I finally boarded the Polylogger train and joined the enthusiastic activity tracking community a couple of weeks ago. And to tell the truth, it’s been a bit of a revelation.
Chances are you might well have beaten me to the best seats already. Polylogger already has a well-established, sizeable, active and very sociable fanbase on social media. In fact, it was on Twitter that I first spotted fellow language aficionados singing its praises, so it seemed timely to hop on board already. Better late than never!
Getting started was a cinch. It’s quick and easy to sign up, and the study diary tools are a piece of cake to use. When you get into the swing of things, logging – and watching those graphs grow – is real language geek fun. I love being motivated by what other people are working on, and have already spotted a couple of new resources I didn’t know about through community entries.
But to make the most of the tool, it was what I should be logging that I needed to sort out first and foremost.
That is, what counts as a study session? Just those substantial chunks of time, like hour-long iTalki sessions? Or every little thing, including the odd couple of minutes minutes here and there on casual language apps, or a brief podcast listen during breakfast?
The great #langtwt community, once again, had the answers. It should definitely include the latter. After all, those little bits and pieces all add up. So, off I went, logging my language learning life.
But what secrets did Polylogger have to reveal?
Polylogger : exposing your true habits
By far, its most scandalous exposé for me is the mismatch between what I think I focus on, and what I actually do spend most of my time on. Let’s call it delusion-busting, since I certainly had a very different idea about what I was getting up to. In my mind, I split my main language learning time equally between Greek and Polish. They’re my current active learning projects right now, and I’ve been having at least one iTalki lesson in both every week, as well as fitting in independent activities. I’d actually set Polish as my default language, assuming it was the one I was prioritising most, even attending extra group classes with my tutor.
The thing is, the Polylogger stats do not lie. Shockingly, I’ve actually been spending hours more on Greek. Pretty much twice as many, in fact. How could I not know that?
After analysing the diary stats, the reason jumped out (and was pretty easy to guess in any case). It’s back to that logging every little thing strategy. The numbers show that I naturally fall to Greek when I do my little daily pass-the-time activities like Anki, Duolingo and Glossika. In the long run, that was a massive added value for Greek, and none for Polish. Polish was certainly no poor cousin, and I was working in a couple of major sessions a week – just not the cascade of extras that Greek enjoyed.
No wonder I’ve been finding Greek easier and easier while my Polish level continues to edge along so gradually. Thanks to Polylogger, I can start to rethink my strategy and redress that bias.
Polylogger has been a revelation in itself, providing extra focus and deeper insights into my learning. Whether you’re new to the tool too, or a seasoned user, feel free to add newbie @richwestsoley to your circle!