After I have decided to learn a specific language, I’ve found it really helpful to write a language plan. You might be wondering why you need a language plan if you are going to use Synergy. Synergy is a language plan, but it’s very general. I find it helpful to create a specific language plan for every language I learn, even if it’s merely a chronological list of resources to be used. In fact, I prefer a simple bullet-point type chronological list of resources, and use it in conjunction with Synergy to define what I need, what I need to do and when I need to do it. If you like more detail, you can copy the Synergy post, paste your resources into the appropriate locations, and add text as needed. A language plan is something that should be created as a result of the pre-learning research that’s mentioned in Synergy. This list always gets changed to some degree at some point, but taking the time to think it out and put it together helps me approach the language more efficiently. It can reduce the number of wrong turns, and help answer the question “what’s next?” I never used to create language plans, but now I do, because of some costly mistakes I made in the past. Let me give you an example. When I started learning Japanese, I couldn’t for the life of me remember the kanji. Kanji are (formerly) Chinese characters adapted for use in the Japanese language, there are thousands of them, and they can be quite complicated. So when I read about the RTK (Remembering the Kanji) method, which teaches all 2000 or so common use kanji in a couple hundred hours, I was really glad. I tried it out on the first 100 or so characters, bought the book, and bought into the method 100%. The trouble is, I had no idea what I was supposed to do after that. Now that I’ve been studying Japanese for 9 years, I understand how kanji fit into the language really well, and I know that the RTK method, or more specifically, how I used it in my studies, wasn’t very efficient. It took me 300 hours to complete. If I had done some research, and written a language plan before I started, I would have known that learning that first 100 characters, and understanding the method, would have been enough at that point. Also, I would have known what to do after RTK, and not made my next error, which was to do RTK2. RTK2 was terribly difficult for a beginner, and I quit after 100 hours. In fact, it made me quit Japanese completely for a week or two; I was that discouraged. I eventually spent enough time with the language to figure everything out, but if I had written a language plan before all this happened, it would have saved me a lot of time and grief. Let me use Russian to create a sample language plan. I researched Russian, and didn’t really find anything that requires deviations from Synergy. I checked out available resources, read lots of reviews and forum posts, thought about Synergy and everything I need to follow it, and came up with the following list (this is actually more like the final list; I changed it several times during the learning process, but I just want to show you a clean example): · Beginner’s Russian Script · acapela · Pimsleur · Google Translate · Wordreference · Russian Wictionary · Anki · Russianpod101 · MP3 player · Russian Movies & TV with subtitles · LingQ · Michel Thomas · Shared talk · Skype · Lang-8 · Diary · New Penguin Russian Course · Italki · Veroniny So I could take this list, and buy or bookmark the resources as I need them according to Synergy. This is a good idea, because language plans change often, so buying everything up front is risky. I know the system pretty well, so this simple list is enough for me, but others might prefer a little more detail like this: Step 1 – Isolated pronunciation and orthography · Beginner’s Russian Script – script · Acapela – word level pronunciation Step 2 – Sentence level pronunciation, vocabulary and listening · Pimsleur (plus transcript) - sentence level pronunciation; grammar; vocabulary; reading; writing · Google Translate – bulk translation · Wordreference – word translation · Russian Wictionary – word translation · Anki – (SRS); vocabulary & sentence memorization · Russianpod101 – listening · Russian Movies & TV with subtitles – listening · MP3 player – listening review Step 3 –Grammar, reading, writing, and conversation · Google Translate – bulk translation · Wordreference – word translation · Russian Wictionary – word translation · Anki – (SRS); vocabulary & sentence memorization · Russian Movies & TV with subtitles – listening · MP3 player – listening review · LingQ – reading, listening · Michel Thomas – grammar, vocabulary · Shared talk – conversation (free); vocabulary; sentences · Skype – conversation tool · Diary – writing, typing · Lang-8 – writing correction · New Penguin Russian Course – grammar · Italki – conversation (pay); vocabulary; sentences Step 4 – Take reading, writing, listening and conversation to C1/C2 · Google Translate – bulk translation · Wordreference – word translation · Russian Wictionary – word translation · Russian Movies & TV – listening · MP3 player – listening review · LingQ – reading, listening · Shared talk – conversation (free) · Skype – conversation tool · Diary – writing, typing · Italki – conversation (pay); writing and subtitle correction · Veroniny – creating subtitles And if you want even more detail, you can actually write things out, using all the Synergy posts to guide you. I’ll just do this with the first step as an example: Step 1 – Isolated pronunciation and orthography Learn the script with Beginner’s Russian Script. Listen to pronunciation of all sounds and words before reading and writing using Acapela. Also, use Acapela occasionally to check my pronunciation after reading out loud. Learn the names of the letters of the alphabet too. Spend at least 30 min a day on this step. Before moving to the next step, I need to be able to repeat isolated words correctly after hearing them and read isolated words out loud with correct pronunciation. etc. In summary, a language plan can be very helpful. Knowing what you need to do, and when you need to do it can make you more efficient, keep you from making wrong turns and remind you what to do next. As a bare minimum, I recommend doing all the research and just making a chronological list of resources. That, combined with the Synergy posts, may be enough to sufficiently organize your learning. If it’s not enough, then you can write out more detail, but keep in mind that language plans often change, so it’s better to keep it as brief as possible.