Sunday, June 18, 2017

"Habit" In Action: Duolingo Swedish

I have just finished the chapter HABIT of the book I'm currently reading, My 31 Practices, by Alan Williams and Steve Payne (illustrated by John Montgomery). At the beginning of the chapter, the authors are talking about the Hook Model (Trigger/Action/Variable Reward/Investment) and the Habit Loop (Cue/Routine/Reward), and towards the end they provided an illustration of the approach in a general manner.

The Book: front and back covers.

I decided to "test drive" and adapted it in the context of my Swedish language learning with Duolingo, using pages 115 and 116 as my template. To my delight it was super easy to do! So here goes...

1) At a certain time in the day, I receive a prompt to remind me to practice for the day (PROMPT/CUE).
This is a screenshot from my iPhone. This becomes my first point above.

2) When I click on the Duolingo app (ACTION/ROUTINE), I can see which sections require revision (PROMPT/CUE).

3) I take the time to (PROMPT/CUE) look at those sections and start practicing or completing them (ACTION/ROUTINE).

4) I am pleased to complete them and see the 'bar' becoming full once again (REWARD). Having completed the section(s) requiring strengthening or revising, I start on a completely new module—Duolingo does not allow you to tackle a new module until the current one is completed—and I do the section until it is completed (INVESTMENT).

5) I capture a screenshot of the new level I have passed for reflection and recording (ACTION/ROUTINE).

6) Completing this "process" is motivating because I am confirming to myself I have completed my Swedish language learning, to whatever extent (REWARD). This happens on two levels: first, the Duolingo scoring gives a sense of achievement; second, recording it (screenshots) reinforces it (REWARD) and the accumulation of this data over time builds my connection with the Duolingo approach (INVESTMENT).

7) Sharing my results on my blog or Facebook page or in person with my friends and family serves a similar purpose (REWARD and INVESTMENT).

Seeing how easy it is to "gel" it with what I'm already doing and now seeing it reinforced through what I'm reading is satisfying. I will continue to study the principles in this book and craft my own 31 practices. I've got stuff jotted down already and looking forward to the end result, which I'm sure I will always be refining.

Taking "baby steps"—just one small thing each day is indeed easy to do as part of our daily lives!