Learn a Language in 30 Days…is it Too Good to be True?

As the calendar turns yet another page…

…we’re moving further away from the excitement of ringing in the new year and even further still from the motivation to work towards our New Years’ Resolutions.

Are you one of the many people who set out to learn a new language in 2021?

Learning a language in a year is not an impossible goal, but it takes a lot of work and dedication to the task. With most adults dropping their resolutions by the end of February (if not before), I wonder – where are you on your journey to fluency?

Many language companies take advantage of that January motivation with claims that students can reach an intermediate level of fluency within 30 days. Others say that fluency can be yours if you have as few as 15 minutes a day to study. These claims make it seem like all you need is a limited amount of time to learn a language, but they make no mention of motivation, conversation, or practical application of what’s been learned. If a student isn’t fluent in a new language after 30 days of study, they may start to wonder “what’s wrong with me?” and lose motivation or give up altogether.

It’s true that language learners can make huge strides within 30 days or with a daily 15-minute practice, but time is not the only factor impacting acquisition. Let’s take two students who study for 15 minutes daily as an example. One student follows online modules while she is on the bus; the modules include listening to prompts and responding to multiple choice questions about what she’s heard. The other student spends 15 minutes each day reading through a textbook, completing the exercises, and speaking his answers out loud to practice pronunciation. At the end of 30 days – which student do you think has acquired more of the target language?

It’s a trick question: it’s impossible to answer because every student has a unique path to fluency. This path is not just influenced by the quality of instruction or materials used, however, because the student’s motivation, learning style, and aptitude for language are equally important factors in how quickly a language is acquired.

In order for a student to really be successful, those elements must be addressed. That’s why IOR Language Training is customized for every student, every time.

  • We carefully match students with language trainers who have experience working with expatriates and their family members, business professionals, spouses/partners, and children.
  • Our trainers create a Personal Development Plan with each student at their first lesson and use their input to set S.M.A.R.T. goals that the student is motivated to strive towards.
  • Students and trainers work together to choose materials that will complement learning styles while peaking their interests, including anything from online tools and traditional textbooks to graphic novels, technical writings, gossip magazines, local newspapers, and more.
  • Lessons are carefully curated so the student can leave the training session, apply what they’ve learned in the authentic environments around them, and really acquire language.

It’s clear that there is no universal amount of time each day that every language learner needs to spend studying in order to check “learn a language” off their to-do lists. However, consistent practice coupled with customized training plans, interesting materials, and the personal touch from a skilled professional will get you a lot farther in 30 days than any algorithm can. 

Written by Rita Hess, Director of Language Training and Innovation