I have a guilty secret. During the pandemic, I have paid for and started over ten online courses. None of which I completed. I tell myself that I’ll get back to them eventually… but by now there is no evidence that will ever happen!
The problem is that as motivated as I am to learn a bunch of new skills, I lose momentum the moment a course gets hard, since I just don’t have the energy to both work and learn something unless I’m enjoying it. So the initial excitement in learning to program gave way to the despair of seeing inscrutable code on a screen.
This is why sustainability is so important when learning a new skill. Unless there is some way of keeping ourselves attentive and engaged, we give up the moment it gets difficult.
Fortunately, there are some innovations which make learning certain new skills fun and sustainable. Try the following.
Learn a new language by binge-watching TV
There are many people who enjoy using apps like Duolingo or Babbel to learn languages. These apps are effective because they gamify the process. However, this gamification is not for everyone, and the end result can be disappointing. While you may have picked some of the language up, you’ll have a lot of difficulty actually speaking it.
The much more enjoyable way of learning how a language is actually spoken is provided by Lingopie. Lingopie is an app that gives you access to thousands of hours of TV series in foreign languages. By binge-watching TV in another language, you naturally pick some of it up.
But Lingopie goes further than that. It provides interactive subtitles, which you can click to find out more about certain words and phrases, as well as to keep a note of them for later.
You can find out more in this Lingopie review about the most fun way of learning languages available.
Play guitar with tabs
I started playing guitar years ago, but I got very bored of practicing. There is no fun in doing scales and chord changes over and over again. It seemed like too much work was necessary before I could actually enjoy it.
But when I picked it up again, I decided not to do a course or follow any particular lesson program. Instead, I made sure I knew how to play the basic chords, and I used tabs to start playing songs I loved.
Tabs use numbers to show you which frets you need to press on a certain string to get each note in the song. It is intuitive and allows beginner guitarists to start playing songs without hours of practice first. You’re not going to be good at the songs at first, but you will get a hang of the guitar the more you play, while not getting tired of exhausting exercises.
Ultimate Guitar provides one of the best apps for guitar tabs, with just about every song you would want to play.
Start sketching with Augmented Reality (AR)
Most people claim not to be able to draw. This is generally true, as they have never put in the effort to learn. Not everyone wants to draw badly enough to put in the work. I certainly don’t.
Fortunately, there is a much more enjoyable option available today. You don’t have to spend hours of your time working on your lines before you can sketch something well. Instead, you can use an app like SketchAR, which uses augmented reality (AR) to show the outline through your phone or tablet on the page in front of you. Then, you just follow the lines.
The best learning happens when you’re enjoying yourself. These may not be the most systematic ways to learn the above skills, but they are certainly the most fun and sustainable.