This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.
The Language Learning Log…
UPDATE: Language Learning Log is no longer live.
No matter how you go about it, learning a language can be an overwhelming endeavour. You have vocabulary, grammar, slang, culture, and so on. Then on top of all that you have this book and that book to go with this audio course and that software program. Not to mention the hundreds of schools you can attend. It’s no wonder we feel like we are running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Like many of you I also have a day job, a family to help raise, and community obligations. With everything going on in our lives, it can be difficult to know if everything we are doing is improving our language abilities. One solution is to keep a language learning log.
Is this Star Trek?…
When I say a language learning log, some people might immediately think of James T Kirk, or Jean Luc Pacard (depending on your generation) starting each episode with their famous, “Captain’s Log”. But a language learning log is just another way to say journal or diary.
To improve your language studies, on a regular basis write down what is going well, what could be better, and what is just not working at all. This lets you see what is really happening and not just what you think is happening. Without a record you might think you are practising this or that enough or have this or that skill down, but after creating your log you’ll get a better idea on where you need to focus.
When learning a language, keeping a log can be a powerful addition to your arsenal. But in this day and age, shouldn’t there be some type of software to help us along? Well, there is. And it’s called, appropriately enough, Language Learning Log.
Language Learning Log…
Language Learning Log is a free software program. At the moment it’s only for Windows based operating systems. The program is specifically designed to help language learners keep track of their progress.
The most obvious part of the software is the writing area. Each day you are given a blank area for writing in your target language. This area is useful because you can write in any language. You can free hand it or set up a template to follow. Immediately below the writing area is a search box to quickly find previous logs.
To the left of the screen are other fantastic tools. Time Trackers keep track of how much time you spend on each language activity. There is tracker for writing, listening, reading, speaking, grammar, and vocabulary. And depending on your preference, you can set them to be visible, or not. To keep track of time you either left click on the timer or right click and input the time manually.
Also on the left is a To-Do section for (obviously) to do lists or goals. When you accomplish your goals, you check them off or just delete them.
Finally there’s an audio log section to record your log. You can also use it to practice speaking in your target language or just leave your thoughts in your native tongue. It’s all up to you.
The downside, as I’ve mentioned, is that it’s only for Windows. Mobile users have been left out in the cold as well. I know Catherine has a search for a Mac version and so have I. Sure, there similar available, but not anything that specifically caters to the language learner like this one does. With some encouragement, hopefully we can get developers to create one for other Operating Systems.
No matter if you use the Language Learning Log software or not, it is helpful to keep a record of how you are doing in your language studies. Not just to make sure you are going in the right direction, but to see how far you’ve progressed. So, what are you waiting for? Get out that paper and start logging!