Learning Must be Effortful


Learning will get easier when people fall in love with effort. 

Learning is effective when it’s effortful. 

Effortless learning does not bring lasting results, but it’s a beautiful idea to sell. We’re all going to achieve more as language learners when people take serious steps in the direction of believing themselves, and not “experts”, “influencers”, and for God’s sake, celebrities. 

Btw, what do celebrities have to do with learning? Why would you even trust someone you don’t know, especially when you DO know that these people are professional actors and can take any role for money? Why would you take the advice of someone who has a totally different lifestyle than you, and most importantly - doesn’t have the results that you’re looking for. They have fame, and they have your attention. But YOU have the power to give or not give your attention to information. 

When language learners embrace the idea of effortful learning, they will stop looking for “15-min-a-day-English” solutions. They will not enroll in “3-months-to-fluency” programs. When people wake up to the fact that learning takes time, they will start appreciating the time they have. How long does it take ME to achieve fluency? To remember new words? To read one novel in English? To change my pronunciation? For example, it’s taken me a year to change the shape of my vowels and get to the point where my result is not depending on the circumstances. I reprogrammed my pronunciation autopilot. I don’t know how to learn anything in 15 days. You can learn ABOUT something in 15 days, but it’s not enough time to create a lasting improvement.  

When you start respecting your time, you learn to enjoy your effort. I will never become a native speaker, and I don’t want to feed the illusion of becoming one with my time and effort. What I know is that I can achieve native-like fluency, and I’m showing the result of my effort to myself daily.

What I’ve learned over the years is that it takes a very different kind of effort to achieve understanding, whatever you learn. Most people associate learning with “marking new words in an English text”, “sitting through a class”, or “doing endless grammar drills”, but this is learning ABOUT the language. As soon as you get to B2, C1, or as soon as you realize that the result of speaking a foreign language can’t be measured by a test, you stop doing the exercises that will be on the test, and you stop engaging in activities that prepare you for the test. People who need English to get ahead in their career, to build meaningful relationships with people, to share their vast knowledge with native speakers do not need certificates. They need connection and confidence. 

To learn connection, you need to apply a different type of effort. You need to learn to be attentive to the target language and to the way you use it, you need to learn to apply conscious effort, to listen carefully (both to yourself and others), to trust your gut, to double-check everything you thought to be true, to self-reflect, to ask for help, to self-regulate your learning, to write (that’s why I’m writing this text in English), and to enjoy the effort you’re putting into becoming a whole different type of learner. Achieving native-like fluency in a foreign language is about becoming, not “studying”.

I have a free course about the 9 essential skills (all human skills) that are required to achieve native-like fluency. If you’re interested, apply for it. Btw, it takes effort to apply, and I hope you’ll like it🙂. Every lesson includes 1 or 2 practical exercises.

Learning is effective when it’s effortful. 

Learning to give a lot of effort effortlessly takes time, and I’d rather spend this time enjoying my deliberate practice routine rather than searching for a quick fix. Even the most advanced technology can’t change human nature and the fact that learning something takes time. All serious improvements in life take time. Whatever app you choose to support your learning process, it’s designed to support it, and not to do the learning for you.

My learning efforts bring joy because they support the person I am becoming. 
And this gives me tremendous confidence that I’m on the right path.