Duolingo, a popular app that lets users learn various languages for free, has published an interesting report recently.
They released a detailed study which answers the question – what is the best time to learn a new language – taking into account how people have used their app over time.
The conclusion of the study? Resting, even if for a short while, ultimately leads to better language retention and improved learning.
During 2016, some researchers found that sleeping between your language practice sessions help you learn better. For the study, two groups of 20 people were picked based on the time of the practice sessions.
One of the groups practiced in the morning time and revised the lesson during the evening. The other group did exactly the opposite, practicing at bedtime and revising the course during the next morning. The results were clear – those who slept between the sessions had better language retention rates.
The researchers then developed a theory that for better retention, a good sleep is necessary. The same concept was applied to Duolingo’s users. About 14 groups were identified by the developers based on when their users made use of the app the most.
Additive Factor Model
The difficulty level of each exercise was controlled by Duolingo researchers, while an ‘Additive Factor Model’ helped them monitor the language learning ability of the users. At the end of the study, each group was ranked according to its proficiency level.
The results, as expected, showed that those practicing at bedtime learned fastest. This group was actually ranked higher than 52.9 percent of total users.
The second, named as the “arbitrary” group, did not have a regular practice routine and were less likely to remember what they had learned over time.
The third group was ranked lowest in terms of retention on the learners’ index, as they practiced on weekdays without practicing over the weekend.
The researchers derived a solid result from the study, concluding that consistent learning with short or medium length sleep sessions is necessary for better language retention.