The 80/20 Principle: A Revolutionary Approach to High Impact Learning

80:20Have you ever considered the possibility that the great majority of English learners are wasting a lot of time and energy on activities that are not really helping them improve their fluency?

Is it possible that a significant part of the failure and frustration that people experience is amplified by ineffective and outdated strategies that people never question?

Could it be the case that language learning would be a lot more efficient, enriching, and motivating if we focused more of our time and energy on a small group of high impact activities that produce the most results?

The answer to these questions and more are presented in a simple, intuitive, and revolutionary principle that seems to explain a spectrum of phenomenon and success in almost any topic. 

“How anyone can be more effective with less effort by learning how to identify and leverage the 80/20 principle–the well-known, unpublicized secret that 80 percent of all our results in business and in life stem from a mere 20 percent of our efforts.”Richard Koch (The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More With Less)

The 80/20 Principle

Also known as the Pareto principle, the 80/20 rule states that in many activities in business, education, and nearly any aspect of life, there’s a tendency for around 80% of the results to come from about 20% of activities.  Here are a few examples to help you make sense of this:

  • 80% of the wealth is held by 20% of the world population

  • 80% of the profits come from 20% of the customers

  • 80% of your learning comes from 20% of your efforts

  • 80% of your happiness comes from 20% of your relationships

Let me give you a good way to conceptualize it.

Take a second and think about something you know a lot about or do really well. This could be your profession, a hobby, an instrument you play, maybe even your cooking ability.

Now try to think about the fundamental parts of that activity.

You’ll probably find that there is a 20% foundation of knowledge, and if someone could understand that small percentage, they would have a very good generalized understanding of the entire subject.

Generally, the 20% foundation of knowledge will not only help you understand the subject as a whole, but it works as a map in order for you to see the most important next steps you’ll need to take in your learning process.

After all of your experience and knowledge, have you found that there are certain activities and ideas that are exponentially more effective than others?

Through our years of teaching and language learning, we’ve discovered that this is true in language learning as well, so we’ve used the 80/20 Principle to integrate a small group of the most high-impact activities and character traits into our methodology.

The truth is that most people waste a lot of time on activities that are not bringing significant results in their learning. Here are 4 key examples of the high impact 20 percent in English learning:

80:20 24 High Impact Learning Strategies

1. Getting Motivated: Work on Yourself First 

We find that a lot of people who say they want to learn English in reality aren’t deeply motivated or invested in actually taking the steps that will lead to success. But, if those same people take the time to cultivate a better sense of purpose, passion, and proactivity, the whole process will change.

So, while getting motivated may have little direct or short-term impact on your learning, the results can be massive and life-changing. It will not only help you feel connected to a deeper learning purpose, but it will also empower you to use it in your life, bringing maximum results over time.

Read More: 13 Tips to Lifelong English Fluency

2.  Lifestyle English: Make English a Fun, Convenient, and Natural Part of Your Life

Most people say they don’t have enough time to study English, but if you just take advantage of the convenient moments in transit, and connect it to other parts of your hobbies and interests, the impact on your English and your life can be huge.

English will quickly become a part of your daily routine. As time passes, it will get easier, more and more fun, natural and unconscious. Over the weeks, months, and years the results will accumulate in big ways.

Read More: 5 Ways to Make English a Fun and Convenient Part of Your Daily Life

3. Focusing on Pronunciation & Connected Speech

We’ve discovered that teaching the musical rhythm of the language and the mechanics of connected speech, which is how native speakers shrink and connect words, can have a dramatic and immediate effect upon your fluency.

While most learners attribute their inability to understand native speakers to the myth that “native speakers speak too fast,” the reality is that we drastically cut and alter the sounds of words. This is not something people generally learn in a typical English course.

By learning to recognize and reproduce these sounds, learners usually experience massive improvement in their fluency.

Read More: The 3 Most Powerful Fluency Secrets They Don’t Teach You in School

4. Building Support Networks: Connect with Human Beings

As we’ll explore in a little while, connecting with people who can support and encourage your learning can be just about as significant as anything else.

Whether it’s by getting the support of your family and friends, a teacher or a mentor, a local English conversation group, or an online community, it’s absolutely essential to be connected to others who can motivate and guide your process.

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How to Find Your High Impact 20%

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, as well as differences in our learning styles and what we enjoy, but your objective here is to identify what works for you. The more that you experiment, use your imagination in your learning, and get to know yourself, the more you start to understand what will produce the greatest results.

The 80/20 Principle is a powerful and intuitive concept that has greatly influenced our methodology at the RealLife English. In fact, much of the above article was taken from our exciting new e-book, The RealLife Manifesto: High Impact Ways to Bring Your English to Life, which we’re currently in the process of editing and formatting before we launch it exclusively to newsletter subscribers in the next few weeks.

This manifesto brings together the most high impact, effective, and applicable  RealLife English resources and strategies into one compact and inspiring guide to learning English.  The only way to get it is to become an official member of the RealLife World Movement by signing up for our FREE mailing list. If you sign up today, you also get a FREE copy of our already popular e-book, 101 Words You’ll Never Learn at School.

2 Comments

  1. adonis marcos on January 7, 2014 at 8:37 am

    bro, it makes total sense.
    this is another article which inspire us to keep practicing and learning.
    tks

  2. Wagner Sodré on January 7, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Just another great article from you Justin, they are really useful when it comes to guide our learning process, I've taken a lot of great tips from them. Thank you very much for putting so much efforts to make them so amazing!

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