Language learning: Why it’s right to be wrong

Learn | 9 June 2015

“We learn from our mistakes”: not only does this adage hold true in everyday life, it also applies perfectly to language learning. Not being afraid of making mistakes is an advice regularly provided when starting to learn.

But how can mistakes be helpful in memorising and improving your language skills?

Mathematically, it can be shown that if you give yourself the freedom to make a modest percentage of mistakes in the learning process instead of trying to be perfect, you can actually learn more in the same amount of time.

The assessment is quite simple: even if you happen to make some mistakes in using a word you’ve just learnt, you can already recognise it in a written sentence or spot it in a conversation. Instead of focusing on getting this specific word 100% right every time, you will be able to pay attention to the rest of the sentence or the context in which this word is used, thus absorbing additional knowledge.

Here at Lingvist, we make the most out of your mistakes so we could enhance your learning progress and make you learn efficiently.

Lingvist adapts to your mistakes.

First of all, because Lingvist is an adaptive tool, it will not penalise you for making a mistake while learning new words. “Au contraire”, our smart algorithm will measure and test for the right balance of mistakes you should personally make to improve. Thus, if we see that you need a higher level of accuracy to progress in your studies, a word that’s been difficult for you to remember will keep popping up regularly, as many times as needed, to give you time to learn it properly.


Lingvist provides you with tools to help you understand your mistakes.

Some mistakes can be avoided by simply repeating and reviewing the word a certain number of times. Sometimes, however, you need more insight into your thought process to eventually get it right and keep improving. When you make a mistake on Lingvist, we will give you tips and hints that help you understand why you made it, so you could correct your mistake in the future. 

Mistakes can be a source of motivation.

Even if they are useful, nobody likes to make mistakes. On your Lingvist dashboard, you can see your progress, including the percentage of your correct answers in a given day. Use these data as an additional motivation and try to improve your results every day.

But remember, as mathematics have shown, making 5 to 15% of mistakes will help you learn faster!