answered with holidays.

How could one explain this big gap in motivation?

One answer can certainly be found in the positioning of both companies. Whereas busuu is an online community for learning languages, dp claims to be the perfect way to learn a language. Although dp also has private people as users of their software and online solutions, they go more after the corporate market. busuu also has a paid offer, one can for instance buy apps for mobile learning, they focus much more on the community element and social learning via language exchange with conversation partners.

What the results of both surveys show is that learning a foreign language for business is

  • a) highly motivational (it would be interesting to look deeper into the demographics here) and
  • b) not limited to “professional” solutions, but that a large number of learners in a language learning community also has a somewhat serious objective in mind.
  • The other answers seem to be much more in line of what one would expect: in a language learning community one learns for traveling, for fun and for meeting other people. The social interaction and peer learning are very strong. People tend to choose a professional platform for more serious reasons such as work, going abroad (for the job) or because they have a partner who speaks another language.

    Social interaction plays a much smaller role. In the end, the where you learn seems to be almost as important as the what you learn.

    Picture: Books/dictionaries of different languages via Shutterstock

    The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

    Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

    Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
    Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
    • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
    • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
    • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
    Keep reading Show less

    Climate change melts Mount Everest's ice, exposing dead bodies of past climbers

    Melting ice is turning up bodies on Mt. Everest. This isn't as shocking as you'd think.

    Image source: Wikimedia commons
    Surprising Science
    • Mt. Everest is the final resting place of about 200 climbers who never made it down.
    • Recent glacial melting, caused by climate change, has made many of the bodies previously hidden by ice and snow visible again.
    • While many bodies are quite visible and well known, others are renowned for being lost for decades.
    Keep reading Show less

    Creativity: The science behind the madness

    Human brains evolved for creativity. We just have to learn how to access it.

    Creativity: The science behind the madness | Rainn Wilson, David Eagleman, Scott ...
    • An all-star cast of Big Thinkers—actors Rainn Wilson and Ethan Hawke; composer Anthony Brandt; neuroscientists David Eagleman, Wendy Suzuki, and Beau Lotto; and psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman—share how they define creativity and explain how our brains uniquely evolved for the phenomenon.
    • According to Eagleman, during evolution there was an increase in space between our brain's input and output that allows information more time to percolate. We also grew a larger prefrontal cortex which "allows us to simulate what ifs, to separate ourselves from our location in space and time and think about possibilities."
    • Scott Barry Kaufman details 3 brain networks involved in creative thinking, and Wendy Suzuki busts the famous left-brain, right-brain myth.

    Dinosaur bone? Meteorite? These men's wedding bands are a real break from boredom.

    Manly Bands wanted to improve on mens' wedding bands. Mission accomplished.

    Sex & Relationships
    • Manly Bands was founded in 2016 to provide better options and customer service in men's wedding bands.
    • Unique materials include antler, dinosaur bones, meteorite, tungsten, and whiskey barrels.
    • The company donates a portion of profits to charity every month.
    Keep reading Show less
    Politics & Current Affairs

    How #Unity2020 plans to end the two-party system, bring back Andrew Yang

    The proposal calls for the American public to draft two candidates to lead the executive branch: one from the center-left, the other from the center-right.

    Scroll down to load more…